Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Help, Lucyfer Has Moved In!

You know this really, really cute little girl that I am constantly photographing and rambling mindlessly on and on about?

I am sure you are thinking that there is no way that a little pumpkin that cute could ever be EXTREMELY difficult to live with. Who, sweet little ol' me?

I am sure you think she must be an angel all of the time. She puts on a great "I am so innocent" little act. She most certainly knows how to put on the charm. No doubt about that.

She knows how to work it. She is so smart and knows exactly what needs to be done in order to get what she wants.

People are naturally drawn to her, even though she is not always naturally drawn to them.

And she is in fact, quite an amazing child - full of life and wonder and spice. Lots and lots of spice.

And a joy to be around. Well, sometimes. And lately that joyful part has been alluding us. But again, how could this sweet child be a terror? Certainly her mother must be insane.

I get this look A LOT. Trust me, she means business. Within the past few weeks, when you see this look, it is quite possible, in fact highly likely, that all hell is about to break loose. So get ready. I have actually never taken a picture of her having a full blown fit. It just seems a little mean.

But if you can somehow distract that little mind for just a minute or so, you will MAYBE get this sweet look back.

But whatever you do, don't push your limits. It is not wise. She has stamina. She can and will put up a harder fight than you. But the good news is, once she is done with her meltdown, she will be ready for some fun again.

I know that I mentioned recently that Lucy has been going through some terrible two like behavior stuff lately. Well, lets just say that the last week or so have been really interesting. That is one way of describing it. Mind boggling might be a better term. Or rip the hair from my head maddening might be even better. The girl is losing it.

I find myself going over our days each night while I am laying in bed. I think about the things I could have done differently or how I could have reacted in a more calm way that might have eased the day a bit. We start over the next morning and often times, the crappy day starts instantly when she wakes up. It is like she is in a permanent funk. She is grumpy. Really grumpy. When I say the smallest of things will set her off, I mean the smallest of things. A couple of recent examples that come to mind are when she lost it because she couldn't get the exact right sized bite of potatoes on her fork or when she could not get the box of raisins opened. It was dinner the other night and she started yelling at her fork about a bigger bite. I asked if she wanted me to help her get a bigger bite on the fork and that just pissed her off even more. She ended up full blown crying and screaming about the bite being not right. She ALWAYS gets mad at the box of raisins. She has a hard time getting it opened herself, but refuses help. And it pisses her off. Badly.

I think what is going on is that she is in that in between stage of wanting to be a big girl/wanting to do absolutely everything on her own and just not being quite able to do everything without a little assistance. It is devastating in her little world. Justin and I absolutely always let her do whatever it is that she says "I DO IT!" The problem is, if she is not 100% successful on her first attempt, she is done. Meltdown begins. She has zero patience. If she is pushing her shopping cart and it hits a snag on a rug, she is mad. She will just start jerking it around and yelling. If she is this sensitive about a box or raisins or bite of potatoes, just imagine what our days have been like.

I have had to really have a pep talk with myself and with Justin about how we are handling all of this. It is SO easy to become so overwhelmed and frustrated and just lose it. There have been days when I have wanted to move her permanently into time out. But lets face it, that is not realistic and neither are a lot of the expectations we have put on her. I am not saying that she doesn't need to face consequences for acting out, but I am also saying that she is TWO. I can't expect her to react the way I would or Justin would to a situation because her little brain just isn't there yet. It is not fair to expect her to act like a much older child, but I find myself doing it over and over. I am trying to be more aware of how she must be feeling. How to her these little things are a big deal. They seem completely ridiculous to me and Justin, but she is really having a hard time figuring out how to deal with these issues.

We are getting there. In fact, today was a really enjoyable day. Such a nice break. She was laughing, playing peacefully, dancing around, and in a great mood. I was reminded by a friend that these unpleasant stages usually last about 2 weeks - which has absolutely proven true in the past - and that once the stage passes, she will come out of it just as quickly as she started it and she will probably have made a huge learning leap while her brain got "rewired" for a bit. Thanks Liz! Hopefully we are through the worst of it for now. I know a lot more rough patches will come up, I just hope this one is almost over. It has not been easy. We like to say that our precious Lucy has moved out and her evil twin Lucyfer has moved in for a while. Well guess what, I packed Lucyfer's bags and kicked his butt to the curb!

We make sure to go in and kiss her head when she is sleeping every night because we can always see the sweet girl that she is, and always will be, when she is sleeping. It is impossible to be frustrated or upset with her when I see her so peaceful. It gets me ready for the next day and all of the challenges that we will face.

As always, advice is welcome.


Susan said...

You're preaching to the choir, Sister. You're preaching to the choir. I swear you could remove the name "Lucy" everywhere in your post and insert the name "Petunia" and... yep, it would be just right. Thank goodness we love our girls as much as we do. I just pray that we all make it through without becoming completely bald. haha

Anonymous said...

Oh, do I hear ya. Mattix has been through a lot of the behaviors you described. And he's not even two! The frustration/refusing help one was killer. He would go from calm to crazy in two seconds flat because he couldn't do whatever it was that he wanted to do, but didn't want us to help him to id. We're in an amazing phase right now. He is so pleasant and fun. I'm afraid to even write that for fear that it will end abruptly. Like you said, it is so NOT easy to be a calm, rational parent after days of the hard stuff. I truly fear the "terrible twos" because based on portions of the ones...well, I'm afraid, very afraid! The good news is that you're a great mom and you'll do a great job for Lucy as she works through this stuff. Hopefully it won't take long and this good stage will last!

Jess and Paul said...

No advice here. Phoebe is easing her way into the terrible twos herself. I feel like I have to tiptoe around and try not to set her off. The other day I touched her fork and that was it. The head swung back and the legs were kicking. I appreciate what you said about remembering that they are little and that we can't expect them to act/think like we would. I have to keep reminding myself that. Have you come across and good books on parenting toddlers with 'tudes?

marci said...

oh sister you are singing my song!!!! my husband and i have illicited help from family and friends for this EXACT SAME situation!! like susan said you could just as easily put feona's name into this mad MAD lib and it would fit! we just ignore the screaming fits by telling her to do it in her room and she can come out when she is done (she still listens to us on that one), the independent thing...we nipped the melt downs with sign language early on with soon as she would get frustrated she makes the help sign (she now makes the "help" sign really exaggerated and yells "help") but at least she's not freaking out right!! i love her dearly and, like you, just look at her and wonder when my sweet happy little girl will come mom said "the sweet little girl will come back when she needs money for her wedding...." big help huh!! LOL cheers and i toast a BIG glass of red wine to you, to us!!

Anonymous said...

Oh Lucyfer..
I have no advice to give, I read this post with fear because I see that coming in another year for us! I think she just wants control over her little world and like you said, be a big girl.
I say have a glass of wine.

adoptiondreams said...

My daughter is also from VN and she turns 2 today! I follow your blog as a sneak preview of what we can expect, and we are already seeing the signs. Annie says I DO all the time-the car seat straps are a nightmare! But then she giggles and gets all cute, and it passes.

Hang on Kelly-I think we are going to be in for a wild ride with our smart little cuties!
Jennifer Murphy

Kate said...

Amen, sister-friend! LucIfer lives here too! Ohhh, I know you've heard this and probably don't want to here it again but THREE is the new TWO. Just you wait. I've told Luci for the last year that for her 4th birthday, Mommy is having a Martini Party to celebrate. Yes Ma'am!

Seriously, as you know, each day is a whole new ball game. What she liked yesterday may not be the case today. I try to create situations for my daughter where I'm not overwhelming her. I limit her choices because too many decisions boogle her brain. On things that are way our of her league, I let her attempt it once and if it's a struggle I lock it in memory to change it up next time. Like with your raisins, maybe you can offer them in a cute cup or printed ziploc bag? I know, who are we kidding, but it's worth a shot. My daughter is able to talk to me now about why she behaves the way she does sometimes. She doesn't always know why and will state that she just gets angry. Being able to talk about it really helps. About a year ago, we started playing the "calm down" game where when we found that she was getting out of control, we'd start "dramatically" taking deep breaths and she'd copy us. We all look ridiculous but it works great to get her to relax.

Just know that Lucifer won't leave your house for another 18 years. Just this morning, my oldest son backed his car into my friend's car. Ughhh...Jesus help me! :)

Take Care!

Amy said...

I've never posted a comment here- but I've been reading for several months. I followed a link from another adoption blog.

Anyways- Is it possible that she is going through a growth spurt? Or getting ready for one? I ask because both of my kids (11 and 5) would get extremely grumpy just before they went through one. And like you said in your post- it usually lasted about two weeks or so, then magically, they would wake up their happy selves again! But boy- during that 2 week period, I wanted to pull my hair out and run screaming from the house in search of someone to rescue me!

Hang in there. :) It'll get better.

Anonymous said...

I know this age very well. i think we are going through it here as well.

Anonymous said...

One of the comments reminded me about a book. I've read all of them - my bedside table is stacked with books about possessed - er - I mean "spirited" children since I've got one who also has a food allergy that causes her to completely rage for hours. The one I liked the best was "happiest toddler on the block" because even though it tells you to talk to them this ridiculous way that you feel like a complete dork, it actually works. I like the books that tell you to do A, B & C instead of just telling you over again how your child is...duh, I KNOW how she is - I want HELP. So this book tells you how to communicate with them at this age.

I also at that age started talking to Taylor about simple emotions - like "you feel frustrated" "you are angry" "you are sad" so that when she would flip over something she couldn't do and lob it across the room I could say "if you feel frustrated, ask for help and mommy can fix it". We also talked a lot about teamwork so that when she was wanting to do something on her own she didn't feel defeated if I had to help, she thought of it as teamwork and that made it more fun.

Good Luck! I hope it's over for now!!

Dawn said...

Take comfort in knowing that you are NOT alone. If that doesn't work try a glass of wine and some chocolate. You may still wake up to Lucyfer, but at least you will have had some peace and pleasure while she was sleeping! Oh those pics and captions...totally cracking me up! My daughter turned 2 on August 5th, and we are SO in the same boat. Time to strap on a life jacket and ride it out!

dana said...

Oh, poor Lucy and poor you! The twos and threes are SO hard but you will get through it. I have to agree w/Liz on the book recommendation "Happiest Toddler on the Block". It teaches you a very interesting way of communicating on their level and it really works. Also, at these young ages when they are developing so rapidly it's really important for them to rely on us to be consistent - with routine, discipline, etc. I know it's tough now but remember it is a phase and before you know it she'll be back to her funloving and sweet self.

Anonymous said...

I hope this phases passes quickly and she comes out on the other side even sweeter! Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Lucy is a little big top model! ^_^

The Houser's said...

On certain days i'm sure my 2 and 1/2 year old is the spawn of satan. She is lovey and darling and evil and wicked all wound up in this perfect little ball... Lord help us all;)

Meredith Woodruff said...

I am cracking up about Lucyfer!!! I think all kids go through this phase! I remember my nephews freaking out because their socks weren't on just right!!!

Michelle said...

Welcome to motherhood! Angelica is almost 6 and IS still pissed off at the world b/c her toothpaste falls off her toothbrush, the dog licked her foot, she cannot make the #2 just perfect, her mac & cheese is too hot/too cold, her shoes don't match her shirt, there's no more red skittles in the bag, I didn't cut her sandwich in half, she can't reach the TP, you name it! They go through stages...some are only a day long and other's are weeks. I've tried to figure it out but I think there is no rhyme nor reason. It's just hard being a kid AND hard being a patient mom during those times. But it's those fun times and times when they cuddle and want nothing more than to be with mom that make it all worth it.

Jenny said...

we have been going through this stage for a long time. It didn't go away in 2 weeks for us. It has lasted months. If I say something in the wrong tone, don't let Mimi and Cams put their own shoes on, comb their hair the wrong sets them off. It will last a while. We ignore alot of it, talk it out and let them have fits if that is what they need. Good luck, to us all, cause from what I have heard, 2 is bad and 3 is way worse.

Catherine said...

Isabella is 2 going on a very moody 16!! Anything can set her off-especially playing with friends!! This morning, I tried to tell her how much fun she will have at her sitter's house with Jayleen and she said, "Jayleen's yucky! Jayleen stinks! No play with Jayleen!" Thinking it would end there, she walks into the sitter's house and bops Jayleen on the head and steals her toys. UGH!!! She took the neighbor's little boy by the neck and drove him through the doorway the other day. She gets so mad when I try to get her dressed, get her in her car seat, try to hold her milk for her, try to brush her hair, help her down the stairs......and bedtime, UGH!!!!! Lord help us all!!!! Her favorite word is, "NO...I don't want to!!!" I just smile, take a deep breath,and know that this, too, shall past!

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but wait for 3. It will make you miss the 2s. My oldest daughter, now 7, only had about 2 to 3 tantrums when she was 2. Boy, I thought I was a great Mom. How little I knew, because I barely survived the 3s. I always find the 1/2years the worst time. Now that I have survived the 2s with my older 2 daughters, my now 2year old's tantrums don't seem to bother me as much. You just start to realize that it is a developmental stage and they do out grow it over time. Thank g-d that they still do so many really cute and adorable things at that age or you could go absolutely stark raving mad.

Hang in there, things will be better before you know it. I must say that the ages of 4 to 5 are really nice and you don't have to deal with the attitude that sets in around 7ish.

Anonymous said...

Here is my question - why is there only ONE mom of a boy commenting?! Do us mothers of daughters get it not just during the teen years but also this age too while the boys are busy loving on their mommies? No FAIR! What is with all these little divas? Or is it the age old quagmire of the mother/daughter dynamic?

As others said, at least it's good to know none of us are alone.

sue and gary said...

We have the same issues with our Sara! I have started to use bribery! Probably not a good idea either, but now that she is obsessed with her "Barbie Car" I tell her if she does something, she can ride it. Interesting, though, she never acts like this around other people when they are watching her!!

Anonymous said...

I don't have children but as the co-owner of a preschool I sure do have a TON of experience. You sound like you're an incredible mother - so patient and understanding. Most adults are completely unable to understand that their toddler isn’t capable of living up to the expectations they’ve set for them and that only leads to more frustration.

Lucy's personality is obviously a feisty one! I think this world needs more females with strong personalities! One day Lucy will be able to channel this energy in a positive way - just give her time – she could be President one day. She sure doesn’t seem like the type to let anyone push her around or tell her what to do! Good for her…not so good for mommy. :0) Hang in there!

Jen said...

This one was so close to home--even though the little guy is only 15 months. I have shopping cart schrapnel in our office after he ran it into the bookcase and got mad...and we fight battles over who holds the spoon at meals. He still can't do it 100% of the time, but he will let you know that your help isn't wanted :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think you need advice, Mama, you are ALL over it. I think you are totally right on about all of it. It is SO hard and it will pass.

Lauren Smart said...

Great! This is what I have to look forward to in less than 2 years!! She sure is precious in pictures. Have no advice here but I do like the advice you got from one person..have a glass of wine!! That's what has gotten me through these first 4 mos!!

Jo said...

I'm with Susan, Cami is doing the same things Lucy is..... We call her Camzilla!!!!

I have found a nice large glass of wine helps, me of coarse.....

Sara said...

Oh she is so much like my Lucy. Must be the name! Or, more likely, just the age. I am sure it is helpful to read here that you are certainly not is just SUCH a tough age. I have noticed that as my Lucy gets closer to turning three and her language skills are really well developed, it has gotten a bit easier in some ways. I can reason with her better and better every day. And even though she wants to do everything "by myself!", she is now better at actually doing them so there is a bit less frustration all around. But we definitely still have our up days and our down ones...or, I should say, our up weeks and our down ones!

As always, great photos of your little rockstar diva!


Cheryl F. said...

I had to chuckle reading this entry. My daughter is 9 yo and still at times acts like your little darling. This just brings back memories for me and I just chuckle. My daughter is so precise and things have to fit just so so. We have 75 pair of panties and she can only wear 4 of them. They all go through different stages. So in the near future you will find amusement in these issues, but at 9 years old my daughter has a teenage mouth. It just gets better and better. lol

Anonymous said...

Hi kelly,
Yikes....I think everyone goes through this 'stage', my son's name used to be ronnoc (Connor backwards) when he was doin' his thing. Well, he is now 17 a (mostly!!) fabulous :)

I have to share something that worked soooo well for me when my kids were little. I gave them each daily 'incentive charts' (you can buy them at Mardel) everytime they did something great, they got a sticker, once the sticker chart was full....they got to go to the "Special Treat Closet", where they would 'buy' something. Seriously, it was crap in that closet, but they loved it, stickers, coloring books, even homemade coupons for park visits (which you would do anyway, but they think they earned it) Int he beginning you want to reward tons, then eventually you can back off. That way, if she starts to see how much she is rewarding for doing well, she will hopefully want to earn more. Also, maybe try sneaking the raisin box ahead of time and 'pre-open' it just a bit. Once she starts getting successful, hopefully she will be more patient and be able to get it on her own. I loved watching my sweet kids go shop in the closet, plus it was a positive way to get them going each day!!! Also, they didn't go everyday and we could really get excited talking about "I bet tomorrow, you get a trip to the special treat closet". If you try it, I hope it works for you as well as it did me. Lucy is precious, but I do know they are EXHAUSTING too!!!!

hang in there, you are a great mom :) Cindy

Erica said...

I don't know that I have any advice, but I do know that my niece was the same way, but it does improve. She would get so frustrated and just shriek and cry hysterically. Honestly, it sounded like someone had just beat her, but it was just her trying to get a square block to fit through a round hole. I think it really is the age, but I don't know that anything can be done. My mom is a big fan of reminding us that "this too shall pass". Thank God she is right.

KrisJ said...

First of all the photos are gorg and it was like reading a funny book with the anticipation of Lucyfer!! SO yes these stages last usually 2 weeks and that age I found what works best really is to acknowledge... I know your upset and Im sorry.. and then let them know that that behavior isnt ok... I know your upset but yelling, hitting, throwing is not ok... then give them an out.. when your feeling that way tell mommy and I would love to help, if you do this again you will have to go to time out. HUGS AND KISSES I promise this has worked with both my kids. I know all kids are different though. Your an awesome mom so give yourself some credit!!

Anonymous said...

Kell--just between you and me, I'm sending out a GIANT S E C R E T to the universe in a very positive manner. ha ha ha ha ha What do they say about payback??? A parent's love is so immense, that no stage, no dumb decision, no battitude can make me love my kids or my precious grand babies any less. Sit back and enjoy this little angel from God. The bigger they get, the BIGGER the situations!!! And I think you know what I mean!!!!! Kiss her forehead for me to make that fever disappear! My cup runneth over, and I know yours does too!! Love ya more than words can say. Mom

S. said...

I agree with Nicki. Only thing I would add is I really really like Barbara Curtis' books about toddlers.

Sue said...

My daughter is almost 4 and I can't wait..I'm told she'll mellow out. Yup, I'll believe it when I see it. 3 is the new 2 for sure. I agree with the other post about 1/2's being the hardest. Was for us so far. Hang in there. I always tell myself that God gave me this child because He knew I could handle her. Then I go in the pantry and do a shot of Tequila..... just kidding ; )
p.s. love your photos!

Unknown said...

I don't have children, but I have two beautiful nieces. They both went into this phase of their lives at full force. My sister even consulted their doctor because it was to the point of upsetting her equally as much as the girls. He told her that sometimes this happens during a growth spurt. Their legs ache from growing and sometimes their tummy will hurt or arms...this frustrates them and makes them mad.
Praying for you will pass and she will be that sweet girl again soon.

Anonymous said...

cute pictures!!

just hang in there! two is bad...but three is worse (hate to break it to you)!! this too shall pass...i promise :)

Julie said...

kelly- you are an AMAZING mom. I've obviously not experienced this wonderful blessing yet but I know other mothers go through this very thing... This should make you smile- when she has a meltdown...think of my mom- with 2 toddlers...having yuge meltdowns. :) It could always be worse & I know you handle it perfectly!

Christina said...

"Lucyfer" - HA, now that is funny! I call N "Naughty Nadia." They really do know how to push us to our breaking point, don't they? I'm sorry it's been so rough lately, but I really can relate. A few months ago I was absolutely beside myself with Nadia's behavior. Now, we most definitely have our bad times, but overall she is much more easy going. Take heart - you will get there again! You are a GREAT mama!

Oh, and that outfit and those pictures? Are freakin' adorable!