Sunday, July 13, 2008


We just got back from our trip yesterday. It was wonderful & relaxing & everything I had hoped for. I took tons of pictures & can't wait to post them all. We really had an amazing time. Unfortunately, that's not what this post is about. This post is a cry for help. I realized something while I was gone - I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing as a mother.

I just don't know what to do with Hollie. She screams when I put her in the car. She screams when I pull her out. She screams when I change her diaper. She screams when I wipe her face. She screams when I won't let her play in the toilet. She just screams. Literally, every time I guide or direct her behavior. Every. Time. I know I must not be meeting her needs, but I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I just don't know how to help her.

I really think this transition into toddlerhood is going to kill me. Hollie was an easy baby. Really easy. I never felt sleep-deprived or overwhelmed. Never. Not once. I had this sweet little angel & every moment was cherished. It seems like overnight, however, she has turned into a monster that I want to beat on a daily basis. I hate to admit that. I hate it. I feel so helpless. Especially because she communicates 6-8 months ahead of her age. She's using full sentences, for pete's sake! She shouldn't be screaming. She knows how to tell me what she wants, but chooses not to. She's smart & stubborn & ridiculously independent. Which, apparently, is a wicked combination.

So, my plea to the blogging world is please help me. How do I get her to stop screaming? Any ideas? Books? Any anything?

P.S. Here is a little preview from the Bird. She looks like a little darling here, doesn't she? Don't be fooled. Thankfully these moments do still come, few and far between although they may be.


Crystal said...

I am no expert, but I feel for you. I'm interested to see what comments people leave, because I could always use suggestions.
When I had my first baby somebody said to me- "although you are probably completely overwhelmed you should know that taking care of a baby is the easiest part of raising a child." When they said that I was mad because I couldn't imagine what they meant. I was totally sleep deprived. (I still am as you can tell, it's 3am and I'm leaving a comment.) It's hard, but it's nothing compared to dealing with my defiant toddler. Although my ultimate goal is to raise an independent child it's difficult that it happened sooner than I wanted. Having to inspire my toddler to do what I need him to do is frustrating.
Sorry I'm rambling, but thank you for this post it made me feel better for a moment.
My sister is reading a book called The Kazdin Method to Raising the defiant Child. I've liked some of the suggestions she's told me from it.

Shannon said...

Sam, first thing you need to know is that this has nothing to do with you as a mother. It happens to almost every child! It isn't anything that you have done wrong, it is just Hollie learning her boundries. Every child will push until the boundry is set. Once set they will either not like it or will learn for next time. Her pushing is just normal to her growing. I have a few suggestions (I am no expert either, but I do have a few VERY stubborn children myself) First, you must never give in. There are times to pick your battles, yes, but I am talking about the rules that you have in your house. She must know them and must know that they always stand no matter how loud she screams. Second, let her know the times when she does get to make a choice, but don't let it be a no choice. Here is an example. When she cries about getting into the car you can say something like "You have a choice to have mommy help you in the car or you can do it yourself." This has worked at our house because they still have their independance, but they are still doing what needs to be done. My third suggestion is to make sure that every time you get mad or frustrated to let her know that you love her and that you are only doing what is best for her. Even if mommy needs a time out it goes a long way to a child when mommy can say sorry too. I do have one final suggestion. Think of a child like a parking meter. You can fill it up for a short time, then you need to go back and fill it up again. When you are trying to get things done you can "fill" Hollie up by giving her something to do, or playing with her. Let her know that after it is time for mommy to do something (work, etc.) and at a set time you will go back to her and fill her up again. (play with her, or give her something else to do) If you are like me with trying to accomplish too much in one sitting I find myself always saying "later" or "not right now" or even "no" because I feel like I am being bugged. You need to find the right balance between working, chores, and Hollie. It is hard, but you are a great mom and you can do it! Good luck! (sorry for the really long comment.)

Jennifer said...

I don't have any wise suggestions, but I just wanted to leave a comment to let you know that I feel for you. And that it is not you as a mom. It sucks when you feel like there is nothing you can do to make it better. But just know that every mom has been through times like this, too. Just know that I am thinking of you and I agree with Shannon's suggestions. Good luck and remember, "This too shall pass".

Amanda said...

I think it is just that age. Isaac does this as well and it drives me nuts...but I've learned that the more I draw attention to it the more he does it. this is really the only way they have to communicate. They can't really speak just yet, so they are telling you they don't like something.

arianne said...

oh miss sam welcome to the TERRIBLE TWO's and THREES! It won't go away until she is 3 1/2. Anika used to do that ALL the time and it drove me NUTS. I too felt like the WORST mom!! my suggestions is PROZAC! ha ha. No really patience. Make her use her words when she is upset, if she KNOWS she can tell you make her tell you what is bothering her. I still to this day if anika is whining or crying I tell her to stop crying and to TELL me what is the matter. For us it "normally" works. Good luck to you. I know most moms can totally feel your pain!!

mommyoffour said...

First of all, it isn't you as a parent, I promise! :)

I remember taking the twins into their 18 month check up and I only had one bowl of crackers. Big mistake! They didn't want to share at all and it was quite the experience.

My doctor then told me that the terrible two's really start at 18 months (especially for the smart, stubborn, and independent ones!) and last until they are about three!!! I didn't like what I heard, but I really think it is true and it helped hearing it from him. I hate to tell you it lasts that long and I think we all have good and bad stretches through those years, but hang in there and know that it will get better. I agree with you, when they are smart, stubborn, and independent, it can be such a blessing and such a challenge all at the same time.

You are a wonderful mom, keep up the good work.

Jer, Er and kids said...

Oh my, Give yourself some slack and credit for sure! You are a wonderful mom! I have found that with each child and each phase they are going through that I know nothing and have to use trial and error. Each child is different and unique. With Jackson it worked for me to give him choices between two items not in everything but things that really didn't matter to me. This helped him feel empowered and he didn't fight quite as much on other things that I couldn't give in on. I also would just keep encouraging her to use her words and then just say I can't understand screaming when you use words I can help you. But truly I don't know what will be best for Miss Hollie. I am reading a book my mom gave me (it is her favorite parenting book she has read. She has read a TON) If you want when I am done I will pass it on to you. It is tough when a hard phase hits, just remember it isn't going to always be this way, it will change. Let me know if I can do anything to help. You are a darling mom it isn't you! Every child has difficult phases they pass through, and easier ones as well. Love You tons!

Becky and Bryce said...

You are such a good Mommy, and know truly this happens to all children. I remember when Hailey turned 18 months I felt like I didn't even know her anymore. And sadly I really missed the relationship we had until then. We were like best buddies instead of Mommy and baby. It was a really hard transition for me. She too is and was very independent, stubborn, and totally smart there was no fooling her. I agree with Shannon. What we had to do was set boundaries and even though at times I felt like the meanest Mommy, I knew I was teaching her to become a kind, good person. I knew if I didn't work truly hard that she would not be a sweet adult. It truly is a battle at times and it really does last up through 3. But the stronger you are at being firm the less work it is when they're a little older because they learned while they were so tiny how to listen and be obediant and follow their parents. I have always taught my children about choices. They have choices they can make, instead of telling them they are naughty or bad, I tell them, Ohhh that was not a good choice. What can you do to make a better choice. Although Hailey has been my hardest child so far. I know I'm raising a strong individual that will really make a difference in this world. You just have to channel that "independence" to good things. I fail with her all the time, but am constantly trying harder. I listened to tapes called "love and Logic". It was REALLY helpful when Hailey was a toddler at teaching boundaries and things I could do to teach her to not through tantrums etc.

Kaarina said...

Sam, be assured that Hollie is very normal! I remember looking at Braden and crying because he was such a little monster and I was having such a hard time with him. He was screaming in Fashion Place Mall one time because he did not want to be in his stroller. I was stopped by a security guard who thought I was hurting him! Then we got sweet Jonathan....and then there is Gavin. That child takes the cake for screaming, fit throwing, stubborness (so much so that he refused to eat, just because he knew it was one way to push my buttons and we ended up in a nutrition clinic at Primary Childrens with him for over a year) So what I am saying with all of this is - you are a darling mom, a very good mom. We have all been there...Gavin has only recently become rational, and he still has his moments. Love ya, hang in there and when you have a new horror story, call me, I'll top it and make you feel tons better!

Pray for patience, I do at least 15 times a day!

Crasty said...

My dear Sam - you are a wonderful Mommie, try not to compare the way Hollie acts to other children. She is expressing her little personality & each child is unique & special in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. One day those things you see as weaknesses will become her strengths. She is testing her limits & making alot of choices she doesn't understand for herself. Pray for her to make the right choices everyday & have patience with your sweet little angel. You have heard the saying, "I never said it would be easy, I just said it would be worth it." Those children who are stubborn & strong-willed, are more likely to make the right choices & stick to their convictions, rather than wavering between right & wrong. Terrible twos can be exhausting physically & very frustrating, but can never compare with a teen-ager who drives a car for the first time or makes a wrong choice, or says goodbye to serve a mission for 2 years. Your heart aches, but as a mother you give them unconditional love & support. Then rely on faith to get us through these times. We learn to lean on the Savior for peace & comfort. Sissy, you have been blessed with the gift of discernment & rely on the Spirit to guide you when making decisons in your life, and I know this blessing will inspire you as a parent. Be firm in the things that she needs to do for her safety & well-being & keep trying to help her understand why she doesn't need to scream to let you know what she wants. Try singing when she starts screaming - "Count Your Blessings", "I'm Trying to be like Jesus", etc. Singing peaceful cheerful songs usually softens any situation. This could be her 'Que' that the 'screaming thing' is not appropriate. You could even sing "Boola, Boola" to distract her from screaming & turn it into a game(the no-screaming game) or sing "Using your words is fun to do, fun to do, to do, to do". Never forget you are a wonderful Mother. That's why Heavenly Father entrusted you & Samuel with our precious little Hollie. Love, your Mommie & Hollie's Grandmommie

Kim said...

I wish I had some sound words of advice. Every age has its challenges and rewards. Sometimes we as mothers need more "breaks" and more time off as we go through the stages. That is my suggestion. Take time out for YOU!