Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, March 31, 2006

The youth of today

Darwin and I are feeling rather worn out lately with the girls. They're both going through a stage of disobedience (why doesn't VeggieTales have an obedience-themed episode?) that involves tantrums. not listening, playing cute, and my favorite: dissolving into giggle fits as the parent becomes sterner (and more frustrated). Plus we've had a rash of "incidents" caused by forbidden behaviors, such as getting in the fridge, climbing up the shelves in the closet, jumping on a bed on which Baby is sleeping, playing in the sink, pulling down clothes that have been hung up, etc.

Every now and then we wonder, "Are we doing something wrong? Are everyone else's kids behaved like this?" So, here's your chance to let the world know about your children. If you have a story of misbehavior, disaster, testing -- anything that makes you want to tear out your hair -- feel free to share it here. If you have a good strategy for coping with the young miscreant, post that too. If your child has learned how to unlatch your fridge, I really want to hear from you. And if you can't leave your children alone to go to the bathroom without some sort of massive destruction taking place, let's just forget the blog and go to lunch together.

Help me out, parents! Let us know that we're not the only ones!


Anonymous said...

Having 4 kids, I have many stories of disobediance and bad behavior, but I will relate one to you because this behavior is typical when there is a new addition to the family. When my oldest was 3 and we were getting ready to have our 2nd, my daughter was telling lots of white lies. Example: I would ask, "Did you brush your teeth?" She would reply "yes" when she hadn't. So I told her that if she lies to me or her daddy that a blue dot would appear on her forehead that only mommies and daddies could see. She didn't buy it, so I let it go.

Several months later, when our second was born, I was changing the baby with the oldest glued to my side. I was cooing to the baby, "Sweetie, you are so cute and I love you sooo much!" My oldest chimed in, "Baby sister, You are sooo cute and I love you sooo much!" Then she stopped, lifted up her bangs and proceeded to ask, "Mommy, do I have a blue dot on my forehead?"

Julie D. said...

I always think of being worn out with Hannah's more than two tantrums every day when she was two or three. At a checkup I worriedly asked my pediatrician, saying that I had read in a book if she acted up once a day then something was really wrong.

He looked at me, then at her, then said, "Has the author of that book ever had any children?"

Oh. Gotcha.

Sorry, I guess that's a great story about our doctor! :-D

Pro Ecclesia said...

Sounds like my almost-4-year-old son. He is absolutely awful about listening and minding, and he is becoming more and more willfully disobedient. Until the leather starts popping.

And yes, he loves to open the fridge and leave it hanging open. And the 2 boys will play nicely together, but the moment you walk out of the room they're at each other's throats or breaking something.

You're not alone.

mrsdarwin said...

Whoa, things down the toilets -- we haven't had that one yet, but I bet you it's coming soon. I remember once at my dad's house the toilet was stopped up and a plumber had to be called in. He ran his snake down, and when he brought it back up it had cleared the blockage: a toothbrush, bent in half. But why? WHY?

Babs is my little diva and throws kicky tantrums. Of course, I just discovered that she's cutting some molars, so that explains a lot of recent behavior.

Pro Ecclesia said...

My oldest has clogged up the toilet on several occasions.

Anonymous said...

I always remembered the advice of my mother when one of my kids threw a tantrum....I would calmly say "Could you move out of the way and do that over there please?" and promptly ignore would usually end quickly because after a while they felt really silly doing it with no one paying attention.
Mark's youngest brother used to hold his breath. My MIL at first would panic...she asked the doctor about it and he told her "don't worry, if he holds it long enough, he'll pass out and start breathing again" she ignored it and he stopped doing it when he figured out that it didn't cause a reaction from her. (he never got to the point of passing out either!)
We've had a few incidents with matchbox cars down the toilet...why, oh, why? I would ask..don't you like your car?
When my kids were being disobedient, I would make them sit for a while and I would stick to getting up before I said they could..mean ole mother...hehe
Have you ever read any of Dr. Ray Guarendi's books or listened to him on Catholic radio? He has alot of good practical advice that has worked for me.

Anonymous said...

You're not the only ones. My three-year-old went through a tough transition time when her younger brother was born. Disobedience, fibs, crying fits ... all started within 3-4 weeks of the birth. Interestingly, she never once seems to have connected it to the baby. She entertains him, loves him, sings to him, helps with him, holds him, thinks he's the best thing in the world ... but it was definitely his arrival that caused the regression. (She also started waking up at night ... every night.) I am happy to report that the baby is six months old now, and all that seems to have stopped. (Well, all except the waking up ... we brought her back into our room, and it's not an issue anymore.)

My first son was almost five when my daughter was born, and he had none of these issues. So I was taken aback when they started happening. I think it's just that she was younger and felt the shift in attention and disruption of rhythm more.

Fidei Defensor said...

Two words, Millitary School.

Think you can handle this on your own (good luck)?

The ever reliable switch.

Just kidding.

nutmeg said...

We have 5 kids, ages 8 and under...

Oh, where to start?

My almost 4 year old (#4 in the family) is our biggest cross right now. If she doesn't get her quota of Mama time everyday, she is real bear at night....ok, even if she does, she can be a bear. :)

She has pretty much done everything, from climbing up an exhibit at the zoo, to taking off down our street unbeknownst to us, but, luckily, nothing down toilets....yet. She routinely chops her own hair, calls everyone in the family "poo poo stinky" when she's mad, and crosses her eyes at me when I am trying to discipline her.

But, she gives the best hugs and has the most infectious laugh.....

mrsdarwin said...

The girls took off down the street one morning and got around the corner before I realized it and ran to look for them. Fortunately a kindly fellow driving by had stopped and caught Noogs while his daughter ran after Babs. That evening we put a chain on the front door. Of course eventually they learned how to pull a table up and unchain it, but by then they knew better than to run off down the street -- now they go out and play on the water meter on the side of the house.

Sir Galen of Bristol said...

My four-year-old, when he was two, ducked out the door once or twice and took off down the street. This quickly became a spanking offense, and we don't have that anymore.

Recently Nana bought him a Buzz Lightyear, and after using the toilet at bedtime he brought Buzz in to go potty, too. I had to let him know that toys don't need to go potty, and if he wanted to pretend, he needed to find something else to pretend was a potty.

Just tonight at dinner, I mentioned that I wanted to go work out at the gym tomorrow and he said he wanted to come with to work out as well. And with his mother sitting right there, he told me that she lets him work out on the machines with her. I think it was his first conscious lie; I explained to him what a very bad thing that was, and made him apologize.

The latest behavior from my two-year-old daughter is that whenever she's frustrated, she proclaims "I want my mommy!" Even if Mommy is sitting right across the table from her. I'll usually say something like, "Where's mommy?" Daughter will point, and I'll suggest she blow Mommy a kiss.

Then of course was the time when the 4-year-old was about 18 months old, not yet using words. While the Extraordinary Wife and I were sitting in the living room watching TV, he walked in with a coloring book and a tupperware box of crayons, sat down on the floor, opened the coloring book on his lap, neatly set the box of crayons on the floor beside himself, and, because he couldn't open the box himself, looked up at his mother and shouted, "AAAAAHHHHHH!"
She was startled, and I fell off couch laughing.

CMinor said...

Hopefully this will help--
Velcro fasteners for the refrigerator door that can be attached above the reach of your average child and toilet latches are available at most stores that carry child security products. The big home store chains seem to have large selections. I successfully used the 'frig fasteners (too bad they don't work on teenagers.) Didn't have any major toilet issues, thank goodness, so I don't have any personal experience with those.

Bernard Brandt said...

I recall in the comic strip, "Baby Blues", one entry showed several panels of a mother duck with ducklets obediently following after, a polar bear with cubs obediently following after, a wolf with cubs also obediently following after, and then the parents of the strips running after their two disobedient children who were running for the hills.

And the caption on the last panel? Top of the food chain. Bottom of the obedience chain

Get used to it. Or better yet, get used to the familial war of attrition. One of you will win. I'm rooting for youze guyz. More power to you.

mrsdarwin said...

Thanks, Bernard. That last panel of the comic strip sounds like our family most days. Still, us parents better win -- the girls don't pay the bills yet.

Cminor -- I actually do have a latch on the fridge, but the problem is that the older one can open it, and the younger one is watching and learning. I think they're in training to become cat burglers. Oh well, at least that'll give their old parents something to retire on.

Maureen said...

I have 7 children, from 4 to 16. Trust me, they're all bad when they're little. But your hard work and discipline will pay off soon. It's a wonderful thing to look at your teen child and see a beautiful being rather than a rebel filled with angst. Hang in there and keep up the good work!!!

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Offspring #1, now ten, had a knack for religious misbehavior. Once at a homeschool craft day, she had put together one of those St. Therese sacrifice bead thingies, and had been told how you make a little sacrifice for Jesus and pull a bead over, trying to get ten each day. At the end of the workshop, I paused to chat with a friend on the way out. Offspring #1 seemed to be waiting with unwonted patience (not her strong point), when I glanced down and realized that she was holding up her sacrifice beads and ostentatiously pulling the beads over one by one.

Earlier, when she was three, we were at the standing-room-only back of the church for mass. At the Eucharist prayer, those of us in the back went forward to the back of the last pew to kneel (leaving young children in the chairs at the back). At the moment of the elevation, right after "This is my body," when the church was silent with kneeling adoration, a little voice suddenly shrieked with awful clarity, "I won't kneel! I won't! YOU CAN'T MAKE ME KNEEL!!!" Heads swiveled, while I died with mortification. She was very pleased.

Even earlier than that, these things didn't happen because we couldn't take her into a church: try to take her over the threshold, and she would start screaming bloody murder. She had an uncanny ability to figure out that she was being taken into a church, even an unfamiliar one. We nicknamed her Damien (seriously).

And yet earlier, at her baptism, Father had to repeat the "And of the Son" part because, alerted by the first unwelcome pouring of water over forehead, she managed to duck out of the way the second time, and had to be held firmly in place for the completion of the sacrament. Hours later, at the reception, she somehow recognized Father (whom she'd never seen before) as the man who'd tried to drown her, and started screaming again. Wouldn't stop until he was in a different room.

This is the same child who now kneels for ages before the exposed Eucharist, and wants desperately to be a nun. Go figure. Maybe there's hope for us all!