petite anglaise

January 16, 2006

shellshock

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — bipolarinparis @ 3:25 pm

As I sat in the metro this morning, furtively prying strips of royal blue Play-Doh from under my fingernails to a soundtrack of LCD Soundsystem (“Tribulations” seemed apt), I felt an overwhelming wave of relief wash over me: the weekend was finally over.

Who would have thought that a couple of days of quality time with a two and a half year old could be so soul-destroying? But by five o’clock on Sunday afternoon, nerves pulled taut, head pounding, I found myself wondering whether I could use the excuse that it was already dark outside, in tandem with the fact that Tadpole has no grasp of the passage of time and cannot yet read a clock, to pretend it was bedtime and put us both out of our misery.

If I were to read one of the well-known books on the market about toddler taming, I imagine I would be told that this is a normal phase in the development of any child, one in which the toddler has become aware that she is a individual, and is experimenting with the level of control she can exert on her environment. Or in this case, over me. It is a battle that I have to win, if I am not to become one of those parents who is a slave to their own child, tyrannised in their own home. In short, prime Supernanny material.

The pattern of behaviour that Tadpole and I found ourselves locked into this weekend went something like this:

“Right, let’s get your shoes on, we are going for a walk,” I said brightly, looking forward to escaping out into the fresh air, as the white walls of my apartment were starting to close in on me.

“No!” whined Tadpole, stubbornly, her voice at that particular pitch which causes me to bristle, instantly.

“Okay then”, I forced myself to say in a soft, level voice, let’s stay in. “Never mind, I’m sure I’ve got something better to do than take you to play on the slide…”

I turn, start walking away.

“Noooo! I want to go!” she screams, at full volume, clawing at my legs. (Note to self: must cut her fingernails.)

“Well, let me put your shoes on then!” I say, slightly less calmly.

“Nooo!!!! Don’t want to put my shoes on!”

We had about twenty such futile “discussions” in the space of one weekend. Some ended in tears (hers, and mine). One with a smacked bottom (which I then spent the rest of the weekend beating myself up about). The same argument played out, over and over; ever decreasing circles of pointless conflict.

The lowest point of the weekend was Tadpole’s Sunday afternoon nap. We had just returned from a walk in the park and she was visibly tired when I zipped her into her sleeping bag and kissed her protesting cheek. I retreated to my room, pulling the door to, so as not to hear her inevitable whining, and watched a couple of episodes of The OC (current painkiller of choice) on my computer.

An hour and a half later, I heard the familiar woke-up call from Tadpole’s bedroom: “MummyMummyMummy! Mum-MY! MUMMY! I awake now!” I sighed, and pushed her door open. It seemed strangely heavy to my reluctant arms.

Once I had taken in the sorry sight before my eyes, I inadvertently whimpered.

In the dim light of the shuttered bedroom, I could make out Tadpole, cheeks flushed, eyes wild with self-induced sleep deprivation, kneeling on her bed, surrounded by the entire contents of her Mr Men boxed set. She must have pulled this down from its habitual home atop the fireplace by balancing precariously on the edge of her bed, swaying unsteadily in the confines of her sleeping bag, as I have repeatedly asked her not to do, for fear of injury. The books were strewn all around her on the bed, and spilled onto the floor in all directions.

But there was something else amiss here: a dusting of something white (snow? feathers?) covering Tadpole’s hair, clothes, bed and freshly hoovered rug, which I couldn’t, at first, identify. I took a couple of steps into the room, and saw exhibit A: one Miffy tissue box, discarded by the end of the bed. Empty.

So, instead of taking her nap, something had possessed my daughter to slowly, patiently, and very quietly shred an entire box of patterned tissues (a present from grandma) into a thousand tiny pink and white flakes. To sprinkle the resulting confetti all around her.

My shoulders slumped in defeat. I had no rage left in me, only despair. I fetched the waste paper basket from my bedroom, placed it quietly by her bed and staged a tactical withdrawal.

Some time later, I heard the pattering of little feet. Tadpole appeared, skinny legs protruding endearingly from her pull-up nappy. She was brandishing a favourite teddy.

“It’s for you mummy. Be smile!” she said, cautiously.

I managed a weak approximation of a smile, which doubtless looked more like a grimace, and went to fetch the hoover. Outmanoeuvred, once again.

56 Comments

  1. strip the room of shreddable stuff until she learns not to do that again. Of course she might have forgotten now.

    Comment by Aeogae — January 16, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

  2. Oh my god, is it really like that to have a child ?

    Comment by Miss Pink — January 16, 2006 @ 3:58 pm

  3. Thanks for preparing us. Be smile.

    Comment by joeinvegas — January 16, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

  4. Do you think it was the full moon? I just spent a weekend horribly similar to yours…

    Comment by croque madame — January 16, 2006 @ 4:02 pm

  5. Wow, the sense of utter desperation and bewilderment came across so well in that post, I was almost exhausted myself. If nothing else, you can take comfort in the fact that however wound up you are at the time by her behaviour, Tadpole shows signs of enormous character! 5and such a very good singer…)

    Comment by redlady — January 16, 2006 @ 4:03 pm

  6. Poor you! I’m sure toddlers of today have many more weapons up their sleeves than they used to have, say 30, years ago. Looking back to my children’s early years, they tried it on but not to that extent and the threat of a smack usually worked.
    However, when I look at my husband’s grandaughter, (now aged 7) who ruled her mother with a rod of iron before she could even talk, I am aghast at her rudeness and can only describe her as a little monster – a very pretty and intelligent little girl – but a spoilt brat!
    So, even when Tadpole wears you out, don’t let her wear you down – for her sake as much as for your own future peace of mind. Bon courage!

    Comment by Sandy — January 16, 2006 @ 4:05 pm

  7. Miss Pink – only sometimes.

    Then there are the moments where you snuggle up for a cuddle, and she says “I love you so much mummy!”

    Or the times when she makes me giggle. Llike yesterday, when I showed her my camera wasn’t working, and she said “don’t worry mummy, we’ll fix it with some ‘ticky tape”…

    Comment by petite — January 16, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

  8. It DOES get easier… honest it does!
    Once they get to around 11 years of age they become co-operative, reasonable, nice-to-know human beings

    and then their hormones kick in and it’s a million times worse!

    Be smile! You can leave home when they’re 17!

    Comment by Julia — January 16, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

  9. My daughter will be eleven this month, and you just shocked me back into “the terrible two year old” nightmares. This too shall pass.

    Comment by buzzgirl — January 16, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

  10. Oh Jeez, I don’t miss that period at ALL! Even a cross teenager is easier. You sounded so tired, it made me want a nap. Bon courage!

    Two pieces of well-tried advice for future episodes, including some problems you may not have had yet!

    –Don’t ask your child’s opinion if something is not really optional. “Shall we go out?” “Do you want to go to that cafe?” YOU’re the boss; she doesn’t really want to be the boss, that would scare her.

    –(for later) Don’t ever ask your child questions that lead her into a lie: “Did you break that window?” “Where are the cookies?”

    Comment by Sedulia — January 16, 2006 @ 6:18 pm

  11. I used to think that the baby/toddler/preschool years were the most difficult, and looked forward to the children getting older. Well, they did become fairly self-sufficient, so I have plenty of time for myself.

    It is more difficult to deal with the mood swings of hormones, and you can’t really “make” them do anything. Especially since my son and daughter both turned out tall like their father. I make them sit down when I want to shake my finger in their faces. : )

    Comment by Elle — January 16, 2006 @ 6:34 pm

  12. I see other people’s little children on the Eurostar sometimes with a colouring book, concentrating intently on keeping within the lines, and I think, “How cute, I’d like a kid of my own.”

    Then they get bored and decide to run up and down the aisle and climb on the seats and scream, and I think, “Do they come with a 2 year money-back-if-you’re-not-completely-satisfied guarentee?”

    What about an owner’s manual that tells you where the on/off/mute switch is?

    On further reflection, maybe we should start off by just getting a puppy. Kind of like a trial run – something to practise on.

    Comment by Liam in Lille/Bath/Toulouse — January 16, 2006 @ 7:12 pm

  13. Perhaps there’s a reason why most of our memories only start around age 5 or 6. If we could remember how terrible we were at age 2 or 3, we might never forgive ourselves.

    Comment by Lauren — January 16, 2006 @ 7:35 pm

  14. Agree wholeheartedly with Sedulia (don’t offer choices when there isn’t really a “no” option). My husband and MIL are particularly obtuse about that; they ask a lot of pointless questions like, “Do you want to go to the car now?” I find that it’s effective to say, “I’m sorry, but this isn’t something you get to say no to,” about nonnegotiables (which YOU decide on).

    You’re not alone (my twins are two and three-quarters), and you’re doing fine. I think we ALL had that weekend.

    Comment by christie — January 16, 2006 @ 7:50 pm

  15. Ooh I remember those days. One weekend I was trying to study and my two daughters, aged 3 and 4 (who seemed to be playing quietly), dumped an entire litre of juice on the floor, ‘trying to get a drink’. After I cleaned that up, I foolishly went back to studying; they emptied TWO CARTONS of eggs on the kitchen floor. Have you any idea how sticky and difficult this is to clean? After this was eventually cleaned up, I insanely left the room to use the washroom, and they dumped the better part of a litre of milk out. I just sat down and cried.

    The perfect age is ten. They can be reasoned with, are still happy to see/be seen with their mother, and love to help out.

    They hit twelve, the hormones kick in, and you’re wishing you could pick them up and cart them off to their rooms for a time-out, but they’re only two inches shorter than you are, and this is just not feasible!

    Comment by Sonya — January 16, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

  16. Tadpole and the Terrible Two’s…she’s spot on schedule. A normal little girl, in other words.

    I fully agree with Christie and Sedulia…don’t give her ‘open’ options unless it suits you. YOU are the adult and she’s just testing your limits. Better to give her ‘closed’ options (well she is a person and we all like to have some choice)..like “Would you like to go and swing or go for a walk”…that way you get out and she gets to choose the activity…you both win. It usually works.

    Comment by Wendy — January 16, 2006 @ 9:22 pm

  17. Sorry but it made me grin.

    And be glad it was only tissues. My twins, also 2 at the time, thought it was funny to empty their poo-filled nappies EVERYWHERE.

    This too will pass..

    Comment by Laura — January 16, 2006 @ 10:26 pm

  18. Hello,
    I am about (in a few months) to move back from the USA to Paris and I am interested in meeting expats in Paris. That’s how I found your blog and could nott help but smile when I read your last posting. As the mother of a soon-to-be 4 year old, I can relate to your story so well! For nearly 9 months, between 2 and 3 roughly my daughter drove me insane, causing fits of rage and door banging on my part, when it wasn’t bottom smacking, on a quasi-dily basis. For a while, when she woke up in the morning, she started the day by loudly whining “Ma…man, ma…man” so that I would go her bedroom to pick her up. She could get up all by herself but just would not and just started screaming in rage if her dad would get up instead of me. I would just try to drown the whining out but putting my fingers into my ears or putting a pillow on my head. AFter all, it was not even 7:00am sometimes and I was already depressed by the thought of having to deal with her thoughout the day. Then there were all the episodes where she would totally ignore me when I came to pick her up at school and I would have to drag a yelling toddler to the car…and on and on and on..I am soooo glad this period is over. So, courage, it will pass!!!
    CL

    Comment by Carla — January 16, 2006 @ 11:31 pm

  19. Glad to see some good advice from old hands, Petite.

    I have intense admiration for all single parents who cope with all the traumas of child-rearing single-handedly or, as in your case, with some occasional light relief from the ‘other half’. Child care can be pretty demanding and tiring even when you have a full-time partner to share the load! Maybe it would be a good idea for some female singletons out there to read you closely before embarking down the same path. You are coping very well with all this …. and all the demands of your professional life, the blog and goodness knows what else, while Tadpole, of course, is pure delight. But the strains and stresses can be enormous and for those without the stamina you have and perhaps enduring less than ideal living conditions…. is it any wonder they can crack-up?

    Comment by fella — January 16, 2006 @ 11:33 pm

  20. Hopefully this will make you feel better. I can’t even leave my little tot for five minutes– toilet break. He’ll scream the place down and he doesn’t stop. So, he accompanies me everywhere, into the toilet, into the kitchen when I’m cooking, everywhere, all the time. The only reprieve I get is when he takes his afternoon nap and this only lasts for an hour, sometimes. I too, hope fervently, that this terrible twos stage run its course as quickly as possible!

    Comment by Monreve — January 17, 2006 @ 2:04 am

  21. Hi Petite,
    Just a suggestion from my years as a nanny and now as a teacher for the shoe scenario. Give Tadpole the choice of two things that you want her to do. Say you want her to have a bath, but know she’ll huff and puff not wanting to. The method I use is: “Well, it’s time for a bath. Would you like to have a bath or a shower?” Either way gets them clean but they feel “grown up” like they have a choice. With the shoe situation maybe let her choose from two pairs of shoes?

    Hope it helps.

    Comment by Kasey — January 17, 2006 @ 2:42 am

  22. If it makes you feel any better, my friend’s little girl turned three two weeks ago, and she said that she turned from a terrible tantrum-prone toddler into an angel overnight…

    Comment by rachie — January 17, 2006 @ 8:00 am

  23. Ok, joking aside, here’s what worked for me:

    1. Always give two choices and make sure both options are what YOU want

    2. Work on their natural desire to please (doesn’t work if you’re raising the kid from The Omen)

    3. Tell them how great they are so they start off as
    natural winners (then when they’re rich and successful they can support you)

    4. Occasionally give in to them so they think life CAN be fair even if it isn’t

    5. Enjoy them

    Liam, I have a new puppy… it is 100 times harder than raising a toddler, my kids never bit my leg, ate my new boots or brought fleas into the home (strike that last one, I recall Nitty Nora and her family!)

    Comment by Julia — January 17, 2006 @ 8:10 am

  24. It’s a constant battle. I think especially with a girl and her mother. I don’t know why I think that, but my daughter and I are alternately at each other’s throats and giving cuddles and hugs. We rarely have an inbetween, unless she retreats to the Disney Channel while I escape to other less animated tasks…

    She is almost 6. Just 3 weeks to go. She will tell me that she doesn’t think she needs a Mom because I’m dumb and an hour later crawl up on my lap, hug me with all her considerable strength and announce, ” You are the best Mamma in the whole world and I love you more than the moon and ice cream.” I’ve experienced melting and wanting to sell her to passing gypsies all in a ten minute period of time.

    I just have to hope that the hugs, cuddles and melting outweigh the hair-ripping out frustration. The strength one gives allows us to tackle the other…

    Good luck petite!

    Comment by nrg — January 17, 2006 @ 9:53 am

  25. “On further reflection, maybe we should start off by just getting a puppy. Kind of like a trial run – something to practise on.”
    Well I wanted a child, but my husband got me a puppy first! They pee and poo on the floor (and there aren’t any nappies for them!), insted of crying they bark like mad for no particular reason, and when you try to explain something to them they look at you (that look) – I haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about. The neigbours hate you, and then everyone who comes round to your house, develops enormous fear for dogs!(The last one is just they can’t be bothered)
    And then they want to play, and that requires much more energy than a child. I know I shouldn’t compare children to puppies, but I am talking from my own experience as a nanny. I’d rather have a child, but my husband thought different.
    P.S. and never never get yourself a boxer those are the worst (they never ever grow up)!

    Comment by Carra — January 17, 2006 @ 10:25 am

  26. What in the world happened to Motherhood is the best experience ever? and children are the best gift one could ever wish for?
    And, were it that I had even MORE children to lavish my affections on?

    Mummy, I’m scared. I don’t think I want any, now. *whimper* :(

    Comment by babyteks — January 17, 2006 @ 10:30 am

  27. Hmmm … my son has just turned 2 and u guys r making me afraid … or may be a boy is easier to handle than a girl … let’s see …

    Comment by ParisGuy — January 17, 2006 @ 10:41 am

  28. Oh yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head, Julia. It is possible to melt one minute and then want an escape route the next. I reached for the phone to send out an SOS to Mr Frog several times (knowing he is only across the road makes it very tempting). But then I didn’t call, because I made this bed…

    Comment by petite — January 17, 2006 @ 10:43 am

  29. btw, since i have started to be worried about my son’s first school, and may be a lot of you have just started to send your cute littles to schools, wondering whether you guys have any suggestions for an english medium (or bilingual, whatever) in or around ‘mairie de clichy’, cost etc …

    Comment by ParisGuy — January 17, 2006 @ 10:49 am

  30. Petite, but Mr Frog is her father, and you have a right to ask for his help when you need it. He should be happy with every opportunity he gets to sepnd time with Tadpole. I don’t have kids, but that’s my personal opinion, as I was brought up by my mother and she was too “I can do this all by my own” to get any help from my father at all. So good luck Petite, be smile, she’ll grow out of it, probably into a nice sweet gentle little girl… One day.. (unfortunately i don’t know when :))

    Comment by Carra — January 17, 2006 @ 11:15 am

  31. I have the same problems with my daughter. When you ask her to do something she just says No. Put your coat on “No!”, let tidy up No. And if she gets upset she take it out on her brother. Sometimes i find the weeks can be hard because there is no break until she goes to bed. Soplease don’t think your the only one going through it.

    Comment by Growing Up — January 17, 2006 @ 11:25 am

  32. Ahhh that reminds me the time that I forced Leon to do a ‘dodo’ only it was the wallpaper that he’d been ripping to pieces not a tissue, I was such a happy Mummy that day !

    For me every age of has it’s problems, the terrible 2s being one of the worst as there seems no way to reason with a stoppy 2 year old.

    I do agree with all those who have said not to go down the “would you like to put your shoes on now” road, as this only gives them the chance to say no ! When your going to make them put the shoes on anyway…. There are times when you just have to get them to do things without asking, saves a lot of ( yours in particular) tension and pointless agruments.

    Don’t worry, only 30 years to go and then you can maybe hand over a well adjusted Tadpole to her husband :)

    Comment by P in France — January 17, 2006 @ 11:56 am

  33. The way tadpole makes you feel is how my ex-gf made me feel. Feminine wiles clearly starts young.
    I very much relate to the ‘outmanoeuvred’ feeling too. Great post.

    Comment by dan — January 17, 2006 @ 12:05 pm

  34. I might try the ripped up paper thing on the kids…..what works for them……

    Comment by greavsie — January 17, 2006 @ 1:27 pm

  35. No advice from this bachelor, just thanks for the well written post. That’s sometimes hard to find in the web forest.

    Comment by StirlinginAlaska — January 17, 2006 @ 4:48 pm

  36. I think all parents of toddlers have moments like this.
    It gets worse when they start refusing to have afternoon naps and you have to last out a whole day with no break in the middle.
    But at least paper tissues are fairly easy to clean up: did I ever tell you about my potty training nightmare involving a rocking horse, a carpet and lots of poo, with my then two year old uncertainly shouting “chocolat! chocolat!”!!!

    Comment by Mancunian lass — January 17, 2006 @ 5:02 pm

  37. The OC Rules! Are you in the current season or watching back episodes. If you like that, you have to see Laguna Beach… that show is just beyond outrageous (and messed up).

    Comment by nardac — January 17, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

  38. Julia has great advice. Sometimes – to avoid a super nanny future – you need to let both people win. Sometimes it is about choices and not about winning. And sometimes it is just about cleaning up the kleenexes and realizing that she has now learned a new skill: knowledge of what a bedroom coated in tissues looks like. Hang in there. I have three and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

    Comment by yvonne — January 17, 2006 @ 6:27 pm

  39. When my now 21-yr-old son was a toddler I’d ask him, say, if he wanted jelly on his peanut butter sandwich. He’d reply, “No,” but when I’d say, Okay,” he’d scream, “Yes!” When I went to put the jelly on, though, he’d cry, “No, I don’t want it!”

    What I finally did in those kinds of situations: I’d preface my questions with, “Now, think hard about your answer, because what you say first is what it will be.”

    It didn’t take long for him to catch on, and he started telling me what he really wanted. No more switching back and forth.

    You have a great blog, btw!

    Comment by jeannette — January 17, 2006 @ 6:44 pm

  40. Nardac – I’m just a beginner, I’m into Season 2, watching it just as fast as I can (ahem) download it. Love the dialogue. Completely addicted. 10 days ago I was an OC virgin, now I’ve seen 30 odd episodes. Scary.

    Comment by petite — January 17, 2006 @ 7:34 pm

  41. Welcome to the world of Orange County. I love the OC. Although the new season started off slow. I agree with Nardac, if you like the OC, you should watch Laguna Beach, you’ll be surprised at how spoiled teenagers can be. It claims to be “life unscripted”, but I’ve lived there before and it really is like the television show. Eerie!

    Good luck with the toddler taming :). I must admit, I am happily single and sans toddler, but I admire your strength under pressure.

    Comment by H. (aka NC_State_gal) — January 17, 2006 @ 9:23 pm

  42. A bit random, but Jeanette’s comment reminded me of a very bright, adorable, but rather difficult little boy I used to babysit here in France. Perfectly bilingual, very inquisitive and what he didn’t know about dinosaurs was not worth knowing. However, he was prone to fairly explosive tantrums, especially at meal times. He would only really eat ham and sometimes some bread or pasta, maybe fishfingers if you could convince him that dinosaurs used to eat those. There came a point one day though, when he decided that ham, too, was off limits. I had, by that point, reached the end of my tether. I asked him if there was anything he DID want. The answer was…’donkey zizi.’ (‘Donkey willy’ for those of you who don’t speak French.) Although slightly taken aback, I took the ham, turned away from him and cut it up. I brought it back, and presented him with his donkey zizi. Lo and behold, he ate it!

    Comment by redlady — January 18, 2006 @ 8:59 am

  43. Petite -you are doing splendidly. Half of toddlerhood is to let go a little on the household pride. It can sometimes work to your advantage – I make sure the kitchen/front room is clean and presentable…and any room that is tidied after that is a bonus!! Also I love the quote ‘Trying to tidy a house with children present is like trying to shovel snow when it is still snowing’!!
    Last saturday I finally saw the pattern of a long lost carpet,swept it clean and walked away – only to hear the crash of a lego box and the delighted chirp of ‘Merci maman! – now I have somewhere to spread the Lego’……

    Comment by Morbihan Princess — January 18, 2006 @ 9:55 am

  44. I can see all that! No really I can, I have a 2 year old that does the same, baby wipes are her favourite. It doesn’t get any better my 12 year old daughter uses my makeup and spoils it, my 6 year old uses my pens and leaves all the lids off and my 9 year old plays all my cds and scratches them, ho hum, kids!

    Comment by Tanya — January 18, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

  45. Aren’t children fantastic :) Our best friends have a little girl who plays up to men like you wouldn’t believe – the winning smile, the twinkly eyes… and she’s 4 years old.

    The scary thing is she probably knows exactly what she’s doing, but doesn’t consciously set out to do it.

    Comment by Jonathan Beckett — January 18, 2006 @ 11:57 pm

  46. Hiya petite

    i have a small child 1 year older than yours and my wife is from costa rica where they still belive and use the old fashioned method of child control, spanking is considered acceptable and quite normal. the willful child instead of being spanked with a hand, the method is usually a wooden spoon, so as not to hurt your hand and can be carried inside a purse when out shopping, out daughter soon learned that the word no was not acceptable and a short sharp stroke of the spoon always ended in tears but hers not ours or my wifes to be more accurate. she is now never dissobediant and never says no, we can ask her nicely to do things and she does it immediately without asking and she gets a hug and a kiss for doing it, it doesnt take long to get them into this routine and it isnt brutal abuse just normal teaching right from worng, something that life teaches them about respect and responsibilty at an eary age, keep spanking and get a spoon

    Dave in Costa Rica

    Comment by dave lowe — January 19, 2006 @ 1:20 am

  47. This is why “all of my friends have children” I suppose. But…I think I saw you on the metro picking blue play-doh out from under your nails. Could be my next photo (kidding). By the way, I feel the same way some mornings….don’t want to put my shoes on!

    Comment by Eric at Paris Daily Photo — January 19, 2006 @ 6:58 am

  48. It’s the first time I’m reading your journal. Really interesting and educative, too

    Comment by Mezzanotte — January 19, 2006 @ 11:29 am

  49. I completely disagree on the spanking with a spoon suggestion. I think it teaches that hitting is a logical and rational reaction to someone doing something that you don’t want them to. I also think that it is a frightening thing for a child to realize that being hit is the consequence of misbehaving that he/she can expect from the person he/she trusts the most. I think it brings forth the right behavior for the wrong reasons.

    It is also illegal in most European countries (England excluded, I believe), so carrying around a wooden spoon is probably not a great idea unless you want Tadpole to be with Mr. Frog 100% of the time. I know that here, social services would step in immediately if I were found to be hitting my child, regardless of my theories on child rearing…

    I think your genuine love and concern for tadpole and good old fashioned consistency will give you the results you are looking for. But Tadpole is her own person. She won’t always be who or how you want her to be… any more than anyone else in our lives will! :-)

    Comment by nrg — January 19, 2006 @ 2:28 pm

  50. mmm, have to say I agree with you on that point. I don’t see how I can teach her that hitting is wrong – she has slapped me a couple of times, and one of her playmates – if it’s something I do.

    Comment by petite — January 19, 2006 @ 2:49 pm

  51. I wonder how dave was brought up. I much prefer the continual hassle from my indepenfent, strong-willed, strong-minded, opinionated, demanding….the list goes on,children. I know all too well the damage cause by being scared to death of a strict disciplinarian parent. Basically I was a well-behaved child as I was too terrified to be any other way, however as an adult it leaves decision-making skills and self-esteem somewhat lacking. I can only hope that his comments were tongue in cheek, if not, may his daughter find the strenght she’ll need to overcome her oppressed childhood.

    Comment by J — January 19, 2006 @ 2:51 pm

  52. Oh, I can soooooo relate to your post! I have a 2.5 girl and a 4.5 boy, and am separated from their father. After a full weekend, I am ready to go back to work and have a break :)

    My girl is so stubborn. I have tried the ‘this’ or ‘that’ option, to no avail. I swear my boy was not like this. Case in point: I will ask my girl if she wants the blue pajamas or the red pajamas. Her answer? NO PAJAMAS, MUMMY! I almost always have to threaten to take something away (Dora, soother, etc.) to get her cooperation. And many times I have had to threaten to leave her at home if she won’t put on her coat and snowpants, which used to happen almost daily. I would get all the way out the door before I heard her shrieking that she wanted to come. So yes, I would go and try getting her coat on, and she would refuse it. I don’t understand her logic.

    Comment by Tanya — January 19, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

  53. PS
    A child that cannot say no is in grave danger of suffering worse tyoes of abuse than being hit.

    Comment by J — January 19, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

  54. J – was your comment directed at me? I assure you, my daughter is very good at saying No. :)

    Comment by Tanya — January 19, 2006 @ 5:21 pm

  55. No Tanya, it was directed at Dave Lowe who’s daughter is not allowed, it appears, to say no.

    Comment by J — January 20, 2006 @ 2:29 am

  56. In America we don’t use the sleeping bags. So, when I came to France to live and my mother in law had one ready for my Petite Clown then two months old, I had no idea what to do with it! Americans use the same kind of idea…a blanket over the body but fitted and it has legs. Much more practical. My mother mailed me two for my six month old and my 2 year old, Petite Clown…I am thankful. I am also sorry to say that as pretty as the sleeping bag was I just did not find it practical and never really used it.

    It is no fun when they figure out how to climb out of their little prison. I too hate listening to them scream and cry at naptime.

    Comment by Pumpkin Pie — January 21, 2006 @ 6:07 pm


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