How to Train Your (Little) Dragon

30 Apr

a couple of weeks ago, my family took a trip to ikea.  if you are a parent of young kids, ikea is probably one of your favourite places to bring your kids.  they not only have babysitting service (for older kids), but their washrooms even come with diapers and kiddy toilets for babies and kids.

my daughter has been throwing tantrums lately and her whining and crying has gotten so much worse than before, that her dad and I are afraid to take her outside.  whenever we go out, she often “acts out” in public and in all honestly, it’s darn embarrassing!

so, at ikea… she decided to go on this full-on tantrum. first, she lied down on the floor… and she waved her legs and arms as if she was making a snow angel.  then, she flipped over and started to ‘swim’ on the ground, as if she was in a swimming pool.  all this, while screaming and crying at the top of her lungs.

everyone’s watching.  i’m tempted to pick her up and soothe her to escape from the embarrassment.  however, i don’t want to encourage this kind of behaviour and i know that picking her up and soothing her is exactly what she’s asking for.  so, i didn’t give in.  i kept calm and asked her to stop and of course, she didn’t even hear me.  i told her very firmly to get up.  after repeating myself for awhile, i told her i’m going home and she can follow me if she wants to.  then, i turned and walked away.  meanwhile, everyone’s eyes were on us.  i prayed that she would follow me and if she does, i was willing to hug her and comfort her.

less than a minute later, i turned around and i saw her get up.  she stopped crying.  she looked at me and smirked.  then, she ran the other away.

OH MY….. i was beyond mad.  how can this be?  she’s only 16 months, not even 2 years old and she is already acting like this??  what is wrong with her??

i eventually ran after her and held her tightly, which caused her to begin her cries again. she tried her hardest to squirm out of my arms.  eventually, ikea ice cream was able to calm her down.

yes, one thing after another.

toddlers from 13 months to 18 months are very cute and they will make you laugh and smile.  i have often heard many parents say, “awww, that’s a good age!”  it is, in a way that they are starting to experiment with new things and imitate you.  they learn so much and they will show off what they’ve learned and it will melt your heart.  however, because they are getting smarter… they will test you.  they will push you to your limits, little by little, until you throw in the towel.  after a ‘battle’ with your child, you are mentally, emotionally and often times physically exhausted!

oftentimes, i think… are all kids around this age this difficult?  or is it just my child?  am i doing things wrong?  if i become a strict and disciplining mom, would this trouble go away?

one thing i would hate is to have a spoiled, undisciplined and bad-mannered child.  i do not want to be a helicopter mom or a ‘yes’ mom, who spoils their kid.

after much thought and much observation of my daughter, i have learned that she was ready to understand her limits and ready to be disciplined.  at first, i had a talk with my husband to make sure he was on board with me.  when i discipline, he was not to interfere or to comfort her saying daddy will make it all better.  i got his agreement.

the next day, later at night, her tantrums began again.  nothing i did was satisfying to her and she wanted more and more.  she wanted to watch tv, eat while lying down and even then, she wanted me to turn on a different video every minute.  anything other than that, she ran around crying and screaming.  so for the first time, i turned off the tv, took away her food and told her until she behaves, she wasn’t going to get anything.  she understood everything i had said and so her screaming got louder and she cried so hard that her cries were silent.  she was very angry and she tried and tried to get her way.  i didn’t give in, nor did her dad.  then, she wanted to be held.  i walked away a couple of times saying that she needed to calm down first.  after a while, i held her and explained once again, why it’s not good to behave the way she did.  shortly after, she was calm.

omg.  after that incident, she became an angel.  she behaved so well the rest of the night and she even went to bed without a fuss and fell asleep within 10 minutes.  no resistance, no crying.  she tossed and turned, trying to fall asleep and she fell asleep all by herself.

the next day, she listened to us much more than she ever has.  for the first time, when you told her no, she actually listened.  then, monday began and once grandma spent a day with her… back to square one.  i had to be firm with her once again on monday night and tried to set boundaries again.  she must have been so confused, but i was hoping that she would learn some consistency, at least with me.

anyways, after this crazy experience, i thought… perhaps, it’s time to send her to a good daycare or nursery school.  maybe being with grandma isn’t helping her to learn limitations, manners and independence.  i felt that she’s now entering to an age, where she needs to learn acceptable social behaviours and independence.  perhaps, i’ll need some professional help – someone who is educated in teaching her these things, in the most constructive way.

thus, started my search for a good nursery school, once again.  we found a great private school.  yes, it’s gonna cost us an arm and a leg, but i feel like it’s going to be worth every penny.  from their curriculum, the teachers, the facilities, their teaching beliefs to organic lunches and snacks… it would be worth it.

i guess our next step is… can we afford it (for years to come, since the price will only increase as she moves up to higher grades)?  is she ready to go and spend a whole day without grandma or mom?  if she goes to this school, she has to wean her pacifier; can she do this?

much discussion and decision making will take place in the next few weeks.  on top of packing and getting ready for a new house… the work never ends!

Dragon Snow Angel


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