My sweet little girl has been a string of outrageous behavior lately. From tantrums and melt-downs to attitude and stubbornness, she has been giving me a run for my money. It used to be that she would pout and make me feel bad every second that I was not playing with her, but now she is actually acting out.
Yesterday, for example, Dave played with her all morning. I was getting things done around the house, particularly our bathroom project. He took her outside, played ponies, and was at her beck and call for hours. Then he took a five-minute break to help me hang something up.
Leah decided that that pissed her off. Her solution was to go into the laundry and take two big handfuls of the cat’s food and dump them into her water dish. I was beyond mad when we caught her in the act. I had just told her the previous day to stay away from Lilly’s food and water dishes.
I went immediately for an old standby and put a chair facing the wall for her time-out. Sometimes I need her to go in time out for me to cool off as much as her. This was one of those times. She tried her “You punished me, so you don’t love me” bit, but I quickly shut that down and told her to sit quietly.
I turned my back for a moment and when I turned around I saw that Leah had decorated the wall directly in front of her with a mural of her own snot. Her finger was up her nose digging around for another booger to stick on my wall. I went ballistic! I am normally such a calm, serene mommy even in anger, but this was just too much.
I have had it with this behavior! I feel like I am being punished for punishing her. I have to stop feeling guilty when I am just doing my job. Things are going to be changing around here, and I hope it’s for the better. I am not going to let my sweet girl turn into a spoiled brat.
The first thing I am going to try, at the suggestion of my mom, is a daily schedule. That way I can manage my own time better and make sure that there is time where she will have my complete attention, while also making sure that there will be time for me to get things done. I am hoping that this will help her stop acting out if she knows that after a certain block of time she will have me to play with her again.
I know that sounds a bit like I am giving her a reward, but I believe that kids this young act out because they are missing something. Leah is missing boundaries and attention. It is so easy for me to get overwhelmed and sidetracked while school is in session. Operation schedule is, I hope, going to be helpful to both of us.