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.