Thanks for all your great parenting advice and encouragement on my “Bumps” post.
Since typing that, we’ve made a few changes, including adding small morning chores, keeping our parental cools a bit cooler and letting her make “becisions” more frequently when the outcome doesn’t really matter in the long run.
Example: Yesterday she started to throw a complete cow when she noticed I had put a “princess panty” (pull-up) in her “underwear door.”
Laylee: Ahh. PRINCESS PANTIES DO NOT GO IN THE PANTY UNDERWEAR DOOR!
Me (feeling defensive, like I needed to show her who was boss): That’s where they go because I put them there.
Laylee: AHHHH!!! WAHHH!!! (real tears emerge) BUT PRINCESS PANTIES CAN’T TOUCH REAL PANTIES!!
Me (realizing that this is a stupid argument, it appears to be a core value issue to my child, and there is no need to get all all “Brown vs. the Board of Education” about segregation in the “panty door”): Okay. Let’s talk about this. What things do you think should go in the panty drawer?
Laylee (sniffing): Only REAL panties can go in the panty door. They can’t touch the princess panties!
Me: Okay, let’s find a place for the princess panties.
Laylee (smiling): O-KAY!
We are continuing to make it clear that it’s not okay to be disrespectful to your parents, including but not limited to dancing around naked with the lights on at 11:00pm and then making a big mess on the floor when you’ve removed your own pull-ups.
Example: The new rule is that if she removes her pull-ups in the night, she has to wear them all day the next day, even (gasp!) if she’s going over to a friend’s house. Pull-ups at a play date?! The horror! We’ve gone two nights accident-free.
We’re also “encouraging” her to take a more active role in things like getting herself dressed and using the potty so she can feel a sense of accomplishment. At this point she seems to feel more angry than accomplished some of the time but she’s totally capable of doing these things.
Example: I told Laylee to find some real panties when she woke up.
Laylee: No. I can’t FIND them!
Me: I think you can. They’re in your drawer.
Laylee (in a super-whiney voice): But I want the ones with the pointy pointy things on the top (This means lace. This is where the post title comes from. When I told Dan this story, he said, “There is nothing cuter than a three-year-old circumlocuting,” which I know is a lie. Me in giant fleece footy pajamas is at least that cute.)
Me: You can do it. I’m sure you can.
Laylee: No, I CAN’T!
After much whining and slamming of drawers, she emerged with the coveted underclothes. She was grinning from ear to ear.
Me: You found them yourself?! How does that make you feel?
As far as the food battles go, we did stop fighting them, according to Dr. Nelsen’s suggestions. For breakfast and lunch I give Laylee two choices and she picks once but if she “becides” she doesn’t like it half-way through, then she’s done.
For dinner, I decide what we’re having and then let her choose which food items she’ll eat. The first night she ate only bread and got hungry later. We said, “You should have eaten more dinner.” The second night, she ate TWO HELPINGS of the green (spinach) mashed potatoes on her own, and then she ate some chicken when I explained how cool it was to stick it on the end of your fork like a popsicle and bite chunks out of it.
Things like “advanced” table manners and forced vegetables (of the non-concealed variety) will come after she’s turned 5, I think…