Monday, November 8, 2010

Last night's bathtime monologue

"It's not ours, but there's a baby inside my tummy.  When it comes out, we'll have to do everything the baby wants.  We should be really quiet when the baby wants to talk.  It isn't ours, but there's a baby inside my tummy.  That's why it's so squishy and hard.  My tummy is like a house for the baby."

We have a couple of friends who are pregnant, and Ben is well versed in the age-appropriate explanation that we concocted for him.  I have no idea how the "it isn't ours" element crept in.  The house analogy is entirely his own invention, as are the strictures on the deference that should be paid to the baby.  Neil and I were just about rolling on the floor during this speech.

In other three-year-old parenting news, we're finding good ways and renewed confidence for handling the non-compliance issues that I blogged about recently.  We do tend to couch things in terms of choices and consequences, but we're increasingly comfortable with taking a firm line that basically represents a "because we're the parents" attitude.  An example:  "Nope, we're gonna put the pants on now.  Yes, I understand that you don't want to.  You've made that very clear.  But we're gonna put them on now.  You can choose to make this quick and easy, or you can choose to fuss and thrash, and that will make it more difficult for both of us, but it doesn't change the fact that we're putting pants on now.  Okay, good choice -- one leg in...."

Also, we have fairly successfully weaned off the pacifier.  As a baby, Ben was Not A Good Sleeper, and we found that the pacifier (or "ba-ba" as he calls it) was pretty much essential.  Somewhere around twelve months, we reduced ba-ba usage to sleep time only, and we've felt for awhile now that the time was upon us to pull the plug altogether.  We had enough travel over the summer and big transitions for the fall that we put it off until last week, but we finally braced ourselves for the inevitable.  After consulting with friends, we devised a plan (which involved a lot of preparation, talk therapy, and one instance of massive bribery), and we carried it out.  We were prepared for several nights of non-sleep, but in fact he has been sleeping at night perfectly, even better than before (because he no longer cries out when he loses his ba-ba at night); we are flabbergasted by how easy that was.  Nap time has been a different story.  He has yet to take a nap since the Great Weaning.  Seriously.  It's been almost a week now.  We're hoping that this is just a temporary transition rather than a permanent lifestyle change.


susannah said... was the massive plan? monrovia uses her pacifier religiously during sleep times...and i feel like the day is coming that we need to tell the pacifier so long. she, too, was a really tough sleeper at the beginning.

K.L. said...

That is a hilarious story. Kids have the most amazing logic.

Our weaning ritual was amazing. Take the kid, a garbage can, all the binkys, and a pair of scissors. Have the kid watch you snip the end off every nipple (works for bottles too) and have them recite with you "it is all broken, we don't have any more." That night when they ask for it, remind them it is broken. At most we have only ever had one short cry, then they move on. Seriously, we expected major trauma. Kid just moved on EVERY TIME, every kid. Miracle really.

Julia said...

We thought about doing that (a friend recommended it), but we knew he'd figure out that this was no accidental breakage, we were the ones who were cutting them, and it just wasn't going to fly. Instead, we talked it up for a few days (what "big kids" do). And then when we were shopping and he glommed onto a toy that he really wanted, we offered him a deal: He could trade in all his ba-bas for the boat. He wasn't sure about that. We went home, talked about it some more, and he made up his mind that he was willing to do this, and he fully understood that if he engaged in this swap, then there would be no more ba-bas, ever. So we went back and got the boat, and the he ceremoniously handed us all the ba-bas in exchange for the boat. At first we were a little queasy about this level of outright bribery, but then we rationalized it by saying that it was a way of honoring how important the ba-bas were to him. We were recognizing their value, and offering him something of equal value in return, and he was fully in on the decison-making process. Maybe in retrospect we didn't have to be this elaborate, but it seems to have worked -- no tears at all.

leah said...

We don't have a pacifier for Nolan (he never really took to one- our luck), but we don't have any naps, either (sigh). We do, however, have a sippy cup habit, which is in the weaning process. I'm not willing to pull it entirely because of the upcoming medical procedures (Nolan won't have the use of his arms during the pH probe, so the spillproof sippy will come in very handy).

Nolan recently invented a little green bunny named "E-E-H-Q-P-T-N" that follows him around. This bunny is an advocate for three year old rights, and is opposed to bedtime, broccoli, and brothers. Green Bunny is in favor of ice cream, candy, and jumping on the couch.

Luckily, Mommies get to out-vote Green Bunnies every single time.

Amie said...

Very funny story..wish you had the monologue on video..I'll bet it's very cute.Congratulations on the weaning of the ba-ba.We are very lucky that Rhianna never had any ba-bas or binky to wean off.

Elsie Hickey Wilson said...

Cute story about the baby in the tummy! Great imagination! He certainly had it all worked out!
Ah, yes, Babas come and they go!
Looking back to when I was the Mommy and not the Grammy....Almost everything we thought would be a "big deal" actually passed amazingly low key! Most feelings of being the terrible parent because I'm taking away the beloved whatever, actually eased quickly, too! Glad the transition went so well! A little bribery now and then is ok! Life works that way. LOL! Unless it is the ONLY way you deal with things...and I'm sure it is NOT! LOL! Amazing...they grow up and become parents themselves!
Love ya'!

Kathy said...

I think you did that very well. Keep in mind that it wasn't truly bribery. It was a "transaction". Ben bought the boat by giving you something of equal value. To my way of looking at it, this is a very valuable concept. But be careful he doesn't become too good at bargaining! You set the limited times when "transactions" can be used.
Congrats on the winning the wars efforts. Sounds like you are using a nicely balanced approach that will leave you in the best position in the future. Always remember to hang on to your right to say NO. And what was Uncle Steve trying to imply when he said something about a family history of stubbornness? I am sure that our meek and mild father (his brother) is NEVER stubborn. If there is any such thing, it must all be in his line of descent. (Eh, Madeline and Alicia, our dearly beloved cousins and daughters of said highly respected and honored uncle?)

Ben, you ROCK! In every sense of the word! Love you!!!
Your Aunt Kathy
(Oh, love you too, Julia and Neil.)

Madeline said...

I have no stubbornness. That's just Alicia and my dad. So there. ;)