Tuesday, May 11, 2010

And so it begins

Today I walked out on dinner out with my parents. Just a week into three and this little angel is testing all of the boundaries and pushing all the buttons.

This story starts on Sunday. For mother's day I asked to go out to lunch at Steak n' Shake. Not fancy, but one of my favorite places none the less. Madeline spent most of the lunch testing the limits and turning around in her seat. Not wanting to ruin our lunch I did very little about it. We reminded her to sit a million times. Until now Madeline has been very well behaved in public. I didn't know how to handle her behavior.

Fast forward to today, I knew I had to act differently. My dad met us at the restaurant and my mom was set to join us when she got off work. Because I didn't think Madeline would wait we ordered food and began eating before my mom got there. Within the first ten minutes, I asked Madeline to sit down, turn around or get out from under the table a kajillion times. So I said, knowing full well that I would have to follow through, that if she continued with this behavior, we would leave without finishing our dinner and (more importantly to her) before Granny arrived to eat with us.

I gave her one more warning and when she crawled under the table I said it was time to go.

As you can imagine this did not go over well. It was kinda like this:

this photo was taken on Saturday and is a story all on its own...

Except we were in public. And I had Lydia out of her pumpkin seat (because she's getting rediculously heavy) so I had to figure out how to wrangle her and a crying 3 year old. And all eyes were on us. And I hadn't finished my dinner. Nor had Madeline. And I had plans to go to Target afterward. And I wanted to talk to my mom. And I didn't want to leave my dad with a mess at the table. And I just couldn't help but think this was just as much of a punishment for me as it was for her. And she cried louder and louder the more I packed up our stuff. And did I mention everyone was looking at us?

The crying didn't last long. She cried in the car for a while, but then calmed down by the time we got home. (less than 5 minutes) I think she understood that we left because of her actions. After a while I just don't think that she cared.

As a friend said to me last week, "Welcome to three. It's terrible."

And so it begins.



Bridget said...

It will be interesting to see how she acts next time. You're doing it right...consistancy from you and consequences for her. Did you at least get a to-go box for your dinner?

RPS said...

I'm not sure I'm much help as we're kidless, but with our 3/4 yr. olds at work its the same thing...clear expectations...warnings, time outs...immediate consequences, etc..

Adrienne said...

So it is not just my child? I feel your pain. We can just keep telling ourselves that dealing with their behavior will pay off in the future, right?

Adrienne said...

Oh and good job Mommy Maureen for letting her know that there ARE consequences for her "undesirable" actions. You are such a good mom. (And that really sucks that you didn't get to finish.)

carolyntracy said...

Oh Mo. That sucks. I've been there, too. (In fact, out to Mother's Day lunch w/ Mother-in- law went down pretty much the same way). I've just started a new book - kids, parents and power struggles- it is upstairs and I'm too lazy to find out the author, but so far it is really good- should be required reading for all parents of 3 year olds. If I'm reading it right, the authors would say that she wasn't actually trying to embarrass you, she just didn't know how to control her emotions. We have to be "emotion coaches". Good job w/ following though. It is so much harder in public. (and good job getting a photo of the other tantrum. priceless).

mGk said...

Thank you for all the positive comments.

Aunt B- I hope next time she sits down and shuts up. (ok, not really... but maybe)

Becky- You totally have it worse... at least I only have one 3 year old at a time.

Adrienne- It is nice to know you are dealing with the same stuff. Stinky as it may be. Thanks for always being there.

Carol- I am looking up that book... NOW!! And although I "know" she wasn't doing it to me, it is hard not to believe she knows better than that. She is very intelligent, so I have to remind myself that she is only 3, not 30... and even I (at 30) don't know how to control my emotions that well! Where's my "emotional coach"?

Molly said...

To all who were concerned about Mo's dinner... I brought the rest of it to her after I ate.

Mo- you did the absolute right thing. And I'm proud of you. You're a great mom, and I always knew you would be. It's tough, but it's temporary. Focus on the good stuff - like how she's beautiful even when she cries. :)

Adrienne said...

Carol, you comment reminded me of something we were taught by a counselor... it is our job as parents to help the children return to joy when they are in the midst of strong negative emotions. While that has helped with perspective, sometimes I can't help but wonder, "what about MY joy" during the midst of his "learning experiences".

Maureen - there have been more times that I would prefer that I have carried Alexander out when he was acting less desirably than I would like. Such as the doctor's clinic, the grocery store, and even the library. And this is in a small town where EVERYONE in the place knows exactly who you are. Fun.