Friday, January 18, 2008

Terrible Threes

Whoever came up with "terrible twos" obviously never had a child who made it to the threes! I need some serious help here - I'm losing it and I'm losing it FAST!!!

As many of you know, Olivia gave Santa her nunu (pacifier) this year. It went very smoothly and she hasn't mentioned it at all since giving it away. But here we are weeks later and I'm wondering if we're starting to deal with the effects of no nunu. Was it an anchor that kept her in bed since that was the only place she could have it? Is that what made her go to bed so easily for naps and bedtime? She never put up a fight! She loves her sleep. She knows when she's tired and she's not afraid to ask for nigh-night time...until recently!

It all started January 1st - what a way to start off the new year, right? We went to some friends house for New Years Eve and we stayed there until 12:15 AM. Olivia made it - actually in much better shape than I did! She fell asleep in the truck on the way home and she slept until almost 9 the next morning. She definitely shouldn't have skipped her nap that day, but we had lots of snow and friends getting together with 4-wheelers and sleds and Brian was really excited about taking her. I stayed home and took a nap though! Olivia ended up getting snow on her and threw a fit so she stayed in the house and played the rest of the time. That night she was so out-of-her-mind tired that she really didn't know what to do with herself. She cried and cried and cried some more - so much that she threw up in her bed and we had to get her out and give her a shower. After the shower she was calmed and she went to sleep just fine. Since then there have been little battles here and there - getting up to go to the potty 15 minutes after bedtime when she already went, getting up for a drink when we gave her one before bed, crying because she doesn't want to go to bed...nothing extreme though and nothing that wasn't resolved with a little talking to. Until Friday 1/11 - it was another bad afternoon at naptime. She cried and screamed. I was exhausted and did not have the patience to deal with her. I called Brian and had him talk to her, I talked to her, I read her a book, I talked to her some more, I let her cry thinking she would cry it out and give up and I was so pissed off and upset that I couldn't do anything else but give into her - if I didn't give into her I don't know what was going to happen - I was at the end of string with her. I told her she could get out of bed but that she had to be quiet because I had to take a nap because I was exhausted. I could have lay in my bed and cried my eyes out, but I was too tired. Instead, I locked my bedroom door and lied down. It was quiet for about 5 minutes until she realized that I really was in bed and she couldn't get to me. She cried at the door, hitting and kicking the door for 10 minutes until it was time to get up because we had somewhere to be - one point Olivia, zero points mommy - she definitely won that Battle. I let her cry for over an hour and a half total, but I still lost!

It's been a little better, but there have still been little things here and there, but nothing extreme...until this afternoon! We had an evening planned where we were going to take Olivia to see the new Veggie Tales movie after dinner so I explained to her how important it was to take a good nap. Then I made a little chart on the computer that contains squares. There are 10 squares across and several going down. We got some girly-girl stickers at Target today and I explained to Olivia that every time she goes to bed without a fight when mommy and daddy tell her to, if she stays in bed and if she sleeps good then she gets to put a sticker on the chart. When she gets 10 stickers (that's only 5 days) she gets to go to the store and get a toy! What an incentive!! I was exhausted so I was excited that I had my new chart AND the movie tonight to encourage her to take a nap...I lost - 2 points Olivia, 0 points mommy - well maybe not exactly!

She did stay in her bed for 1 hour and 40 minutes until naptime was over at 4 PM - she cried, screamed, kicked, hit - threw a fit like none other - but I didn't let her get up this time. I even called Brian and had him talk to her and that didn't help. She was reminded of the movie and yet she continued to throw a fit. After naptime was over she had to sit in time out on the stairs and watch me as I took EVERY SINGLE TOY out of her room - there's nothing in there except a bed with a pillow and blanket, night stand with a lamp, book shelf with books, dresser with clothes and a closet of clothes - nothing at all to play with. I put all her stuff in the nursery and told her that each time she slept like a good girl she could take one thing back into her room. She told me that it was okay because she could still play with it in the nursery. I told her that I was going to lock the door so she couldn't. She had a little quiver in her voice when she said, "well I won't have anything to play with." After I was all finished I let her get out of time out and look at her room - I'm thinking that the sight of no baby cradle, no baby bed, no stuffed animals filling the closet floor, no bity baby pram, no dolls, no nothing that she would be a bit emotional. She says, "well I'm still happy mommy." You could have knocked me over with a feather!

I go downstairs and get something to drink - wishing I had some rum to put with it - and she comes down the stairs and says, "Hey mom, you forgot to lock the nursery door."
What can I do? She doesn't care! She doesn't care that I let her cry through her whole nap time. She doesn't care that she sat in time out for 10 minutes watching me clean out her room. She doesn't care that she doesn't get to play with any of her toys from her room. She doesn't care that the door is getting locked to her toys. She doesn't care that she didn't get a sticker and she doesn't care that she doesn't get to go to the movies.
What's going on? Where's my little girl? My sweet Innocent little girl who has always been so good. What have I done wrong? I seriously need some help - I don't know how much more of this I can take. I'm exhausted every day and don't have the energy to deal with this - I'm losing it!
2 points Olivia
0 points mommy
What can I do to tie the ballgame or get ahead?


Megan said...

Ugggh!! I feel your pain!! You have one smart girl on your hands!! As you can read in my blog...I am at wits end also...I'll let you know when I get that manual from God!! Oh, can't wait for the shopping trip!!!

Leenie said...

Send her over here if you need a nap. Most times, I'm working and so what if Abbey is sleeping. She can play or watch TV.
Aidan was just as bad at 3.
You'll get thru I--I hear consistancy works (I'll let you know if it works here:) Abbey has been AWEFUL with naps also. She plays with her light, which I now turn off on the fan-and anything else she can get her chubby hands on. She doesnt have any toys anymore so she has been going in her drawers to pull things out. Yesterday, she didn't take nap and today it took 2 hours for her to fall asleep but I kept w/ it and I won today. It seems to work when I catch her out of bed, and put her back in bed WITHOUT saying a word.

anne said...

I feel for you. Three is the WORST age!
I find taking a nap with the child in my bed helps.But I stay up quite late, so naps for me are good. But if I need to get something done, then no nap for Matthew.(But then I put him to bed an hour early!)

Mommy Brain said...

Three year olds are such a pain...I'm sorry I meant delightful challenge! And being pregnant and having a three year old is even more challenging. I agree with Leenie, no talking during discipline. At 3 I think they still need to learn to obey without explanations, you will have plenty of time to rationalize and explain the "whys" of why you do what you do when they're older and really care. Right now, in my opinion, being 3 is all about who has the control...she may lead you to believe she feels you are unfair and a bad mommy but I think she is really just mad that she's not calling the shots. You are bigger, stronger and smarter although probably more exhausted too. And if you need to swap naps for quiet time on the couch watching a DVD in order for mommy to get a nap...she'll survive, still go to college and never remember that she got to do terrible things while mommy was me! She'll always love you, may not always like you...but you can probably say the same thing.

Sorry for the long winded're not alone!

mommy24 said...

Everyone feels your pain! Three is tough...wanta be a big girl, but still a toddler. I'd say consistency is best. It's rough and they're all different. When our kids weened off of naps (between 3 and 4) we referred to the time between 4-7 as the "Witching Hours"...monsters they were! Hang in there!