Autonomy

Little Calvin has been asserting his independence recently by resisting bedtime and nap time. On the worst night this past week, he threw a great fit and tantrum when I turned off the lights after he had his ‘three more minutes’ (He seems to think that three minutes lasts indefinitely. Or more like that’s the magic phrase for not doing things he doesn’t want done like going home after a walk.) He thrashed and cried and said all the things he could think of to get his daddy to rescue him. Since I couldn’t give in to his tantrum demands, I had no choice but to hold him tight, hoping to wear him out. After maybe an hour, we were both pretty worn out but the little guy is still persistently in a rage. Finally his dad came and the tension released in that exhausted little body. Within minutes, he was fast asleep. Later that night, after we both went to bed, he woke up from night terror and was totally inconsolable. (we thought it was a continuation of his earlier tantrum and I got rather mad. It didn’t help that he was saying the same things like ‘turn on the lights’ ‘go downstairs and play’) Apparently, kids are more likely to have such irrational nameless fears at night if they are over exhausted.

So we needed a new strategy. First we thought that maybe we’ve been neglecting him a bit because we were busy with D3. So no more playing when we are with him. Next plan was to tire him out with walks so he sleeps easier at night. And lastly, I’m letting him make more decisions so the little boss stuff knows he is in charge (sometimes) – things like do you want a big bottle of milk or small one, or do you want xx or yy for a snack, or do you want to change diaper now? There are non negotiables of course but I guess most things are rather inconsequential. It must be frustrating for him to have most aspects of his life controlled by parents. So far, something seems to be working though i can’t say what exactly but at least bedtime is more like a little struggle than a war now.

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