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Friday, December 31, 2010

Please Welcome Veruca Salt to the Family

Princess has been driving me BONKERS for the last 8 months or so. She used to be so sweet, obeyed really well, went right to sleep at night and naptimes. Not anymore!

Frankly, if I saw a child whining and throwing the types of fits that Princess constantly throws, I would wonder why the parents didn't discipline better. I really have to learn not to judge without knowing the whole story.  Princess has turned into one of those whiny, screaming, "Gimme NOW!" kids I always dreaded. And it's not because of lack of discipline. Lately, time-outs, removal of privileges, and spankings are all common occurrences at our house. I keep telling myself, "It's just a phase, it's just a phase, it's just a...Princess! For the 11th time today, stop pouring the milk carton out on the floor!!!"

I was venting about this to a friend the other day and she responded by asking me how much quality time I really spend one-on-one with Princess. I shrugged it off. I mean, I spend time with her every day, she's not in daycare and we're constantly together. But then I started thinking. I remember before Little Man was born and and I quit my job at the B&B to babysit four mornings a week. This meant that Princess was no longer at her cousin's house every day of the week while I worked and instead, was able to come with me when I babysat. I saw this as a wonderful change, she saw a change. Having spent so much time at Will's house ever since she was a tiny baby, the sudden change was devastating for her. She was pretty crabby and hard to manage for a while until she finally adjusted several months later.

Last May, just as Princess was getting used to my new job situation, I had Little Man. Who refused to eat, sleep or stop screaming for the first several months. He took up ALL of my time at first because he was so difficult, and I was unable to do much with Princess other than throw some food on the table at mealtimes. Not only was she not getting Mama's attention anymore, but she also had to listen to a screaming baby. Many times, she would either cover her ears, tell him to be quiet, or just run into her room and hide out in there.

Little Man finally started turning into an adorable happy baby around 3-4 months. Incidentally, this was when I also started my at-home online boutique which sucked up a lot of my time. While I still think this has been a good move for me and my family, it meant that I still didn't have much time for Princess. Now that I've got an inventory made up, I'm not as busy with that as I was before and I'm able to do more with Little Man. However, she isn't able to switch off her terrible behavior just because things are better. From now on, I plan to spend a little time each morning, while Little Man is napping, giving all my attention to Princess. Hopefully, after about a year of doing this, she will snap out of it and turn back into the sweet, loving child I had before.

Unsolicited Advice:
No matter what you have going on in your life, remember that your children will grow up quickly. Be sure to enjoy every stage (even the bad ones!) because it won't last long and soon they'll be moody teenagers who hate us.

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