If you're a mom, do you ever find yourself saying (to yourself, of course) "So glad that's not my kid doing that!" I'm not saying that to be mean, but I'm being honest. Jake has his challenging moments and is definitely in a stereotypical 3 year old stage right now where a lot of things turn into a fight, or he freaks out about something for seemingly no reason. So the selfish mom side of me gives myself a little pat on the back when we're out somewhere & I see a kid doing something and for that brief moment, a wave of relief washes over me & I can have my "not my kid!" moment of that day.
A few weeks ago, that WAS my kid. I was the one who felt like I had a million eyes on me, judging Brian & I. To give some background, while Jake may be challenging in some areas, he is generally very well-behaved when we go out to eat. He sits in his seat, politely orders his own food and occupies himself with toys or books that he brought, or the crayons that are provided. However, when we went out to dinner with my parents a few weeks ago, it was like another kid had crawled into his body and taken over. "I DON'T WANT TO SIT! I WANT MY FOOD! I DON'T WANT THESE TOYS! GIVE ME THAT FORK!" I was mortified. As calmly as I could even though my heart was racing, I removed him from his seat and took him out to the lobby area of the restaurant and let him know that his behavior was not ok and if he wanted to eat his dinner, he needed to quietly come back in and wait patiently for his food.
He did come back in. He did sit down. I wouldn't say that overall, it was a great experience even after that. He was still fighting us on stuff. He was still squirming all over his seat. He was still trying to take everything off the table in his reach and toss it on the ground.
We haven't been out to dinner since then, but I really hope it was just an off day for him. So fellow moms, what do you do in those situations? We've all been there-how do you handle it when you're the one with the kid crying in the store? Fighting with you in the restaurant?
We've found recently that Jake does well with diversions and "deals"; presenting him with choices or turning things around to make something seem like his idea are working well for us right now. (I will Jedi-mind trick my 3 year old as long as I can) Often times, conversations in our house go like this:
Jake: I want a cookie for breakfast.
Me: We don't eat cookies for breakfast, but you can have a pancake or cereal, which would you like?
Jake: throws himself to the ground and cries like I told him he can never eat another cookie ever again I WANT A COOKIE!!
Me: you can have the choices that I gave you, or you can have nothing...let me know.
Jake: continues to sob for a few moments, often runs out of the room, but eventually comes back and makes a choice
OR, letting him think something is his idea:
Me: Jake, you need to go to the potty before we leave the house.
Jake: I don't want to go potty.
Me: hmm...you're such a big boy now, I wonder if you can pull your pants & underwear down all by yourself? do you think you can? or maybe I'll have to help.....
Jake: no, no! I'm a big boy, I can do it...watch me!!
Sure, these things don't always work & sometimes I'm still stuck with a stubborn child who just won't budge once he gets an idea in his head. But we feel like at this point, if we're successful even part of the time, it's a win for us in the parenting department!!