Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mr. Casanova into Mr. Hell No I Won't Share.

About two weeks ago, I started watching a very sweet, very pretty, mostly pleasant little girl baby who is also the same age as John - minus a month. Her mama - a hard working mama of five - had a string of bad luck with daycare and sitters. While we were talking about her troubles, I felt really lead to offer my services to her.

(My services, ha. I don't typically go searching for extra kids to watch, or advertise, or anything like that. But, if someone in my circle need babysitting, I usually pray about it, and then if it feels like a good fit, I open my arms. Seriously, what's one or two more kids destroying things around here, really?)

Week one was pretty good, with the exception of Baby John being totally smitten with Little Girl Baby. Mr. Casanova would rub her back and give her kisses. He was very perplexed by her bottle (as our ba-ba's have gone bye-bye) but knew it was hers and would constantly try to feed her and sneak a drink for himself in there. I was most concerned with him being jealous of the time I would spend loving on another little one, but he was pretty cool about it. When he was bothered, he just climbed on to my lap, too.  They played together nicely, napped at the same time (delightful!) and generally complimented each other. I ended the week hurting myself by patting my back so much, constantly referring to myself as the baby whisperer and sporting my  "I PWN babies!" t-shirt.

Week two started off a bit tricky as early Monday morning, mom of said Little Girl Baby asked if I would still watch her despite her rather uncomfortable sinus infection. I totally appreciated the consideration of being asked, and honestly a sinus infection is basically a cold with nasty super powers. I knew she would require a bit more attention and I was prepared to care for her exactly like I would want my own sick baby coddled.  What I did not anticipate was Mr. Casanova turning into Mr. Stalker Boyfriend and wanting to spend every. single. second. right up in her face and then becoming increasingly irritated when I would move him away from her and immediately returning to wherever she was, whatever she was doing. Give a girl some space, yo!

Last week Mr. Casanova was embracing the "Sharing is Caring" movement and not only sharing but offering up his favorite toys to Little Girl Baby. This week, however, John has rebelled against that hippie nonsense and has dawned his dictator cap. NOTHING FOR YOU! has been his constant mentality. NO matter what it is, if she has it, he wants it and then yanks it out of her hands. One day, I took a play cell phone out of his hands to give back to her at least 38 times and everything "Ohh, look! Shiny!" I tried to offer him was thrown across the room with passion and precision.

He plays with other babies his age every Sunday for a few hours while we are in church, and they love him. He plays nicely and minds his developing manners. But...this...this is his Kingdom, and there is only room for one baby around these parts.

I am not sure what to do with this other than give it time, and give her stolen toys back over and over and over while actively communicating to him. He is only 16 months and I do not feel like there is any effective discipline beyond that at this point. If he was older, I would definitely enforce time out.

I did "try" time out - only once.  I put him on the Naughty Step (our time out spot) and returned him there approximately 567 times in all of two minutes. Each time he got up, he full belly laughed at me. It was extremely futile as there was absolutely no understanding of why he was there or what I was doing. It didn't work because he didn't understand it - to him, we were playing a fun new game!

I have to think, though, with as much comprehension he has demonstrated, there has to be a point where he naturally understands what he is doing is wrong.  Though, at the moment,  I think the best bet is to just be verbal and consistent and not let him get away with grabbing toys out of her hands.

Bu this has me thinking: I have no idea how to "discipline" a toddler. This is completely uncharted territory for me.  I was always working with my top two, and Little Miss Rae Rae of Sunshine has always been really eager to please, and mostly receptive to talking it out - she was having full out conversations at 12 months, so communicating with her has always been very, very easy. Now, once two hit, it became a bit more difficult, but by then she understood why she was being put in time out. 

If I have some free time this morning (I am already pushing my luck as the babes are totally enthralled with their cereals and the beauty of Dora Dora. Trust me, Anarchist John will revolt soon.) I might research what the "experts" say about beginning discipline. In the mean time, I'm gonna throw this up on facebook and see what all you expert mamas have to say about your experiences.

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Free time? HA. Totally jinxed myself with even the mere thought of such. I wrote this post over 12 hours ago.

Though, in preparation to finish this, I did search Google a bit, and found that my instincts of just being consistent with my communication and not allowing the behavior to ever be tolerated is what the experts suggest. The articles I read all deemed any further discipline as too sophisticated for this stage of development and focused on communication being key.

What do you think?

We will see how it will continue to transpire and I am sure I'll share.

Wait. No, I won't.

The thoughts are MIIIIIINNNNNNEEEEEEE.