Mine!

My sweet, darling baby boy has recently learned the words “NO!” and “UUGH!” and “MINE!”

To his credit, he applies them appropriately. Just at inappropriate times.

Each of my children have gone through this phase: the this-is-mine-and-I-want-whatever-you-have-in-your-hand phase. If I’m chewing gum, he can smell it. He’s like a bloodhound. He points to my mouth and shouts, “MINE!” repeatedly until I shove the ABC gum between his 12 small teeth. Have a drink in my hand? Not anymore.

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson with his older siblings. I just don’t know how to avoid this unpleasant chapter of toddlerhood. Case in point: “Oh, would you like a bite of this cookie I’m enjoying? Let me break off a piece for you. Here you go.”

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Rookie mistake. My toddlers want the whole thing. The paltry scrap is an insult. “NOOO!” they howl and bat it away. If it’s close to nap time, they do the back arch with an upper cut. The ol’ one, two.

It’s during moments like these I think to myself, “What have I created? What has happened to my little cherub? How do I teach gratitude to a 25 pound thrashing spaghetti noodle?”

There are no easy answers. Tough love, ignoring it, ugly confrontations. I’ve used all of the above. But the most effective and long-term approach I’ve found is praising like crazy the moments of generosity and sweetness. When my one-year-old shares a pretzel with me, I go haywire with excitement. If he offers me a hug after bonking my head with his red rubber ball, he gets hugged back ten-fold.

The best part about this approach is the dividends. Even after all of the tussles and tiffs, at the end of the day, when it’s time for lullabies in the rocking chair, my tuckered out bambino snuggles in close and sighs into my chest, “Nigh-nigh. I wuv-u.”

That’s when I pull him in even closer and whisper, “Mine.”

QUESTION: How do you look for sweetness during frustrating times?

CHALLENGE: Take a moment to give thanks that your children are yours.

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Comments

  1. danielletaylor.porter says

    This is great…this is my girls and their current ‘phase’ of choice. I love the reminders that while it is frustrating, kids can still be the greatest joy. I guess it helps to see it all in perspective, and it is even greater when I see my 5 year turn something over to her younger sister and tell her “you can have it now!” and realize that they do learn. Eventually. :)

  2. says

    Whew-I think that was one of the hardest things when the girls were little. I found it very difficult to see the blue sky when their faces and behaviors were at hurricane force! However, you are right. Catching them doing good does reap big benefits over time. As Danielle commented, when you do see your children behaving as they need to with their siblings, you know you are on the right track.

    We read Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline years ago, and found her ideas and suggestions really helpful. She still writes and maintains a blog: http://blog.positivediscipline.com/. Our girls remember when we made changes to how we dealt with behaviors, and my daughter and I wrote about it recently. Her take was actually amusing, especially since she is in her late twenties now.
    http://www.toodarnhappy.com/2011/10/19/standing-against-the-hurricane-making-choices-that-work/

    Thanks for covering a topic that is a real tough area for parents.

  3. says

    Whew-I think that was one of the hardest things when the girls were little. I found it very difficult to see the blue sky when their faces and behaviors were at hurricane force! However, you are right. Catching them doing good does reap big benefits over time. As Danielle commented, when you do see your children behaving as they need to with their siblings, you know you are on the right track.

    We read Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline years ago, and found her ideas and suggestions really helpful. She still writes and maintains a blog which you can find if you google her. Our girls remember when we made changes to how we dealt with their behaviors, and my daughter and I wrote about it recently on my blog: Standing against the Hurricane: Making choices that work. Her take was actually amusing, especially since she is in her late twenties now, and she remembers one incident with great clarity.

    Thanks for covering a topic that is a real tough area for parents.

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