Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Above picture: Olivia, in desperate need of a haircut and wearing Lila's old 3-6 month pj's, standing on a chair (a no-no) as Matt and I try to clean up after dinner.

I was going to write about our progress with unpacking. However, nothing interesting has happened with that. We're getting there. I doubt anyone really cares where we're at exactly.

So, I'll update you all about Olivia. Olivia is the most trying nearly-three-year-old I know. I've recently babysat for kids her age - so, I know this to be true. I'm sure much of it must be a reflection of the poor disciplining or attention she must be getting from me during the day. Lately, she's makes me second-guess everything I do. I must be failing somewhere. Nothing else could explain her current behavior. So, while, I've made recent note of areas in which I think I can improve here's what's been going on.

My dear little Olivia has developed a mouth on her. Here's an example:

Daddy: "Olivia, sweetheart, you are frustrating me. I'm trying to work."

Olivia: "No, daddy, YOU are frustrating ME."

Another one:

Olivia: "Daddy, can you get my cup?"

Daddy: "No, Olivia, I know you are able to get it."

Olivia: "No, really, you can get it for me."

And, yet another one:

Olivia (pointing her finger): "Don't you do that!!!!!"

Olivia has also taken up climbing. As in, get a chair and climb up to anything that has a shelf. Be it Lila's dresser, the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, daddy's bar, reaching up into a closet, etc. Usually, she's up to no good. When I ask what she's doing, she'll reply, "NOTHING!!" She can now silently move a chair or stool from one room to the other in record time.

She's also taken to going upstairs on her own. She's sneaky about it. She and Lila will be playing in the playroom together. Suddenly, I'll hear Lila crying because she's alone. When I call for Olivia, she'll call back, "Don't come up here, Mommy!" Yeah, right.

There's no way to effectively gate the stairs. So, I'll have to close all the doors and put on doorknob covers and see if she can't get those off. That will only lead to a tantrum-which is why I've put it off. Hopefully, she'll just get used to it.

Olivia can, in five minutes, make a mess in every room. While putting a few dolls to bed in each room may not be "making a mess" to her, it is to me. I could, literally, spend all day cleaning up after her. Most of the time, when I try to pick up a doll that is randomly sleeping somewhere, she will freak out and tell me that I woke her baby up and to put her back! She will then proceed to ask the baby if he/she is okay, gently put a blanket back on her and sing her a song back to sleep. If I get close, she'll say, "Go away mommy!"

I also can't get her to wear slippers or socks. It's wet and chilly here right now. We have no carpet and she needs slippers. I was going to buy her a pair at a local market. But, I found two pairs that still fit from Alaska and I can't get her to wear those for more than a few minutes. Her feet are always red and cold. She says she's hot. Go figure. I guess, when she's really cold, she'll let me know.

Then, there's getting out the door. If Olivia isn't willing to go somewhere, she'll undress just as I'm about to leave. Worse yet, she'll undress out of her clothes and into Lila's. She'll scream the whole time I'm changing her and while I put her into the car. This is particularly true of Monday mornings when we go to Mums and Tots group. If I was a good mother, prepared mother, unlazy mother, I would get up before my kids (who sleep until 7:30-8:30), shower, dress, make coffee, eat and get the diaper bag packed. But, usually, I lay in bed until they get up, browse the internet while they eat breakfast and just fart around the house until an hour before we're supposed to be there. I always think 45-minutes is enough time to get ready.

This week, once we arrived, we had a good time. However, as I checked myself in the rear-view on the way out, I noticed that my hair was a mess from the wind, rain and grease from not having gotten up in time for shower and, there was snot on my face. Doesn't matter if it was mine or Lila's. It was snot. On my face.

On the up side, as a parent, you know you're doing something right if, when you walk into your child's room during, what's supposed to be nap time, and find her sitting on the floor, reading a book out loud, with her dolls carefully lying on the floor in front of her. That was too cute to discipline!

Someone recently asked me if Lila was "always this good." Yup, but so was Olivia at Lila's age...


Alaska Dunns said...

Oh, that's hard! Kids at this age are all about boundries -- always asking what are the limits and will they be enforced. I've read that they are truly asking the question, "Do you love me." And that parenting is about showing love by maintaining a safe and consistent home. Safe, in that the kids can trust mom & dad to set the rules and they don't have to create the rules themselves. A safe place is a place where kids know what to expect - there are no surprises from mom and dad (except the fun surprises like birthdays...) - and they don't doubt their parents unconditional love - love is not based on how good the kids are behaving or how cute they are.

I have read this and "know" it, but putting it into practice is something else entirely. Daniel was a pretty easy kid, but Mikey is stubborn, hard-headed, and throws a tantrum worthy of a grand prize. I'm struggling with questioning my parenting, having to discipline him differently than Daniel, being consistent, and not letting my anger get out of control. It's so hard.

Just know that you are not alone. This is an age that really makes you question your own worth, but just remember that you are the parent, not Olivia. It is your job to set the rules and enforce them, even if she doesn't like it, throws tantrums, kicks, hits, spits... It is still your job. And the more consistently you enforce the boundries in the home, the better Olivia will be able to deal with life, work, love, family in the long run. She is watching you and learning from you. And, fortunately, this age will pass and things will get easier ... well, at least different. ;)

I've had a couple books recommended to me for this age. One is "The 5 Love Laguages of Children." The other is "Boundries with Kids." Maybe they would give you some new ideas to try.

Good luck. I'm right there with you in this! You are a good mom and a good person!!

Angie said...

Ok, I definitely couldn't say anything better than Holly, but I know that it is hard. We're having similar problems at times, too. But, then, many times are awesome, and I wonder how I got such a great kid, right before she throws a huge fit.