Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Getting it together

With moving and living in the basement for all of last summer and into the fall, I let a lot of things slide on the parenting front. Things I swore I'd never do, like use Pull-Ups or let a three year old have a binky. But you see, with all of the chaos, Norah regressed on her potty training and it got to the point where I just DID NOT CARE if she wore Pull-Ups at night for the rest of her life. And the binky thing? She didn't use it during the day, but at night? At night you better believe I gave her the plug. There was also the waking up multiple times a night. I knew I needed to get rid of the binky and help her figure out how to put herself back to sleep, but bleh. She had been being such a good sleeper that I was in denial of having to go through the whole process again.

The point is that when we finally got settled into our new house we had a lot of work to do. And when I say "work," I mostly mean bribery. It started with the binky. I took her to the store to let her choose a prize for when she threw them away. She opted for some cheap princess high-heels and plastic jewelry. The first few nights were kind of a novelty and she did pretty well--but then it set in that she couldn't have her binky. I would tuck her in and she'd say, "Mom, I need something. I need something." I'd ask her what she needed and she would proceed to describe a binky to me. "I need something round...and green..." It was like the most exhausting game of Catch Phrase you've ever played. But she did it. She was binky free for good.

And that's when the obsessing about her blanket started.

She started out waking up screaming because I needed to "flip" her blanket. I would try, desperately, to flip that stupid blanket and it was NEVER RIGHT. Then she started to want the corners tucked in where her bed met the wall. I could also never do that right. The "blanket" she was using was a yard and a half of Minnie Mouse fleece, which still had a white selvedge edge on one side because I'm awesome like that. One night she was obsessing about which side the white edge was on, giving me the grand idea to just cut off the white. Perfect solution in my mind. I started cutting and she lost. her. mind. I tried to backtrack, even taping the stupid thing back together. And that? That was our lowest point. If she was an adult, I would have had her committed. Actually, I would have liked to commit myself because then I wouldn't have to deal with the blanket tantrums.

While she was obsessing about her blanket at night, she was also dreaming about a kitty costume during the day--a "pink kitty costume with a nose and whiskers and a pink kitty belly and a tail." So we agreed that she could have a kitty costume if she stopped screaming about her blanket. This is what I came up with:

What a cute little crazy person, right? My sole motivation for making that kitty costume was to tell her I was going to throw it away if she started crying about the blanket situation at night. I had to use the threat a lot, but it worked. 

She did great at night for a while, but slowly started waking up again. She didn't scream about the blanket anymore, she just screamed. At this point I had also found out that I was pregnant, and I seriously could not bear the thought of having a newborn and a toddler who wouldn't sleep through the night. I resorted to bribery again. This time she wanted a mermaid tail for the swimming pool. She saw it in a magazine at Grandma Debbie's and HAD to have it. So I put the smallest amount of effort possible into a goal chart to stick on the fridge. At first I told her that she had to get ten stickers to get the prize, but that quickly changed to five. (I couldn't even be bothered to buy new stickers. I pulled the Minnie Mouse ones out of her coloring book.) It took her a few weeks, but she did it. 

And now, months later? Now she is doing great. *Knocks on wood* No more binkies and no more screaming at night. We also got rid of the Pull-Ups because she just stopped wetting the bed at night (which seemed way too easy...).

Before Norah was born, I thought a lot of things about parenting. One of those things was how I wasn't going to bribe my kids. Hahahahahaha. Hahahaha. Ha.

That's all.