Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Readjustment Day

Molly is really working on her walking and standing skills - and I got a funny photo of the three tonight after dinner (hence the naked babies, who eat without clothes to minimize stains and clean up). She took a few more steps today and did a lot of standing. Most people tell me I don't want both walking, but I welcome it ... I think getting in and out of the car will be easier with both walking.

Today was an adjustment day. Kyle was back a full day (having returned home yesterday at dinner time), and he had the kids in the morning in the usual lazy Sunday mode while I stayed in bed and got a break from kids. I took Claire to Waffle House for lunch as the twins napped. We had an aborted Waffle House attempt yesterday thanks to the foul mood of Molly and Lily, who were overtired from the excitement of Claire's tap & ballet class. We had a great lunch today though, so I took Claire to Target to pick out her special toy for being so helpful while daddy was gone, and oh lordy, all hell broke loose. Claire found a crawling baby doll that cost $25, and I told her that (1) it was too expensive (which I had forewarned her of a dollar limit) and (2) she doesn't play with baby dolls anymore so it wasn't worth buying. She threw the WORST, truly the worst tantrum I've ever seen her throw, and all the more unfortunate because it was in public. I had five people give me that "oh, poor you" look and one lady actually said, "it gets better, I promise". I stayed amazingly calm (hey, I was being watched by the public), but today I resorted to corporal punishment upon returning home. The whole ride home I warned Claire of what was to come, explaining (calmly) that her poor behavior required extreme punishment, but this time I relished no part of spanking the kid (bare bottomed, I might add). I continued to stay relatively calm under the circumstances. It's been months and months since we've had to lay a hand on her but this time I felt she needed to be reminded that we still have the upper hand. No pun intended.

She was then sent to her room, where she ended up screaming, then playing calmly, and then falling asleep. I let her sleep for 5 minutes, woke her up, and she was a great kid the remainder of the day. Of course, I ditched the family for a while to get a breather (exchanged the cute Valentine's dress auntie sent for a larger size, went to HyVee for dinner stuff), and it was much needed. My current struggle is whether she deserves the toy I had promised. It was based on her behavior while Kyle was out of town (which was perfect), but should the Target meltdown negate the previous good behavior? I can't decide yet. Kyle thinks she still deserves the toy.

So basically, to analyze my kid, what happened is that her routine and structure changed with Kyle returning and she got off kilter. For five days, she had one set of rules to follow and today she was back to two conflicting sets and that will always cause problems. I'm the strict parent, he's the lenient one (and especially lenient after being gone five days). It's confusing to a child - her pediatrician always reminds me it's Claire's job to test us, and it's our job to set clear and consistent boundaries. And that's just hard when the parents' parenting styles often differ so much.

Tomorrow's holiday gives me another day at home with the kids. Hopefully we avoid the behavior issues from today.

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