Peanut: He's three going on four and I've heard from other mamas that this is a prime-time for power struggles. He's becoming more independent and is flexing his little preschool muscles for all they're worth. He isn't a manipulative kid, but he's smart and so he is dabbling with the manipulation some to see if it works. He goes from completely cooperative, sweet and wonderful to screaming in defiance and anger and then to crying and heartbroken so fast that I have whiplash. He is learning so many things (brain-wise) like reading, figuring out the world, and his imagination is skyrocketing. I can see his body changing from a baby that is squishy with that kissable big round belly to a little boy that is lean and muscley almost right before my eyes. I've been told that growth spurts and developmental milestones can send kids for a tailspin as well. Plus, he's watching--
Little Miss: Here's the deal: juggling attachment and discipline when you're dealing with a toddler who is attachment-challenged is a hard
Plus, let's just be honest. Every child has a personality. No child is "blank slate" whether they sprung from your own uterus or a uterus thousands of miles away you don't get to pick their personality. Little Miss is a live.fricking.wire. No matter where she lived or who raised her this child would have an excess of personality and an excess of attitude. It's just her. If she would have been able to stay in Ethiopia her mother would have asked her to go get some water and she would have gone and played games in the puddles and come dirty and wet without water. Her mother would have said, "Child! You are making me crazy!" And Little Miss would have made a face and said, "What about it?" And her mother would have said, "You have got to learn to listen! But I love you, you little monster!" And it would have been the end of it. We have an extra layer that we have to deal with though. I'm working on my attachment to her and she's working on her attachment to me/to us. She is who she is no matter what, we just have an extra knot to untangle before we get to her.
However, the issues that we're dealing with with her have been noticed by the boys. Peanut has seen that the rules are different for her and so he tests them out as well. If he were older we could explain to him why it's different and that we still expect him to behave correctly, but he's just not at that level. He sees her doing something and getting away with it and then he needs to give it a shot and see if it has the same result and when it doesn't then there's more fallout. It's just different to have three little little children than it would be if he were even five or six years old.
Pickle: Speaking of an excess of personality.... Yikes! This child is so funny. He is so cute. He is so bad. He is laidback, but he is determined. He thinks he can do whatever he sees his big brother do. He's just really entering his first phase of defiance and he's giving it all he's worth. Screaming. Tantrums. Hitting. Infrequent biting. No! No! No! Not only is he about to enter his terrible twos, but he's doing it with the examples of an attachment/attitude challenged big sister, and a power-struggling independent/but still a baby big brother. I swear he takes the best of each of them and the worst of each of them and gives it his own wicked cute baby twist.
Ai. Yi. Yi. Seriously. These kids are bad. lol. We are in the process of squashing the baby rebellion, but it's a process. We've got a few tricks up our sleeves, but unfortunately it makes for more stress, and more tears while we re-establish order.
I am hopeful however, that if we (the parents) remain steadfast that when the smoke clears on the other side of this battlefield will be our first time of peace.... If you don't hear from me for awhile you can assume that the children have won....
General Jamey :)
PS. Tomorrow is the first in our series of about mothering hordes of small children! We'll be doing an introduction of our family and a little questionnaire. Be ready to link up! We want to know how it goes down in your house too!