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My First Multiple-Children Challenge

Posted Aug 02 2011 12:00am

So I’ve put myself on partial bed rest, and my condition is stable for now. My doc says to keep doing what I’m doing. I could develop pre-eclampsia any time, but as of now, I’m still technically not diagnosed with it.

We had some on-line friends come and visit today for the first time. (It was great to finally meet you!) I’m always a bit more sensitive about my parenting when around other parents, so I noticed something: I’ve started yelling at Sam. I’m not screaming at her in anger, but yelling her name to get her attention quite often.

She happens to be in a phase right now where she just does not listen. (Please don’t tell me it’s not a phase.) Both Adam and I have become very annoyed at having to repeat ourselves, and seeing her doing exactly what we ask her not to do (or not doing what we did ask her to do), even though it seemed that she had agreed since she didn’t object verbally to the instructions. So we’ve been working on this in constructive ways: we’ve been teaching her how to look us in the eyes when we are speaking to her, and how to acknowledge that she has heard us, and how, if she doesn’t agree with some instruction that we give her, she must first comply, but then she is free to tell us with words that she doesn’t agree and why not. (So, if we say, “stop jumping on the couch,” she must stop, and then tell us why she thinks she should be able to, if she disagrees.) We are careful to listen to her, and to model proper acknowledgement for her. And we’ve explained why it is in her interest to listen to what people say, to acknowledge them, and then to object politely if she disagrees. We’re working on all that, but I know this is one that is going to take a very long time to sink in, so I don’t expect immediate progress.

Still, when I tell her to stop grabbing another child’s toy out of his hands and she completely ignores me, I must act. Normally, I would remove the toy from her hands for her. But now, I am physically limited. So what can I do but yell? I yell her name and it gets her attention. Usually, she’ll come to me and discuss it after that – it’s just getting her attention that is the problem. I don’t really see what alternative I have right now.

But I’m worried that this will become a bad habit, especially since I’m still going to be tied to the couch much of the time after Leo and Zoe are born. This might be my very first parent-of-more-than-one challenge! I can’t stand the idea of being that mom at the playground yelling out her child’s name over and over. If anyone has any advice on other ways to grab Sam’s attention without having to get out of my chair, or how not to let this become habitual, please let me know!

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