Giving Up The Bottle

My tutoring session last Wednesday was cancelled and V has no more cooking classes until January, so I decided to take him to buy a new water bottle and his special cup for when he “gives up the bottle”.

The first store we went to was the place to get his new water bottle.  On the same display as the water bottles, were the pacifiers.  This was a problem.  He spent ten minutes choosing his new bottle and then a further five minutes trying to persuade me to buy him a pacifier.

When he realised his tactics weren’t working, he started crying.  He cried and cried.  All the way to the second place we were going to.

When we reached the second shop and he realised a) I wasn’t going to give in and b) He was going to have to wait in the car if he kept crying, he stopped.  He stopped his tantrum so suddenly, I wondered if the whole episode had actually happened!  All he said was, ‘When I become a baby you buy me a chupa, ok?’  I agreed.

He chose his cup.  A very boring green cup.  I’m still trying to work out why he didn’t want the teddy bear or cow shaped mugs.  Oh well, at least he saved me some money!

We got home and I asked him when he was going to throw his bottles away.  He stopped for a minute and said, ‘On Monday.’  I asked him why on Monday?  Why not right away?  He responded, ‘Mama, see.  Today is Wednesday.  I can only throw bottles on Mondays.’

Hmmm… Delaying tactics me thinks.

I brought it up a couple more times during the next few days – but never got a response or a reaction until…

On Saturday morning, V came into our room and said: Mama, Santa is coming today.

Me (confused): Oh?  Is he?  But it’s not Christmas Day today.

V: Mama, Santa is coming today and he’s going to take aaaall my bottles away.  And he’s going to leave me a present.  But he will only leave me one present because it’s not Christmas Day yet.

Me: Oh!  Ok!  Lucky you!  Santa’s coming!

And he turned and left.  Where did all this come from?

He was at his grandmother’s that whole afternoon, so I was able to gather all his bottles.  I found a whole lot of new ones still in boxes (don’t ask) and I shoved everything in a cupboard.  I wrapped a gift from the toy cupboard (in Christmas paper) and hid it.

He didn’t even ask for milk before he went to bed.  This was very unusual – but I didn’t say anything.  I just wanted to see what would happen.

He woke in the night and when reminded about the bottles/Santa, he had water and went back to sleep.  At 5am he woke again and was not happy.  Until he saw the present Santa left him!  He had water and went back to sleep.

He was very excited on Sunday morning.  He opened his gift and I read him the accompanying letter.

IMG_20131130_153358He hasn’t been very well since yesterday afternoon (cough, cold, high temperature) and hasn’t asked for any milk at all.  He knows that when he drinks milk when he has a cough, he usually throws up.

He’s still unwell – so I don’t know what will happen once he’s feeling better, but I’m so proud of him.  I can’t believe he’s just…  Done it.

I really should have higher expectations.

 

Erm… Okaaay…(?!)

You know when you wake up in the morning, sometimes you just want to be alone?  You want to be alone and think about the day ahead.  Or wish you were still in bed.  Or whatever..?

You know, right?

I’m kind of grumpy in the mornings.  Especially if I don’t get enough sleep.  And I NEVER get enough sleep.

So having that quiet time first thing is important to me.

Unfortunately, I never have it anymore!

V comes into my room every morning – slamming the door against the wall.  If I’m in the bathroom he just walks in and starts talking.  He talks and talks and just doesn’t stop.  If the bathroom door is locked, he stands outside knocking and saying ‘Mama’ over and over and over again.

Usually, by the time he comes in I’m dressed and brushing my teeth.

I was a little slower than usual this morning.

He slammed into the bathroom while I was taking off my pyjamas.  His eyes lit up and he started walking towards me with outstretched hands.

I saw what he was about to do.

Me: V, stop that.

V: No, mama.  I want to touch your boobs.

Me: No V.

I have to admit here – that I’ve let him touch me once or twice before – just to satisfy his curiousity and get it out of his system.

V: But mama – I want to touch your boobs!

Me: I said, No!

V (starts crying): But I have no boobs to touch!  No mama!  Don’t put that (referring to my bra)!

*Jesus, Mary and Joseph*

Me: V – come on, we’re getting late for school.  Let’s go.

V (still crying): But I want to touch your boobs!

Me: I said, No!

He stormed out.  Still screaming.

This is what he chooses to tantrum about?

THIS?!

He refused to speak to me the whole way to nursery, but seemed to have forgotten about it by the time I picked him up.

Are all toddlers fascinated with breasts?

Is it because I didn’t breastfeed him? (I know that’s what “certain” people would say if they knew about this.)

Oops

So it’s been almost a month since we lost V’s pacifier.  As you know the first week was absolutely terrible, but it got better and now he’s doing great.

We did, however, have a little *incident* a couple of days ago.

He was digging through all the cupboards and drawers in the playroom looking for a cup or something.  And he wouldn’t stop until he found it (once he has his mind set on something, there’s no deterring him).  Anyway, so while on the hunt he came across a box.  He opened it.  And inside was a pacifier!

It was an old one, and it was a brand that I thought I’d switch him to, but he never took to it (different shape or something).  So I guess it was just dumped in a box and put away…

His whole face lit up as soon as he set eyes on it.  It was as though all his Christmases had come at once!  But, it was very quickly whipped out of his hands and taken downstairs to be put in the bin.

At first he asked questions such as, ‘Mama, what was that?’  He knew exactly what it was.

It soon turned into, ‘BUT I WANT IT!’  Tears and foot-stamping followed.

I don’t know what I was thinking, but I told him it was one of Rolo’s (the dog) toys.  V looked at me dubiously, and pretty much told me to explain myself!  I really don’t know what I told him – but after five more minutes of crying, he calmed down and asked for milk.  As he was lying in his cot, I heard him say to the nanny, ‘Yaya – that wasn’t a chupa.  It was Rolo’s toy.’

And it was forgotten.

Thank you, Lord!

 

Tantrums

We are at our wits’ end and we just don’t know what to do, or how to handle it anymore.

I’m speaking, of course, about V and his behaviour.

I just don’t know how to handle his tantrums anymore.  They spring from nowhere – usually when he doesn’t get his way – and there’s just no reasoning with him, even though I KNOW he understands what I’m saying.

For instance, this afternoon…

It was lunch time.  His meal was something that he enjoys eating (and asked for).  As his lunch was put in front of him, he stood up, walked over to his cabinet and opened it.  This is where all his snacks are kept.  He decided that he wanted a cookie.

I told him that was no problem and that he could have a cookie after he ate his lunch.

The tears started.  This was soon followed by foot stamping and throwing himself around the room.

I told him he could take one cookie out of the packet and keep it next to him, but that he could eat it after his lunch.  This appeased him.  For about two minutes.  Because then he decided he wanted it right away.

I told him again that he could have the cookie after lunch.  This isn’t unreasonable, is it?  And it’s not difficult for him to understand?  I think he just wanted it his way!

After another ten or fifteen minutes more of crying, I told him that if he didn’t want to eat his lunch, that was fine.  But he would not be having that cookie.

Oh.  My.  God.

I held my ground.

But then started feeling a little guilty that he wasn’t eating his lunch.

I gave him alternatives.  He chose one.  And all was forgotten!

He had lunch and then he had his cookie.

I think his rewards and sanctions have to be immediate – otherwise they probably won’t make sense to him.  Right?

But how do I do that when he won’t listen to reason?

Yesterday he asked me to download new games onto the iPad.  I told him I would not do that because he’d made such a fuss to go in the bath (It took forty minutes to get him in).  He looked at me and said, ‘No I didn’t make a fuss.’  I know he couldn’t have forgotten about the tantrum he’d had.  It had only been fifteen minutes since he was screaming like he was being tortured!

I’ve thought about the ‘Calm Down Corner’, ‘Naughty Chair’ and ‘Naughty Step’.  But I just don’t feel they would work.  He wouldn’t sit there, I’m sure of it.  He thrashed about so much, I worry that he’s going to bang his head against the wall or a door or something.

Someone suggested just holding him while he was tantruming – apparently that’s meant to calm some children down?  Not mine.  He hates being held while in the middle of a tantrum!

Plus he knows exactly how to play us all off each other – me, LagosDad and the nanny.

I tried a smiley face chart – I explained it all to him many times.  He understood it.  He knew what it all meant.  But he didn’t care.  After the first day, he didn’t bat an eyelid when he got a sad face.  In fact, he stopped me getting a pen so that he could choose which colour the sad face would be!

Yesterday I realised, as I mentioned earlier, that his rewards and/or sanctions need to be immediate.

But what do I do?  And how do I implement it?

Yes, the twos were terrible.  But the threes…?  There are no words!

No School

Today is Nigerian Independence Day.

We got a letter from school last week asking all children to wear traditional Nigerian clothes to school on Monday 30th.

I found some leftover (beautiful) fabric from a dress I had made a few years ago and called the tailor.  He made shorts and a shirt for V to wear to nursery.

V tried it on.  It fit.  We were all excited about him dressing up on the 30th.  Admittedly, I was a bit more excited than him.

Come Monday morning, the child refused to go to school.  He was screaming and crying and kicking the dog while hanging off my leg.  He just didn’t want to go to school.  I gave him the option of choosing his own clothes, if it was the outfit that was bothering him – but that wasn’t it.  I told him I’d come to nursery with him and stay there (I wouldn’t have, but I needed to get him there) – but that didn’t work.  I told him we’d go to the nursery library and choose a book and come home.  No.

He just didn’t want to go.  I couldn’t work out why.  He’s usually very happy to go in the morning.  So what was different about today?  I thought it might be a good idea to ask him!  So I said, ‘V, why don’t you want to go to school?’  I had to ask him about five times before he calmed down enough to actually hear me.  His response?  He shrugged.

So he doesn’t want to go to school.  But he doesn’t know why.  There was no good reason for his tears.

I eventually (after an hour of crying) told him he could stay home if he wanted – but that everyone at home would be busy and no one would have time to talk or play with him.  He got more upset.  I explained to him that LagosDad was going to the office, I was going to do my exercise and that yaya (his nanny) would be busy ironing his clothes.

I thought that might convince him to go – but it didn’t.

I told him (repeatedly) that he had two choices.  ‘V, you have two choices.  You can either go to nursery and play with your friends and have a lot of fun.  Or you can stay at home and play by yourself and no one will talk to you.’  I showed him two fingers to indicate his two choices.  He kept saying, ‘This one!’ and tried to pull up a third finger!  Quite clever, I thought.

Anyway – so he stayed home.  Everyone ignored him.  And you know what?  He didn’t care that no one would play with him.

I couldn’t force him to get dressed without one of us getting hurt.  I got dressed myself and tried to leave the house, but he just kept hanging off my leg.

So now what do I do?

What did I do wrong?  What should I have done differently?