Tough days and lovely days

We had a couple of intense days with him this past 2 weeks. Some of the nights when he would wake up screaming about something totally random and unreasonable and then throwing a tantrum; he was getting difficult to put to sleep during nap times and bedtime. At first I wanted to try the trick I read about of ignoring him until he calms down maybe also because my conviction was reinforced by what his teacher had said to me as well. It worked ok on some occasions but in the middle of the night, it just didn’t work at all. J wasn’t very happy about just plainly ignoring him either. Initially I was stubborn about it and wanted to continue, after all, it takes time for disciplining to work.

Then I read a little more from an attachment parenting perspective and I relented. I think what we were doing just didn’t suit our nor little Calvin’s temperament. And it does feel rather cruel, that when he needs us the most, we turn our backs on him figuratively and literally. And it’s as if we are punishing him just for being sad or angry. What he needed to learn isn’t that it’s not ok to be sad, or angry or disappointed but to be able to express it in a way that is acceptable.

After reading a few more pages of advice from various parents, I decided to try the emphatic approach. Not so much in giving him what he wants but to acknowledge his feelings which is basically echoing him by rewording what he is saying. Actually I learnt this is one of those courses about how to be a good listener though it seemed kinda silly and impractical at that time.

So today he was breaking a plastic cup that we had lying around. The edges were rather sharp so I told him we’d have to throw it away. I tried the whole “I know you would really like to play with it” thing but that just made him cling on to it even more. So I told him he could either choose to throw it away himself or I would do it for him. When he didn’t respond, I took it away from him. And that’s when the stormy clouds gathered and a storm was imminent. Calvin started clawing at me and said “I’m going to take it back. Snatch it.” That’s when I tried the other tip I read about, which I thought sounded silly at that time too but figured I’d give it a try. I said “mama, please give it back.” and to my surprise, he really repeated what I said in the same calm tone. So I did return it to him and having won the battle, he promptly brought the broken plastic cup to the trash can and tossed it immediately. Well, let’s just say I was so glad it went well.

After the few grueling days, I was starting to feel like the world’s most terrible mom. Admittedly, I think I was getting too absorbed in myself to pay enough attention to him. So this was a wake up call for me to start on new projects again. We started a little sensory bin for him last week and I’m hoping to update it every week with different themes. I also finally got around to making cooked play dough in two new colors – green and yellow. The older ones were the no cooked versions and certainly didn’t keep very well. Hopefully these new ones will last a bit longer.

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