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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Self Control

Toddler usually wakes up from a nap happy as a lark. However if her nap is not long or satisfying enough, then everything is not right with this world for her and she starts to cry at every little thing. No amount of distraction, persuasion or scolding will get her to stop.

Recently, after I tried to get toddler to stop whining for the past half hour by various means ending with a raised voice, Mr MG suddenly said: "I can stand her crying. Its just your shouting back at her that I can't stand. Like you're losing control as well" (said very nicely with a smile) as he scooped her up to comfort her.

Wah! MG's defence mechanism shot out liao! Like a porcupine (got nice pics here if you want to see how MG looked like at that moment) ready to shoot out its spikes (Oh I just discovered they're called quills. Quote: "When a predator approaches, the porcupine will turn its back, raise the quills and lash out at the threat with its tail.") MG was thinking: "Yah, sure! You don't have to listen to this whining 24/7. So of course you can stand lah."

MG knows Mr MG well and realise that when Mr MG takes toddler it was to help MG so that MG can get other things done instead of dealing with the whining but when the quills (ahem, learned new word today) are raised....... MG sometimes will say something stupid like "I'm trying to discipline her and here you are spoiling her." This would have raised Mr MG's quills and he would think "Here I am trying to help you out and this is what I get." and then there will be either Words War or Cold War at MG's home.

Luckily MG didn't say much. Afterall toddler's whining was so loud Mr MG could hardly hear so no point but MG did get in a "I was only trying to teach her to behave herself." (or some defensive statement like that. Cannot remember what I said now.

Mr MG is right though. However I'm too close to the problem to realise it. Sometimes its easy to lose control. Shouting back at toddler to stop shouting will hardly yield any results. But I do it sometimes with the so called intention to "discipline her". In actual fact I have gone into tantrum mode as well because in my mind I know her whining will make baby cry (then I've got another new problem to deal with) and then there is this load of stuff waiting...., just waiting for me to do........ and so I shout at her in desperation to stop.

"Just ignore her" says Mr MG but how to ignore this little loud whining thing that follows me around the house pulling at my dress?" Sometimes ignoring her just makes her go on and on for even longer because it is attention she seeks. I would pay a little attention to her but not too much because I don't want her to to think that whining will get her what she wants but at the same time I don't want her to think that she is being ignored just because she is small and helpless and have difficulty trying to express what she wants in words. Boy oh boy, being a parent sure is confusing....

Usually if I sense her mood early when she wakes up unhappy (I have antennas at the back of my head that senses my children's moods and feelings), I can often avoid this whining situation by distracting her immediately with activities but sometimes I'm just too busy or too tired.

Toddler is discovering a whole new world of emotions. It is overwhelming to her and sometimes she does not know how to control herself. So it is up to me, the adult (ahem) to teach her self control but as usual the teacher must learn self control first.

"I must learn self control. I must learn self control." Cannot blog anymore, must go and chant my mantra now. "I must learn self control. I must learn self control......."


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