Thursday, June 30, 2011


We've been having some issues with Keaton lately.  I think it's just normal 2-year-old-stuff, but I don't want to pass it off as that and look back in two years and think, damn, we could see it back then, why didn't we nip it in the bud when we had a chance?

It's mostly over toys.  Holy Mother of God is this child possessive.  And he has a temper.  It's like a monster bursting out from inside of him.  It gurgles around in his tummy until it boils up and up and then comes shooting out of his mouth in a ball of fire.  I know this all to well because I also have this monster.  Except fire isn't the form of aggression.  For me it's yelling, hateful words, sometimes throwing things and slamming doors.  For Keaton it's shoving, hitting, kicking, even biting.  

I've been talking to Busha about what we should do, right now our form of discipline is time-out.  This child is nothing but a type-A, rule-follower.  I tell him to go to time-out and he almost always gets up without complaint, walks to his corner, sits there until I tell him he can get up, tells me exactly what he did to deserve said time-out, apologizes and hugs his brother.  I mean, Supper Nanny would be pleased.  But! that doesn't stop him from being aggressive/possessive the next time Hutton touches one of his toys - even if it's only 30 seconds later.

I've considered spanking but nothing about that feels right to me and something about it tells me it would backfire on us.  The thing is, 90% of the time he is a really good kid.  He loves to help out around the house, last night he carried a garbage can to the curb all by his 2-and-a-half-year-old-self, he'll hold Hutton's hand and walk around with him and read books together.  But if Hutt touches his toys, he snaps. 

Last weekend Keaton and our nephew were playing in the sandbox together when a toy gotten taken away from him (I think, I wasn't actually there) and Keaon pinched/scratched him so hard our nephew had blood on his arm. It's one thing for him to do this to Hutton, not that it's okay but it makes dealing with it on our end easier.  It's another when he does it to other people's kids.  After this incident I was in the kitchen talking to my mom and Amanda and pondering what I'm doing wrong as a mother that is causing him to act like this? 

It hit me pretty quickly, I'm not spending enough time with him. And I'm not patient enough with him.

Will getting down on the floor and playing tractors or calmly disciplining make these behaviors magically go away?  No, I'm naive, but even I know that won't be the case.  But could it help? Could being more attentive and patient make him more loving and patient?  Can I teach by example that snapping is not the answer?  Yes.  I think so.

Yesterday was Wednesday, a day that is supposed to be about spending time with the boys.  I haven't been good about this lately.  Too often I'm frantically trying to clean and getting upset with them for being underfoot or making more messes.  Now that Hutton's birthday party is over and we won't be having guests any time soon, I'm making a conscious decision to make Wednesday what it should be.  A day about us.  WeDay (I loved all the suggestions but this seems to be the name and reminder that I need the most right now.)

I had so much fun with the boys last summer while I was on maternity leave, and I want to get back to that happy place with them so badly.  Thankfully yesterday our plans had been made in advance, picnic and swimming at the park with friends. 

We had such a good day.  Were there breakdowns?  Timeouts?  Yes.  There were plenty. But I remained calm.  I didn't yell or snap.  And after spending 12 full hours together, at bedtime the boys were fighting over who got to lay closer to me.  As a mother, that's one fight I don't mind seeing.


Em said...

Love the name you came up with. And so glad to hear you had a wonderful WeDay! Hope you have many more memorable ones this summer. :)

Jill said...

I feel for's a tough age to get through. We spanked with Emma because she would NEVER abide by the timeouts, but you're right, I think that backfired cause then she would start swinging in the air (sometimes at us)...probably wasn't a good example (although I know that's how I was disciplined - there were no such things as timeouts that I remember!) It's hard with Hutton too because he's too young to reason with and say "don't touch your brother's toys." But there's a fine balance too of Keaton needs to learn that it's okay to share.

I agree that the spending more time and being more patient (teach by example) is a good place to start (although difficult on any mother desperately trying to get a few things done on your day off!) :) Several things we've tried that seem to work if you mix them up are:
- distraction for Keaton - quickly find something else that will get his attention more than the "stolen toy" OR distraction for Hutton to another, "better" toy so it will ease Keaton's mind
- if possible, see if you can get them to play with the toy together (i.e., if a ball...have them roll it back and forth to each other - this might require you to stay there and mediate) :)
- when possible (and age appropriate), have 2 of the same toy. (This doesn't always work because then they want both of them (ha), but at least you can try to reason with him and say there is 1 for each of you, that means no fighting.)
- if all else fails, take the disputed toy away - this isn't always fair to the child who was picking up the toy because no one else was playing with it, but it can be pretty effective to the child who started the fight

None of these will solve all situations, but they have been effective for us at some point. Good luck with the behaviors - glad yesterday was a good day, though!

Kelly said...

Our 2.5 year old is the same way. Age has a lot to do with this. One thing we do and it really works well... is we will take Brealy out of the room. I tell her if she can't share then she can't play with the toy at all. I will let Blaine and/or Brody play with it in one room and she has to play in a different room. 9 times out of 10 she figures sharing is WAY better then not getting to play with the toy at all. Sometimes she will cross her arms and say "tat not FAIR" and go stomp into a different room... but once again she gets over it and moves on. Whatever you do pick a punishment and stick with it. I hate the whole remove the toy from the situation thing... b/c it's not fair to the child who was sharing or playing nice. Blaine (4 years old) shares so well and I just can't see myself taking his trains away b/c Brea won't share nicely.

I also hear you on the time-out situation. Almost every day when I pick Brea up from my FIL’s she runs up so excited and tells me about her day. Then at the end she yells with such enthusiasm, “and I got 2 timeouts”! Haha I obviously ask her for what and most times she responds with, “I hit Laino (Blaine) and Rody (Brody)”. It’s like she won a race or something… b/c she is so excited when she tells me. I try to tell her that isn’t a good thing… but she usually hops in the car and is on to the next task at hand. I know we shouldn’t laugh but I also know it is just a phase. Her brothers are no worse for wear and they love her even when she is mean :D

Anonymous said...

glad you enjoyed your WeDay! Hang in there! Just stick with whatever you start and hopefully he will catch on. Love you CaS

Mama B said...

I think it is safe to say that that was neither the first or the last of the "blood shed" between the two of them! :) Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Hey, we had so much fun with you guys at the park. We need to do this more often. I think you are doing an amazing job as a mother. Don't ever doubt that.
It was so nice to see the boys. Next time we can both be better prepared for the water though. :) Ha, ha!!! You had some wet pants. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, sorry. I'm sure you've figured it out but it's me, Tanya. :)

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