Monday, 15 July 2019

Kate 4.0

 As I always read over my last update before composing my current one, I am laughing out loud as I read that we were passed the horrible Threeranasauras stage. Oh no. It’s like herpes, the gift that keeps on giving. Even though she just turned four, she’s exhibiting all the horrible behaviors of her terrible threes. It started just after Memorial Day weekend, husband and been away, but Kate and I were doing fine flying solo. She spent an afternoon playing with her cousin and was very well behaved when my friend’s husband graciously offered to watch her and another kid while we did a benchmark work-out. The next week Husband went away for two days and she started her school’s summer program, which meant a different classroom, new teachers and a few new classmates as the school likes to mix-up the classes for the summer modules. Then I went away for a few days. Kate was so much for Husband that he called me begging me to come home earlier. We tried to go out to our usual Saturday night dinner at the pub, but she was so poorly behaved that we had to turn the car around and never made it to the restaurant. Then Husband went away for a week. For the second time, Kate was refusing to get in the pool at her swim lesson (she had a new instructor as her regular one was away) I explained that there have been a lot of transitions recently and she doesn’t handle change well. I was hoping that was all this was just a slight setback in her behavior, she’d be back to normal and all would be right with our world again. [insert laughter]

Nope. A month later, things have become much worse. She completely.regressed. I went back to read that post, we are exactly right back where we were a year ago. Wanting to play pretend (baby, kitty, puppy..etc) at inappropriate times. Throwing horrible tantrums where she thrashes all over the ground. Being super clingy and throwing one of those tantrums because I had the audacity to leave her side long enough to take a shower. Not cooperating with getting dressed. Being as difficult as possible as much as possible. One morning she was sitting on our bed when I informed her it was time to turn off the TV and go to the kitchen (our usual routine). When she didn’t comply, I gave her the option “Do you want me to turn off the TV or do you want to do it?” Her Pre-school promotes this approach as kids feel they are more empowered rather that being told what to do. I asked again. I told her that if she is not answering ‘yes, that she wants to do it’ she must mean that she wants me to do it. She said she would do ‘eenie-meanie-miney-moe’. After two endless rounds of eenie-meanie, I turned off the TV, walked out of the room and shut the door to muffle the sounds of her crying and screaming.

I threatened to cancel her birthday party if she didn’t improve her behavior, which worked for a while and fortunately, she was very good at her party. She hasn’t opened half of her presents as we’re saving them for positive reinforcement for good behavior, but there hasn’t been too much to reward. We’ve taken away watching TV in the evenings. I’ve given her specific examples of what she needs to do to earn back her TV privileges (cooperate with getting dressed at swimming, no playing pretend at school pick-up) and she fails to do these and then wants “more chances” to earn her TV time back. After six weeks of a steadfast decline, Husband and I accepted that this isn’t just a phase that will pass on it’s own. I reached out to our pediatrician and I’m trying to set up a conference with her teacher. I’m reading The Difficult Child as we speak and I ordered *Positive Disclipine* from Amazon last night. Has anyone else dealt with a major behavior regression? I vented to a fellow mom at my gym that my kid has turned into a fucking asshole. She just laughed. “All kids are assholes, Jane. Not too many moms admit it out loud as you just did. Recognizing it is the first step, You’ve got this Mom,” Do I? I hope so…


Eating: We’ve made slight progress here. After offering the broccoli tater tots as a desperate attempt to sneak a green vegetable into her, she is actually eating two vegetables on her own. At a CrossFit BBQ, she fixed herself a plate of carrot sticks and ranch dip and she’ll eat yellow or orange peppers if they are served at home. For some reason, she does not eat them when I put them in her lunch box, but since she’s eating them at home, I’ll take it and score it as a win.

Potty Training: I can report a major victory in this category! We have achieved night time dryness! When we got back from South Carolina, I gave us all a week to get over the jet-lag and then started putting her to bed commando and I would set my alarm every two hours to get up and to try to do a dream pee. We had some initial success, but she wouldn’t always pee during the dream pee, but at most was only wetting the bed once a night, which was much better than when we last left off and it was multiple times a night. Then I read some source that suggested that the dream pee doesn’t really teach kids anything, it just means you have less laundry to do. If she wasn’t learning anything, and since he works from home, I can actually get Husband to do the laundry, why was I sacrificing my sleep? I decided to ditch the dream pee and see what would happen. She wet the bed the next few nights. I was completely frustrated and despondent. I was convinced she would be using pull-ups until she went to kindergarten.

We asked Husband’s colleague and friend who has a son a year older than Kate and was finally dry at night just before he was four and a half what worked for them. “I bribed him” was the response she sent via text, but she didn’t quite explain how. Desperate, I just googled “how to night time potty train your toddler” and the magic little person who runs the internet hooked me up with this mom’s suggestion “do a double pee before bedtime”. I put both suggestions into place. Kate usually pees before or during her bath, then we do stories before bedtime. I offered that if she puts pee-pee in the potty after we read our three night times stories.. she will get a BONUS story! Next, if she wants to get into our bed during the middle of the night, she must put pee-pee in the potty or else she goes back to her bed.

BINGO this was the magic formula that finally worked. Kate would be dry when she came into our bed, she would pee and stay dry for the rest of the night. There have been a few accidents, including one in our bed; but for the most part she is dry almost every night. She is now even using the potty in her room on her own before she comes into our bed. Some times she’ll wet her pants a little bit, which I think wakes her up to go to the potty and she’ll even change her Jammie bottoms on her own. I’m somewhat wondering if her behavior regression is to offset this major developmental leap she’s made, but what I know for sure is that I recently realized that I had to wash her sheets as they hadn’t been changed in over a week. Thank you random woman on the Internet who made the double pee suggestion. I don’t know who you are, but I wish I could send you $17 as that tip was much more helpful that Jamie Glow.acki’s nighttime training supplement.

Sleep: We’re still in the same dilemma; when she naps during the day she’s not tired at bedtime and doesn’t fall asleep until nearly 9:30 every night, which is too late for both Kate and Mommy, who is still sitting in her room until she falls asleep. I tried on a weekend to see what would happen if she didn’t nap and she was absolutely grizzly come 7PM. I could tell she was too tired to eat dinner and rather than risk an even bigger meltdown, I let her have some milk, gave her a quick bath and put her to bed. She was asleep before 8:30. Can I tell you how much I was ready to party when I walked out of her room?

I have a few strategies moving forward. Firstly we’re finally going to get her into a twin bed as she has been sleeping on her crib mattress for the better part of a year and she barely fits on it. I had been stressing out over so many bed designs and types and dealing with the limited options for configurations in her room given the location of the window, heating vent, closet and most importantly that her dresser is secured to the wall and the mirror is perfectly centered over the dresser and I really don’t want to move either one. Then I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to just get a day bed with a trundle that is essentially a larger version of what she has now with her toddler bed converted from her old crib. I think it will work for the kid who does not do well with change and for her mom, who is also some what reluctant to change the room from the nursery that I designed for my baby. I’m also going to get a storage unit that is somewhat of a similar style to her old changing table, and for now I’m keeping the glider in the room, mostly because Tyler spends a lot of time sleeping there and I think it’s one of his favorite spots.

My other night time strategies will involve getting her to go to sleep on her own, and I’m keeping the chair in part because I think we may need to ‘wean’ the time Mommy spends in the chair each night, which is actually going to be hard for me because it can be a productive use of time to clean my email, make shopping lists and download my Safe.way coupons. I also want to bring back the OK to wake clock to get her to sleep in her own room all night. As much as I do love snuggling with her at night, it’s becoming harder as she is getting bigger. Despite the fact that we have a Cal King and there really is enough room for the three of us, she crowds my side and I end up sleeping on a sliver of the bed. I thought I had pinched something in my shoulder at swimming or at the gym, but when I went to Monterey for a few nights, I realized it was from the way I was sleeping with Kate at my side. Some nights, I’ll get up and sleep in the guest room, which feel so decadent to have a bed to myself (well sharing only with Tyler) but it’s really not ideal. So that’s our goal by the end of the year; new bed, going to sleep on her own, staying dry overnight and staying in her own room all night. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Looking forward to: Having my normal kid back! I hope! I’m en route to Chicago for my Girls Weekend with Myrtle as I type, which is my last trip of the year. My parents are coming for a two week visit in August and I so desperately hope Kate’s behavior is improved by then, because all my feelings of inadequacy and failure as a parent will only be magnified in front of my mother. Then we start a new school year and Husband will be traveling for hockey (yay! More transition and change!) but we also will be approaching Halloween, Thanksgiving, and (gulp) Christmas. Seriously, how can it be almost Christmas already?


  1. Ugh. Behavior regression. I'm just dealing with attitude and mouthiness which I'm not sure is due to a regression or if she's indeed now a Threenager. But oy. Talk about feeling like a loser of a parent who can't control their kid.

    Best of luck on the goals for the rest of the year! I haven't been pushing the nightime dryness because I like my sleep and she's not able to stay dry pretty much every night. I don't know if I need to work on that yet or let her do her thing and try when she's staying dry more consistently.

  2. yay for dry nights! Hopefully you get some good ideas and information about the other the meantime, wishing you lots of patience!

  3. Ayden seems to go through stages of regression as well, although in a different way. His seems to be more anxiety driven, where he gets upset and sad easily, and also never wants to leave my side. We're currently going through a rough patch. Yay for nighttime success! I hope that things will settle down soon for all of you. So hard when dealing with their emotions.

  4. Most nights Bowen is dry but it's not consistent enough for me to trust him without a pull up and he wakes up enough on his own that I am not forcing myself to get up during the night.
    He definitely has an attitude here and there...I get "mama you mean!" often when I tell him no. Of course he usually is smiling when he says it or I make him laugh. I just remind myself he is a toddler and we do our very best to steer him in the right direction. Go easy on yourself, you are a terrific mom!!

  5. Really end all screens. Full stop. Addict behaviors and regression are symptoms of too much screen time. It is not good for her development/brain/emotions. Not just a week or 4 or so but at least 6 months so she finds other ways to spend her time and self entertain. HONEST. It used to be said that people's brainwaves flattened when watching tv and absolutely tv watching is not using your body or expanding imagination or learning about the physical world or creativity.
    Sorry! I understand the convenience..... but booze is also convenient.... and drugs .... Flat ban and that really means severe limiting of screens/phones for parents when with her too....
    Goodness I am making myself unpopular. Not an easy thing to do but it will help your daughter long term.

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