Testing Limits

We started the day with an exceptionally hungry Calvinn clamoring for breakfast. One cup of oatmeal with applesauce, banana, blueberry and raisin plus one slice of homemade bread with peanut butter and jelly later, we set off for Riverview Park which has a nicely paved trail where we could bring Calvin’s tricycle. I wanted to give him good memories on the tricycle instead of the usual stressful ones where we bombard him with advice on how to pedal. I figured that when he’s ready, he will do it. What’s more important is for him to enjoy himself while increasing his exposure to a new activity.

It was a lovely cool walk around the park. We stopped for a snack where Calvin devoured copious amounts of grapes and cornflakes with raisins. By the time he was done, we had about five minutes at the playground before he declared that he needed to do some big business. I surveyed the surrounding. The only potty in sight was the porta-potty. We decided to brave it and went forth to open the door. I closed it just as quickly at the sight of the potty seat that had unidentified brown spots encrusted. We decided to make an unplanned stop at the library that was nearby so I could pick up some books and videos on hold. I urged little Calvin to hold it in and I was a little worried that if he would do it there and then in the car. Anti-climatically, by the time we got there, he probably lost his urge to do it and later completed his mission in the comforts of our home.

But while we are there, he couldn’t help but want to go to the children’s section. Having reached our book quota of 75 books, I was a little apprehensive. I knew that if he saw a book he liked, we wouldn’t be able to bring it home today. And sure enough, when it was time to go, he was upset that we couldn’t borrow the digger man book that he’s familiar with and has just read in the library. I practiced doing the whole affirming his feelings thingie and we managed to get it under control and our sad little bundle home for lunch.

The little tired willfulness resurfaced again when I told him it was lunchtime but he wanted us to read him a book. Again, we somehow quelled the defiance only to have it return with a vengeance at quiet time. We started telling him the three rules of bedtime a few days ago with decent success – rule 1: stay in bed; Rule 2: do not call or yell; Rule 3: We will check on him every 10 mins but not sooner. Today, he was in full blown limit testing mode. He sat at the edge of the bed, body dangling onto the floor. I went in, picked him up onto the bed and said “remember the rule, stay in bed”. That went on about 5 times and I decided to go downstairs so I won’t be tempted to keep hovering about trying to catch him. The he started getting out of the room and tried to go down the stair so I scooped him up once again. I was amazed that I actually didn’t get mad at him though at one point I had the flash of irritation but I managed to calm myself down and lovingly explained to him what happens if he and I do not get our quiet time.

It was a day fraught with frustrations for the little one but having weathered through it well, I felt a sense of accomplishment that I have grown as a parent and I am able to enforce limits for him in a loving way.

Edit: The trials continue at night too. From throwing toys around because I wouldn’t help him find one of his toys in the big mess that he made, to calling me after lights out because he wanted me to adjust his pants and turn off the monitor that had a blinking blue light. When he kept calling or me, I tried to remind him of the “no calling” rule. Wen that didn’t work and he sounded more and more upset, I decided to go downstairs and do a quick washup to while away the remaining 5 minutes before it’s time to check up on him. When I went in, he was still shouting “Mama, could you answer me when I am calling?!”. Sounds like it was a good thing I went away a little bit. Then when I went in, I told him I was the because it was time to check up on him and I asked if he knew why I didn’t come in when he called. He said “because you are upset?”. I explained to him the rules again. Before I left, I asked him if there is anything else he needs before I go. “Yes. I need something. I need a hug”. That is just so sweet…..awwww

shouting, “mama, could you answer when I’m calling!”


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