I got great one on one time with each of my babies.
There was a lot to be grateful for today but here is where I'm going to keep it real. While looking back at and reflecting on my day today, even after remembering all of the wonderful things that happened, I am feeling helpless and broken. Ayden is going through such a rough patch right now. I feel like he is taking and taking from me and rarely giving. He has become defiant and physically aggressive again. Just today, he hit Logan on the head with his toy camera out of nowhere. It made Logan cry and left a red mark. Ayden LOVES Logan and immediately regretted it when he started crying (and certainly when I put his camera on the highest shelf in our home). He pulled my hair when we were heading to the bathroom to brush his teeth (like, literally pulled it out of my head) and then laughed when I told him it hurt. At the studio tonight he did absolutely everything I told him not to, did not listen and slapped my cheek in front of a few people.
We use positive parenting but we are not permissive. We expect Ayden to listen, we are consistent with our consequences and we absolutely do NOT give him what he wants if he does not act or ask for it appropriately. I know (at least I HOPE) that this is a phase but I am at a loss as to how to handle it in the meantime. We will not spank him. Believe me, I have considered if that may be necessary (it is that bad) but there is no way in my mind that I can make sense of spanking him for hitting me or someone else. That would be the most confusing consequence ever in my opinion. Also, it just does not feel right so I'm sure it would not be effective. I feel that you have to believe in your methods of discipline for them to work. I have been thinking long and hard about a new game plan and will continue to do so for the rest of the evening. One thing I realize is that we have gotten lazy about laying things out on the line for Ayden. At least during this phase that he is in. It is going to take more forethought and energy but we are going to HAVE to let him know expectations and consequences before we go anywhere or do anything. When we pull up to play group or story time, before we unbuckle our seat belts and get out of the car, I need to let him know what I expect and what will happen if he chooses not to hold up his end of the deal. The tricky part is coming up with motivating consequences and that is where tonight's homework comes into play.
Today was so rough for me that I had a good long cry on the way home from the studio. I did not hide it from Ayden and I was honest when he asked me what was wrong. When we got home he kissed the cheek that he hit and gave me a lot of hugs. He wipes my tears and even said, "It's okay, I've gotcha." It was cute and very sweet but it did not pull me out of my funk. I should also mention that he kissed Logan and apologized to him all on his own when he hurt him earlier in the day. It's like he is just majorly struggling with his impulse control, has his Mr. Hyde moment and then feels terrible once Dr. Jeckle returns.
David is working on the house tonight so I got Ayden some dinner then got him into bed as soon as possible and did not even read him his bed time stories. Tonight, I just did not have it in me to wipe his slate clean and pretend that today didn't happen. I wasn't mad and did not lecture him. I just quietly went through the motions, told him I loved him and said, "Let's try again tomorrow, okay Buddy?" He said okay and went to sleep.
So. Now that I have gotten that off my chest it's time to find my happy place again. Ayden has always kept us on our toes. He has taught us about everything we *thought* we knew about parenting from since before he was even born. His toddlerhood has been my most challenging and most humbling experience to date and I know I will be a much stronger, empathetic and understanding fellow mother once I make it through. My mantra from Logan's birth has now become my mantra for my journey for guiding Ayden through this challenging phase, "The only way out is through." Being forced out of my comfort zone and being so challenged can only result in growth as a person and as a mother. I also have to remember that Ayden is going through this too. David and I are not alone. It can't feel good to lose control of yourself and to make those around you, the people you love most, unhappy so many times over the course of a day. I can tell when he hugs me and tries his best to make it right that making wrong choices is not what he wants deep down. My sweet boy is still in there, he just needs the tools necessary to harness his spirit and channel all of that energy in the right direction. I made it through today and I will make it through tomorrow for him. I owe it to him to keep jumping back in that saddle and to dig deep and find a way to still be the mother he needs, even when he has done nothing but take and take and take. The only way out is through and we are all going to get through it together.
Do you have any useful consequences to share?
Update: I wrote this post an hour ago. Since then I have spent some time talking with David and have had my nose in this book:
It has some great ideas and has also reassured me that we are already doing a lot of things right. We have each pinpointed small changes we ourselves can make while interacting with Ayden in hopes to prevent days like this; and we are going into tomorrow with a game plan. Yesterday, Ayden had a great day and he has the potential to do so again tomorrow. I am already feeling much better and I am looking forward to giving him a clean slate and another chance to be the wonderful boy that I know he is!
Flashback! Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Toddler Tuesday: Magnetic Letter Match"
And two years ago today: "Little Pretender"
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