Saturday, September 26, 2009

HELP! Advice needed...

The phrase that keeps running through my head today is, "What am I going to do with this child?" Can you guess who's been giving us trouble?

I've already mentioned both the potty and the bedtime struggles. But they seem to be getting worse - and my hands are in the air.

For the past few days, Katy has been repeatedly going into the bathroom, closing the door, and then peeing all over the bathroom floor, soaking her panties, the stool, etc. Then she comes and tells us about it as if she is proud, and then seems to enjoy cleaning it up, saying, "Look! It's all clean now!" When we ask her why she does it, she says one of two things, either: "Sometimes it happens," or "I was trying to make it to the potty."

I am 100% positive that this is NOT an accident. She is willfully deciding to pee on the floor. What I DON'T know is how to get her to stop. I tried not making a big deal of it (at first I thought maybe it WAS an accident), and I tried talking reasonably to her about it. Then today I even put her in a diaper, which she didn't like, because I told her that apparently she doesn't know how to pee in the potty. But I don't want to shame her? Is this shaming her?

And everything that I read on the topic says that we shouldn't punish her. That will just make it a power struggle, right? But what SHOULD we do? She's willfully doing this. She hasn't had accidents anywhere else (in the house or out). She's going into the bathroom and purposefully peeing. And pooping, but I won't even go there.

In addition, we're continuing to have big struggles at bedtime. We've set what I thought were pretty firm boundaries, and she's isn't coming out of her room, but she's dragging her feet like mad getting to bed, then she calls for us with a million requests, turns her light on and does all kinds of activities in there, and is often still awake at 10pm. Which, for the record, is when we are going to bed. Which means that we aren't getting any of that quiet evening time when everyone is asleep and you can catch your breath.

So advice on this one? And I know that one suggestion is to give up her nap. But OUCH. When she and David nap in the afternoon is when I work. Her not napping actually means that I would lose income. I can do a quiet time, but I won't be as productive, because we know how that goes. And she does still usually sleep for 1.5-2 hours each afternoon, which makes me think she still needs it? How old were your kids when they stopped napping?

Add to this the whining and demanding nature of her personality and Brian and I are feeling somewhat discouraged. I'm the type of person who takes all of this to heart and thinks, "If my primary occupation is to raise these kids and we're still having all these struggles, what am I doing wrong? A better mom wouldn't have these problems, she would figure it out." So help me figure this out, please!! I'm at a loss...


Mommy Daisy said...

Zachariah still does nap about 2 hours every day. He's a bit older than Katy (at 3 1/2, but not a lot). All these things you're speaking about, we've been through in the last 6 months or so. The not wanting to go to bed, the not falling asleep at bedtime, wanting out of bed, potty regretions, etc. Most of these things seem to be better now, but they come and go. I hate to say, but I think this is just the troubles with the 3s. My mom calls them the horrible 3s, and just nods her head with little advise when I tell her all this. We've gotten through it with trial and error. I find myself just wanting to give you a hug and say I know, but I really don't have any advice. Just know that it won't go on forever.

Kate said...

I think you just posted for me. I hate that every day I worry that I'm messing him up. How can kids stump us with new difficult situations ALL THE TIME??? And nobody has the answers. Sometimes it really sucks being a parent. And many times it doesn't. Good luck with the bathroom stuff. I have no ideas. And as for bedtime, if you figure it out, please let me know.

Dutcher said...

Hugs to you! You're so obviously a great mom! You take Katie's feelings into account, you research options, and you do your best with the whole family in mind! Age 3 just sucks. Ultimately, the worst thing for your kids is for you to be unhappy all the time and this pee situation is making you extremely unhappy. I would put her back in diapers because you can just present it as a choice, not a punishment.

Her choice:
Option 1. Pee all over the bathroom.
Option 2. Wear a diaper.

Will stopped napping at 2.5. He also is a night owl, so I still go through some of the same bedtime issues as you. I'm so sorry that it would be a loss of income if she stopped napping! Maybe there's a choice you can give her for bedtime too?

Hang in there! 4 is right around the corner and it ROCKS!

Jen said...

Jacob and Ellie both stopped napping at 2 1/2. We opted to cut it out at that time because they were staying up too late and we were getting no quiet time. Emmaline is, thankfully, still napping, but I will be sad when there are no nappers in our house. That quiet time is priceless! If you cut out Katy's nap, I would give her some time to read/play/listen to music each day in her room. It will be as good for her as it is for you.

As for the bathroom issue, there should definitely be consequences if she is willfully disobeying. Remind her lots that if she chooses to pee on the floor, she will be punished (loss of privilege, time out, etc.). It will sink in eventually and hopefully you won't be cleaning up as many "accidents".

You'll get through it...stand strong!

bluedaisy said...

Oh Emily! I do think these struggles are just part of the package and not a reflection on your parenting abilities. Kids were built to push and test ALL limits. I often wonder how Michael can have an all out TANTRUM about very basic, daily routines... Anyway, since Michael doesn't go to bed easily, I don't think there is much advice for me to offer. It is SO hit or miss in my neck of the woods. We DO try to respond to only 2-3 requests and then tell Michael that's I guess we just try to limit our responses to the ongoing requests? As for the potty, you are right that punishment is not the recommended path...however, I would argue that going back into a diaper is a natural consequence of not keeping your pee/poop in the potty. You know she has the ability. I would use the idea that she either -uses the potty properly OR -she's in a diaper. You might have to just be a bit more vigilant though b/c along the power struggle lines, you don't want her to simply take off the diaper and make a mess anyway. Can you dangle a small but meaningful reward for getting through a day without peeing/pooping all over? It's such a tough's probably going to be trial and error...sorry I am not more help!!!

Pam said...

Don't beat yourself up about the diaper - you know your child and the best way to guide her and if some discipline does it then so be it.
Jack pooped on the bathroom rug once and got a severe telling off and a time-out. He hasn't done it since.
Bed time I can't help with - we have a nightmare every night and I cave every time he says "mummy, rub my hair!" The routine is typically 1.5 hours long and exhausting!
Good luck
Pam xx

Mommy Daisy said...

I'm enjoying reading other people's responses, and it's making me think of a few more things that could possibly help.

First, we completely simplified bedtime, and he is responsible for making sure everything is done before getting into bed (one last drink, potty, collected stuffed animals for bed, etc). If he forgets before bed (I try to remind him, but he doesn't really need reminded anymore), too bad he will remember tomorrow night. That honestly cut out all the excuses to get out of bed...except for going potty. Since I hate depriving him of using the potty, we allow him to get out of bed ONCE and only ONCE to use the potty after he's been put to bed. It works most nights now. (Of course he pushed the limits sometimes, but it's gotten so much better since we've done these.)

Second, bluedaisy made me think of something I did for a while. I had phased out rewards for pottying, because he was doing it all the time and didn't need them. A while after that he started having accidents again. I read something on Swistle's blog about offering rewards as long as that child needs them and thought maybe I should try potty rewards again. We started giving treats for potty again, and he went all the time in the potty. Eventually he stopped asking for one (a treat), and I stopped offering. I was impressed that it helped and felt silly I hadn't done that sooner. So, maybe, just maybe that would help if you're not already doing it.

Kelsey said...

Emily! I'm sorry things are so bumpy!

Not that Katy is misbehaving exactly, but I know when Harper started preschool (at three and 1/4 years old) we had a long stretch where I felt she was just using up all her self-control at school (where she behaved beautifully) and had NONE left at home.

I feel like there's to much to say in a comment, but you know you can call and hash things out over the phone anytime, right???

The absolute without a doubt most difficult time in Harper's childhood so far was 2.5 to 3.5; there was a point in most days when I was ready to put her out on the lawn with a for sale sign around her neck. Hang in there!

Good Enough Mom said...

I'm new to reading your blog...but let me guess...your daughter must be 3 ("whining" and "demanding" totally fit the 3-yr-old)! We had a lot of similar potty "accidents" with our older son. Not to be too Freudian here, but do you think she could be trying to check out all the fascinating things her body can do? Like an experiment of sorts? Our 2-1/2 year old isn't potty trained yet, but he asks us to see what's in his dirty diaper (ew). Seriously...I guess he figures he made it, so he wants to check it out.

If it's at all possible, try either (a) ignoring it or (b) talking to her more about it. If she won't talk to you much, get a puppet. Kids can't resist talking to a puppet...maybe you'd get some insight as to what's going on. (I still think the reason she looks proud is b/c she IS proud of what she "made"...)

Threes are hard, hard, hard!!!

Kelly said...

Hey Em - Good to talk to you last night. I've probably already over-advised you so I won't say much more, but I do think Kelsey may have an explanation with the "using up all her good behavior at school" idea. We DEFINITELY went through that for 4months with Leah in kindergarten. Her days were long, she was literally navigating 50 friendships and 5+ teachers for 8 hours every day (because of the 2 kindergartens and my work), and she was being a total angel at school. The teachers kept telling me how much they wanted to clone her and how fantastic she was. At home, she was a MONSTER - could not behave herself to save her life. So...maybe schoool is playing a role. They can only behave themselves for so long!!! As my Granny always says, this too shall pass!!!!!!