We arrived home after our aborted beach outing right before Elliot’s nap time. This is a bit risky, but usually we can make it through without too many tears. Not so today.
He was great for his diaper change, but when I said it was time to read books, the trouble started. He didn’t want to stop playing with his cars. I’m not sure what order it all happened in, and I don’t really want to rehash it all anyway, but there was screaming, crying, spitting, throwing, kicking, stomping and hitting (my glasses were thrown from my face with the force of the hit).
My struggle is keeping to my guns. Well, not so much keeping to my guns, but how to proceed once I’ve decided on the consequence. After he’d screamed and spat multiple times, I decided there would be no books. Just songs. I don’t feel I can skip the songs because he needs some sort of calming period before bed. I gave him plenty of warnings about no books, mostly because I think he’s still young, and I don’t want to be too rough on him. Plus he was so exhausted. But with the exhaustion, I wonder how much of this is actually sinking in, so I wonder if it’s worth it to stay the course. It would have been an easier process if I’d relented and allowed books once he’d finally calmed down. But I don’t want him to think that his behaviour is acceptable.
My other struggle is to contain my own anger, or at least react appropriately so he can learn how to do the same. After he hit me, I was MAD. And when he threw a car, I just got madder. I think I probably yelled. I know I grabbed him not-so-gently and sat him down.
I wanted to just put him in his crib until he calmed down, but when I did that, he started trying to frantically climb out. So I was worried about him hurting himself.
Then when my anger subsided I just wanted to hold him until he calmed down, but he was still too frustrated and he just kicked.
I don’t know what finally calmed him down. I did end up putting him in his crib again, and he must have just exhausted himself, because he didn’t try to climb out. He just looked at me forlornly. After a few minutes I asked if he wanted to sing some songs with me, and he said yes.
So in the end we had a good cuddle, a few songs, I told him I loved him and we parted ways at peace, him happily lying in his crib. Which is the end result I wanted, I just would like to find a less stressful way of getting to that result. Coming home earlier would have been smarter, but lots of times it works out fine, so it’s unpredictable.
Perhaps more play time before going to bed would be good, regardless of what time it is. Because this whole process took over half and hour anyway — I may as well have let him play for 15 minutes and then start the naptime routine. He’d end up being in bed about the same time. I will try that next time.