Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Again With the Crazy

My mom and Michael had a very nice day yesterday. They played, they watered the plants, they went swimming. It was all good. It all went wrong the moment I showed up to pick him up. He wouldn't get his shoes on. Once his shoes were on, he wouldn't get into his car seat. Once we got home he freaked out because I was standing on the sidewalk.

Yes, I just said he was angry because I was standing on the sidewalk. I don't have a rational way to handle that one so I was lucky the "Let's race" approach worked.

There were a number of other bizarre, irrational reactions throughout the evening which eventually resulted in a time out held in Andy's office. Things settled down after that, but I wouldn't call it the perfect evening.

As frustrating as Michael can be when he gets like this, I typically find myself confused and a little sad about what's going on. As I was putting Michael to bed last night, while he was falling asleep on my shoulder, he whispered, "I need to go downstairs to poopy." We both know that when he says that, what he really means is that he wants to stay with me. He wants it so badly that even as he's drifting off to sleep, it's still the primary thought in his head.

I see this battle between independence and attachment and I know it must be hard on him. I also know that he just has to go through it. It's part of growing up. I just wish I could find a good balance between being supportive without being too permissive. It's easy to think about, but putting it into practice is a lot harder.

I finally broke down today and ordered Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy. I'm not really expecting it to help me manage Michael's moods, but I am hoping it will help me come to terms with the fact that three-year-olds are crazy, that they all go through it, and that they eventually grow out of it. If you have read the book, and it didn't help, don't tell me. I need what little hope I have at the moment.


Mel said...

Please review the book on here after you read it. Sounds compelling! Seems like 3 year olds are little Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hydes. One moment she just EXUDES sweetness and the next moment she is a monstrocity! It is comforting for me to read that other 3 year olds are acting the same way! And I do hear rumors that they outgrow the behaviors (fingers tightly crossed).

Mama Mia said...

I will have to check that book out! Sounds good! We had a similar battle over shoes at B's school last week which ended in me wrestling w/ him on the floor to put them on. The teachers were all impressed w/ my moves!

Maria said...

Three year olds ARE crazy! They are frustrating and sweet and crazy and trying and captivating, sometimes all within 5 minutes! Hang in there, and keep doing what you are doing. Michael is lucky to have you.

DesiDVM said...

Oh God they can be insane at this age LOL. Last night Mr. Overtired started screaming at me when I came into his room to kiss him goodnight to go back into my room, so I left his room and then he started yelling for me to come back. Finally I got him to tell me that he wanted me to go in my room so he could come get me to put him in bed in his room(?). Weird. He was really screaming hard. Then he was hugging me and said "I love you so much, Mommy." I can't tell if it's his age, subconscious issues about the baby coming, me being too permissive because I'm tired all the time, all of the above, or what.

Steph said...

Cooper has had a lot of those similar irrational freak outs too. I'm glad to know (although sorry you're going through it to) that I'm not alone! You brought up a really great point on how to draw the line on being too permissive vs. being too strict... wish I had the answers to that one too.

Julie said...

Oh Joanna--there must be something going around! We are right there with you. After so many weeks of sweet Lana, she has turned into a crazy person, seemingly overnight. This is her pattern and it happens every 3 months, give or take. It is SO frustrating and I too find it kind of sad. Sad b/c I know she knows how to behave and sad b/c I know there is something going on inside her brain that is not allowing her to cope with the teeniest of disappointments.

Today she bit me and I told her she would be losing her book privileges at naptime. 20 minutes of screaming like she was possessed--the kind where she can't catch her breath or speak. I left the room and a few minutes later, she stopped crying, told me she was done and said she was really sorry for biting me. Sincerely too, not with sass. She was fast asleep in 5 seconds.

I have heard about that book so many times its not funny. You are not alone and Michael is a typical 3 year old with a personality! Hang in there!

Stacey said...

The book made me feel a lot better, I hope it does the same for you.

Almost every minute of every day is an irrational battle with Cole and it still makes me sad a lot of the time.

I hope it gets better soon.

Karen said...

I may have to check that book out. Definitely another Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde here as well!

JenFen said...

I am so glad I am not alone and it is not just Jadyn. You so eloquently describe the push and pull between attachment and independence and I just so wish I had an infinite amount of patience for it because I know is developmental but honestly, some days its all I can do to just hang on for the ride that is the THREES.

LauraC said...

Hey it could be worse. You could be a first time mom with two three year olds. HA HA HA!

Seriously this age is tough and there's a reason they call it the trying 3s. You know I loved the book and really YOU CAN NOT take any of this personally. Kids have bad days just like adults do but imagine what they are going through to grow from 3 to 4!

The thing I always tell myself is: if my kids are bad (or crazy) it does not mean I am a bad mother. I do not want to create automotons who do everything perfectly. I am crafting human beings, and they need to learn by making mistakes and breaking rules and acting insane. By being there to help guide them, I am being a great mom. You too, or you wouldn't be writing this blog or worrying so much.