Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Need Advice!!!

Today marked the end of our busy fall retreat season at camp - we closed it out with a wonderful Hobby Weekend - we had lots of scrapbookers, card-stampers, photographers, knitters, and a cross-stitcher. A lot of my MOPS friends were here for the retreat, so my great Hubby watched our little guy both evenings after dinner so that I could sit with them and make cards (and work on tot school projects!). I had a great, relaxing time, and the girl talk was a LOT of fun.

And now...four weeks and six days until our little girl joins us, and no more retreats during that time! Of course, Hubby will still have to work, but it will be normal work-week hours, and lots of family nights and weekends together! I have been so looking forward to this time together! We are celebrating by laying around and eating leftovers tonight. :)

Okay, moms, I need some advice. Zachary is going through a stage. I know, he's a toddler, right? He's supposed to go through stages. I know. But. This is an indecision stage, almost a power trip type thing, and I don't know what to do. Here's the situation: I say, "Z, do you want to wear your Elmo shoes or your Crocs today?" He says: "Crocs". Okay. I grab the Crocs. He says, "No, no, Elmo shoes." I look at him, and ask, "Elmo shoes? Are you sure?" and grab the Elmo I'm putting them on him he begins to whine for his Crocs. And I say, "well, too bad, you chose your Elmo shoes. Let's go." Sometimes a tantrum ensues, and we both leave grouchy.

The worst is at bedtime and naptime - he has always liked to hug & cuddle before going down, and last week, we moved him into a toddler bed (which is going famously well, by the way, he's only woken up in the night twice since he's been in his big boy bed & he's napping great). Anyway, now that he's in there, he sometimes climbs right in without his hug, and so I remind him by asking, "Do you want a hug before night-night?" and he says yes, but then when I reach for him, he lays down and says, "Sleep in bed. Sleep in bed." and refuses to come to me for a hug - if I pick him up for his hug against his will, he resists me & struggles. So I tell him, "Mommy is leaving, and if I go out and close the door, you will not get a hug." Halfway out his door, he says to me, "Hug! Need a hug!" and I hate to deny him. So I go back in, and he does the laying down/refusing to hug thing again. So I leave. And he cries for a hug for 5 to 10 minutes, breaks my heart. At naptime, he did go down without a hug, but at bedtime, I went back in after about 5 minutes, because how can I deny my little guy a simple hug at bedtime? :(

So, here's my question: Is my toddler on a power trip, to see if he can control me? And should I deny him the right to change his mind even once...or deny him the hug after one chance and let him cry?

I am not the kind of parent who has to 'win' every battle, I think the relational part of parenting is so important, I don't want to withhold a loving security thing like a hug from my little man just so I can feel that I 'won' and he didn't. I guess what I'm asking is, "Is it really important for me to 'win' this battle? Or is it even a battle, or something else going on?" Seasoned moms, help me out here, please! I look forward to hearing your comments, oh wise readers! :)


Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

Those bedtime struggles are the worst! Everyone is exhausted at that time of day. Have you tried giving a hug before stories, or whatever is your "second to the last" part of your bedtime routine? I'm just wondering if at that point he is just so ready to be in his new bed that nothing else matters (until you walk out the door of course). Also, when you said that he says, "sleep in bed" in response to you asking if he wants a hug, my first thought was that he is asking YOU to lie in bed with him for a few minutes and snuggle that way. Worth a try? I have no advice for the shoe thing, maybe give him a five minute warning that he is going to have to decide, and when the timer beeps he needs to know which ones he wants and that will be his "final answer" lol. Not sure if that would work, but my little one loves having the timer set in order to think things over. Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should not give him choices on everything. Instead of asking which shoes he wants to wear, just tell him he's wearing his elmo shoes today. Don't be mean about it, be excited and happy and whatever. I think sometimes even two choices can be overwhelming for little ones. And Z has to learn that he can trust you to make wise choices for him. In my experience, it's easier to discipline for "not listening to Mommy and obeying" than "not making up his mind." As far as bedtime goes, I guess I would recommend a very set routine at bedtime. Maybe do hugs and cuddles before you get anywhere near his bed. Then once he's in his bed, a tuck and a smooch and you're done. Honestly, the power struggles can get really overwhelming. Eventually you have to decide that in some cases, you just have to not give him the choice. Especially at bedtime (when you're fried) and when you're on a schedule-- like getting ready to walk out the door. And when you do decide to let him make the choice (and I wouldn't make that be about anything like hugs and kisses LOL), I would hold him to his first choice, or possibly his second. And if he has a tantrum, discipline for that.

Good luck! It could be some of this is coming from uncertainty as he knows that the baby is coming.

Anonymous said...

You are so lucky sleeping in the big boy bed is going well. I still have to rock Xander to sleep at night and before a nap. I like you love my cuddle with my lil man. For awhile he laid down in his own bed and put himself to sleep. I would love it if he would go to bed and lie down. The rest is just a stage xander is going through it too. Everyone says it will get better boy oh boy i can't wait for that. I guess as mommys all we can do is try and love. The rest we will get someday * Robin F*

Rebecca said...

Carrie - welcome to toddlerhood!
My Miss E struggled with these same issues - With shoes I always say "this is what you're wearing" and now they're all fine with that. If E (who is now 5) wants to wear a specific pair of shoes and she asks without whining I will let her. But whining automatically ensures she will not get her way. I never even gave Z choices, so he's content just to have shoes on. Helps that he likes his shoes...
As for bed - SAME thing with Miss E - when she was 2. I'd leave the room and she'd whine "Mommy I need a huggie!" And she was SO persistent. At first I said NO! and never entered her room. Then Lukas was like, oh, love, she just wants a hug...So I would go in, give her a hug and say "That's all, when mommy leaves I'm not comming back in." She would then continue to yell that she needed hugs, etc. in the night and finally we decided it was a discipline problem and had to deal with it that way. It took a while, because she is very persistent. But now she's great about going to bed. With your Z it sounds like he's just so excited about bed - I'd try the snuggle down in his bed thing, then be firm when you say, Ok mommy gave you huggies, now go to sleep. Every kid is different - I guess you have to determine if he's being rebellious or just excited.