Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oh, She's Smart

Ellie is going though a resistance phase. She's pushing limits and pushing our buttons. Masterfully.

I get that it's an assertion of control. That's obvious from her constant rejoinder, "Mommy, whateryoudoingnow? Daddy, whateryoudoingnow?" as we try to transition her from one activity to the next, even if we've previously laid out the plan. This one is easy, we just go through the order of events again, helping her feel like she knows what's coming and has some control over it.

We also give her unstructured time for free play, regular choose-between-two-acceptable-options choices, warnings in advance of transitions, and, you know, love and hugs.

She's such a great kid: so thoughtful, so polite, so funny and sweet. If Ellie met you once, months ago, chances are very good that when she sees you next, she'll remember your name and the name of your child (even if that child is not currently with you, in which case she'll ask after him).

But at home . . .

"NOOOOOO!" Sadly, there's no way for me to demonstrate her demon-child voice in writing.

She knows exactly where to push and when, to get a response. Like resisting sleep at night (especially hot-button issue for Paul) and fooling around in the bathroom (especially hot-button issue for me). The last few nights, she has discovered a new one that really gets us both. To set the scene, let me start by explaining that Ellie sleeps in a pull-up, which she hates but is not physically ready to give up.

Ellie walks out of her bedroom at some point, naked from the waist down and saying, "I go potty!" as she heads for the bathroom. Soon thereafter, a puddle of urine is found in the middle of the bed, often soaking through the sheets, blankets, extra pad, and into the waterproof mattress cover. Pajama pants and DRY pull-up are right next to the bed, carefully discarded in advance of the scene.

Let me stress that this is purely behavioral, not accidental, physical, and not a waking dream of some sort.



Kristi said...

I understand the toddler button-pushing, and I have absolutely no help to offer either!

We had a recent incident at the library that started with Charlotte insisting on going to the bathroom by herself (by this I mean, with me not even standing by the sink but outside in the hall--I'm not ready for this much independence in a public place!). I refused, she threw a fit, and then she refused to go to the bathroom at all. Fast forward about 15 minutes when she suddenly remembers the need to pee and goes running for the bathroom. By the time I gathered Trystan (who was busy pulling books off the shelves) and followed her, she'd gotten herself into the bathrom, into the stall, and locked herself in. But then she realized that she needed help (tall potty), and by the time she unlocked the door for me, she'd wet herself. She doesn't wear pull-ups and I quit bringing extra clothes for her months ago, so she had to waddle out, soaked from the waist down and wait while I gathered the rest of our stuff, then sit wet in her carseat all the way home.

I'm not entirely sure who won that particular battle of wills, as I had to do the laundry and clean up the car seat cover.

Preschoolers are so much fun...

Tracey said...

I can completely empathize! My daughter is a master at "I do it myself", to the point where she injures herself by falling down and walking into things because she won't let me help. So annoying! I wish I could say it goes away because my almost five-year-old does it too. Sigh.

Sarahlynn said...

Kristi, that scenario is one of my nightmares. I do usually keep an extra set of clothes in the car, though I've never needed it. Yuck.

Tracey, "I do myself!" is a common refrain here, as well, though fortunately not in unpleasant ways yet. I'm sure it's only a matter of time . . .