Well, Tomorrow’s Another Day

Holy cow. What. a. morning.

Hula Girl decided that she’s going to not only disobey, but deliberately do everything exactly OPPOSITE of what I ask. For example, “Hula Girl, please stay off the baby’s bouncer.” So she sits on it. “Hula Girl, please bring your spoon to the table.” So she brings her fork and knife to the couch.

And her new favorite phrase? “I’m not.” For example, “Hula Girl, please do not touch the computer.” “I’m not!” “Your hand is on the computer. You are touching it.” “I’m not touching the computer.” REALLY?!

She knew the day to strike. Today, of all days, is perfect for disobedience. Know why? Gelato is whacked out. After waking early this morning, he’s had rough naps (his second was only 45 minutes long) and a general sour demeanor- very unlike his norm. I have had to spend extra time with him today. Time away from Hula Girl. Hula Girl has taken the opportunity to engage in some risky and naughty behaviors. Such as: eating chap-stick, sunscreen, makeup, and contact lens solution; removing the gate from the bottom of the staircase and coming upstairs unattended; opening sundry kitchen drawers and emptying said compartments; and manhandling the computer and removing the keyboard to a previously unknown location. The good part about all these things is that they are things she has done in the past. I have not yet had to say, “I said _________ would never happen, but….” because, folks, my girl is plain ol’ uninventive in her naughtiness. Thank goodness.

However, we need to crack down. These are safety issues, not just minor little annoyances. None of them would arise as issues normally, because she is normally never left unattended for more than 2 minutes during the day (save for her roomtime, which is specifically set up to be unattended free play in her SAFE room- oh, unless you count that time she locked herself in and I about died of a heart attack). But they happened today because Gelato is off schedule and his being off schedule is really making me dance. Not in a happy way. More like a “I’m in the middle of a crocodile-infested river of lava and I am jumping from one piranha’s back to another just to stay alive while being chased by a giant T-rex who’s out to get me” kind of way.

And the “I’m not!” needs to make itself scarce quick like a bunny or else Hula Girl is going to be spending a heck of a lot of time in time-out. Jonathan and I will be discussing our strategy tonight; until then, my strategy will be to phrase everything 100%positively, so she can’t refute what I’m saying. Instead of, “Please don’t floss your teeth with the blind cords!” I will say, “Please floss your teeth with one of the many many balled-up strings you call ‘fuzz’ which you collect as you wander throu ghout the house!” Instead of, “Don’t write on your face with the chalk!” I will say, “Here’s some water and a paintbrush! Let’s go outside and paint your arms and legs!”

Naptime was a big ordeal today. Gelato had been screaming his head off for about 20 minutes, when Hula Girl got down on the floor with him and entertained him so he was back to his smiling self. At 1, I said we needed to go upstairs for her nap. So we all trooped upstairs. I knew Gelato needed a nap, too, but I figured if I could just get Hula Girl out of my hair down for her nap first, I could spend as much time as needed to get Gelato down for his nap (I was prepared for hours of nursing, rocking, shushing, holding him on his belly, etc.). So we get into her room and get her dressed in her jammies, clean diaper (her diapers are ALWAYS dry after naps these days- why don’t we just do undies? oh yeah, because she’s still in her crib), and socks. Then I got her in her crib, reminding her that we were lucky to have read SEVERAL books at breakfast (seven, I counted), so we didn’t have to read a book before nap today. Cue Gelato’s crying again. So I rushed through a prayer with her and kissed her goodnight, only to walk out the door and hear, “I need to go peepee and poopoo.” siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Kid refuses to go peepee in her diaper if she’s awake. So I knew I would have to bring her potty into her room. I told her I would put Gelato down for his nap and then bring her potty in her room.

I get to Gelato’s room, swaddle him up, and start his naptime song. He starts screaming. Picture this: me, bending my knees deeply 30 times in a row, holding a squalling newborn, listening to a screaming toddler, praying out loud, “Lord, give me patience. Lord, help me relax. Lord, I can’t do this. Lord, give me your grace.” Miraculously, Gelato calmed down enough to put him down, and I sprinted downstairs for Hula Girl’s potty. As soon as I got to her room, he started crying again. Oh well, it’s his turn to wait now! After undressing and re-dressing Hula Girl, I sprinted back downstairs to put the potty away, and as I turned back up the stairs to attend to Gelato, he STOPPED. It was glorious. Two kids, not crying, simultaneously. The same thing I have most days, only today it was that much more special.

And… I survived. With a sense of peace. Like, whoa-that-was-crazy-but-I-made-it-with-the-grace-of-God-and-let’s-hope-I-never-have-to-do-that-again!-Peace.

Let’s hope whatever’s up with Gelato is down tomorrow. And let’s hope Hula Girl wakes up on the right side of the bed!

Riley’s Naughty!

So this morning, I had to wake Hula Girl fifteen minutes after her normal out-of-crib time. She is usually awake by 7:15, but she was still just snoozin’ away at 8:00! Fortunately she was in a good mood when she woke up, but I do think that something about me waking her made her feel “off” today.

As we were leaving her room, she wanted to go across the hall to Gelato’s room like she does every day. She says she’s going in there to “check out [Gelato]’s room.” But yesterday and last night I went through a major ransacking/get this done now! mode and his floor was full of things she shouldn’t touch, like shelves and his monitor and a million cloth diapers that are nicely folded, etc.  So I just asked her to stay out of his room today. She obliged.

Then we walked into Jonathan’s and my room to gather up some laundry. I needed to put something out on our balcony, so I opened the door and the cat sneaked out there before I could stop him. I said, “Oh, Riley, you must stay inside, Kitty,” and I gently tossed him back in. Then he streaked out the door before I could close it. I said, “[Hula Girl], Riley is being naughty, isn’t he!?”

Lo and behold, my sweet little obedient girl takes off running down the hall and goes into Gelato’s room and waits for me there. I asked her, “What are you doing?” Her response? “[Hula Girl] being naughty like Riley, go in [Gelato]’s room when Mommy said stay out.”

I had to bite back some major laughter. I also had to remind her that she’s not a naughty girl (we do NOT like labels for people, only behaviors) but that I really did want her to stay out of Gelato’s room. She walked down the hall and down the stairs saying, “[Hula Girl] not naughty. Riley’s naughty. Not [Hula Girl].” Heh.

So then we went downstairs and I went in the kitchen to make breakfast. I could hear her over by the front door, where we store all her art supplies and a few of her toys on a baker’s rack. I said, “[Hula Girl], what are you doing?” She said she was taking out some crayons. I asked her if she wanted to color today and she said she did. A couple minutes later, she came in the kitchen with a purple crayon in her right hand and a red crayon in her left. I said, “Oh, you’re going to color with red and purple today?”

So she did. She walked over to the garage door (connected to the kitchen) and started coloring. I said, “Uh-oh, [Hula Girl]. This is so sad. Now we have to put away your crayons and you will have to clean up the mess.” I gently guided her back over to the front door area, and she said, “[Hula Girl] make a mess on front door, too.” Um, yep. She did. And the floor of the entryway.

I do have to take a moment to comment on how well she’s doing with drawing circles. We’ve been practicing, and it’s paying off. What nice big purple and red circles we had! If this hadn’t been a disciplinary moment, I would have taken a few pictures, but I didn’t want her to get the impression that was excited about what she’d done…  

I held out the empty Ziploc bag and asked her to put her crayons away. She did, with no fuss. Then I said, “Come to the kitchen so we can get a washcloth. You can use the washcloth to scrub the doors and the floor.”

And do you know what?! Hula Girl cleaned up almost every swoop of crayon in the house. I did not criticize her efforts- I cleaned up the rest after she went down for her nap. But she really did try her hardest to clean all the crayon marks and she actually got most of them. I am thanking my mom, who had the foresight to buy washable crayons. They really do come off so easily!

Our last moment of disobedience came after she finished her lunch. She knows she is to ask for permission to leave the table. She told me she had to use her potty, so I said, “You may go potty and then come right back to your seat.” She went potty, and then she said, “No, [Hula Girl] play with my toys and my Riley.” I said, “Uh-oh. Looks like a time-out.”

But I had a lot of contractions this morning, and walking up and down the stairs and trying to keep her sticky food hands off everything in the house sounded like too much work, so I implemented a new time-out routine. I put her in the kitchen facing the garage door and told her to stand and look at the garage door until I got her out of time out. She modified a bit- she put the top of her head on the door and looked down at her feet. Whatever. Point is- she stayed.

I got her after a minute since she wasn’t crying or complaining or even trying to turn around. I said, “Are you ready to obey me?” She said, “Yes, [Hula Girl] listen and obey Mommy.” A few “I love you”s later, and we were back in business.

Oh, my girl is testing her boundaries. 🙂

No Throw Rocks Down Slide, Gees!

Happy Friday!


Okay, so it’s time to brag on my little girl a bit. I don’t know many two-year-olds, but I am pretty sure mine is a very smart, very well-behaved kiddo. Lately we have been working on saying, “Yes, Mommy,” when I ask her to do something. She’s been trying to get away with either not saying anything (and therefore not having to do it- that selective hearing problem starts early!) or just plain saying, “No.” I have been gently reminding her that she does not have the freedom to say no to me right now, and that the proper response is a, “Yes, Mommy.” So, several times today, I asked her to do something, like, oh, sit down and take off her shoes when we walked in the door. The first words out of her mouth were, “No. [Hula Girl] do dis in-tead,” followed almost immediately with, “Yes, Mommy.” Then she did it! I didn’t even have to make a gentle correction! She just remembered to say, “Yes, Mommy,” and follow directions! I praised her many times today for remembering to listen and obey. I also learned just how wonderful it is to have a child who actually possesses the skills of listening and obeying.

I posted in previous posts that I was really looking forward to today. Nowhere to go, no appointments, no waiting rooms, no superlong car rides, no rushing through breakfast to get there on time! Just relaxing and doing whatever we felt like doing. And what Hula Girl requested was going to the playground. So we went.

While we were there, we noticed two other little girls about Hula Girl’s size over on the preschool play equipment. So we headed in that direction, hoping we could make a new friend (at least for ten minutes). But when we got over there, Hula Girl and I learned some valuable lessons.

The girls were being supervised by the grandmother of one of the girls. Both the girls’ moms were over by the pool watching their big siblings during swimming lessons. How nice of the grandma to give the moms a break to really enjoy the older children, too!

Anyway, as soon as we arrived, the first thing that happened was that the granddaughter girl, L, pushed her friend, K, down the slide. Grandma interfered, “L, we don’t push! If you push K again, we will go sit in the car.” Um, really? My kid would be doing an instant time-out or we’d be leaving the playground immediately. But okay… So anyway, that frightened Hula Girl enough that she decided she would rather sit on the ground by me and sort through the rocks to find the smooth ones (she is still obsessed with rocks, but only if they’re smooth; she will not pick up a rough rock). As she sorted she observed the other girls as they played.

The grandmother turned to me and said something stupid about how this playground equipment is more their size and whatnot. I agreed. Duh it’s more their size. It’s made for 3 and 4 year-olds. That’s okay. I’m sure I’ve said stupider things to engage other moms in conversation at the park or the pool. Then I asked how old the girls were (mom-code for: “Can our kids play together for a little while? I’d really love for my daughter to have a playmate! And while they’re playing, will you please talk to me? I get no socialization with anyone over the age of four every day!”). She told me her granddaughter, L, is almost three and she wasn’t sure about L’s friend, K. Then she added that L and K have been fighting all week. That got my eyebrows raised. Little girls fight, sure, but all week? Doesn’t that mean they need a little break from each other? (I am betting neither of the girls do any kind of independent play!)

So as Hula Girl and I observed more, I realized the grandmother was right- the girls really were fighting the entire time they were there. They were not playing. They were chasing each other and trying to hit each other. Like, physically fighting. And the grandmother was powerless to stop any of it. “L, stop it. K, don’t hit. Oh, you’re fine. Be nice.” Running commentary, no action. It almost drove me crazy. I asked Hula Girl if she was ready to go back to the swings. Nope. Of course not. The one and only time she doesn’t want to swing is the one and only time she’s watching girls older than her run around fake crying, whining, and slapping each other.

Then the girls noticed us. And they came over and started playing in the rocks, too. I gave them some positive feedback, “Isn’t it fun to feel the rocks? We like to find the smooth ones. What kinds of rocks do you like to find?” Nothing threatening and nothing to suggest the girls were bothering us at all. But the grandma didn’t understand that I didn’t mind. So she bustled the girls away from us. Then the girls decided they really liked rocks and started hurling them all around. Grandma’s response? “No, we don’t throw rocks. If you throw rocks, we’re going to sit in the car. Stop throwing rocks, I said. L, no throwing rocks. K, stop throwing rocks. Ugh, if you’re going to throw rocks, throw them over here. No, don’t throw rocks down the slide. K! What did I just say? L, don’t throw rocks down the slide. Throw them over here. Okay, if you’re going to throw rocks, throw them there. At least they land on the ground over there. L! K! What are you doing? Throw them over here!”

So then K comes over and sits next to me. And she picks up rocks and throws them. So, being the interfering busybody that I am, I said, “Honey, you may not throw rocks over here. If you want to throw rocks, you must go over there.” Girl hung her head and looked like she was about to cry. Of course, the grandmother walked over, grabbed K by her upper arm, and told her, “I told you not to throw rocks over there. Throw rocks here.” And then I got a dirty look… for reinforcing someone else’s stupid rule that changed about fifty million times.

Hula Girl pipes up in the middle of all this, “No throw rocks down slide, gees!” (Gees, which rhymes with peas and cheese=girls.)

I told her, “Yes, you’re right. We don’t throw rocks down slides. Do we throw rocks at all?”

HG: No, Mommy. Rocks for eeking at. (Rocks are for looking at.)

Me: Yes, and you like to find rocks that are smooth!

HG: Dose gees not obey. (Those girls not obey.)

Me: Yes, you’re right. Those girls are not obeying. What do you think about that?

HG: God and Dee-dus (Jesus) say eeseen (listen) and obey. [Hula Girl] obey. Not throw rocks, Mommy. (Melt my heart.)

Me: You are very good at listening and obeying. I like the way you are behaving right now.

So pretty much all day since the playground I have heard about the girls who did not listen and obey. Hula Girl can’t seem to wrap her head around the fact that someone would choose to do the opposite. I think she was also quite impressed (not in a good way) about the fact that the grandmother did nothing to stop the girls. Empty threats and lots of yelling got her nowhere. I had to chuckle to myself when the girls’ moms came over and asked what the girls were doing. The grandma said, “They were throwing rocks down the slide but I told them to throw them over here instead.” L’s mom responded, “Well next time just spank their butts.” What a fine way to handle a situation. L proceeded to run away from the preschool equipment to follow K’s older sister, even while her mom and grandma were screaming at her to stop. No consequence was given.

I also had to stifle my desire to say, “Ha-ha! My kid’s awesomer than yours!!!” when we decided it was time to leave. Here’s what happened:

Me: Okay, [Hula Girl]. We need to go home soon. Would you like to leave now or in two minutes?

HG: Leave in two minutes.

Me: Okay. You have two more minutes to play.

Me: [Hula Girl], two minutes is gone. It’s time to leave. Please come down the slide. Do you want to come down the purple slide or the yellow slide?

HG: Poh-poh!!!!

Me: Okay, come down the purple slide and then walk to me. (She does.) Time to go to the car. Would you like to walk by yourself or hold my hand?

HG: ‘Alk by yelf.

Me: Okay, you may walk by yourself. Stay by me.

So as L and K’s moms are watching, somewhat flabbergasted (and I am thinking very likely disgusted), they get the idea that since Hula Girl came so easily, it must be time to give it a try with their girls. L’s mom says, “L, it’s time to go.” K’s mom says, “K, it’s time to go.” Both girls responded by running away from their moms, screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Hula Girl and I walked away slowly to the sound of two little girls screaming bloody murder and throwing tantrums while both moms offered bribes of McNuggets.


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