It is mainly temper tantrums and obstinance that we struggle with, oh and embarrassingly, Booboo at 19 months has started to mock us! If we ask her to sit down in the bath she will say 'Oooh sit down'. This is funny, funny to everyone we tell but she says it standing up, 3 inches away from a dangerous, protruding tap that could seriously harm her should she fall. Booboo can also turn family fun into a high stress situation in moments even when all intentions were to give her the best time possible. The picture above shows a happy little girl, imaginatively playing in her princess castle painted by her own fair hands, however, the reality of this picture is a 'lock in' situation whereby Booboo had painted most of her body and then begun to flick paint all over the room and put glue followed by glitter in her own hair and mine. This well meant craft project had gone horribly wrong and as I tried to tempt Booboo to the bathroom to tidy up she sensed my panic and refused to move until I finally asserted my strength and wrestled her raging up the stairs. I take all the blame for this craft carnage, I didn't set it up at all well, gave her too much choice and forgot that I pay for nursery to do messy play.
I have already spoken to Booboo's nursery about discipline. I kind of had to. Last week as Booboo was rolling under our car in the nursery car park in a fit of rage at the mere mention of going into the car seat, the nursery manager appeared. With a magical 'Hello, what are you doing under there', Booboo shimmied out smiling her little face off with open arms for the nursery manager to pick her up and place her in the hated car seat in our car. I felt like a right winner! Anyway, the nursery manager is a kind woman and didn't gloat but she said that I might want to think about getting Booboo a timer and that when I wanted her to do something to set the timer to go off in so many minutes and when it buzzed Booboo would be more likely to do the thing I asked of her. So in other words, give Booboo a bit more warning and autonomy. It sounds plausible to me so we will give it a go. Anyone else used the egg timer discipline method, ETD as I will now call it? I really do hope ETD doesn't stand for Estimated Time of Disaster in Booboo's case!
We don't think Booboo's behaviour is anything out of the ordinary and the worst of it is luckily reserved for just for me and her dad. Third parties that care for Booboo think she is an angel and experts would say that the temper tantrums and meltdowns stem from frustration because her communication is not as advanced as her understanding. This is all fine but my instincts say that we need to set some boundaries around here. The Babycentre website has some helpful articles but their suggestions have been tried and tested in this house and to no effect. They say use compromise, don't rationalise with her when she is worked up, be consistent and unwavering and to explain that life just isn't fair all of the time. I think we do all of these! We need new ideas.
I am a wannabe, most of the time failing, earth mother and I don't want to break my girl's spirit or knock her confidence but I want to keep her safe and us sane and not wanting to sound too hopeful but it would be great if our stern voice didn't make her laugh. The naughty step is often cited as an effective tool but at 19 months I don't think Booboo will understand and just attempt to climb our ridiculously steep stairs. Can anyone offer any advice, techniques or tips they have employed to deal with toddler discipline? Open to all suggestions!