Tag Archives: things I’m probably doing incorrectly

It was noticed and it deserves underpants.

There will come a day when Penelope’s issues are too Penelope-specific and sensitive to be talked about on the Internet, and probably by that day, I’ll just be beaming my thoughts directly into your heads to be downloaded in batches once a week or so or whatever. I hope so. That would be great. But right now is not that time, and her issues, which are actually my issues, because Penny Badger don’t give a shit, are so standardly two-and-a-half year old that I’m just going to throw a whole bunch of them out here right now in hopes that those of you that have made it through to two-and-three-quarters and beyond can point me in the right direction on some of this stuff because we are just FLAILING trying to settle on some kind of sensical methods.

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1. I think I mentioned this the other day, but whenever Phil and I talk to each other, she yells, “STOP STOP!” until attention is focused back on her. This also happens during the day when it’s just me and her, and she’ll yell, “MAMA, TURN ROUND. LOOKA ME. TALKA ME.” This is especially unpleasant if I’m working, because she’ll try to force her hands under mine on the keyboard and has erased some stuff before.

What I’m trying: So far, I’ve been trying the same thing that I do when she tries to do something and within half a second, screams, “I CAN’T DO IT!” and runs away having a shrieking tantrum. I said to her over and over, every day, “Do you need help? I can help you. Do you think it would be easier to ask Mama or Daddy for help instead of getting upset and throwing a fit?” And after seriously weeks upon weeks of that, one day, OUT OF NOWHERE, the heavens opened up and Penelope walked over to me and said, “Mama, I need help, can you please open my room?” Just the day before, she would have walked to her room, seen that the door monkey was on, and come screaming down the hall, “MY WOOM IS WOCKED!” and thrown herself on the ground crying. It’s still hit or miss on if she’s going to choose the screaming or the asking for help (mostly depending on how tired she is), but when she picks asking over tantrums, we praise her and throw treats into the air and give out high fives like they’re coming back into to and then going right back out of style.

So, with the interrupting, I tell walk her through the proper way to ask for attention several times a day. I tell her that when she has something to say, she should say, “Excuse me, please,” and wait until we have a moment to talk to her. I’ve told her that when people are talking to each other, she needs to wait for her turn. I’ve told her that when one conversation is finished, she can have our full attention for her conversation. I’ve told her it’s not good manners to interrupt, especially if you just want to show off that cool trick with your butt again.

I don’t know if it’s that she can’t put together that “excuse me” can be used for both rude noises and interruptions, or that it’s not sinking in at all, or that she just doesn’t want to do it properly, but this is not working. I know that she’s two, I know that this could be a phase, I know all of that, but as her parent, I still have a sort of responsibility to teach her not to be a total social knob. So, what’s the best way to handle this? Is there a way to keep a two year old from constantly demanding that all the focus be on her? Is there a way to phrase the concept that if you let us know that you have something to say, we will get to you as soon as we finish what we’re saying in a way that she’ll understand? Or should we just keep talking over her right now? Is that the most effective course of action at the moment? Because it is getting LOUD IN HERE.

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2. TIME OUTS. We’ve been doing time outs pretty successfully for a long while now. She does something wrong, she gets a warning. She keeps doing it, she goes to time out. Up until recently, she only stayed in her room (since we have a floor bed, her room is zero fun – there are no toys, games, etc) for a couple of minutes, until she was ready to apologize. She understands apologizing pretty well – she even puts on a faux gentle voice and strokes my arm. It’s kind of creepy. Most times, the threat of time out was enough of a warning to get her to stop doing whatever she was doing. Time outs are used for only a couple of things in this house – safety issues and not listening. Which is to say, constantly. But it was working really well.

Recently, though, it’s not going so great. She’ll be doing something she knows she’s not supposed to do, or that she was just warned to stop doing, or that she was specifically instructed not to do, and she will keep doing it right through warnings, right through an adult marching over to her, right up until she is grabbed up and hauled away to time out. Then, once she is in the air and being carried off down the hall, she starts saying, “I WANT TO SAY SORRY! I WANT TO SAY SORRY!” As soon as she is in her bedroom, she presses her face up against the crack the door monkey leaves and yells, “I WEADY TO POWOGIZE!” So she’s figured out that she can do whatever she wants for as long as she wants or until she gets caught, because all she has to do is apologize as soon as she’s thrown into time out, and it’s back to burninating the countryside.

A couple of weeks ago, she BIT me. She hasn’t bitten me in I don’t know how long. She never had a real biting phase. But she BIT ME SO HARD, and I saw red because it hurt. I picked her up and I put her in her room and the whole while, she’s yelling apologies. This was at the end of a ridiculous day of behavior from her and Phil was already on his way home, so I just left her in there while I cleaned up the play room. She kept yelling at me about how she wanted to help clean, and I kept yelling back, “YOU BIT ME!” I may have been holding a slight grudge. After everything was picked up and I was looking at less physical evidence of her bent for destruction, I went to collect her from her room and I asked, “Are you ready to apologize?” She came over to me, stroked me arm, and said in her fake soft voice, “I sowwy I hit you, Mama,” then ran past me down the hall. SHE BIT ME. NOT HIT ME. I reminded her 87 times, yet still, mechanical apology, escape.

So now how do we work time outs? She’s got time outs set in her head that she sits there til someone comes to get her, then says what have becomes apparently meaningless words and runs off. Should we set timers instead? Do we still require an apology? Do we need to reexplain apologies? What do you do for discipline for 2/2.5 year olds? Is there something other than time out that’s more effective for different types of things? Like breaking known house rules, ones WE KNOW SHE KNOWS (being rough/mean with the dogs, coloring on not paper, going out the back door) vs stuff like not listening?

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Threw all these THROW pillows outside on the patio, parents made me bring them back.
When it’s MY kingdom, I’ll tell you what.

3. LASTLY. What are the best toddler underpants? I got a couple of packs of Hanes or whatever they were at Target, but after going through the dryer, the elastic got a little snug at the waist so they’re hard for her to get up and down. Maybe ones with a wider band of elastic at the top rather than a thinner one? I’m totally going to put underpants in her stocking. I mean, Santa is. Because that kid bit me and stuff like that doesn’t going unnoticed.

You know who is great? This guy.

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I know that tomorrow is Veteran’s Day and if I’m going to be talking about how great Phil is, I should probably frame it somehow in terms of his military service, and it’s not that I’m not appreciative of his service and the service of the people he works with and all the men and women before him, but he just really doesn’t bring it home all that much. Well, except for some things that are up in the air right now, but that’s a whole different thing for a whole different day I’m probably not going to get around to because I don’t feel like trying to get Phil to explain it to me, because Phil is SO GOOD at SO MANY THINGS, but the guy is absolute crap at explaining things. I mean, just garbage at it. He starts talking like we’ve been in the middle of a conversation for half an hour, only my half has been going on in his head, so I’m just actually dropped in the middle with no clue what I’m supposed to have picked up in the previous half hour. Or like I’ve been working right along side him in the Air Force, with all the attendant knowledge, for the last sixteen or so years. Not only have I never been in the Air Force, but 16 years ago, I was 15. So, no, Phillip. No.

I only hope he doesn’t explain things to his coworkers as if they’ve been married for three years.

BUT WAIT, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT PHIL’S GREATNESS.

I’m not saying I don’t appreciate him on Veteran’s Day, I do. It’s just that before I knew Phil, it was easier to appreciate veterans because they were abstract kind of people who had served in the military, and that was their defining feature to me, and that was a pretty fine defining feature, if you’re going to have one, right? But I know Phil, and he has served in the military, and continues to do so, but we’ve also been together for five years now, and we drove all the way across the country together without killing each other, and we live together, and we’re married, and we have a kid. So he’s a guy in the military, but he’s also my husband, and he’s Penelope’s father, and the guy who does the dishes, and the guy who, even if I do the dishes which hardly ever happens, will start up the dishwasher for me because I don’t like to touch the dishwasher soap chunk thingies because they feel gross. He does a lot of things.

I’m not campaigning for a better appreciate a Veteran’s Day, or saying that we need to all TAKE A MINUTE and recognize that these men and women have done MORE and ARE MORE than just people who have served in the military. Of course they are. Duh. Everyone knows that. It’s just that this is a holiday set aside to recognize a particularly large thing that they have done. Incomprehensibly large, in some cases. WHAT I’M SAYING IS, that when I sat down to put up a picture of my husband with a caption that said, “Woo! Veteran’s Day! Woo!,” for me, about THIS PARTICULAR ONE SINGLE GUY that I am writing about in this post, I felt like I also wanted to put in SOME MORE STUFF.

(“Oh, you were writing a post and found that you wanted to include more stuff? How shoooocking,” you say.)

I’ve had about enough of you.

Let me start over.

Hey, did you know that tomorrow, possibly today if you are not reading this in the middle of the night, is Veteran’s Day? Did you know that my husband is currently in the Air Force? Did you also know that in addition to his military service, he is awesome in several other ways? Did you also know that this is my blog, and that after failing to justify combining Veteran’s Day with My Husband is Also An All Right Guy in Many Other Ways Day, I’m just going to do it anyway?

I’m in a bad mood now. I just don’t want to talk about heavy stuff, but I still want to, you know, acknowledge. I don’t want to offend anyone by not doing it correctly or taking it lightly, and it’s not that I think of the holiday lightly. I don’t at all. I just want to point out that I know it’s happening, and I know what my husband does, and I know that what he does is a thing, and he knows what he does is a thing, and actually, I know it more than he knows it, sometimes, I think. He’s been in the military long enough that he’s completely out of touch with how civilians view the military.

Well, that’s not true. I think he’s aware of some of the weird fringe that absolutely hate anyone in the military. But he’s genuinely boggled whenever anyone thanks him, which happens when he’s out in public in uniform. He feels awkward and doesn’t know how to respond, and I really think he doesn’t understand why people come up to him out of the blue to SAY SOMETHING to him. And I think I gave up a couple of years ago – I don’t know how many more ways I can say to him that that’s how people FEEL. People – real people – civilian people, of which he apparently is no longer one. Obviously. But he’s been in the military since he was 21. It’s just who and what he is, and it’s not that he doesn’t get the concept that people are appreciative, but he can’t seem to internalize it. Today we were at church, and it’s a big church, even with five services every weekend it’s still packed, so lots and lots of people, and the veterans were asked to stand and be recognized, and there was applause and appreciation and I didn’t even have to turn my head to know he hadn’t stood up.

And don’t even for one second suggest that he’s ashamed or embarrassed of what he does, because he’s not. It’s just that, I guess, to him, he’s a guy who does his job. He’s been doing it for so long, and surrounded by other guys who have been doing it for so long, and day to day, it is just a job – he works in an office and he comes home every evening right now, though of course there’s no guarantee it stays that way for any set length of time. And they don’t sit around in their offices congratulating each other on what a job they’ve taken on, and I truly think he’s fallen out of touch with how much other people truly don’t want to do it. How much other people don’t want to have to do it. Or how much other people don’t want their children to have to do it. How in other countries, everyone does it, and people know that. People know that a country has got to form a military, and if it’s not by volunteers, it’s by voluntolds, and it’s only as long as there are people volunteering to take on that job that other people’s children aren’t being told they have to do it.

I don’t think any of that goes through his head when someone comes up to say thank you, or when someone at the front of a room or auditorium or stadium or what have you asks all the veterans to stand up and be recognized for what they did or what they do. I gave up on explaining the civilian view of the military to him a long time ago, I think. I don’t really remember when. Maybe when I started appreciating him way more for all of the other awesome stuff he is.

Also, I got sick of going around with him about insurance after a few times explaining why I couldn’t go to the doctor before we met.

“Why didn’t you just make an appointment and go?”
“Because I had no time to take off work.”
“YOU HAD TO TAKE VACATION TIME TO SEE A DOCTOR?”

“Why didn’t just make the follow up appointment and go?”
“I couldn’t afford it.”
“But you had insurance.”
“Yeah, but it wasn’t covered.”
“But you had INSURANCE.”
“WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT HOW REAL PEOPLE INSURANCE WORKS.”

I’d ask Liz to back me up, but I’ll just have a stroke and she’d probably go right into labor. Oh yeah, big thumbs up to her husband, too. Non-insurance-grasping vets. Nab one for yourself!

Anyway. My husband. He’s great. In several ways. You will probably just be able to appreciate him as a veteran, and also because most of these pictures of him also feature Penelope.

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Okay, several also feature food.

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I get this a lot.
It means he loves me.

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TRYING SCIENCE.

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Totally outstanding at moving airport reunions.
I was moved. I was totally moved.
I was moving away very quickly because six weeeeeeks.

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Takes the responsibility of teaching Penelope about her West Coast heritage VERY seriously.

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I give him credit for at least 35% of how adorable this family is.