May 19, 2008

Sometimes I pull out my hair because of P

Posted in Ramblings o' P at 6:43 pm by Erin

P has done very well adjusting to being a big brother overall.  He’s had issues, naturally.  He’s needed more attention from us and we’d figured out how to do that while I was still working–instead of driving to K’s daycare on our way home, we parked the car at home and walked.  It gave us enough one-on-one time that he was much happier and much more pleasant, and it was nice to walk home with my boys and get a little exercise.  I’m not sure what we’ll do now that I’m home with them both all day every day (or will be as of Friday, when P’s school is done), but we’ll figure it out.

But now he’s going through some issues and I have no idea if they’re related to being a big brother or just to his age.  Since K came home, we’ve been a little less stringent about cleaning up toys before bedtime and other things, but the toys are becoming an issue.  We have no desire to live in a house in which we trip over toys, plus he has the responsibility of cleaning up after himself.  We’re more lenient about upstairs in the bedroom or playroom, but until K came home, all downstairs toys had to be cleaned up every night before bedtime.  Since then, I’m more likely to be so busy getting both of them upstairs for bed that I don’t even think about it.

I decided that had to stop.  The place was a mess and I don’t feel like cleaning up toys after getting the kids in bed, nor should we have to.  Tonight, he played with trains and tracks after dinner and then I said it was time to clean up.  As he has often done lately, he said he needed help–"help" typically means that I clean up most of it and he puts away a couple of things.  So I said that it was up to him to clean it up, and that I was bringing K up for his bath–when P was done cleaning up, he could come up and get into the bathtub.  P loves his bath, so I thought this would spur him on to getting it done quickly.  Instead, I got hysterical sobbing and protestations that he couldn’t do it, that he needed help.  I refused.  I gave K his bath, conditioned his hair, put on his apricot oil (yum!) to keep his skin smooth and soft, and got him into jammies.  P sobbed the whole time.

At the same time, it worked.  Once K was in jammies, I went down to heat a bottle for him and found P just zipping the last container of tracks.  I told him I was proud of him for doing it himself and that now he could get into the bath–he could be in the bath until K was done with his bottle, then I would wash his hair and it would be time to get out for bedtime stories.  More sobbing ensued, because he wanted a longer bath, the bath was too cold (it had been a while since I ran it for K and I wasn’t about to waste all the water because P procrastinated so long), etc, etc, etc.

Unfortunately for P, I held firm.  As soon as K’s bottle was done, I washed P’s hair, pulled the plug, and dried him off.  I wrestled him into jammies and refused him bedtime stories after he tried to hit me with a toy.

It was fun.  I can’t wait to be home with both of them all day, everyday.

Happily, he calmed down once I brought him up to his bed and went out to answer the phone.  When I came back, he apologized and we talked about the choices that he’d made that led to us being upset with each other.  Then he politely asked if I would sit in their room until he fell asleep.  I agreed.  He was asleep within 5 minutes.

I know it has to happen.  I’m not here to be his best friend, I’m here to be his mom.  I’m here to raise good kids who will grow into good adults, who have the tools that they need to be successful in whatever they choose to do–and that includes taking personal responsibility for the choices that they make.  But it is exhausting. 



  1. Rachel Inbar said,

    Let me know if you want some assvice… I have some tricks that have worked for me.

  2. DD said,

    Good news? It’s Sooooo normal. Bad news? It continues as XBoy is still doing it at 6 1/2.
    Trust me, Erin, if you had to hear what I did last night you would pave your living room with toys as an alternative. My husband even banned me from blogging about it. Good times.

  3. DinoD said,

    “I’m not here to be his best friend, I’m here to be his mom.”
    Bravo – and so many can’t wrap their minds around this. Our next door neighbour is so busy being “best pals” with his sons that he can’t see the thugs they are becoming (police involvement and more).
    Who knew parenting could be so exhausting eh?

  4. jesspond said,

    “It was fun. I can’t wait to be home with both of them all day, everyday.”
    If I’d have been drinking something when I read this, I’d have spit. 🙂
    It’s a great thing that you’re not just giving in to be the “good” parent. Kids don’t need best friends, they need love and support, even if that means being strict…you are SO right!!
    Good luck over the summer! It’ll be fine, I’m sure. Though….not to say that it’s not going to be crazy some/most times too!

  5. Jennifer said,

    Oy. Same basic conflict, but this morning, before we left. Sobbing in the front yard. We wanted to do this why again????

  6. Heather said,

    Way to go mom! I’m so glad you’re sticking to your guns.
    I have the same issues w/ my 6 1/2 yr old son. He’s really good most of the time, but “can’t” clean up on his own without some highly motivational reason. 🙂
    Hi from NaComLeavMo

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