Friday, October 24, 2008

Why Winning Doesn't Always Feel Good

After 4 days of fantasticness with Teagan, we finally had a rough patch. This morning, all heck broke loose in our home. Meltdowns, crying, screaming, bad choices. It started innocently enough, as all of these situations do. Teagan had a great bedtime so she knew she got to watch TV. She also knew she had to get dressed first and did so with minimal complaint. Smidgen of fighting but nothing I thought was going to lead to a horrible morning. She asks for a vitamin- check. Asks for cereal- check. Asks for a piece of cheese- check. She is sitting on the couch, watching Imagination Movers and eating her Babybel cheese. This cheese comes wrapped in cellophane and has a wax wrapping to remove as well. She has taken the wrappings and thrown them on the floor. You can see where this is going, can't you? The show ends and I ask her, again, to pick up the trash. She wants to watch Sid. Fine. We will watch Sid as soon as you pick up the trash. Then she gets her mad face on and says, "I don't like you." I manage to keep my cool and respond by saying "I understand you are mad because I'm not putting Sid on for you. I still love you. And as soon as you do 2 things, we can watch Sid. 1- change your attitude. Make a different choice. 2- pick up your trash." And I stuck with that. And it continued on so that I basically asked another 3 times. And then it got to a point that it was 6:27. We leave at 7. Sid is almost half an hour. In order to have time to watch a second show and get morning routine done (brush teeth, put on shoes), that should has to start no later than 6:30 and that is pushing it. So at 6:27, I gave her a 3 minute warning. Then 2 minutes, then one minutes, and even a 5 second countdown. I can honestly say that I gave her ample opportunity to pick up the trash so she could watch Sid. Probably gave her more chances than most parents. But we hit the time wall and the opportunity had to go away. The TV went off and the meltdown went On. I immediately and calmly said "I understand that you are sad that we won't be watching Sid. If you choose to scream and cry, you are deciding to spend time in your room." She ended up getting escorted to her room twice for the calming behavior issue. By the second time, Jeff had joined us and was helping to get Zach dressed and then was working on Teagan's shoes and socks. And that was when Teagan pushed Zach down with her foot. On purpose. And he cried. And she got an immediate time out from Daddy. Which, of course, included screaming and crying. We get out the door and on our way to Lisa's. Usually, behavior is vastly improved for Lisa so I was surprised when we had to give her a Mommy-imposed time out at Lisa's house. Teagan was playing with Zach and started pulling on the hood of his shirt, pulling back on his throat, and continuing to pull even as Jeff and I are yelling for her to stop as we rush over to free him. I took her into the other room to talk to her and she wouldn't listen and just kept laughing. So- time out. She's never gotten a time out from Mommy at Lisa's so she was spitting mad!! But here's the important part on all of it. I was angry. Jeff was angry. We were aggravated, frustrated, ticked off. But we kept our cool. And we maintained a unified front. Yesterday, I saw a clip of Dr Drew saying "Pick your battles. But be sure that you win the battles you pick." We won. The trash did get picked up. The TV did not get turned back on. Zach was apologized to by Teagan. And it was all done with purpose, with firm gentleness, with best interests of both kids at the forefront of the decisions. But that kind of morning... even when you know you've "won" ... it just leaves me feeling disconnected, out of sorts, concerned about what is going on with my girl that she was having such a rough time. Even my BK Mocha Joe didn't totally lift my concern. So I await the evening with anticipation and a little dread. I debate about whether or not I should call and check on her. I hope that Lisa can work her magic and help Teagan get into a better spot. Because I want to enjoy my girl and my time with her.

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