Thank God my sister came over to babysit tonight because I was ready to put Jack on the curb with a FREE sign around his neck.
That kid does not listen to me. DOES. NOT. LISTEN. And there's pretty much nothing that drives me crazier than a two-year-old who flat out ignores me when I tell him to stop tormenting his sister. Which is to say: neither of us is on our best behavior.
But I don't know what to do, other than stick him on the steps - completely removed from the action - every single time he steals Molly's toy or refuses to follow directions or can't stop crying. Oh man, the Can't Stop Crying. Maybe THAT'S the thing that drives me crazier.
Last night Phillip put Jack to bed, then went downstairs to do homework. A little while later I heard Jack yelping over the monitor and I raced up there because we're potty training and YOU NEVER KNOW. But no, Jack wanted something. He kept saying what he wanted over and over, but I had no idea what he was talking about. Finally he said, "I show you!" So I got him out of bed (I was feeling sweet and generous) and he scampers into my bedroom where a Play-Doh pizza cutter type toy thingy was sitting on my bed. "My Play-Doh cutting board!" he announced (huh?) and held it close to his chest like a baby doll. "Want take this to bed Mama?" And I said no. And he said yes. And I said no. And he said yes. And it was totally the kind of thing that would drive me crazy, except it was sort of ridiculous and hilarious and he was acting SO pathetic in this very obvious way, where he knew that I knew this was a big act. And finally we giggled and I convinced him to take a book to bed instead of his cutting board (?) and ALL WAS WELL.
So I know. I JUST KNOW my kid plays me.
Sometimes it's cute. Other times I won't be played. You know? I'm going to win. I'm the mom. He has to listen to me. And then he doesn't and WHAT CAN I DO?
I stick him on the steps or I stick him in his bed. I have no confidence that either of these things makes a lick of difference in his behavior, but at least I get five minutes away from him.
Molly is no picnic herself, and I really have to watch to make sure that I'm getting on to Jack for a good reason, rather than Molly just felt like shrieking and I felt like blaming Jack. I'm the oldest kid, I remember full well what it was like to hear, "Just ignore him!" when my little brother was the one causing the problem. I don't want to do that to Jack, but even though Molly can be a little twerp and TOTALLY hits back (and hits first!) he DOES cause most of the problems. He takes her toys, he pushes her, he roughhouses with her in a mean sort of way, he plays tug of war until Molly gets hurt - it's awful!
At the same time, this kid is CONSTANTLY kissing me, saying "I wuv you, Mommy", hugging me, asking me if I'm happy, wanting me to do this or that with him, snuggling in the chair when we read a story before naptime - I mean, he's PRECIOUS. He's the sweetest thing in the world. He is the cheeriest happiest little kid I know, I swear. BUT HE IS DRIVING ME NUTS!
This tends to go in waves... and maybe there's some External Factor I haven't identified, and won't for another six months or something, I don't know. And I don't think there's really anything I can do about it. From what I hear, he's just being two, and also from what I hear, three will be worse. Getting him out of my sight at least gives me a breather. We'll live.
And when we got home tonight I turned on the news, watched for five minutes and went upstairs to stare at him and his sister, just barely resisting the impulse to pull them both out of bed and hold them in the comfy blue chair while they sleep.