I have a confession, Dear Reader.
My child exasperates me sometimes.
She’s smart, and she often acts like she’s older than she is. She likes to sit and read. She can be calm and polite. She always says thank you and usually says please. She speaks in full sentences almost all the time, and it’s easy to carry on a conversation with her. She knows the ABCs and can count to ten. She can throw, catch, and kick a ball.
When she is struck by an attack of two-year-old behavior, I don’t know what to do.
I don’t want to smack or spank her. I hate the thought.
Time outs and time ins don’t seem to work for us.
Nothing seems to work to halt her bad behavior. Nothing.
We went out to lunch today. She was tired, still recovering from our trip to Grandma’s this past weekend. She has been going to bed too late and getting up too early and not taking reliable naps.
I know the lack of sleep is contributing to her bad behavior, and I am working hard to get her back on her normal schedule.
However. Sometimes, I have to leave the house. Today, for instance, I was working on a sewing project, and my sewing machine needle broke. I needed a new one. I had already planned to go to lunch with my mom, so I decided to stop by the fabric store on the way home.
I usually talk to Grace and we look at everything in the store and discuss it. It keeps her busy and occupied and behaving nicely.
Today, Grace was not interested in talking about things in the store. She was chatting with my mom, and I was chatting with my mom, so we weren’t interacting as much as we normally would.
Without my undivided attention, Grace quickly began running amok.
Before long, she was grabbing silk flowers from shelf and banging them on the floor. When I grabbed them from her and put them away, she sprinted off to knock over a display. I grabbed her up and stuck her in the cart before picking up the display. She tried to climb out of the cart, and she yelled Down! I want down!
I was mortified. And furious.
We made a beeline for the door, but I had to pay for my needles. As we approached the cash register, Grace lept up and attacked the gift card display, leaving cards strewn all over the floor. I smacked her hand, took the cards, and she didn’t seem to notice.
I talked and cajoled and insisted she sit down. She refused, and I sat her in the cart. She stood up, and I sat her down again.
Nothing worked. I exhausted my arsenal, and the behavior continued.
I ended up holding her shoulder to ensure she stayed seated, but as soon as I let go, she jumped up like a jack-in-the-box.
I didn’t know what to do. I felt totally inept.
So, lay it on me. What should I have done?
© 2009, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.