Something Beautiful or Humorous: Apples that Eli painted

Friday, September 14, 2007

Frustrated beyond!!!

We've had a real bugger of a week with our kids.

Background to this- I usually like to have a "quiet time" for an hour or two where Eli either has to lay on the couch and try to sleep in front of the TV or read books while Mia sleeps, so I can either get a time out in my room or take a nap, myself. Also, you have to know that Eli is the snack king. Always has been (even when he was an infant, he would never nurse every 3-4 hours like other babies, it was often every single hour!!) So I have been trying to enforce that he doesn't get an afternoon snack if he doesn't eat his lunch. And so now the problem, is that he is ignoring the rules of our house and sneaking ways to get what he wants, then lying to cover it up.

Day 1: Chris and I found cheerios, nuts, and an entire open box of raisins behind our couch. And an extra little surprise to make it a little more special: a dead mouse in a trap. We were so livid that Eli had done this and attracted a mouse, we woke him up (it was about 11:00 at night when we found this,) and asked him if he remembered hiding a box of raisins "no." Did you put a box of raisins behind the couch? "no." Hmmmmmmm. So after we finally got him to admit he did it, we tried to explain that he had caused a real problem and we thought the best way to teach him a lesson was to traumatize him a little bit by having him help Chris clean up the mouse. Well, it traumatized him, but it apparently didn't teach him a lesson about changing his behavior.

Day 2: His punishment was also that he couldn't stay downstairs during naps and watch TV for one week, because he had lost our trust. He was to stay in his room. Well, I kept hearing him going into the bathroom, and finally when I went to investigate, I found that he had gone downstairs, and found where we kept some miniature chocolate bars, and in his bed were about 12 candy wrappers. And of course, I had told him that #1 he couldn't get out of his bedroom until naps were over, which he ignored, and #2 that he couldn't have a snack until naps were over, which he defied. So I am frustrated, because no punishments work for him. Time out does nothing. Taking away toys does nothing. Taking away TV privilege does nothing. He doesn't care! So I was so absolutely frustrated and in despair about him, that I spanked him. Chris also turned the door handles around. We concluded that we REALLY couldn't trust him, and we would have to lock him in.

Day 3 (today): During naps, we made a big deal about going potty first, so he knew he would have to stay in his room during naps, and he's been known to lie about needing to go to the bathroom, just to get out of his room (at night for example trying to stay up later & goof off), and then he just goes in the bathroom & plays. So I told him "The door is locked. You are not allowed to knock on the door to go to the bathroom. You have to stay in here during naps." Well, guess what. He peed on the floor in the middle of his room. Horrors. When Chris got home, Eli helped clean it up, but of course his room now still stinks like a toilet, and I just want to slit my wrists.

Mia has her own issues. It was actually last week that we took the crib rails off her bed and it was sooooo hard to get her to stay in her room. She would turn on the light at 3 in the morning and play with her toys. Naps were a big fat joke. And the awful thing was how grouchy she was after never sleeping!!!! And Chris & I weren't getting a whole lot of sleep either. But that issue has gotten better, (thank you! There is a God!)

She's such a character. Here's a list of things she did during our week at Bear Lake:

  1. Poured sand down my mom's shirt.
  2. Got into my lotion and poured it all over our room and all over herself.
  3. Got into my make-up and covered her little face with mascara and lipstick.
  4. And the best: poured an entire bottle of syrup on the floor, then shook pepper on top of it.
I know some of you probably have worse stories, but these are my latest war stories. Eli and Mia are so being tortured by these stories later in their teenage years when we interview their first prom dates.

And by the way.... pleeeeaaase give us advice if you have it on kids lying or breaking rules behind your back! What do we do???????????? Where is the parenting handbook???????????


Annie said...

I was kind of chuckling empathetically until I got to the peeing on the floor part. The flood of memories of cleaning poo out of my carpet came rushing back. You should definitely email Jenny E about lying - she's been having major struggles too. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I guess we should be grateful that Mia and Ryan aren't siblings or we'd be swimming in a pool of syrup :)

Jenny said...

Hi Natalie. I'm so sorry you had a bum week - sounds a bit like mine. Here's my advice:
We've been having a problem with Emma lying too. I've already learned that things like time out and punishment don't work well with her from past behaviors. (not that I don't still do it) What I have learned is the bigger deal I make about it, the worse the behavior is. It's wierd but it's like she feeds off the negative behavior. So - I try to be more positive about it. For example with this lying problem, instead of telling her she's lying (negative) I try and teach her - we need to be honest in all things we do (positive). Also, we go to her room and say a prayer when things get out of hand and I encourage her to ask for the Holy Ghost to help her make good decisions and be honest (or whatever else the problem is). Some days we say lots of prayers!
The other thing I've learned, and Annie reminds me time and time again which I appreciate, is that everything is a phase and they'll grow out of it. I know when your 5 year old is sneaking things thoughts go through your mind like "he's going to grow up and rob a bank or be a menace to society" but the truth of the matter is "it's just a phase and they'll outgrow it". So I've been trying to focus more on helping them outgrow the bad phase instead of punishing them for being in it. Now, I'm not saying I"m perfect at this or that it always works but I guess it somewhat keeps me sane :)
The last thing is, if you could step outside your life and read the post like it was someone else's life you would chuckle and think it was funny because it's not your kid. But of course it's not funny to you because you have to live it each day just like I do with my kids and Annie does with hers. I don't want to trivialize your trial AT ALL because it's not funny when your knee deep in it but the best medicine is laughter so read some other mom blogs and laugh at what they're going through with their kids and it will make you feel better :)

Kenny, Linsey and Caleb said...

Thank goodness every day/week isn't like this. You get a triple gold star for surviving with everyone still alive!

Deb Kress said...

I would say the hardest thing about being a parent is being consistent, but it's also the most important. Just keep it up. I am doing potty training right now- oh joy. I have noticed that it is so much easier with the 4th though, because I don't get so bent out of shape about it all. Maybe because I have had to do it 3 times before. He's not getting it any faster than the others, and slower than Sam by far, but I'm just not so upset about it. Of course teaching them something new, like potty training and teaching them not to sneak and lie are two different things. I guess what I am saying is do your best, be consistent and then don't stress too much about it. It is a phase. Also, he may just need to eat little bits more often. I am like that. I prefer to eat something small every two hours. We have really had to be stricked with the junk food at our house, because of Joseph. Just get rid of it- It's better for everyone!

Hardys said...

Finally someone who relates with my son. Jakob does the exact behavior. Of course he is not old enough to understand the lying bit, but everything else is him to the "T". I am on the verge of slitting my own wrists!

Hardys said...

I have to re-say what I meant in my last post. I would seriously noy slit my wrists. I had a friend that did that and it is a serious matter, what I was trying to come across to say is that I understand how Natalie feels. I am a perfectionist, and have obsessive compulsive behavior, and deal with bouts of depression, but would never want to take my life away for any reason. I Hope and would think Natalie feels the same way and that she would not take her life or her childrens. I alpologize if I came across in a wrong way.
President Hinckley said this about raising a family "Taking care of small, dependent, and demanding children is never ending and often nerve-racking. Mothers must not fall into the trap of believing that “quality” time can replace “quantity” time.
Quality is a direct function of quantity—and mothers, to nurture their children properly, must provide both. To do so requires constant vigilance and constant juggling of competing demands. It is hard work, no doubt about it."

Natalie C. said...

Jenny- I so so so agree that kids feed off negative energy. It's like fast acting yeast. Things can escalate so quickly. Sometimes I just have to look at the clock and say, "Ok. It's 3:30. Let's see if I can not yell at my kids for an hour. Let's just get to 4:30!" Yes, it's that bad. This too will pass!