Saturday, September 15, 2012

Terrible Two and a Half

Muffin is 31 and a half months. He's slightly past 2 1/2 and well into his terrible twos. It is exhausting and stressful when he is a terror. And he is much more hard headed than the twins which means it takes a lot more to get him to tow the line.

When he is good, he is wonderful, delightful and a joy to be with. He is polite, has a great sense of humour and cooperative.

But when he is difficult, it really becomes a battle of the wills. He throws himself on the floor when he doesn't get his way, jumps to the quickest conclusion without hearing what we are telling him and works himself into such a state, it ends up with him throwing up.

The thing is he doesn't listen to reason, respond to threat or remember any previous instance of punishment. So, he just goes on his merry way, chucking fits when things don't go his way or when he doesn't want to do what we want him to do.

His latest and daily battle with us has got to do with brushing his teeth. It was almost as if he woke up one day he woke up and decided he didn't want to brush his teeth ever again and has been battling with us on that one twice a day and 3 times on Sunday.

We've tried everything in the book. Distraction; Youtube, television, toys and his mouth remains glued shut. New age parenting and diplomacy; Empowering him to brush his teeth by getting him to pick out his own toothbrush at the supermarket. Coercion: Threatening to take away his toys, giving him and carrying out ultimatums to the point that we have had to pin him down and brush his teeth while he squeals like a bleeding pig.

More often than not, it ends up being the last option. The problem with doing that is often, that squealing induces throwing up.

As parents and minders, we try to not get him to that point because that means he would have thrown up the food that is supposed to help him grow. But at the same time, conceding sends him the wrong message; that it is okay to not brush his teeth and more importantly, if he held out long enough, he would eventually get his way.

So it is an ongoing battle which stresses Packrat and I out. It forces us to behave in ways that we would rather not to and be the parents we swore we wouldn't be. It is true, what my mom said when she had to punish or discipline me. It hurt her more than it hurt me.

Last night, the same battle ensued with the tooth brushing, amounting to the same end where Muffin cried till he choked on his own vomit. The only difference is Packrat saw it and lost it with him in an epic way that caused everyone else to look for tables to hide under. Muffin fell asleep after all the drama and woke up chirpybut for the rest of the evening and for most part of today, Packrat has been grumpy and still affected by the outburst.

I hope he grows out of this soon. Thankfully, 2 years from now, I am unlikely to remember all this stress and aggro he is causing. I know this because I can't remember half of what the twins were up when they were two and a half (that is why I keep this blog). But I do know that its effects are long lasting. All those cliches about losing hair, losing sleep and aging after having kids, all of that is real. We are living testaments of that.

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  1. Hi Dear,
    Grace here. Shaun went through this and I found the solution to it. Shaun is 37 months old now. I googled up some terribly nasty images of tooth decay and showed them to him. I explained that if he continued to refuse ro have his teeth brushed, he'd end up with the same dental state. Shock treatment? I guess it worked. Now every night he would remind us that it is time to brush his teeth. I hope this works for you or that you'll find some way to have a happy teeth-brushing muffin! Hang in there!