Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3

That’s what Skyler does to me on a daily basis. It seems amplified since having spent almost 24-7 together the last 12 days. I made it back to work yesterday, which was actually a much needed break for me, but then today had childcare fall through and had to stay home with her. Vacation was great and much needed for all of us to get away, but it definitely confirmed to me again that I am meant to be a working mother!

Every morning lately starts with a battle to get her out of her PJ’s and into day clothes. She has this obsession with pajamas (I get it, they are comfy!) and wants to wear them all the time, wherever we go. And I just can’t do that. She’s got a few PJ’s that fit her comfortably still, but are definitely a couple sizes “too small.” She’s so slim that width-wise she still fits in so many baby clothes. She even has a pair of baby capris, 6 – 9 month size, that she wears comfortably as little shorts. So it’s fine for her to wear them around the house but out in public I just can’t do. A 3-year-old in pajamas is not adorable like a baby in pajamas.

If it’s not the pajama battle, we have the “I do it MYSELF!” fights. She wants to do everything herself and is okay at some things, but pretty much slow at all things, and especially in the morning when I’m in a hurry, I don’t have time to wait for her independent accomplishments. And if she even remotely struggles at anything she is attempting by herself, she goes from zero to tantrum in 2.2.

And nowadays, every day is opposite day. Whatever I tell her to do she won’t do, and if I tell her not to, she goes full out at whatever it is. I threaten to take things away if she does “x” one more time, and she taunts me with the same threat.

Me: Skyler, if you don’t put your clothes on, I’ll turn Mickey Mouse off.

Skyler: Turn Mickey Mouse off!

She plays me pretty much every time, and challenges me constantly. And with such a spunky look of fun-loving defiance in her eyes. Until I tackle her and roughly force her in or out of her clothes while she is kicking me and writhing around in anger. It’s so tiring, and makes me feel awful. I don’t like being the bad guy but I feel like that’s all I am lately. It makes motherhood a total drag. I hope to God that these battles now will pay off later, but it’s possible she and I will be doing this for the next 15 years, and it won’t be over pajamas, but probably some other type of inappropriate clothing that she wants to wear in public.

As the story goes, since I just wrote about this, she’ll probably be a perfect angel the rest of the week, because things change that fast around here and always as soon as I’ve put it in writing. Let’s hope that’s the cased this time.

5 responses to “Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3”

  1. I’m with Skyler, I love my pajamas too!

    To address your dilemma of the daily pj battle, I suggest you use this opportunity to teach Skyler how to make choices in life based on the consequences she will enjoy/suffer as a result of her decisions/actions. This evening before bedtime, calmly let her know that the morning battle over her wanting to wear her pj’s in public is a real drag for both of you, so you have decided that in order to avoid that conflict, she will need to sleep in her clothes instead of pj’s until she has decided that she will not fight you in the mornings over changing out of pj’s to street clothes. Pj’s will be off limits until she decides she is ready to wear pj’s within the limits of their appropriate use. She may very likely decide that she prefers to sleep in her clothes from now on, but that’s okay isn’t it? The important thing is that she learn that you are in control of you, and she is in control of Skyler. Always give her choices to make so she doesn’t feel like you are trying to control her, and the battles will be minimal and seldom. Consequences are always the best teacher, for all of us.

    The worst thing you can do is let her see you get upset with her, because then it is clear to you both that she is in control…she made you get upset…that’s the primary way kids rule over their parents! Always remain calm and give her every possible opportunity to be in control of her own life…but NOT yours! That way she will learn to say NO when it is appropriate, and that might save her life one day… If she is too compliant, anyone will be able to talk her into anything when she is older…and that’s not good.

    I realize that you will probably need to adjust my wording a little for use with Skyler while she is so young…although, she is pretty smart and would probably understand anyway! At least you can get the concept… If I could go back and do it all over again with mine, I’d sure use that approach. It works perfectly with grandchildren, I can attest to that.

    Both of you girls are a real blessing to me. It sure was so good to see you in Florida last month.

  2. Lori, I have had those mornings, and man, they are tiring! And make me feel pretty rough as a Mom. Questioning your every action. But Grampa Kelley makes a good point. I have found some ways to make the morning go a bit easier. One is choices. I always give him two choices. And whether he pics either one, I have given him the choice, so he feels like he made his own decision and he is doing it by himself because he is “big”. And the choices usually start the night before. We lay out our clothes every night before bed in preparation mentally and physically for the next day. They remember everything now days, and if he allready knows what he picked out the night before it is that much less tip toeing around a temper tantrum that I have to deal with in the morning.

    Anyways, I can say it gets better. Magically Benjamin is turning out okay. We still have trying times, but it seems to get easier.

  3. Three year olds have little concept of time…urgency. Few, if any, three year olds can understand schedules, deadlines, and such that working moms and dads have to deal with. This goes with the territory of being a working mom. There are possibly some techniques you could learn from more experienced parents (Grandma or Grampa come to mind) to help you overcome her defiance. This is a matter of learning how to break her will while preserving and not breaking her spirit. If her will is not broken, rest assured her spirit will break on its own. All of us need to have our wills broken. It is how we properly mature. Learning how to get control of her will while she is young and the issues are pretty minor (like wearing PJs in public) is extremely important. Othewise, as she gets older, the battles will become more critical and the stakes will be a lot higher…like school work, sex, drugs, and alcohol. There WILL be battles over such later on…expect it. But breaking her will so that you can help her navigate the waters safely while the stakes are small will make it much easier to do when the stakes get huge.

    Parenting ain’t easy, but you, Lori, and your brothers are proof that it is rewarding. Right Grandma Kelley?

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