Monday, May 01, 2006

The one where I whine about yelling, or is that yell about whining

I am hoping this is a wasted post, and someone can simply solve my issues and this whole post will be moot. (muted?)

What to do with a little boy, one month shy of being 4, who just does not listen. Wait, he can hear me, very very well (I've run successful tests which include words such as popsicle, cookie or Buzz Lightyear) but lately, there are more times than not, that it appears he just does not hear me. If and when he does, no matter what it is, to get in the bath, out of the bath, get shoes on, wash hands, even fun things....the Oscar winning dramatics accompanied by award winning whining is enough of enough. Just enough. Not only when tired, cranky, pissed off, but all. the. bloody. time.

We talk about using our various more attractive voices, such as 'big boy', 'happy', or just plain 'nice' voice. A lot. We have a problem here, not working.

How can I get through to this little brick wall, I mean tender little boy, without, (er, ahem, blushing a little) raising my voice a lot more than a little.

I know, I know, time to go back and refresh myself with Ann's marvelous book, which I fully intend to do, but this way gets me to actually post something so you don't think this blog has shriveled up and disappeared. (also knee deep in devouring and enjoying a real grown-up novel, the kind you can read for fun? you know the kind. Priorities you know, also good for sanity.)

It breaks my hear to rag about him, especially in public. He just does not want to cooperate. This is all fairly new. We have had it pretty damn good, may even take a chance at being yelled at by mentioning that we barely saw those 'Terrible Twos'. In fact, till the past month or so, the threes were almost dreamy. Now we approach the fours. To which I have often heard referred to by those more experienced parents, as the fucking fours. If the other guy tags on, then that's doubles. Actually, I'll square it, to exponentially increase my challenge/stress/frustration factor to 16 (on a scale of 1 to 4).

Today we had a few rough spots. I yelled. I actually raise my voice waaaaaay more than I am comfortable with, but there just doesn't seem to be any other way, except physical manipulation, which to me, sometimes seems almost worse.

The latest is always wanting what the other guy has. Not for any other reason than that. So, Twin A happily playing with toy A. Twin B who was previously most delightedly playing with toy B, takes notice of toy A, and on a completely unwarranted notion, ATTACKS. He grabs it and takes it. Twin A? Upset of course. The mother? Upset of course. Asking in a nice, reasonable voice for the return is done three times. It is reminded that three times have passed (so that counts for 4). Then twin A may now ATTACK simply to repossess toy A. We have a full blown tug-a-war.

My options?

(a) talk nicely in attempt to reach a resolution (BWAH-HA-HA as if that'll work)
(b) let them fight till they rip each other's ears off (nah, too messy with all that blood, plus I don't have enough ice in the house)
(c) grab it away from both of them (now THAT sets a good example!)
(d) pick one up and remove him kicking and screaming (also good example, plus risk of getting injured)
(e) yell "PLEASE STOP IT!" (always use please, or else they'll call you on that one too) but it works.

But regretfully I have yelled. Too much. It sucks.

I hate to end on a how about those Sens??


Anonymous valerie said...

no help here - same problem. Especially the lack of hearing and the whining - it drives me up a wall! I'll check that book out of the library, though, thanks. ;-)

9:32 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, both the not listening and the fighting over toys are common issues. With four year olds, and fives and sixes too, I can report from the field. Ugh!

Re: listening, we start counting to 5. We clearly state the consequence if they don't come for supper, or whatever, by the time we get to 5. Usually it's a time out in the "quiet room", or some logical consequence of not doing the requested thing. And then we start counting slowly up to five. Generally the kid starts to run when you get to three. And you don't have to yell. If I'm not sure they are listening I will say One, Maggie, Two, Maggie, Three, Maggie... to make sure they know who I'm talking to!

Re: fighting over toys, you can tell them if they can't play with the toy nicely you'll have to put the toy in time out. Then take it away for the rest of the day. After a couple of episodes a warning will probably work well. (It's interesting that we have one stuffed tiger cub that has a "naughty" personality, and "Kitty" gets a lot of time outs!)

By the way, do you read the blog "Ask Moxie?" She has a question today about sensitive two year olds, whining and attention-seeking twins, and I think she needs more moms of multiples to comment. It's not the same as attachment parenting with just one two year old...

Good luck!
mom to 6 year old triplets

3:06 AM EDT  
Blogger BeachMama said...

I am still in the two's myself,so I cannot compare, only offer words of encouragement.

I found myself getting louder recently, not sure if it was the drugs or what, but I didn't like it. So I took a step back and looked at what I could do differently.

I have been counting to 10. My Mother did that and I thought she was nutty way back when, but now I see that it works.

I have been taking the offending toy away (this happens when J2 comes for a visit and the boys act like twins) for time outs on the fridge. This too works.

Other than that, I have been going along hoping that my not-so-terrible two year old will continue on a good and gentle path and that when he turns four he will still be a good and gentle little boy.

6:47 AM EDT  
Anonymous andrea from the fishbowl said...

I like Sheila's advice re: time out for Tigger. I do the same, albeit in a not-so-sweet kind of way. Sadly, I'm usually rolling my eyes or breathing a big sigh of frustration as I do it.

But I think in this case, as with yours, the issue is more about sharing and not so much listening. Or a combo of the two? That sharing gene doesn't kick in until 6 or so.

Another point re: listening. Just this morning we had to remind the girls to eat their breakfast. Geez. I hate that. DH had to say it four times. The first time you're pretty happy-sounding as you singsong "eat yourrrr breakfaaaaast honey!" and then each subsequent time you're less and less cheery. The final time we raise our voices or ask them to stop look us straight in the eye while slowly annonciating (sp?) each word.

"Eat. Your. Breakfast. Now."

And it usually works.

8:08 AM EDT  
Anonymous brenda said...

Oh I hear you!!!!

With my little angel being 2 days younger than yours, I can relate! I was waiting for those terrible twos to show their nasty face...never happened, then the threes were somewhat challenging at times, but manageble. But now...oye! His listening has become so much of a problem that the dcp tells me that the other kids even get frustrated with him! It is something I want to bring up to the ped on our next visit! Is he dans la lune, ignoring, or having trouble processing, because I know for damn sure it is not his hearing!

I find myself yelling a bit too much too, so I try really hard to remember to squat down to his eye level and speak to him in close proximity to get him to focus and ask him to repeat back to make sure he understands. Doesn't always work, but I must try!

Good luck my friend, you are flying solo and have need the luck, if not a bottle of something at the end of the day!


2:00 PM EDT  
Blogger moe said...

When my first daughter was little and a babysat two other kids, if I heard them fight over a toy I would immediately take it away. After a while I could hear them whispering "sshhhh, she'll come and take it away. You take it now and after we'll trade" I was so pleased.

Also, with my first if I had enough of LOUD we would have "whisper time" We would whisper everything for a couple of hours. It was lovely.

Notice these two anecdotes are from when I had just one? Now with 5 I am sure when my neighbours hear "WOULD YOU GUYS KNOCK.IT.OFF!" They know where it's coming from.

My kids will be hard of hearing until they move out. By then I'll be deaf.

2:32 PM EDT  
Blogger Silver Creek Mom said...

OH Nancy. I'm soo sorry that Nathan has been emsiling the boys again! Yes the are the Fuckign Fours although I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. He is getting better at listening and he is getting better just generally. Although I thought I was going to loose my voice at times.

Gerenal day for me.

Nathan get dressed we have to leave for...
Nathan Please get dressed we have to go soon...
Nathan please get your Pants on we have to leave in 5 min

Nathan get in the van...
No not in 5 min...
Nathan no you can't take that big truck...
Nathan Please get in the van....

GOOD luck. I hope it lessens soon.

4:19 PM EDT  
Blogger twinmomplusone said...

same boat here :(

baby boy is the one that misbehaves, doesn't listen, contradicts and answers back the most. He was the gentler, quieter one for so long that his new personality is taking us aback. He's had more time-outs while he was 4 yrs old than the rest of his life. He actually had a temper tantrum in public last week, something so out of character for him that my friend and I where in shock. I send him to his room or have him sit on the stairs. When all else fails and I'm at my wits ends, only the screaming from my part will snap him out of it. This is so horrible to say, but after he's had a good cry whether I've sent him for a time-out or yelled at him, he's SO much better. We'll talk about what happened calmly afterwards. So that he can learn from his behavior and mostly because I feel so rotten for screaming :(

As for sharing, if its over a toy, I will take it away. I've used this kitchen timer and give the toy to one and when the timer rang, gave it to the other. They would pretty soon both loose interest in whatever it was that they so DESPERATELY needed before. If taht didn't work, I would take the toy and at times threaten to throw it out. Haven't used taht for a while.

as my motto staes, hang in there, it's just a phase...yuk...

10:01 PM EDT  
Blogger Marla said...

It's just to horrible for me to contemplate. It's like your child is my cat.

11:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Barbara said...

Thanks for playing in the Blog Olympics Training Camp, Congratulations on your silver medal! I've posted the overall standings.

11:15 PM EDT  
Blogger SRH said...

Oh, Sweet Mother of God, Tell me it is not so. I was hoping most of this stuff would be over by the time Little Man is 3.5. Now, I hear that there are the "fucking fours" to content with? My week has been ruined...

We state the consequences of his lack of action and count to 5 slowly. Usually around 4 he complies. I am not sure what will happen when he is 4 though...

10:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous peefer said...

All I can say is what we do at home:

"How would you feel if A took that from you," we'll ask him.

"Sad," he'll say. (Early on, we had to provide the answer for him.)

"How do you think A feels?"

"Sad?" he'll guess, half-asking, half-already-knowing.

It doesn't have immediate results (I'm talking months), be we're hoping he's learning good intent, and that good behaviour will follow naturally.

I hope you find what works for you.

10:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Northern Mom said...

I'm dealing with a strong willed child in the mornings here..I'll blog about it soon

12:31 PM EDT  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

(big sigh) Yeahhhhhhhhh....

You've gotten some good advice here. I've been working on a "you guys work it out yourself" plan lately, but I'm definitely going to add the "fight over a toy and you both lose it" idea to it.

I've gotten much better with my yelling, but Beloved is still a shouter. We've recently been working on all four of us making sure to use a respectful tone of voice when talking to each other, and I will say "I can't hear you until you use your nice/respectful voice" if they are whining, yelling or crying. So far, it works pretty well with the kids - but not Beloved.

Lots of sympathy, but a little short on solutions here, too...

2:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Marla said...

And by the way - when Josie is using a voice that I hate, I put my hands over my ears and look hurt and say in a sad voice "That voice really hurts my ears!" and then close my eyes and shrink a little act pained. It has been working. She even apologizes sometimes. I understand my Oscar is in the mail.

2:51 PM EDT  
Blogger FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

It's quite difficult really to handle kids when they get to be stubborn.
Hi! I'm here marching along with the FFMB with my organ.

6:37 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just 7 and 8 year old (girls) are always fighting...seriously, they would make footbal players look like wimps...I step back and watch, let them beat each other up!!!!!!!!! 5 minutes later they are playing together again!! Go figure!!!

9:19 PM EDT  

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