Monday, July 14, 2008

Playing Nice

Adam and I are having difficulties adjusting to Peachfuzz's new found sense of himself. In other words, the terrible twos are killing us.

Some days Peachfuzz is a perfect angel. He is polite and very sweet. He does what we ask without much complaint and is very enjoyable.

Other days I am sure I will lose my sanity. As is common among the two year old crowd, all sentences end in, "No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No." This string of "No" is often preceeded by a loud, high pitched scream that could punture the ear drums of any dogs within city limits. Those who happen to be in the same room are doomed.

Occasionally, when the "No" string will not suffice, he uses the temper tantrum. He falls to the floor as if his legs can no longer hold the enormous weight of his 30 pound body. His face turns bright red and he begins to flail about. Walking away does not help. He will follow you and begin the entire process again.

So last night we were at my in-laws house and couldn't help but notice how well behaved Peachfuzz was being. He did exactly what she asked and never made a fuss. If she happened to be out of the room while we asked him to do something he would completely ignore us.

"Why is he behaving so much better for Phyllis?" I wondered.

Then it hit me. She talks in a very soft, sweet, slow voice. Her sentences usually end in honey or baby. It almost sounds like she lulls him into doing things.

When we got home I flipped through August's issue of Parent's Magazine and there was an article about over the top praise. This isn't something I would normally do. Don't get me wrong, when Peachfuzz does something good we tell him how wonderful it was and how much we love him. We just don't go wild about it.

I decided to try what I call the "lullaby" technique combined with the exuberant amount of praise.

While I was in a hurry to get out the door for lunch, Peachfuzz was running around like a mad man. I must have told him twenty times to put on his shoes, but he never even attempted it.When I was about to lose it, I got down on my knees and politly said, "Go put your shoes on, please." He walked over to his shoes and put them on without any arguing. They were on the wrong feet, but we still were able to make it to the car without burnt toes.

At lunch, I was prepared for a total meltdown. It happened to be nap time for both kids and I knew they were hungry. Adam sat Georgia Kate on his side and Caleb sat with me. He usually doesn't like the booster seat so we went without one this time. For the most part, he sat politely beside me eating quietly. He enjoyed most of my salad and even ate pretty well, for him. This is the first time in two years that we have not had to take Peachfuzz outside the restaurant so other people could enjoy their meals!

I pushed the envelope with a trip to Sam's. I put him in the cart and buckled him. This usually sends him into an immediate tantrum but today he didn't even flinch. Unfortunately, we got a possessed cart that kept shocking me. Everytime it shocked me, Peachfuzz would touch my hand and I would shock him. It was funny the first 3 or 4 times. When we had been shocked about 30, he lost it. I couldn't blame him. My fingers were numb. He would no longer allow me to touch the handle on the cart without screaming. I got him out but it is nearly impossible to steer a shopping cart with one hand.

After we checked out, he was fine. The cart had disappeared and he was no longer screaming. I am going to keep "playing nice" and we'll see if it really works or if this was a one day fluke!

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