Well, that is the chosen vegetable in this house. Wee woman used to love it, she wasn't keen on other stuff except a potato but they almost don't count as most kids will eat them in one form or another. But the broccoli she would wolf down. I figured it was great , it was green, full of iron etc, we could graduate on to others when the fussy phase is over...... now broccoli is on the no go list .... Bugger. For you insert what ever item, food group your child is protesting about this week
For me, it's not the only thing on the no go list .. Just about everything I say or ask is now treated with contempt or like I'm trying to poison her , or ask her to do something awful... like put her bloody shoes on ! These months I call the fight club phase. Its couple with (see above ) the fussy in food phase and falls right about tanty two's through threenager and into four fecks sake territory. Although you are starting to be able to reason with them then. Just like the movie of the same name Fight Club is what every parent experiences in one form or another. We all end up a wee bit bruised ( egos ), there are no set rules, but the difference is we need to talk about it ! They want to fight with you , either physically running in wrong direction, refusing to hold a hand, leave a shop, sit in car seat, stay in bed, heck go to bed, take a nap although they are not ready to drop them yet even though they think they are. My wee woman on a semi regular basis decides she's done with dinner and gets down, even taking her plate to the sink... full plate of food I might add. I cant for the life of me think how she is functioning on air but she has more energy that the battery bunny during the day. She's also started to play myself and husband off against each other ... won't brush teeth for Mummy. Pretty much have to hog tie her , hold her down and pinch her nose to get her to open her mouth.. But Daddy , will sit sweetly on his lap and open mouth , brush the full three minutes and give peppermint kisses too. More than not , daily tasks, very apt wording , is a battle.
You also are in fight phase , the urge to strangle them sometimes and to keep your cool. Especially if they are eating in to that cushion of time you set aside in your daily tasks for this Mexican standoff. I suggest a good 15 mins on either side of an activity to battle wills. They are plain frustrating right now. My daughter seems to dislocate her arm sockets whenever I try to pick her up but then suddenly needs to be carried at the most inopportune times. I don't need a gym membership as I get enough with her pushing her luck everyday. I need a lie down more like it.
Although I have found ways to manoeuvre these trying times.
Pick your battles.
Assess whether it is that important to you or to them to win this one. Yes, if it's freezing outside, they will have to wear a coat and not a fairy cape as protection, no arguments . But if it's really important to them to do what ever it is very important , can you let them have it? Like bring the entourage in the car instead of just one teddy,
Play to your strengths.
If like our house, wee woman thinks she is playing us off each other, just assign tasks to whom ever is going to get it done. Teeth brushing is now fathers domain and putting bed is mine as she has decided that Dad doesn’t read stories right an only Mummy will do.
Pass through the pain barrier
For me this is the time I have allocated a task but she didn't get the memo. I have found if I take a deep breath and leave it one more sec or minute she usually comes around. For example , the shoes saga, I said fine, let me know when you are ready to stop being silly and put on your shoes and left her to it. Went and sat on couch, took deep breath . 30 secs later, little voice, I'm ready to go now and put on shoes with no fuss. I think it was because I took the attention away, there was no fight left.
Pick a chief
Ive found too many people in charge at the same time can be confusing and wee ones don't know where they stand. So good communication and back up between parents is key !! This includes extended caregivers/ family. One of you takes the lead, the other follows suit ( even if you would do it differently, or don't agree )! This can swap each task, day, etc. What ever Dad say at dinner, goes and what ever Mummy says getting out the door is law. You need to make sure you don't contradict or undermine each other. Plus toddlers are way smarter than we give them credit for and smell blood in the water they will play you like a fiddle and nothing will get done and you'll get pissed off with each other. ( so I've heard )
Children crave our attention, you are everything, especially in this pandemic when everyone is at arms length, you really are everything. Safe space, Play mate, Parent, Jailer. They look for attention, be it positive or negative just to be in your gaze. We need to remember that as much as we can, and use the opportunities for positive reenforcement and ignoring the negative and or dealing with it appropriately ( there is no judgements here on what you and your family do... time out, ignore the behaviour, louder voice etc ) Our children are testing boundaries, flexing mental muscles, becoming independent and strong willed. We need to encourage them to know their minds but help them to work within family expectations and sometimes societies. We need to remember we are teaching them with every experience. One, how to move around in life cognitively and emotionally. How to express themselves. And two physically and safely , we know best sometimes, think road safety or wandering off in a shop , etc. For my wee one who wants to jump up and down everything, stairs, puddles , etc. There is a time to let them choose and a time to teach them/ reign them in
Back to broccoli, as she had not eaten much that night, I was standing my ground on the veg intake. We stared at each other and after 5 long minutes she ate the broccoli and got down like nothing had happened. Little minx Mummy - 1 / Wee woman - 234765678