We have hit a troublesome spot in the Multiple Mummy household. It serves me right, as we breezed through the so-called terrible two’s without a tantrum that sustained longer than 3 minutes and that very rarely occurred. But being three has been a whole new ball game for both me and for Noah. My little boy is very confused as he doesn’t know whether to be a baby or a big boy but what’s more, according to the nursery he is using this to his advantage to get what he wants and manipulating the whole affair.
I never knew three-year olds could be that clever but he has really had me fooled. Not only have I been pandering to his every whim but I had not really even realised this ‘manipulation’ was happening. I feel like the worst parent ever. I could use the excuse of the twins, but that is not fair. Lots of people have more than one child and have to share their time. I think in all honestly I have pandered and buried my head in the sand because it has made life easier.
So the issue highlighted are:
Regression in potty training
By this I mean wetting himself right before my very eyes without asking to go when I know full well he can. I didn’t really know what to do and at times have become quite cross with him, in complete desperation. Apparently, although this is negative attention it is still attention and therefore feeding the problem. The solution in this case has been to change and ignore the wetting, being almost completely silent, and making him get his new pants and trousers to make it inconvenient for him but to really praise the ‘big boy’ toilet time, even if he just sits on it. You see, the issue has been that not only has he been wetting himself but he has also been refusing to go as well!
Whinging and the baby voice
I think that because I am his mother and so close to him I intuitively know what he wants and so have got what he has needed regardless of the tone spoken in or the lack of language used. If he has not got his own way or one of the twins has upset him he has either burst into tears or whined at the top of his voice getting louder and louder. The simple solution here is to use the phrase ‘use your words’ and ‘I don’t understand you, you need to speak like a big boy” and then praise him when he does. To be fair to him I do feel that he see’s how the twins communicate with their limited language and so copies.
Finally his listening
He is not listening and actually often purposefully ignoring. This had been driving both myself and hubby mad! I do however think that TV, which has been my guilty parenting technique at times has not helped so we are drastically weaning. We are trying to encourage him to look at us when we talk and I am now stating how many times I have asked.
However, he loves his new big boys bed! He is so excited that he can sleep in a bed and open his own door and has taken to it like a duck to water. It sounds like I have been painting a horrendous picture but he can be so helpful and a gorgeous delight most of the time. But we do need to nip the above in the bud. It is my fault, I have been snowed under and distracted and have not given him the quality time he really needs.
Despite this the last three days we have been applying the solution techniques and must say they are working so far amazing well. We have been dry all weekend. He even said in the car yesterday when I told him what a good boy he has been ‘yes Mummy and I have stopped saying No!” I should be pleased that his awareness of how controlling he has been is a sign of brightness.
Using the bed as a tool has helped as well, as saying ‘babies wet them selves and have to wear a nappy and they also have to sleep in a cot, only big boys stay in a bed and use the toilet so if you don’t want to go back in the cot we need to use the toilet’ and this has worked brilliantly.
The ‘use your words’ phrase has been fantastic and has really made him stop and think. It is amazing how quickly he can say ‘Please Mummy may I have…’ so it not through lack of knowing what to do. Cutting down TV was needed but not really affected the listening just yet but that may just be a three-year old thing!
You would think as a teacher I would know all these things but older children are a total different kettle of fish to little ones. I also think that when you are detached and can sit back and observed you see things more clearly whereas in the thick of it you can become a little clouded. I do understand why his behaviour is at it is, it must be hard for him to have to share Mummy with two other two-year olds and he has done this from 15 months! Most ‘sensible’ mummy’s have only just had another newborn by now.
I had really berated myself for being a terrible parent but my husband very kindly texted me during one of my upsets last Thursday saying all kids have different issues at different times and that a bad parent is one that does nothing about it. I hope he is right. I shall let you know how he is progressing in a couple of weeks. As for now, my conclusion is that three is harder than two but what are your experiences? How would you handle this? Any advice is gratefully received.