Thursday, March 3, 2011

Our chaotic adventure

If you read very many of my blog posts, you may or may not know that I am a homebody. I stay home all the time, only trips out are when someone is with me, or my weekly trip to the grocery store/walmart.

Going anywhere consists of not only prepping myself, but the girls as well: I have to make sure my hair (and sometimes makeup) is decent. Make sure I am cleanly dressed (no spit up, no food, no "fill-in-the-blank"). Diaper bag - 2 sets of extra clothes (for both girls), diapers/pullups/undies, wipes, toys, books, snacks, drinks (for both girls), baby food/spoon/bib, my wallet and keys! Make sure both the girls are dressed - shirt, jacket, pants, socks, shoes, clean face, hair brushed. Make sure Destin & I both go potty (and Arwen has a clean diaper). All of this takes about twenty or more minutes before hand (even with preparing the night before).

Today was no different - we were going to the DMV to get new tags for the Jeep and then the library to complete our RAFT program (where you get a free book) and story time for toddlers.

When we arrive load everything up in the stroller or carry it..well at the DMV, I just had all my stuff in a separate bag - so I grabbed the bag, Arwen (in her car seat) and Destin. It started out okay for the first ten minutes, Destin was happy reading her old library books, and entertaining Arwen. Then she saw the claw machine, and started to run around, dance by me...which later moved to the entire room (AHH!). She wouldn't stay with me..and I just knew that nothing good would happen at the library - but we went anyways.

BIG MISTAKE! When we got to the library I decided to carry Arwen without the car seat, since the stupid stroller wouldn't unlock; the bag of books/wallet/etc. and hold Destin's hand. We did good getting in...I returned our old books, and finished our RAFT program (which seemed to be taking forever...) all the while Destin is running up and down the aisles of books, acting like a crazy toddler! AFTER we got our free book, we went to story time where there were about 5 other children her age (a few younger and a few older). Arwen sat up on her blanket, played with her toys and listened the stories/music. Destin sat with me about 1/3 of the time listening and dancing, and the other parts running around the small sectioned area - not listening, doing whatever she felt like doing.

Which really made me realize we need to start practicing story time/circle time at home - she needs the practice of sitting still, listening, learning and more...and what better way to teach her letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.? I hope to make a schedule in the next week for her & I to follow - maybe that will help in some other areas too!

I know her Parents as Teachers lady said that we could make our books about behavior (not hitting, talking badly, running away) and even sleeping (how its healthy, she is safe, nothing to be scared of, etc.)...I hope to do this in the next week too!

So...back to our chaotic adventure. After story time, she would not stay with me and continued to run away as she always does. I told her we had to go home (without checking out new books), we walk to the car..and I hit the unlock button (but I guess not hard enough); so I hit it again, and by that time Destin ran off in the parking lot where incoming cars could possibly hit her. AHHHHHHHHHH! Keep in mind I have the bag, and Arwen in one hand too. So I run after her, grab her - all the while she is laughing, smiling and not having a care in the world for what she is doing. She could have got hit by a car...or maybe even something worse!

I grabbed her, and put both the girls in the car. I was so angry, upset, scared, sad - all at the same time...

Its times like this when I realize, this is why we don't go anywhere by ourselves (just me & the girls)..I cannot handle it. Maybe if Arwen would have been in the stroller or car seat - but not with both of them. I just don't know what to do...should I not go anywhere anymore? Or do I need to do practice runs with Destin - as soon as she starts to run off, pick her up and leave/stop whatever/wherever we are doing (a recc. from the PAT lady).

By the time we get ready, get there and are in place of where we need to be - I hate to just pick and leave. But maybe that is what I will have to do...Destin has to understand that its not okay to run off. Its not okay to do whatever she wants - whenever she wants. She is not a teenager - she is 2 years old! She has to listen to me and her daddy - for her health, safety, and respect of herself/others.

Just like learning how to ride a bike or how to walk, my toddler is going to have to learn to stay with me, to not run away, to sleep in her own bed, to not hit, to follow directions, to not slam doors, to not play in the dogs food, to listen to a story at story time, and to understand that sometimes you don't always get what you want...

For the past few months, more than ever, Destin throws the biggest fits/tantrums and I just don't know how to handle them. I feel like I need help...not advice, not a book, but actual help. The PAT lady mentioned the Love & Logic classes coming up in April - but I know I won't be able to go. They are every Tuesday for about a month during the time the girls get ready to take a bath and go to bed.

I feel like I need to stop everything I am doing and start training my child non-stop how to act like a well-behaved little girl. Please tell me I am not the only one. Please someone tell me that it will get better. That this stressful time will only get better, not worse. Is anyone out there listening? Is anyone out there reading this? Give me strength!


  1. Melissa,
    First off, I feel your frustration. That trip could have turned out fatal and you must recognize that. I am not sure I would attempt anymore trips without help of some kind. Secondly, little miss Destin needs to know that is unacceptable behavior. How have you let her know that? The next time you go out and she acts up, turn right around and leave. You know the saying (my Mother said it to me and our Mom might have said it to you) "this hurts me more than it hurts you" Well, it will probably ruin your outing that day, if you have to go right back home but it will eventually teach her a lesson. Then, when you get back home; its off to bed she goes. No toys, no nothing. Time out, whatever you do to get her attention. Remember, she absolutely must stay with you and right at your side or her life could be in danger and that is a fact.
    Is there any preschool thing she could go to a couple times a week to see how other kids act? Sometimes churches have them and they aren't expensive and if you even took turns teaching one of the days for them in return for her being able to go that would help greatly. Some of the churches call it Mother's Day out. You might want to check into it. In the meantime, I think you are a great Mommy and this is just one day. Better days will come.
    Love you,
    Aunt Margaret

  2. Melissa-
    Your Aunt and the PAT instructor is correct. You have let her know that the behavior is unacceptable. Time out. I would do the time out in the car or in a quiet area away from where she misbehaved. If she straightens up then, continue with your outing. But, you should make sure to tell her if she continues the behavior then you will leave. Then if she does, leave immediately. You are going to have to do more outings, though. I know it is tiring, but she needs to be around more people and yes! more children. Your Aunt's suggestion is great. Even if it is only for a few hours a week, you should look into this. It will help with the behavior and it will help you recharge. You need some time for yourself even if you still do have Arwen.

    You can always message me if you want to talk. I did a brief internship with PAT during my undergrad and I have worked with a lot of toddlers.

  3. You know I understand! It's really tough with a baby and toddler. I think maybe you could take her on some 'outings' and teach her what is correct. Also, my double stroller used to save my life when I would venture out alone. It'll get easier and don't give up! It takes time. You know how I feel about spankings and even though they hardly received a swat they both turned out ok. Margaret is right, some kind of day out program might be great for her. And remember, I used to take mine to places that Clara could not escape like Paradise park :) Darcy

  4. @Margaret - The girls and I never go anywhere anymore by ourselves (we haven't in a long time since Arwen was born - simply because I was afraid of what would happen). Until Destin learns to stay with me, we going anywhere anytime soon. Its really sad, but for now thats what we have to do.

    I am looking into a Mother's Day Out program here in town...I will find out more tomorrow. Its T/Th 9:30 - 2:30 at $150/month. I am not sure if that is a good deal or not - or if its something we can afford right now. But we will see.

    @Rachel - For the past month or so, we have been working on timeouts, and most of the time they do the job of calming Destin down when she has a tantrum at home or in a store. But shortly after she still wants to do what she was doing, either running away or misbehaving. It just doesn't seem like she is learning from her bad behavior. I have plenty of background information in early childhood education (which is what my Bachelors is in)...I just need to put it to good use!

    @Darcy - I am thinking more 'outings' is what we need, but not by myself. I want daddy to be with us, so that I do have backup if she does want to run away or misbehave. Our double stroller does not keep Destin confined - she is a Houdini baby and can get out of every stroller, cart, carseat, baby gate, name it, she knows how to get out of it. Spankings - we have done, and they don't seem to work. Personally I feel she is learning, that its okay to hit me or daddy when she is upset, or doesn't want us to do something. I am hoping that learns hitting is NOT okay - and I don't want to spank her if that means she will learn. Anytime we have ever spanked her, it doesn't make a difference - she is very stubborn and does what she wants to.