Continuing the trend of 'aha' moments, I've been working on trying to cope with the terror than can be a three year old. As a friend on Facebook mentioned, gone is the terrible twos, she now has a 'threenager' on her hands. An apt description if I ever heard it. It's not just about this small child of mine testing boundaries, now she pressing buttons and crossing lines because she can and because she knows it gets a reaction out of me. Not to mention the blood-curdling screaming that erupts out of nowhere when she doesn't get her way.
Insert proper time outs.
We had tried it before but it wasn't working. Now that she's a little bit older and comprehending a bit more (we think), they are more effective, if not to truly correct the behaviour, but to diffuse the situation, especially when tempers run high. There's only so many times in a day when I can be slapped before I want to hide out in another room. A difficult feat in such a small apartment when she can get into too many things.
Have I mentioned that she can now open any door? We won't get into the other day when she decided to leave the apartment while I was in the bedroom getting dressed. The lock system is such that we have to use a key to lock it, or put up the chain (which requires remembering to remove before your spouse comes home lest they think they're being locked out).
It's most definitely a test in patience, and I'm finding myself on the edge quite often. I'd be surprised if mothers of young children don't all have high blood pressure. In any case, the time outs are smoothing things out a bit.
The other side of this age is the creativity and crazy things they do for the sheer fun of it. Lots of times I laugh (instant blood pressure relief) but other times I just get frustrated because we don't own this place or most of the contents. Our living space is also our eating space, so you can imagine how frustrating it is to deal with spills on a crappy old carpet. There are days I'm glad for its dark green colour (some odd blend of forest green and teal). Luckily for us the place and stuff within wasn't in the greatest condition to begin with, so with some good cleaning we can hopefully get our damage deposit back when we move out.
This morning was another one of those strange moments where I was getting really frustrated with her, but also had a lightbulb go on. She loves the creative kids shows. There's a craft type show and a kids cooking show she really likes and we can watch her fiddle with stuff to mimic them. We'd be happier if she'd stick to pretend cooking for the moment, rather than 'mixing' her juice and pouring it all over the table and floor. Not fun to clean up, and not good for our tight budget.
I realized though this morning that somewhere within this all is a solution that will work for us, because there is the realization that our little girl has a wonderfully creative mind and I in no way want to quash that. I am an artist myself, and my husband is creative in his own way as well (musically inclined). I want to let her play and experiment, but somehow we need to find a way to do that that isn't at the expense of our furnished flat and doesn't cost a lot of money. I'm trying to see if we can swing an art or music class but so many of them around here are pricey.
Things to mull over as I do some short and long term planning.