Friday, June 4, 2010

Trying to be THREE...

In a few short days, my Big Brownie will officially be 3 years old. It breaks my heart and my heart rejoices at the same time at the thought of having a 3 year old. It has been a week of breaking out for Big Brownie.

We FINALLY threw our favorite companion away. I have taken the "Binkie" away from Big Brownie before as a punishment for misbehaving several times. I felt so guilty in how it was taken, that ultimately, I gave it back. So, I decided that we needed to do this openly and together. Tuesday night, I explained to Big Brownie that this would be his final night with his old friend. He could sleep with his "Binkie" one last time and then in the morning we would throw "Binkie" in the trash can. I asked him if he understood, "Yes Ma'am" was his reply. I asked him to repeat what we had discussed, "I understand that tonight I will get to sleep with 'Binkie' one last time. In the morning when we wake, I will throw 'Binkie' in the trash can." So off to bed he went happy and content.

The next morning after we rose from our slumber, I asked Big Brownie, "Where is your 'Binkie'?" He had put them on his dresser as he had done for the past couple of months. I asked him to go upstairs and get them. I asked him, "Do you remember what we are going to do with 'Binkie'?" He said, "Yes, we are going to put him in the trash can." So, he went upstairs, retrieved his old friend and gently placed him in the trash can. With that, the "Binkie" is now gone. A bit of a snag in that Little Brownie uses the exact same type of pacifier as Big Brownie. So, Little Brownie only gets his "Binkie" at nap time and bedtime and his old friend is left in his crib. This helps in the temptation of Big Brownie going back to his old addiction. Rest-In-Peace "Binkie". You will be missed.

Our second big milestone is that Big Brownie is officially 100% potty trained. We have gone 4 consecutive nights without a diaper/training pants. He has gotten up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and back to bed he goes without so much as a peep. I was down to my last couple of size 6 diapers and DREADED the idea of buying more. Big Brownie came upstairs Sunday night and said, I don't want to wear a diaper tonight, I want to wear my underwear. And with that simple, BIG BOY statement, he is just that...a BIG BOY!

In that he seems to be growing up so fast, these two big markers in his life complete and the fact that he will be 3 years old, he is trying to find his boundaries. Our boundaries are very clear in the this house. Listen and pay attention to what you are told. Act immediately to our requests. Be kind and considerate to others and their belongings. Apologize when you have disobeyed and forgive when someone has hurt your feelings. Hug and Kiss the people you love often. Speak clearly and use your words. It is okay to be upset, mad or sad, however, you may not be disrespectful when you feel this way. Take a deep breathe and calm down. These are a couple of the things the Brownies hear on a daily basis. Even when boundaries are clearly laid out, it is their job to test these boundaries. It is my job to enforce these boundaries.

Now that we no longer have the "Binkie" to use as punitive damages, other privileges are beginning to come in to play. Yesterday, Peanut Butter Fudge came over to play. The Brownies had a BLAST with him. Aunt Fudge picked up P.B. Fudge before everyone got up from their naps. As Big Brownie woke, he asked if P.B. Fudge could go outside and play in the water. I explained that P.B. Fudge had already left. Big Brownie didn't really recover from being upset to the fact that P.B. Fudge was no longer here. He threw a nasty fit.

As he finally calmed down, I began to prepare dinner. This is a time the boys usually get to watch some of their favorite DVD's, VHS tapes or television programs. It keeps them occupied and out of the kitchen. As we sat down to eat dinner, I turned the TV off and we said our prayer. I'll admit, I have a flaw. I CANNOT stand baby talk. Big Brownie is well aware of this hot button and will push it often. Most of the time, I try to ignore it. I can explain the consequence to this action and take a deep breathe myself, but last night, I was already at DEF CON 3. I took a deep breath and ignored it. When Big Brownie realized that wasn't getting the reaction he wanted, he pushed another hot button...banging his fork on the table. I attempted to ignore this, until Little Brownie thought it was funny too and began to join in. Trying to keep a "Monkey see, Monkey do" situation from arising, I told Little Brownie to stop, which he did. I told Big Brownie that he had a choice. If he continued on with the banging, he would not be allowed to go outside after supper was complete. Wanna take a guess which choice he made? Yep, no outside time for him.

As supper progressed, he ultimately dumped his plate full of food onto the floor. I officially declared supper time over and Daddy Brown could tell I had moved to DEF CON 4. He whisked Little Brownie up and outside they went. I explained to Big Brownie that not only was he not going outside, but there would be NO television for the rest of the night. Consequently, another fit ensued. Taking deep breaths and keeping my cool, I went upstairs locked all the bedroom doors except Big Brownie bedroom door. I explained that he needed to go to his room, keep his door open so I could hear him and he could be upset in his room. As he calmed down, he creeped down the stairs and told me he needed to use the bathroom. I agreed and when he was done, explained that he needed to return to his room for some quiet time.

He complied and before long, he was playing in his room quietly. I came upstairs and explained why he was there. I explained what was unacceptable in how he behaved. He understood and said he was very sorry. I told him that I forgave him. We went on the rest of the night in similar fashion, however, I'm pleased to say, I made it without spanking him. I made it without losing my mind and without losing my cool completely.

I don't like the cliche of "Terrible Three's". I don't like to use words like terrible or bad. I like to use words like unacceptable behavior and uncooperative action. I never want my babies to think that I think they are bad or terrible kids...because they are not. They are TRYING me. They are TESTING me. They are looking for me to give them discipline, guidance and direction. Along with love, kindness and most importantly, forgiveness. It may take a few more steps for me to try out these techniques. It would be easier to yell at the top of my lungs at them and spank them. And I do yell at them at times, before I take my deep breath and before I have calmed down. I do explain to Big Brownie that he has a choice when making a decision. He can comply with my request or I can use my "Ugly" voice. He doesn't like my "Ugly" voice and will do as asked most of the time. I do believe in spanking, but as I have said before, that is an ultimate punishment.

Big Brownie is brilliant. He has a great second nature of seeing emotion in people. He can tell if someone is mad or sad or happy or proud. I'm so extremely proud of the little young man he has become. I am so happy that he has a grasp and understanding of his place in our family. I hope and pray everyday that he will continue to "Try" me so that I can teach him right from wrong. I accepted the responsibility of being his mother. I accepted the responsibility of being his teacher. As he is trying to be three, we accept the responsibility of showing him all the love and compassion that we have to give, while guiding him to be a man of mercy and a man of grace. For now, he is almost three and still every bit my Big Brownie.

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