I haven’t been very easy to live with lately. It’s really a combination of work stress/annoyance/general dissatisfaction, running but not losing weight, and money issues. To boot, I have been extremely disappointed in Elliot’s behavior. Obviously, this is viewed as a failure because as his parents, we should be amending this. And it’s not like we haven’t tried. I have tried a million methods of reinforcing these ideas.
For example, he’s been bad about talking back lately. I’ll ask him not to do so and so and his response – in the brattiest tone he can muster – is always, “YOU don’t do so and so”. Perhaps if I ignore it he’ll realize it’s not getting him anywhere but on the other hand, if he’s ignored, then we’re not actively changing anything. We’ve tried sending him to his room. That seems to work in the short run; he’s upset and sorry and whatnot, but he goes right back to doing whatever it is. I think the biggest annoyance is when we ask him to stop doing X, he’ll continue to do X with a sly look on his face that says, “Look at me, I’m gonna keep doing it. Will you punish me? Come on, I DARE you to punish me. I’ve implemented a sticker reward system, which he really likes, but it’s not *quite* enough to get him to be good even 75% of the time.
Sometimes, I want to put MYSELF in time out and remove myself from the situation. Then again, it has always been my first instinct to run from problems. Now that we’re full-fledged parents, I cannot take that route. It’s our responsibility to help him become a good person and we have to hang in there. But oh, how much my weekends do suck when he’s acting this way. It’s not always bad. After Isaac went down Saturday night, the three of us watched The Wizard of Oz in bed and it was nice. He was quiet and enjoyed it and no one argued. But Sunday was awful.
I feel like I am constantly annoyed and it shines through in every aspect of my life, all day long. It’s like a stormy cloud hanging over us. On top of all this, Ash and I have both been feeling the pressure of money issues so we’re all under a lot of stress. I don’t need for the kids to make things worse. I feel angry and unhappy so much of the time that I miss days when we simply enjoyed being a family. There are moments when things are good. Elliot and Isaac will play together nicely, rolling a ball back and forth. But then suddenly Ell decides he doesn’t want Isaac in his room so he slams the door… right on the poor baby’s fingers. The good times never seem to last long.
I know all the sayings: “This too shall pass”. “Everyone pays their dues.” “It gets worse before it gets better”. I KNOW them. It doesn’t make it better but it does give me hope. In the meantime, how do you get rid of a smart mouth on an almost four year old??