Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Law of Physics

An object in motion will continue in motion at a constant rate of speed until a force works against it to slow or stop that motion. Yes, that's my rendition of the law :)

The day continued to go down hill. And there was NOTHING I could do to fix it... until...

First off, Kristopher is a sweet sweet child that is generally very well spoken, obedient, and kind. But he is also 4. And he can be a terror. Today was one of THOSE days.

After the park and nap time, I was on the couch with Emma and Brianna. They were playing with the "chatter" Elmo and Cookie Monster and Brianna was rubbing on Emma's hair and generally just being sweet. Kristopher, on the other hand, wasn't happy about that. He, for some reason, believes that if Brianna is happy that there is something wrong. This is not a newly established tradition, it has been ongoing since the days of Cain and Abel and sibling rivalry at its best. I'm sure it will come with Emma and Micah as well, but they are still new enough that he's excited to see them happy and will let them play with his toys.

Problem being-- the toys Brianna was happy with were HER toys! Kristopher wasn't thrilled, still, and decided that she should want to play with her Abbie Cadabbie doll instead. He went and got it and said to her that he wanted to trade her. Now, she's sitting ON MY LAP and I said to him "No, Kristopher. Don't take Elmo, she's happy and it's her toy. NO. Don't take Elmo. Kristopher, NO. NO!" And with that, he snatched Elmo away! Um...??????????????????????? If this wasn't the end of a very long day. And if it hadn't happened ON MY LAP. And if I hadn't said it so explicitly NO DON'T DO THAT. And if I wasn't sure that he'd heard me. And if he had given it back at least. Then maybe he wouldn't have deserved what he had coming to him. BUT HE DID.

A quick swat and sent to a time out was my initial reaction (along with getting the girls off the couch so I could get up- we don't need any unscheduled hospital visits, they'll see us enough as it is!). Then I went and sat IN the chair with him and looked him in the eye and discussed WHY he was in trouble and WHAT was going through his head. Then I nicely told him to get his hiney to bed and stay there before he got in more trouble. He obliged. I turned off his light, closed his door, and he was allowed to cry it out. Which lasted 10 seconds until he was happy on his bed again.

A few minutes later we had the speech. A new one, because I'm tired of the old "why'd you do that, go say sorry, don't do it again" approach. No, we had a better chat. Oh, and first he had to talk to Daddy on the phone. I don't know what went down there, but basically we both decided that Kristopher had NO idea that taking the toy from his sister was wrong. He saw no problem with it. He wanted it. What's so bad about that. OUCH. We have a problem.

So... the new conversation went something like this... "do you LIKE Brianna? Do you want her to be happy? Why do you make her cry? Is there a reason you want to see her cry? Ok, good, I'm glad that's not the case... but there's still a problem. NO taking toys from her. Yours, hers, mine- doesn't matter, don't touch her. NO touching her otherwise. Unless she's hurt or going to hurt someone else, you MUST talk to us about toys/ touching and not just decide to do things yourself. When we say NO you HAVE TO listen. You'll have consequences if you don't. BIG ONES. If you continue in the behavior you are currently showing toward your sister, you will spend more time in your bed with the light off and door closed than you will playing. Now... the consequences."

By this time the mention of the fact that he wasn't acting like he liked Brianna alone had him in tears and then by the end he'd dried it up and was grinning again.. UGH 4 yr olds! They have a switch, I swear!

So... the consequences were this: No snacks at all today. No juice except after dinner (water- get it yourself). No TV time. No swinging. No VSmile. No doing ANYTHING to Brianna. She cries- YOU suffer if you're nearby! No complaining about your food. No playing with Mrs. M during Speech therapy. No privledges. You're done. And if you decide to whine or be nasty you can just go sit back in your bed with the lights off. I'm DONE.

Yes, that's what happened to put the breaks on the falling ball. Kristopher hung out with Daddy during ST and ended up playing with the computer- which I guess wasn't on the list and kept him busy, but is VERY close to the other things ON the list... oh well. He ate his dinner. He drank 1 cup of juice after and didn't complain. Daddy gave him 1 potato chip (not knowing about the no snacks rule, he worked Daddy over well...) and then when Daddy left the office he decided to chow down on his own. So... he got a lovely consequence, was reaquainted with his bed for a bit, and finally I think it struck him that he really should behave if he wants to have any fun.

So... how do you get the ball rolling in a positive direction so that it continues onward in that fashion unless it's impacted by something to change its direction?? I'd much rather experience Physics that way!!


  1. Two things come to mind. Firstly,Lamentations 3:22-23
    Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
    Secondly, and more or less similar, is Scarlett O'hara at the end of Gone with the Wind where she says, "...tomorrow is another day." Here's wishing you a bright shiny new day tomorrow.

  2. I love that you always have something to write about!
    You may wish your life were a bit more boring, though! Wishing you a much better tomorrow!!

  3. Maybe, if Kristopher makes it a habit of taking Brianna's fave toys, it would interesting to see how he would respond to Brianna getting to choose from a selection of *his* favorite toys. Maybe she could pick a toy that she gets to keep for a few days. He may get upset, but that may be a prime opportunity to explain that this is exactly how Brianna feels when he takes her toys and "sharing" without consent is not as much fun as sharing with permission...

    Wishing you an easier day tomorrow!

  4. I didn't realize that Micah and Dennis are the same age. :)

  5. Let me tell you, it doesn't get any better with 5 (almost 6) year olds. I usually tell him to go play in the other room BEFORE he gets in trouble. My little guy is the sweetest little guy around BUT throw in a sister (doesn't do it to brother) and you have a problem. But then again, most days they play well together. But those days when they don't, oy vay.


  6. The first thing that came to my mind was something I was told in a church parenting class. Don't ask a kid "why did you do that to your sister". Instead ask "what did you do that was wrong". Has something to do with their age/comprehension. I thought it sounded crazy but it seemed to work with my son. Before I would get the "I don't know" answer. Now it opens up the way for more talk about what we can change.

    The "VERY close to the other things ON the list" made me laugh. My son will be found playing his gameboy after he has lost computer. Why? "Mom, you only told me I was grounded from the computer. You never said I couldn't play ANY games." He's 8.

    Yep, it only gets better with age.

  7. Oh yes, the famous "toy trade-off!" I thought Nolan was the master at that, but it seems K may give him a little challenge for that title! LOL. He's now getting more sneaky about it though. He KNOWS he is not to snatch toys away from her or take them at all. Instead, if Kaia (and very rarely Pierce) has something he wants, he'll go find another toy, approach her and in his sweetest high pitched voice and try to convince her how much more awesome the toy HE has is compared to the toy SHE has. He's quite the salesman, she always trades him! Drives me completely insane because despite me telling him NOT to do it, he does it anyways and is all proud that he did it without making her cry. He figures if she's still happy then all is good. Little bugger.

  8. Oh, Meredith, your story brought back a flood of memories! I remember telling people that my oldest, Audrey, was in the terrible twos and then the terrible threes but when we got to four and she was still rotten - well, I was just frustrated and couldn't explain her behavior! The good news is that she is now almost nine is wonderful with her sister and a delight to be around most of the time. K will be the same way; I am sure of it!
    I also have experience with the computer/ toy restriction. With my step son we had to say no electronics of any kind. That included TV, computer, games, radio, CD player, etc... If it had an electric cord or batteries it was off limits. It does work if you are consistant.
    Good luck!!
    mom of Audrey 9 and Annie DS age 6

  9. Oh my. If someone ever comes up with a good solution for four-year-old misbehaviour, they will make a fortune. My youngest is four, and we have these kinds of scenes on a regular basis. I'm anxious to read what other people have done!

  10. aww, sorry your day was rough. I hope today is better!

  11. My son Devin (who only turns 3 in September!) does this sort of thing all the time to his cousin (age 4). Devin decides he simply doesn't want his cousin to have that toy, goes to him hands him a differnt toy and yanks the one out of his hands. I don't think Devin even cares if his cousin is satisfied with the toy. And it isn't even that he wants to play with the toy, he just doesn't want his cousin to.. Devin will go and 'hide' the toy somewhere. My nephew usually ends up crying. Devin visits time out a lot.