Monday, October 31, 2005

Full Speed Ahead

Man, I'm beat. "Uncle!" I give. I can't keep up. My daughter is running me ragged these days. Yes, I'm buckling under the ordeal of living with a very 2-year-old girl.

Lauren has 2 speeds: on and off. And when I say on, I mean full-tilt, 10 on the richter scale, bundle of never-ending energy on. She never quits. She's worse than the energizer bunny. She keeps going and going and going. And she's like that until the second she goes to sleep. No quiet winding down. No real signs of tiredness at all. Just when it's bedtime she runs into her room, climbs up onto the crib rails and starts shaking them, and then willingly flips her switch to off and she's out. O-U-T out. For about 10 hours and then we start up again at top speed.

She doesn't walk. Why walk when you can run?? Why sit when you can jump? Why stand when you can climb? And I thought Nicholas was busy. Ha! That was NOTHING compared to my spit-fire. The only thing Lauren sits still for is TV. Preferably Blue's Clue's. Otherwise it's go go go. Her newest thing? Using the back of the couch as her personal balance beam. My big picture window has lovely smudges and handprints on it about halfway up - just the right height from Miss Lauren steadying herself on the back of the couch. Climbing and jumping on the furniture is a big no-no in our house, so this is making me crazy. Also? She's figured out that she can reach all of our CD's and such by taking the stool out of the bathroom and using it in the living room. Or climbing up the stools we have at our eating bar and standing on them (!) to try to get into the upper cupboards. It never ends. And I'm having an increasingly difficult time trying to appropriately channel all of her energy. She's started hitting Nicholas. I tend to allow the kids to work things out on their own and not interfere too much, but when he's screaming bloody murder because she just cracked him on the head with something hard, I have to get involved.

Gentle soft touches? What are those?? She's not gentle with anything. We have a decent library of kids books and all of the "lift the flap" type of books are ruined. Ruined! She's ripped them to shreds. She pulls on a flap and just keeps going. Many of our CD cases and inserts are broken from her inquisitive forays into the CD shelf (see above). She seems pretty invincible and it's not unusual for her to take on her bigger brother with wrestling and take whatever he dishes out and come back for more. He dissolves into a puddle of tears before she does.

Like me, she's opinionated and expressive. And she's developing strong notions of the way things need to be. She recently started rejecting sitting in her booster seat at the table, insisting on sitting in a regular chair for meals. She'd sit anywhere BUT the booster and all hell would break loose if you tried to get her to sit in the booster. I had to get rid of the booster so we could all sit at the table together. My ass is too big to fit in it and that would be the last available seat come dinner time. Anything Nicholas has or does, she must have or do, too. She's pipe in "too! too!" to let us know she would like to be included. If Nicholas gets to do something or go somewhere she doesn't, it's a full-on, lay on the floor fit. Major upset. Actually, I find it pretty funny to watch. Fits and tantrums have never bothered me. When Lauren gets in trouble for something she has to do 2 minutes in the naughty corner (thank you, SuperNanny!). She will sit down and stay in the naughty corner for the full 2 minutes, but in no way does it have lasting effects in deterring her behavior. Thankfully the threat of the naughty corner works most of the time. The kids know that I follow through on my threats, so they hop-to if I ask them if they want to go sit in the naughty corner. I don't know what else to try disclipline-wise with Lauren. I'm against spanking, so please don't suggest it. I do slap hands if they're touching something they're not supposed to, but Lauren seems to just laugh at the concept of pain. I'll slap her hand, like today, for example, when she wouldn't stop messing with the birdbath after I asked her to repeatedly, and she just sort of looked at her hand where I'd slapped it, looked at me, and sort of shrugged her shoulders and moved on to something else. Nicholas would have been horrified that he'd gotten his hand slapped, but not Lauren. They are such different kids! She's going to be my bigger challenge by far.

If Lauren doesn't like the food that is served for a meal she'll simply not eat. I don't offer her something else - it's what I serve or nothing. And she has no problem choosing nothing. If you don't eat your dinner at our house you don't get any dessert. Food is a big motivator for Nicholas, so he'll eat razor blades if it means getting desssert. But not Lauren. So when it comes time for dessert, we give Nicholas a scoop of ice cream and nothing for Lauren. She'll get upset, but then she gets over it. But she WILL NOT, not for anything, eat that meal. Unlike Nicholas, who would eat nasty curdled milk if he had to watch someone eat ice cream and he wasn't getting any. Instead she'll go to bed without eating anything in the evening other than drink a cup of milk and wake up saying "food! food!" and making the sign for milk. I've gotten over my mother's instinct to not let my child go hungry. She broke me.

Am I the only one who is dealing with such a child? The terrible two's are very much living in my house, but she won't be two for another week!! I suspect it's going to be a very long year...

If you find something that works, let me know. My Little A is the same way, has been since she was 12 months old (though she doesn't climb the furniture) and at 3 years and 7 months, I'm beginning to think this isn't just a phase.

I'll give you another bit of info: even if you were the type to consider spanking, it probably wouldn't work. My challenging child does cry if spanked, but it does NOT change her behavior. Nor does time-out. Nor taking away priveleges. The thing to do, I guess is figure out a constructive way to channel the energy, but I haven't yet found that either. ;p
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