Monday, September 08, 2008

Crying in my w(h)ine

When I was two years old my Mom and Dad and my grandparents, my Dad's parents, took me on a family trip to the sweetest place on earth - Hershey Park, Pennsylvania.

It turned out to be, apparently, the family vacation from hell.

I know this because my parents have never let me forget how I ruined that trip for everyone because I was such a brat. The story still comes up periodically and my dad - and before she died, my mom - takes great pleasure in telling whomever will listen how I screamed and cried all day and how my poor mother broke down and my grandparents had to step in and take me away for a few hours so that sainted woman who so generously carried me for nine months and then forcibly pushed me from her lady parts could get a few hours of peace away from her ungrateful toddler.

Yeah, that's fun.

What is sometimes included is the conditions of the day - Hot and Sunny. Very hot and very sunny. What is never included is if I was given adequate food, snacks and liquids to balance out the heat, excitement and inevitable chocolate overload. If I had a nap that day or how I was sleeping during that trip overall. But for the past 33 years I've had to listen about how I single-handedly ruined what might have been a lovely family vacation with my terrible behavior.

So to recap - I was probably not eating right and was probably hopped up on sugar. I was in a strange place, away from home, and probably overexcited. It was 90+ degrees. I was TWO FREAKING YEARS OLD. I'm going to be 36 years old in a few days and yet I'm still subjected to this story and the blame, always the blame. My parents have never taken any of the blame onto themselves. Ever.

Why yes, I do have a wee bit of a chip on my shoulder. Why do you ask?

I mention this because we've been having a tough go of it with Chicky lately. Her turning three (apparently an even tougher age than two for some kids and a little nugget of information SOMEONE should have told me before I decided to have unprotected sex, thankyouverymuch) coincided with C.C. being born and our subsequent move to a new home, not to mention her starting preschool. A lot is going on in that girl's life and I don't know if it's all the changes or just the age, but whatever it is I'm failing her. Yes, I'm failing her.

She whines and cries more than any child I've ever seen and most days I just can't deal. I'm trying my best but she breaks me down. And sometimes, in my greatest moments of weakness, I blame her for being hateful and defiant. I blame her for peeing on the floor when just a minute before I reminded her to use the bathroom. I blame her for being too rough with her sister and making her cry. I blame her for my headache after she's spent the past hour running through the new house screeching at the top of her lungs. I blame her for being three.

Isn't that the stupidest thing you've ever heard?

But then I remember how my parents made me feel every time they brought up that day in Hershey Park and I hate myself.

I told Mr. C today, after a particularly draining afternoon, that I need to go back to work. Not necessarily because I need the personal fulfillment but because I need to give my children to someone else to deal with for awhile. I probably don't have to say how that made me feel, right?

Oh. I do? Like shit, that's how. Like a big pile of steaming dog shit. Not a nice visual, but it drives the point home.

What can I do? I'm desperate and I need help. I'm reaching the end of my rope, so I'm asking you, Internets, what do you do, what have you done in the past, that has worked? A book, a method, a roll of duct tape?

Another glass of wine, perhaps?

I wait anxiously for your suggestions. Really. Anxiously and exhaustedly. Because if there was any time that I refuse to be like my parents, it is now.

51 comments:

Maria said...

Benadryl.

Seriously though, the fact that you recognize that you are overwhelmed is the big thing. And if you need to park your children with someone else for a couple of hours a day, then do it. In the long run, a well rested mom who has a chance to be herself, and not just mommy, is going to be a calmer more approachable mom.

Hannah said...

My kids are almost exactly the same age as yours, and I'm working from home, and I'm ready to sell them both on EBay.

Instead, I'm looking for a good nursery school to send the toddler to in the mornings. I'll try that for a while and see if I'm any less frustrated. And if I'm not, and it turns out that I'm not cut out to be a SAHM, I'll go back to work with no guilt.

Hang in there.

Manic Mommy said...

I don't have the advice to fix it but let me say that you're so not alone. My only short term solution was playgroups, playdates, and the gym. You need to get away from them for an hour or so to keep your sanity.

I've been home for nearly two years and still question whether or not I should be doing this full time.

Ladybug's Picnic said...

A babysitter. Seriously. One day a week, even one MORNING a week will preserve your sanity because then you have a morning of free time to look forward to. Or, find someone else with kids about the same age as yours (like uh...me for example) and trade off. Watch her kids one day a week and she'll watch yours another.

What I do, personally, since I can't work right now is GET THE F OUT OF MY HOUSE on Saturday nights. My husband puts the kids to bed and I am out the door at 6:30. I usually go to the mall, get a pedicure, sit at Barnes and Noble and read magazines and drink a latte - whatever - but I'm not "wife" and I'm not "mommy" - I'm just Erin. And it is fabulous.

Mags said...

Hang in there! I can understand your frustration, and can see how all the changes can be affecting Chicky. It just may be the age. I have 2 4yos and a 3 yo. The baby years were easier for me...now, the whining, the fighting, and the constant negotiating tax me to no end. Right now the word game is working to keep them in line...if they want to go to the pool, the word of the day is P.O.O.L. If they act up or don't listen, I take a letter away. They can earn a letter back if they do something nice without being prompted by me. If everyone has their letters, we go to the pool. Harsh, maybe, but it's working!!! I have a feeling I'm going to need something different next year as every age has it's own challenges.

Heather said...

First of all, C.C. is still new on the scene and takes some adjusting to still. I'd say it took a good 6 months after my 2nd child was born for us to feel like that was our new normal. Plus when the baby starts to be able to "play" a little more, it's a little easier because the kids are one another's entertainment for at least brief moments.

That said, three is an exceedingly difficult age for me to deal with my kids. I don't know if it's me or them or what, but frankly the age of three sucks donkey balls.

My son just turned 4 a month ago and I'm starting to like him again.

Honestly, do whatever you can to get out of the house and be with other people. If you can't do babysitters, go to a crowded park and let Chicky run with other kids. You? Sit on a bench, nurse the baby, occasionally yell for Chicky to stop doing x (so you sound like you care) and just give yourself a break.

Can't go outside? Get one of those exercise trampolines. When Chicky starts getting squirrely put her on the trampoline in front of a movie and tell her to jump through the whole show.

Or get a little tent and put it up inside, you can play "camping" and read in the tent. Maybe you can even convince her to let you read your own books while she "reads" hers.

It gets better. I promise.

Jozet at Halushki said...

Two words: Mother's Helper.

Cheaper than a babysitter (although, I think babysitters are great, too - sometimes you just need to get faaaaaaaaaar away) and if you contact a local homeschooling organization, you can get an 11 year old girl during the day. 11 year old girls are a miracle. They most of them adore little kids, little kids adore them, and they are just bossy enough to get little kids to mind them.

They can also do minor chores like fold laundry, put dishes in sink. That way, you can have someone there to a) share the burden and b) talk to and c) act as a witness so you won't be tempted to duct tape your kids to the wall. I always behave better when I have an audience.

I can also recommend a part time job somewhere hip and wonderful like a coffee shop or a bookstore. Just a few hours here and there. Or maybe a shift at the library once a week at night?

Also, also, yes...3yos are maddening. They speak fairly well so the temptation is to think that you can reason with them. This is a lie. Mostly. They are more or less 2yos with a better vocabulary and advanced overhand throw. You are still in the trenches, but the dawn is fast approaching. Be strong. Be gentle with yourself. And you're WAAAAAAY ahead of the game if you realize that your 3yo is mostly just being a 3yo and not a terror out to ruin your every day (even if she does.) You are self-aware, and that awareness will be part of any stories you pass along about tough days with a toddler - and that will make all the difference.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

How about (E) all of the above?

I know where you're coming from. Jesus, I work full-time and they still wear me down. When SAHMs say to me, "I don't know how you do it," I secretly think, "I don't know how YOU do it."

Hugs.

(See you at Erin's? You can totally sit next to me and VENT.)

liv said...

babydoll, my almost 3 year old late september girl child is RILLY cranking up lately. It's RILLY awful, and i RILLY might cry. RILLY.

but, then she is also this adorable, sweet baby who cuddles. and then i sigh, and wonder what sort of growth she's going through. and know that i can only have the occasional cocktail and watch to find out.

Mom101 said...

My sense--and hey, what do I know--is that you're only failing yourself. And probably only in your own mind at that. So let's lose the self-flagelation first; everyone deserves a break.

Listen to your very wise readers up there. Excellent suggestions.

Devra said...

Do you have my phone number? Or email me yours. Aviva and I are happy to walk you thru some ideas.

Mr Lady said...

Three is hell on wheels. It's a prostate exam without lube. It is worse than piping the spice girls into caves in Afghanistan.

Three Kills.

Yes, you need a break. A big, scheduled break. Is that work? Maybe, if that's what you want it to be. But you need SOMETHING. No one can stand up against a three year old, no one.

You're not wrong, or bad, you're just human, just like everyone else. :)

Pgoodness said...

A few things...

1) A babysitter or daycare or helper for at least a few hours one day a week will work miracles. I'm supposed to work on my one day, but often I find myself wandering around Target or just driving around blaring music and singing at the top of my lungs for at least some of the time - it's very liberating!!

2) My 5yr old is waaaay whinier than your Chicky (ok, I have no proof, but seriously, one minute he is the most awesome kid ever and the next, screaming bloody murder because he desperately NEEDS more chocolate milk. At 4 am.)

3) My 3 yr old is at the "holy crap I just realized I really really really wanted to do something I didn't get to do and now I am going to burst into major tears" phase.

And the fact that at three they are more verbal and seem older? A mean, nasty joke. They're still needy, still babies and not big even though they pretend to be. And just when you start to think they're independent and you've got it handled is when they start whining and screaming. SIGH.

Ok, that wasn't much help, but seriously, I KNOW where you are and I feel you.

The vacation thing was SO NOT your fault; Chicky going through these changes is no ones fault - it is what it is. You will get through this.

Oh, how about just getting out in the evening for a walk or a trip to a coffee shop just for a little alone time? Can Mr. C take over a night or two a week?

Hang in there, you really are doing fine. :-)
And the extra glass of wine? NEVER HURTS!

Mel said...

Because I am all original and stuff, I have to second Mom-101.

First things first, nothing is permanent, nothing is forever and ever. You are not failing your child. You are going through a rough patch, and nobody is perfect.

If someone tried to tell you that you had to be impeccable as a parent, then they were being very cruel to you. And if you have been telling yourself that, same goes. Give yourself a break.

And ditto, 'every suggestion up there is good.' Pick one or two or ten of these ideas and... cut yourself some slack, lady. :)

Redneck Mommy said...

I'm going to step on Liz's coat tails and just agree with her.

Deep breaths.

And I promise. Promise. this will pass. Of course, just in time for C.C to pick it up where Chicklet left off, but eventually, you will look back on this period of time and only remember the cuteness and cuddles.

In the mean time, get out of the house for a few hours a week without them, buy some good wine and STOP HAVING UNPROTECTED SEX.

Wink.

Major Bedhead said...

Oh dood. I can so relate to this.

I go out on Friday nights (when I'm not working) and it's a life saver. I stay up too late to have some alone time, but that often backfires because I'm tired and crabby the next day. I joined Meetup.com to try to find other moms going thru the same crap - I've had limited success, but I keep trying. And I've been looking for a full time day job for the same reason you site. I feel like such a failure most days and it's killing me a little, day by day.

Everyone else had good suggestions. All I can offer is a hug and an "I understand."

Motherhood Uncensored said...

Three sucks. Change + 3 sucks more. But it's nothing that she is not built to handle.

It's way worse for you watching her seemingly decompensate at a rapid pace.

I find I get the most frustrated with Q when she's like that, mainly because she isn't usually and I feel terrible that she's feeling that way.

Woe is mother.

We loved the 1-2-3 Magic book and it cuts whining and all that "not so time-out warranted" behavior out very quickly, and without you having to a) feel guilty b) act like a bitch and c) do much more than say numbers. (Only one at a time, not the "IF I GET TO 5 BS").

And the book takes all of 4 seconds to read.

My friend the child psychotherapist recos it and I do whatever she says because I can no longer think for myself.

Karen said...

I add my voice to all these sensible comments, suggestions and encouragements & only add the book we used for our difficult time with Henry was The Happiest Toddler on the Block. The first time I read it I thought it was bullshit, but when he was really in the thick of his toddler/preschool stuff (just turned three) it was magical. And also potty-trained him - and he is not even normal, like your kid is - he is speech delayed and has sensory processing disorder. With out typically developing two year, the book is even more magical, because he understands concepts better and had better body control (less random crashing into stuff, etc)

also, this will pass, it will, it will & if it doesn't soon (like LPs didn't), then tell us about it some more.

also I think author of book, Harvey Karp, made it into a DVD - maybe at the library?

Binkytown said...

I wrote about this recently as well and tried another book: Parenting Your Out of Control Child. Very helpful. We've implemented a naughty chair for time outs and have used the same process each time he acts out. I'm not sure there have been fewer tantrums but they have been much shorter in duration and everyone is less nuts because of it.

You can do this. Hang tough.

Mandy said...

I went through some similar issues with Nathan, but not I think to the degree you are with Chicky.

Here are my suggestions which partly echo the ones above. But just before, I would like to say that I was happy to have my one year mat leave with Nate and one year mat leave with Jake, but there's no way in hell that I could be a full time, stay at home mom for 9 years until my two boys (and unborn third child) are in kindergarten full time. So, don't see going back to work as meaning you are a steaming pile of doggy doo. It is a valid sanity saver for many women out there.

Anyway, off my soap box, I'd suggest the following:

1. An adult babysitter who can give you relief for a couple of 2-3 hour chunks at least 2x a week. (An adult allows you to have confidence in her abilities to handle a preschooler and baby simultaneously.)

2. Drop-in centers that allow you to leave Chicky for 2-3 hours without parental supervision. My local community centre offered these Monday to Friday from 9:15 to 11:15am.

3. A local daycare which allows you to drop off Chicky part time for a morning or afternoon 2 or 3 times a week.

4. A nanny share with another local family. (We have a lot of nannies in this area of the world since daycare is so hard to get into.)

5. Babysitting swap with another parent/friend where you take her children for an afternoon and one afternoon she takes yours.

Best of luck to you. Of course, as other commenters have said, and as you probably know, it IS only a phase, but it is a wearing one.

One giant hug and glass of Shiraz to you!

SciFi Dad said...

Ultimately, you know what's best for you and your girls. If that means you going to work, then so be it. You need to figure out what makes you feel worse: how you feel when you can't deal with the whining and what not, or how you feel by going back to work. It's an extremely difficult choice, and one I do not envy you for.

My daughter has similar behaviours as Chicky, although admittedly not to the same extremes (yet... with our second arriving in a few weeks, I'll discover whether or not she is capable of what Chicky is). So, I don't know if I have anything useful to offer. For me, basically it involves a lot of deep breathing, and a lot of encouraging her to calm herself either with a toy, or some time in another room, or whatever.

As others have said, this too shall pass. However, nobody knows exactly when that is, so I don't think that should be your sole coping strategy.

Avalon said...

Telling someone always helps. So, we are listening. And sympathizing. If I lived closer, I would come and take Chicky off your hands for a few hours.

Hang in there Mrs. C. As long as you don't tell Chicky about this period for the rest of her life, she will also emerge unscathed.

JudithAnn said...

Oh, I totally get it. My daughter, Little Bit(ch), turns 3 on Saturday, and my other daughter, Buddha Baby, is 2 months old. I had no idea 3 was so much harder than 2. Why didn't someone warn me?!?

That being said, just remember that Chicky might not remember being 3 or your frustration (unless you remind her). She will remember that you love her and care for her.

I am lucky enough to be able to send Little Bit to daycare 3 days a week, but I get it. The worst part is I'm only on maternity leave, I have to go back to work in January. Trust me, as much as you want someone else to deal with it - you don't. You want to know you're there to give them both as much as you can.

Take a break if you can, get a sitter, make a play-date, switch off with a friend and you take the big kids one day and then have the friend take the big kids another day....breathe, drink lots of wine, hide in your room...

Not sure you can do any of these things, but I'm as lost as you are.

Thank you for letting me know that I'm not the only mommy who yells at their 3 year old for peeing on the bathroom floor, and remember you're not alone!

Jozet at Halushki said...

BTW, just to be clear, a Mother's Helper is a pre-teen or teen who helps take care of/entertain your child while you are in the house. They usually don't have enough experience to babysit on their own, but they are great at giving the attention a 3yo needs and will save you some dollars (if that's a concern.)

For example, we don't have a backyard fence. Most of my work is in the house; most of what my 2yo wants to do is outside. My MH swings on the swings with him, kicks balls, plays hours of trucks - all those things I don't have the patience to do for hours on end, and all at $4.00 an hour. She generally runs him ragged in time for nap/quiet time.

Just wanted to be clear on that. :-)

Becca said...

First off if you are a steaming pile of dog shit I don't even want to know what you would label me as.

I work outside the home. M-F. But only part time. 10am to 3pm. I send my kids to a learning center/daycare those days. My 4 year old needs the social interaction as he struggles with anxiety issues and social behaviors. My 2 year old needs the energy run off. They both have learned to love it. It took months. I'm not even kidding. Months. I make exactly enough wages to cover the cost of the school and the gas it requires to drive there. I don't contribute a dime to the family pot. And yes there are times (like when they get sick) that it dosen't seem worth it, but in the end its whats best for all of us.

But the one thing it does give me is a sense of ME! I have grown up converstation. I do more than wipe butts and noses. I have a renewed patience when I go to get their smiling dirty faces each and everyday. And that in itself is sooo worth it to me. (and my husband!) I knew I wasn't cut out to be a stay at home mom. Those that do I think are amazing. I'm just not one of them.

There have been a fair amount of suggestions above, and perhaps one of them is the right fit for you. All I am saying is don't judge yourself or allow others to judge you for your feelings. They are what they are and at least you recognize them. Do what will make you the best parent you can be, even if that means not being the only caregiver 24-7.

Best of luck and many hugs. And wine. Lots of wine.

motherbumper said...

Three is hard, really hard on everyone involved and amplified when there is a bambino. I'm bringing you a bottle of vino and a bunch of those hugs. And I'm totally voting for mother's helper - awesome idea. Oh, and stop being so gawddamn hard on yourself (says the woman who blames herself for everything).

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

Os she three and half? It's a sneaky unknown creeper SCREWED UP age that no one tells you about. I actually write a post about Half Years a while back. They suck. I am sorry you are having a rough time.

On the other hand, even though I grew up in MD, would you believe my only experience with Hershey park was seeing Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett there as an adult???

Katie said...

I remember that day!!! The day my husband came home from work and I told him that I had to go back to work because our son needed someone who was capable of taking care of him. Because if I was unable to get him to nap, eat, sleep or even smile for one more day I might throw myself off a bridge.

Of course, I listened to him tell me what a great mom I am and didn't believe a word of it. Because let's face it... the proof is in the pudding (the unhappy, unfed, poorly sleeping infant being the pudding). You might think that I took his advice and got a grandma to come help out for a few hours so I could get some much needed rest and relaxation. But, I didn't. Much like you probably won't. Why, I am not sure. Part of me thinks that it's because my mother and my mother in law are really sucky babysitters (because they are). Another part of me thinks that it was because I knew it wouldn't be like that forever, and that if we worked on it together, my son and I could find our own rhythm.

And I was right. It didn't last forever. It lasted a few weeks. And during those weeks sometimes I thought I was going to lose it. But, during that time I was getting to know my son and what he needed. Our kids' needs are constantly changing and we can't expect that what we were doing yesterday will work forever. But, we love our kids and are willing to do what it takes to help them through life's ups and downs.

That's not to say you shouldn't follow all the advice. If you have a decent sitter to take one, the other, or both girls off your hands for the afternoon, then by all means GO FOR IT!!!! But, keep in mind that this will not last forever!!!!

supermommy said...

You are so not alone! My older daughter (just turned 4) is much tougher to deal with than my younger (about to turn 2).

I was feeling completely overwhelmed at one time because of the constant fighting and whining and I realized that it's because I just don't get a break. So, I decided to go back to school at night 2 or 3 days a week to finish up my degree. It's really helped me to appreciate my girls and my husband and it gives me something that is just mine.

It also helped once she started preschool last year. She learned to love and I loved the little bit of time that I got to spend with my youngest.

You'll get through it and your kids will be fine.

Linlee said...

Thank you for this post. I about lost it last night after dealing with a screaming toddler that never seems to be happy! I told my husband I am so much happier at work and then the guilt set in. I know how you feel.
Parenting is harder than I ever thought possible.

ScientistMother said...

Do not feel like shit for being exhausted. You are an amazing mother for recognizing your exhaustion, the effect its having on chicky and more importantly for having the courage to ask for help. Can the grandparents take chicky and cc for a few hours so that you can just sleep and veg? Daycare is a great idea. Having a break and being a refreshed attentive mother is better than where you are now. Huge HUGS!

Diane said...

This will probably not help, but I go to work. I don't love my job, but it gives my children much needed time away from me and a social interaction I just couldn't possibly give them myself. They go to daycare 4 days a week, the other 3 days we are all together as a family. I'll tell you what, by Monday they are ready to go back to "school" and play with their friends. (FYI: my daughter is 2 and my son is 1)

It shouldn't make you feel like shit, it should make you feel human and that is nothing to be upset about.

LizP said...

As you've gathered you are not alone! I had a daughter in Feb and my son turned 3 in July. No one says anything about the terrible threes! My kids go to day care, my 3 year old gets a sleepover with grandma & grandpa every Monday night and he's still a whiny little sh*t (a loveable one though) a lot of the time. So it's not you, it's not me, it's them. I have a 17 year old stepson (a 14 year old one too) and he's a whiny little sh*t for different reasons. But it just goes to show that they don't grow out of it.

Hang in there!

Mac and Cheese said...

Nothing original to add to all of the above, but boy do I feel better for having 3yo who acts like a baby after reading all these comments. She tires me out, and the addition of our newborn makes it harder to go someplace to burn off steam. All problems are temporary (and will be replaced with new ones, I guess)

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I don't have any advice because I haven't yet figured out the answer to that myself. I just know all my friends with older kids deserve a big, giant fuck you for not telling me that the threes were worse than the twos until my daughter's third birthday.

Anonymous said...

DeLurking here, 1st off love the blog,

Secondly 3 is a lot worse that 2, but then again I'm with a 5yr old and sometimes 3 was a walk in the park.

Now that being said, sounds like all of you are going through some major life stresses, and Chicky is feeling it more than ever.

You're not a bad or worthless mom, you've recongized the problem and you are looking for a way to deal with it.

Personally, I couldn't be a SAHM, I admire the women who can but I simple can't to it. I'm self employed and I work 5 days a week, my daughter has been in daycare since she was 3mos old. It hasn't hurt our relationship at all, and I feel that I'm a much better mom for going to work than being frazzeled at home.

You have to do what's right for you, there are some great suggestions on here for you to look at but you have to do what your comfortable with.

Good luck

michelle

Olga said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mothergoosemouse said...

Echoing Jozet's comment re a mother's helper. I don't know what I'd have done for the past three years without our next-door neighbor. I'm also a fan of quality day care, budget-permitting.

Sometimes all you and your children need are a few hours away from each other. And that's not something to feel guilty about.

kittenpie said...

Daycare. SEriously. Three is a tough, brutal time, and without daycare at least a few mornings a week to give you a tiny break, I can't imagine how you'd do it. Sending you hugs, though, and best wishes, and a reminder that you will see the other side!

Velma said...

I 2nd, 3rd, 4th everyone who recommended some sort of help to get time away from each other. Mother's helper, daycare, babysitter - anything! Daycare and some really reliable babysitters saved my sanity during the younger years, and now we have a couple babysitters who the kids have known for years and who I totally trust. It's a win/win thing, really.

Tori said...

I second these suggestions...

Get a sitter to take them to the park or something and YOU need to go do something. A movie a peddi, a dive bar with dim lights....whatever.

Just a couple of afternoons perhaps.

Also get tough with Whiney-Pants...

"I am not going to talk to you when you use that whiney voice. Go to your room and come back when your voice is back to normal..." Force her into the room if she doesn't go on her own accord and lean against the door!

Be tough mamma

And then praise the HELL out of her when she does even the tiniest thing right...

"mommy loved it how you said good morning in such a nice way..." you get the drift....

Anonymous said...

Lord...I keep thinking EVERY year older is worse! Maybe when they are 30 and married and have kids of their own, then I will think it is easy!

Hang in there! Not sure if I am telling you that or reminding myself....

JM

LifeBehindTheCoach.com said...

I'm a life coach for busy, stressed women and you really are not alone! I'm based in the UK, I love your blog, am new to blogging and have seen lots and love yours - I love yours because you are absolutely true to how you feel and write with total honesty. Take it one job at a time. I have no kids but 3 dogs and a husband so it feels like I have 4 kids sometimes! I read Cesar Milan's book, he's The Dog Whispherer - Sky 3, his advice of Calm Assertive energy works with humans too and my clients are using it with their kids - might help! Hang in there this is just a phase x

Rusti said...

being six months preggo with my first I don't have any tips or advice to share - but I will say that I'm sorry you've had to deal with the blame for 34 years when you so obviously didn't deserve it, and I'm also sorry that you are having problems with Chicky's behavior right now... I wish I did have some helpful tips to share, but I know that all your fabulous mommy-readers will be all over that. For me I'll just say good luck, best wishes - and I'll say a little prayer for y'all... {HUGS}

Jozet at Halushki said...

One more...can you stand me?

Whenever my kids used the whiney voice, I would say, "I'm sorry. I can't understand what you're saying. Could you say it again more quietly?" And continue to play dumb. Or rather, deaf.

I've also told my kids that because I have old ears, I can't hear when they yell things to me. I lie, but it works. :-)

Grim Reality Girl said...

It truly is Terrible Three's not Two's! I advise you to drink -- perhaps heavily?

Good advice from jozet with the "I'm sorry, I can't understand you when you talk like that, can you use your nice voice?" This works against shrieking and whining.

Make time for you -- just you. You never care for yourself when you are caring for kids, but if you do not it is hard to withstand the demands.

You will not be like parents were... you think about consequences and have beautiful empathy. You are wonderful even if you don't feel like you are.

Also, "Love & Logic." Read and brainwash yourself to use the methods -- when I'm strong they work well even on my tweens!

mo-wo said...

You are the best thing that COULD ever happen to those kids.

You are the best.

And, a couple things I gotta say. Gotta said:
http://motherwoman.blogspot.com/2008/05/52-reasons-patience.html
and
http://motherwoman.blogspot.com/2008/04/bad-parenting-confessional-away.html

love ya.

mo-wo said...

Linky.. Gotta said:
on patience
and
as if

Kelly W said...

Take them to your parents and leave them there for the night! Go home take a warm bath and drink a nice bottle of wine!

Shannon said...

I've not read all the comments yet, so I'm sure others have already said something like this. My first child was not too bad at two, but three? Whew - it was really bad. I thought about going back to work, too. I went into therapy. I tried to get my husband into therapy, too, convinced it was us. I still don't know for sure, but now she's four - and things are much, much, much better. She's a doll - still exceedingly stubborn, but not maniacal - quite tolerable. And we didn't change that I know of - just got through it by gritting our teeth. Also, in case it's pertinent - our girls are 21 mos. apart and we were going through some very stressful things too. Hang in there - you're not alone - and there are other survivors of three year olds - survivors who are damned glad the kid ain't three anymore!

No Mother Earth said...

I'm with Kittenpie. Having daycare for the 3 year old, and a chance to chill with just the baby and me has saved me.

I also think having a recurring event where you get out entirely on your own (like an art class or something) is rejuvenating.

But it's not like I have my shit together or anything. I feel this past year that I've simultaneously done the best and the worst parenting of my life.