Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Parent troubles

This is two posts in one, so it's pretty long. Just fair warning. If you make it through all of it, thank you :) 
Anger Issues:

Before Christmas Ben and I had a talk about Rowan and decided we were being a little too strict with her. At one point it was necessary because she was acting out a lot, but we figured we could give her a little extra room and not cart her off to time out so quickly. She had earned it, we were going a lot more days without time outs, so things were going really smooth.

The next week we drove to Utah for Christmas and we were there for almost two weeks. We drove during the day and got there in the evening. Of course Rowan and Mercedes were both cranky for a couple days because of the long drive. For the next while Rowan started to get a huge attitude. Christmas Eve, or the night before I'm not sure, she had the biggest fit/meltdown she has ever had. It started when we were changing her diaper at night and getting her ready for PJ's. She had been getting more and more testy and independent about diaper time (a sign it's time for potty training I know), so at this point she had to open up the diaper and she had to pull the little tabs and put it on her bum before I could cinch it up. But she was taking forever! She probably felt more pressured since Ben and I were both there getting her ready for bed, and we were all getting very frustrated. We kept urging her to put her diaper on and she was just messing with our heads putting it off. Pushing buttons. We were afraid she would pee on the bed! So I told her she had to put it on or I would, and of course she wouldn't so I took it from her to put on and the hysterics started. She absolutely flipped out. I tried my hardest to put it on her and she (while screaming and thrashing) took the diaper and shredded it apart. As well as the next two. I asked her if she would put it on herself and she would not. She would not do anything but thrash and scream and kick, like someone possessed by a devil. Seriously.

This went on for probably 30 minutes. I'm not sure. We bribed, we threatened, we yelled. Nothing changed. Continued hysterics went on. Finally Ben and I got a diaper on her and her pj pants (working as fast as possible) and I put her in time out. She threw her fit good and loud there for her 2 minutes, then after I wiped her nose she calmed down and she and I (mostly I) talked about it and she said sorry and we did hugs.
All over. *Sigh*

Christmas Eve I got sick. Flu or strep or something. My throat hurt SO bad to talk or swallow, and I got a fever. I was on the couch all night. Everyone else seemed fine.
Christmas went well (Sunday). Then Monday Rowan got sick. She had a fever for 3 days. Then she seemed to be okay so we drove to California to spend New Year's with Ben's side of the family.
(Btw, in case you're wondering, Ben's brother is a doctor and we were in contact with him. So Rowan did have some medical monitoring.)

California was lots of fun! We had a great time! But while we were there Rowan had two more meltdowns. And sadly everyone in the house had to listen to them too :(
I don't know how long they dragged on for. I would guess 45 minutes to an hour, but I really don't know. One time also started because of the diaper thing. And the other was for no reason at all. She just freaked out, and there was no calming her or pleasing her. I was so embarrassed and mortified at her absolutely horrific behavior!!!

Once we got home things seemed a little better for the first week home. She still had a big attitude, but it wasn't quite as bad when it was just us. She listened a little better. Then all of last week was the W-O-R-S-T. It was a fight every hour of every day. She was constantly yelling at me for everything! There was almost never any peace between us. I felt constant anger and annoyance at everything because of the tenor of our relationship and being unable to please her, as well as her being unwilling to listen to me. I prayed and prayed over it. I told God I didn't want to feel this way and that I knew I could stop, but that I needed His strength to help me. The Sunday before this last one Rowan's attitude was so different. It was a miracle!!! She was happy and willing to talk to me normally, kindly even. And I responded with the same kindness and respect. That day was wonderful! She behaved in church and even after church. I don't think we even had a time out that day! :)

Things between us have been much better! I am so grateful to God for helping me find the patience I needed, and for helping Rowan have a much nicer attitude. I still, and very truly, need Him every hour. It's taking A LOT of patience to keep this up every day. I seriously wanna throw a fit as big as hers just in retribution sometimes! But we're doing much better.

(This is not Rowan, btw.)
The Night Terrors:

The latest issue though, is nighttime. While we were in Utah Rowan slept in the bottom of the bunk bed in the same room with Ben, Mercedes and I. A big girl bed. She loved it! It was hard to get her to nap in there at first, but she finally did. She even asked for a nap herself, twice! Holy cow, I know!
Then in California she had a little bed made up on the floor (again in the same room as Mercedes, Ben and I) and she loved it. She even napped in there with Mercedes.

Once we got home she went back to her crib without any problem, but we thought that since she did so well with the "big girl beds" over the holidays we should take down one side of her crib and make it a bed! She was SO EXCITED! She loved her "big girl bed." And she slept in it just fine for several nights. Then about a week ago she all the sudden freaked out about going to bed. She kept putting it off asking for water (and demanding to get it herself, not letting us bring it to her). And asking for another prayer, and another prayer. After indulging quite a bit with the water and prayers, I told her it was time for bed. After like the 9th "tuck-tuck" into bed. She stayed and I made sure ALL the lights in the house were off so she wouldn't feel the need to get up and go looking for us, or that she was missing out. She finally went to sleep.

The next night was the same thing, except after the long haul and finally closing the door and turning off all the lights she would NOT go back to bed. She would sit at her door and scream for me to come. I left all the lights off and tucked her in again and sat by her, but she wouldn't stay in bed. She wanted me to hold her (which I'm not accustomed to doing very much because it hurts my back). It had been hours by this point so I told her she could sit in time out or go to bed. She sat in time out while Ben and I got on our computers, leaving one of the lights on. After time out was done she still did not want to sleep and I knew it was useless. I let her stay up and watch a movie with me on my computer. I felt bad because she was crying so much and seemed so devastated. She fell asleep on my shoulder and I laid her down in bed. She woke up crying in the morning, like she did not want to be there.

The next night was the same thing again. *sigh* At this point I was very, very tired. This night was even longer. She fought and fought. I knew I had to buckle down and be stubborn about her going to sleep because she was going to be stubborn, but I wasn't sure what procedure to use. I sat in her room with her and she wouldn't lay down. I read her a story (which finally got her in bed) and told her after the story she needed to sleep. She calmed down for the story which we read twice and then she wanted, what? Water. Of course. Gah! She used to go to bed at 8:30 pm, it was 1 pm when Ben finally took her for a drive in the car to put her to sleep and put her in her bed. A few hours later she woke up crying and seemed scared so we put her in our bed. Some of you are probably thinking "Oh no. You didn't. You'll never go back now." But those of you thinking that probably already know the exhaustion associated with kids that won't go to bed for days and days, and the fight that goes with it. At that point we gave in. The next few nights she slept in our bed. Last night included. :(

I don't want to start a pattern. This will stop. I'm looking for the right technique. During these fights I really wished I could remember Supernanny's sleep technique 'cause I knew I could stick with it, I just didn't know what it was, and her show isn't available on ABC.com anymore. Today I found some clips on youtube and I think I know what to do now. I'm also thinking about moving Mercedes in with Rowan since she pretty much sleeps through the night now. She wakes up earlier than Rowan for a bottle around 6:30am, then goes back to sleep 'till about 8:30 or 9am. Which is when they both usually get up. But I think she'll have to be sleep trained before I put Mercedes in there because she'll probably still throw a fit and then Mercedes won't get any sleep either.

Do you think that will help?? I sure hope so. Oh, and I forgot to mention that she has always slept in the dark and never had a problem with it, but we got her a night-light one night in case it might help, and it did not help at all. She didn't even care, so I don't think that's the problem. Ben thought we should put the rail back up on the bed to make it a crib again, but I'm sure it won't help. It's hard to move backward, once you've gone forward, and I'm sure she would just climb out. So, for now I'm trying to figure out to keep the night-light or not, when we start the sleep technique tonight, and if I should or should not put Mercedes in there.

And on TOP of all that. We're getting ready to potty train. *sigh* Man, parenting is hard. Of course, no one has ever said otherwise, and it's all very worth it. Really it is. We all grow tremendously because of it, but...it's still hard.

Any potty training tips for me??? I've got potty books from the library we've been reading and we're gonna go get a little potty for her 'cause it's hard for her to climb up on the big one, even with her stool. I also got pull ups, and panties (I hate that word). I think I'll use the panties as an incentive. Maybe a sticker chart for every time she goes in the potty, and the panties for having gone like a week without accidents or something like that. I don't know. Honestly, I'm terrified. And they say it's helpful to be really light-hearted about it and have fun and laugh so they don't feel like it's a big deal, so I know I gotta put this stress away or she'll be stressed too. Gosh! Tough. Tough. Tough.
So, if I seem out of the loop, or unresponsive, or not all there, this is why. I'm not avoiding anyone, I swear :) Wish me luck!


Girl's Favorites!

Just wanna record some of the girl's favorite things to remember and share.

Rowan at her 2nd birthday party, September 2011
Rowan's favorite movies:
*Gnomeo and Juliet
*Winnie the Pooh (Grand Adventure)
*Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
*Discover Spot

Favorite sayings:
*When someone leaves she says "Okay, buh bye, see ya!" then proceeds to slam the door and lock it, haha.
*"Mer-see-see" for Mercedes, it used to be "Sissy/Seesee"
*When talking to Mama or Daddy she'll say the wrong name and correct herself, "Mama! No. Daddy!" or vice versa. :)
*"Waaa halp me?" which is her way of repeating us saying "Wanna help me?", which means she wants to help.

Rowan can now say almost all her colors and sign them.
She can count to fourteen, and loves to count the butterflies on her walls.
She loves singing the ABC's, but doesn't quite know all the letters yet, and can understand a few letters in sign.
Rowan loves to sing:
*ABC's     *Wheels on the Bus     *Oh, an Austrian went Yodeling    *Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
*Wise man and the foolish man   

Mercedes and Grandpa Alvarez, Christmas 2011
Mercedes loves:
*Birdie. A red toy bird that makes crinkle noises and is shaped like a bracelet.
*Dolly. A soft toy doll our sweet friend Laura Post gave to her.
*Her crocheted blankies she sleeps with. One from Hermana Mary (which was originally for Rowan) and one that Laura also gave to her. They are so nice!
*Mercedes loves to be held. She also loves tummy time and sitting up so she can see everything and everyone.
*She still has big, plump, kissable cheeks, and she is growing like a weed! She is 5 months old and is already wearing size 6, 9 and 12 month clothing! Some of her pj's Rowan just grew out of! Oh, and she and Rowan both wear size 3 diapers. Crazy!
*She eats 7-8 oz per meal by bottle, but has started baby foods and oatmeal cereal and she loves both.
*Mercedes still has dark hair, but quite a bit fell out already and it's very thin now.
*During Relief Society (a women's meeting during church) I play piano at the beginning and the end, and while I play the sisters usually help me by holding Mercedes and they just LOVE her!
 *OH! And she rolls over now too! And she seems to really wanna crawl, always kicking her legs and trying to get somewhere. :)

That's all I can think of for now. They're growing so fast, I'll try and keep up these little updates more often since they learn and change so much!