I guess I got spoiled. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this, but often, parents of kids with special needs say that their special needs kid is the easiest one to parent. Well, each child of mine presents unique challenges to my parenting prowess, but I have to say that until now, I’ve never actually experienced the age of Two.
Let me be clear: when this kid is cute, he is cute. I’ve experienced unbearable levels of cuteness from his big sibs, but this one takes the pursuit of adorability to a whole new level. And he’s smart. Uncannily smart. My little late talker bypassed most of the normal first attempts at speech. His clearest word? “Meeeee!” (Pointing to himself.) As in: It’s time for dinner. “Meeeee!” Okay, let’s go outside. “Meeee!” He walks around the house labeling items by the name of their owner. “A-a,” he says to Alex’s coat. “Ma-ma,” pointing to Mommy’s shoes. And yesterday, he pointed to the crunchy peanut butter, which only one person in the house likes: “Da-da!” I mean, nothing gets by this kid.
For Nicholas, the age of two is less about tantrums than it is about whining. He whines whenever he doesn’t get his way—which (considering that left to his own devices, he would do nothing but watch TV and eat all day long) you can imagine happens quite often. When I try to redirect or correct him, he sulks. Example: he pulls the videos off the shelf. I say, “No, you already watched a video.” He throws the video on the floor, watching me for a reaction. “Nicholas!” I say. “Pick that up and put it back on the shelf.” He turns and runs away, gambling that I’ll be too preoccupied to come after him. Which, until recently, has been a good gamble. But lately I’ve realized that I can’t delay the lessons of discipline anymore. So I go after him, bring him back, try to hand-over-hand him into compliance. He picks up his feet and hangs from my hands, shrieks, whines, and occasionally screams.
Then there is dinner time. He will not eat vegetables once he has something he likes more. He’s the same way about most of our main dishes. He’s generally cooperative if I pick up the spoon and put the food in his mouth for him, but he will not feed it to himself. Again, until recently, I’ve accepted that as the cost of having young children. But now that we’re trying to add to the family, I realize that I can’t keep treating him like a baby. He’s on the cusp of two, and for the sake of parental sanity, he’s got to be nudged onward.
And of course, he absolutely refuses to do anything outside of a five-inch radius from Mommy’s side. I try to include him in cooking, dishes, laundry, etc., but this is a real problem when I’m trying to work on the computer. Which I have to do, because I am a work-at-home mom, and nap time doesn’t cut it.
I thought that if I made time every morning to focus on him one-on-one—to play, or cook, or take a walk—he would then be more willing to play independently at other times. No such luck. The kid will not go downstairs and play with the toys. He spends most of the time crawling up onto my lap and wiggling around, forcing me to use my arms to hold him back from deathly plunges while simultaneously trying to type; clicking my mouse, yanking the mouse pad out from under it; and pulling on my arm while whining. A lot. And I’m about at my wits’ end.
I want to be there for my child when he needs me, but he’s so needy! And I really think it’s because he’s bored when his siblings aren’t around. So today, I’m throwing open the comments, asking for ideas on how to achieve the needed balance between my time and his behavior. I know he’s only young for a short time, but that will be true till the day our chaotic house becomes an empty nest. Life can’t stop for the next 16 years. I need suggestions on how to cure the whining!
- 20 things moms should never feel guilty about (cnn.com)
- Mommy – Please don’t let him take me away! PUHLEASE!! (patkat80.wordpress.com)