Saturday, June 27, 2009

Don't you just love those HOLY SHIT moments of parenthood?

Most of the time over the past near-17 months, and especially the past few months, the general rule has been Mama Knows Best. I don't mean this as a bad thing towards Zach or anyone else in any way, it's just that I spend so much time with Donovan that I get to figure out what seems to work best, and most of the time I'm the one that puts him down for naps and bedtime. He tends to prefer me for a lot of things, like a few months ago when he went through a pahse where he'd scream bloody murder through his entire bath and bedtime routine if anyone other than me did it for him.

But the past week or 2, something different has been happening. There's been a few times where I'd go to put D down for a nap and rather than his usual go-to-sleep-right-away manner, he'd fuss and cry, and I'd go in every few minutes to try to soothe him back to sleep, only to have him cry some more as soon as I left the room. One night after 3 or 4 tries to get him to sleep, we tried this wacky idea of having my mom go up instead. She went in, picked him up, he realized right away he wasn't getting Mama anymore, and practically dove back into his pack-n-play and dozed away till (early, early) morning. The same thing's happened a few times with Zach, too, where he seemed to have the magic touch I seem to be suddenly missing.

I was thinking about all this last night, when D woke up at 3am crying. Zach and I took turns trying to get him back to sleep. I'd try to sing to him, rock him a little, then put him back down, and no matter what I tried he'd start crying again as soon as he felt me lowering him back down onto the mattress. Zach, meanwhile, is much more no-nonsense. I don't know what he did, but every time D would go back into his bed quietly... starting to cry again after 5-10 minutes, of course, but he'd at least quiet down and give us hope of sleeping.

This made me realize a couple of things. The biggest one being, that he knows. Donovan has already figured us out, and knows that while Mom more patient (especially when we're away from home) and will sit and rock him, etc, that he's not getting anywhere with Dad. I know kids probably figure this stuff out way earlier than 16 months, but this was one of the first times where I've really seen it. And it's a bit of a shock. Because this means I need to really get my act together. I need to watch what I do and say, I need to figure out my/our discipline strategy and get out of this bad habit of thinking he's "too young to get it." It means this kid really is watching my every move, and remembering them, and possibly ready to use them against me when he decides. And it is scary as shit because I know I'm not that good. I don't think I'm organized enough or self-disciplined enough to stay one step ahead of him and be consistent with my actions and my reactions.

But I guess the best I can do is try.


  1. I am the softee here also. It's hard not to be, after all they are only little for a short time. But, they are master manipulators from like day 30 is my guess.
    Well, now that you've figured that out, it should only get easier putting him to bed, so that's good news.

  2. Just remember this as you are heading towards the terrible two's....

    They will be sweet, but then they will figure out how to get their way and it will work for a while, but then you have to change the habit.. I took care of a little guy from 18 months until he was 3 and he went through a lot changes, and I think the most spoiled part of it was when the parents didn't have enough energy to say no... He had sharing issues.

    Good luck with it, but such a great observation, kids really are that smart!

  3. You know how the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one? Or that admitting you have a problem is half the battle? (Whatever the saying is... something along those lines...)

    The fact you realize that he's pulling strings (already) and knows which button to push and how is a huge advantage for you. It's easy to be the tough one and be consistent when you're merely babysitting a kid for a few hours (the only parenting experience I have), and even then it can be tough, but at least you are aware of the impact your actions and reactions have on him, and how much attention he's paying to them.

    Good luck! (I've been reading Calvin and Hobbes books, and the more I read the stronger I feel that a certain little boy I know has some severe Calvinesque tendencies. I might be tempted to blame his father...)

    By the way, word verification: testu. That boy is sure to testU for the next 18+ years...



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