Problem Child*

Kate and I are having some issues. More to the point, I am having some issues with Kate and her behavior.

She is an energetic child, and she does not sit still. It has become much more of an issue in public than anywhere else, and it’s exhausting. I felt like my Friday evening and most of the day on Saturday was spent literally wrestling with her.

On Friday, the combined mis-behavior of my two children lead to us leaving a restaurant for the first time ever (we got our dinner to go). (So much for all that Progress.)

Saturday, we were at an indoor craft fair in Dormont (organized by my SIL), and I was unable to relax and look at things. Kate had to touch everything, run, kiss the metal frogs, and just generally be my Wild Child in spades. I wanted to buy pottery mugs (or goblets) for Dan and me, and order personalized books, and check out a couple other booths, and Kate made it impossible.

I worried that I was going to have to bail on Saturday night dinner with ClumberKim and her family, plus two other tweeps (Abby and Beth). The girls were tired of running around (truth be told, so was I!), but I wanted to see our friends, too. It turned out to be okay (although putting a party of 9, including four kids, in the middle of the restaurant was a risky decision on our hostess’ part), but Kate barely ate, and I barely got to eat, and I did not get to have a conversation with anyone. Despite Flora and Oliver being happily occupied, I was fielding questions along the lines of “How do you spell ‘publicity’?” from Flora and trying to keep Kate from falling out of her booster seat (although Mr. Clumber should be lauded for his ability to occupy two under-3s at the same time).

And then there is the whole potty issue. At one time, Kate was willingly peeing on the toilet β€” she had to be prompted WAY more often than she asked to go (I mean, like, 15-to-1), but I figured we were making headway.

But she refuses to poop on the potty. And lately, that refusal to poop on the potty has turned into a refusal to poop at all. She goes two days at a time between BMs, and by the end of the second day, she is a miserable, cranky, non-eating almost-3-year-old. This refusal to poop on the potty has lead to extreme reluctance to even sit on the potty to pee, so every half-hour turns into a struggle just to get her into the bathroom.

Dan says my expectations are too high, but we haven’t gotten to discuss this in depth yet. I’m not sure if he doesn’t think she’s ready to potty train (he has tried to be encouraging in this endeavor too) or if my exasperation at some of her other behaviors is out of hand.

She is a terrible listener; she is stubborn; she is aggressive (Flora was never aggressive). Trying to channel her behavior is futile, whether I’m trying to play a game with her, get her on the potty, or otherwise occupying her time. Hallmarks of a typical almost-3?

Conversely, I am impatient. I’m not sure if I am more impatient than I was with Flora or if I am more impatient in general, or what exactly. My stress levels are definitely different now, with Kate at this stage, than they were when Flora was here.

Good points: Kate will occupy herself (she just doesn’t like direction). Her attention span is good. She will clean up when asked (three times out of five, anyway). She still naps. (Whew.) She is dang funny.

I’m not sure what to do. Stay home a lot more for awhile on the weekends β€” I think that would be good for all of us, frankly. Pull back on the potty training? They are trying to get her to go on the potty at daycare, too. (I haven’t trained a kid as a WOTHM, so I’m not sure of the most effective approach to this.) Anything else?

*Just to clarify: Kate, of course, is not a problem child. She is, simply, MY problem and a child, and this is really about me and not about her. Okay, it’s a little about her.

6 thoughts on “Problem Child*

  1. Dude, she’s just little.

    Be grateful (I know, it’s hard sometimes) for your strong-willed little she-monster. It will serve her well when she has to navigate and negotiate her way through school. And beyond. Remember what it was like? Wouldn’t you have liked a little Kate in you on certain occasions?

    She’d have given Sister Mary Mark a run for her money πŸ™‚

    • I know. Like I said, it’s about me and what my problem is. Impatience, but I’m not sure WHY, you know?

      And I think I DO have a little Kate inside me β€” or she has a little of me inside her. I butted heads a lot more with my father growing up β€” whom I am very much alike β€” than with my mother…whom I am like now. Get me?

      She is little. I am trying to be patient. Some days are better than others. And, yeah, I worry a lot more about Flora navigating Girl World than Kate. Kate is just not going to give a fig.

      Ciao, my dear, rpm

  2. Sounds like you are tired, and need a break! I am pretty sure the whole hesitation with BM’s is pretty typical…and the subsequent constipation. just reinforce with a STRONG reinforcer (like, her favorite snack ever!) m&m’s did it for aidan. maybe ask her what she would like for going on the potty, and let her choose her reinforcer…we do this for Aidan frequently, or give him a choice of 2 or 3. (like candy, video, or time on the computer)

    and sorry, but the half hour wait is standard, too. maybe keep a book in the bathroom so you can read while you wait? if that’s even possible with Kate. And reinforce her just for sitting, too. But let her know she can get MORE of the reinforcer if she’s goes in the potty!

    Sounds like she is having way too much fun to stop moving!! It is hard to potty train WOTH. Spring/Summer is easier…less clothing, less to change if there is an accident. and maybe Kate will be less wild if she can burn off a little energy outside. Don’t worry. She’ll do it…when SHE is ready, of course!

    Take care! Hugs!

    • I am tired. I actually have a post about that brewing. But I’m so exhausted!

      I have asked Kate about candy, toys, TV β€” what she wants for pooping on the potty. Her response? “I don’t want to poop on the potty.” So I’m backing off for now. I don’t want to set up a power struggle about the potty.

      It’s not a 1/2 hour wait; I’ve been trying to seat her on the potty every 1/2 hour. She won’t sit at all if she doesn’t want to go. I’ve tried sitting with her and a book or a toy, but she just won’t hang out. I’d like to get her “trained” before she turns 3 in January. I feel like I waited a long time with her β€” we started with Flora at 2.5 years, which was too soon for her and me. Kate was showing signs of readiness, which is why we started.

      And, yes, Kate has energy to burn! I try to get the girls doing active things at night β€” we have a hopscotch rug, or I try to dance around with them. But Kate just wants to run wild! It’s very tough when I’m so very beat every day.

      Thanks for the feedback. I am just trying to breathe deep and get through. I found 3 with Flora very challenging and I have to change my mindset about that with Kate.

      Hugs right back!


  3. The kid I watch/ed went through the not wanting to poop stage for a year-ish. Oh he was miserable. He’d walk around the house telling me his stomach hurt sooo much. At one point I turned to him and said, “Dude I have the answers to alllll your problems!” Him: “What?” Me: “POOP!” Him: “Waaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!”

    He once even asked me to call my boyfriend so he could talk to him. I get The Boy on the phone and the kid says, “I don’t want to poop!” Poor The Boy talked to him a bit, basically told him not to if he didn’t want to.

    She will when she’s ready, but does she understand she’s in control of how her body feels? Kids struggle with what little control they have over things, so I always tried to point out what choices they *can* make.

    • I know! By dinner time Kate is telling me how much her tummy hurts and I’m like, “You have to poop. That’s why.” She does not quite believe me yet.

      The other thing I should add is that Kate had a terrible, painful diaper rash a couple month ago. After trying a lot of different things, we finally figured out that she was reacting to her wipes. So we switched to baby oil and cotton squares. But I think the memory of that rash has lead her to the “I don’t want to poop” path.

      I’ll just wait until she’s ready (again). I didn’t have this much trouble with Flora! (Granted, it was no picnic…)

      thanks for the comment!


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