colorado toddler, custody, daughters, family, fear, gemini, hard, LB BOO BOO, loser, money, parenting

Cause & Effect

Rooferman bailed on LB yesterday. His “other daughters” were sick. He asked if he could see her today instead. I had agreed to work at a school last night, so as soon as he called, I flipped a U-ee  in the middle of the road, hauling ass back to daycare.

I was already late to the school, and I was frazzled and pissed, so I said, “Yeah, whatever.” I caved. I let him get away with ditching his daughter and making up for it like nothing happened. UGHHHH Why? Why? I need to learn how to think rationally while driving under stress.

At least LB will be happy. At least it makes me look flexible and understanding in court, and it makes him look unreliable and prioritizing other things over his daughter. It also still proves I’m a spineless Pisces, squirming under the thumb of her ex.

I used major Love & Logic tactics on LB last night. She was whiny, grouchy and pissy all evening, so I put her in her room for a little “alone” time. She screamed for a full hour. Love & Logic says do NOT open the door until they have stopped crying for at least 3 minutes. 

 Her bedroom door does not lock from the outside, so I stood for an hour holding the the handle to keep her from escaping. She practiced her tried and true (since birth) method of screaming for bout 15 minutes, taking a 30-second breather, and continuing the pattern until I was reaching lunacy. It was awful. Every time I was on the brink of opening the door a reasonable amount of silence, her crying would begin again.

LB is crafty, she knew what would get to me.  She alternated  between “I have to go potty!” and “Mommy help!” I almost broke down when she started screaming “Its yucky!” I pictured a poo-smeared LB on the other side of the door, fully traumatized from any further potty usage. I pictured my daugther running around Kindergarten in diapers.

Finally the moments of silence began to lengthen. I could hear her sobs turn into quiet hiccups. I threw the door open after 3 minutes, my hand beet red from clenching the door handle. My poor child was sitting bare-assed on the floor, wrapped in a blanket. I looked for the poo. Where was it? I couldn’t find anything. The training pants she had flung in a corner weren’t even wet.

Sneaky little Gemini gave an oscar-worthy performance for her soft Piscean mother. I took her to the potty, gave her lots of hugs and we read some books before bed. Magically, she didn’t get up after I closed the door.

The “Mommy don’t leave” and “I’m scared” statements have been pretty consistent at bedtime. A few nights ago, she woke up at 2 am screaming hysterically about “Spiders in my bed!” I know she’s got some separation anxiety and some fear issues, and I’m trying to deal with them the best way I can.

I like Love & Logic, but sometimes I wonder if it was created to work with the “ideal” family. Where the kids aren’t abandoned by one parent and thrown in and out of confusing custody situations at a young age. Sometimes I think about how ‘giving your child choices to avoid power struggles” only applies if you have choices to give them. What if you only have one clean shirt for them to wear in the morning? What if you only have one option for dinner that night?

The teacher told us that she uses “Would you like to shower upstairs or downstairs?” option to get her kids into the bath. I only have one shower.

Either way, I think the class is good for me. Its giving me faith in my daughter’s resiliency and her ability to face cause and effect. I think its harder on me, actually.

In other news, 35 people were laid off at my mom’s job. 10 people kept their positions and my mom was one of them. Some of her very close friends are going to be unemployed at Christmas, so she feels horrible, but I’m just glad she survived the lay-offs.

Its scary out there right now.

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20 thoughts on “Cause & Effect”

  1. Do they really say close the door?

    Kiara would probably smash thro the glass of the window if I did that!!

    But clearly it did have the desired effect which is super cool 🙂

    Hey you didnt give in to Rooferman – it was convinient for you this time so its ok to be a little flexible!!! Giving in would be cancelling your plans for him!

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  2. The “it’s yucky” comment made me laugh. She’s a smart one.

    I put Shiloh in her room to calm down sometimes too. Thankfully I don’t have to hold the door. I tell her to come out when she calms down. She’ll usually cry for a minute or two and then come out and say “I done cryin’ now.” (And just so everyone knows, I put her in there to calm down when she’s throwing a fit, not because she’s sad or hurt.)

    And the choice thing doesn’t always work well for me either. What do you do when you offer two shirts and she wants to wear both of them? It’s not easy to reason with a two year old.

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  3. Oh, I am sorry, but that class sounds terrible; I can see absolutely NOTHING loving OR logical about leaving a three year old to scream and cry in her room. I am so, so sorry, about all of it.

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  4. On the visitation thing –

    When I was in the process of working out custody with my ex, I let him cancel anytime he wanted to. For the exact reasons you cite…when we went to court I could say “Look, he canceled x number of times, etc.”

    Now that we have a custody/visitation arrangement in place, I tow a harder line.

    Although I do have to say that we’re getting better at working it out. It’s taken a long while though. And it still pisses me off that he’s off traveling the world (literally – all over the US, Europe, Hawaii) and I have to work around that schedule.

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  5. I know what you mean about the choice thing, but you can ya know, sort of manipulate it. If you only have one bathroom, you could try the “would you like a bath or a shower, with mommy?” No reason she can’t get in the shower with you right? Or the “Would you like THIS special toy for the bath tonight or THIS one?” and give her a spoon and a bowl dude. This always worked well for Emilee.

    I guess, ya know, manipulate those choices that work for YOU. This shirt or that shirt – she’ll think she’s making the choices. And that, in her world, is awesome!

    *hugs*

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  6. Yeah, I’m with Kori. Love and Logic doesn’t sound very loving or logical if you’re to leave a 2-year-old to scream in a room for long periods of time where she could smear poo all over the wall.

    I’m against all the books or other people telling you what to do with your child. I TRIED to listen to everyone and read all those, and I just got so confused and miserable that I eventually decided to do what worked for me. And believe me, what works for me, most people would definitely frown upon. But it works for us, and that’s what is important!

    Please don’t take this me as judging you or anything–just stating what I’ve gone through and what worked best for me.

    Don’t worry about giving in to Rooferman. Just document and move on. I’m with laurakim–if you had to really jump through some hoops to make his wish happen, and it happened like 80 weeks in a row, then maybe I’d start worrying. 🙂

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  7. My step son was 2 and he would have fits when he needed to go to bed, and when I say fits I think he metamorphed into another creature, and he would do this every single time, I began to think he was possessed, but did what we were told which was to let him cry it out and know he was safe, but needed to sleep. One night he woke up and was crying and reached out of his crib and said, “help me baby, help me.” Baby was my nickname to him because my husband Chad only called me babe and baby so he thought it was my name for three years…well I got up and got him out and realized it was his way to get out…and Chad and I laughed our butts off, he still remains a different creature, but he is smart and funny…

    Thanks for the post!
    G~*

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  8. So long as you have the benefit of still taking the classes, would you do me a favor and please ask that question?
    Are you also taking note of all the nights that you are having problems with LB? I know that stuffing her full of sugar doesn’t necessarily constitute child abuse, but I think you should emphasize how consistency is important, and while you are trying to remain flexible, consistency should still take priority.

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  9. Wow,lady. What a time of it.

    I am trying to stop calling my ex, to see if he IS going to see our girls.

    Oh well, as everyone else has said, makes him look like crap and you the flexible one.

    I have no answers on the Love & Logic, LB tantrums issue. I am having issues with my own 5 year old and this tantrum thing. We do a timeout, pick her up put her back in time out, pick her up put her back in time out, pick her up….well you get it.

    At this point I’m just trying to keep it from turning into a full out screamfest, because in this house of three girls, tension can sometimes run high!

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  10. April- Believe me, I have tons of questions for the next class. There’s a lot of focus on “want” versus “need” in these situations. Denying a child’s need is BAD but not letting them have everything the want is good, so does LB WANT to be around me or does she NEED to?

    P.S. My “custody” journal/documentation is over 25 typed pages now. I’ve been keeping notes since last January. I’m definitely writing down everything. 😉

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  11. That does not sound like a fun night. At least you’re getting something out of the class. But I get what you mean about parenting class for the ideal family.

    As for Rooferman like you and the other commenters said as long as it’s not a regular habit and you have notes on everything it makes him look bad for court.

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  12. My ex does the same thing, wants me to rearrange everything for his schedule. Being the Pisces that I am, I always used to bend over backwards to accommodate him. I have the order to stand behind now, and always tell him “I’m all about being flexible, just not every freakin’ time.” I try to think about Bug and what she would want, and a lot of times I cave under the stress and trying to look reasonable. Don’t beat yourself up about it, you are only doing your best. It sounds like your little Gemini and my little Cancer would be thick as thieves with their theatrics!

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  13. Hey this is the first time I have ever seen your blog so thats cool I have no clue what a blog is but what the hell. Anyways I have no Idea about the parenting class. I would however recomend that you get a door handle safty lock.they sell them at wallmart Teresa and I realized that it was alot funner then having him come out of his room to visit us while we sleep in the middle of the night. It was very trying at first because he would cry to us after wakeing up from a bad dream and I would go to the bed with him and lay there till he would fall asleep. well it kept occuring and I was drawn to to his pittifull sobs of Ada, dada, and Mama. I was also becoming a zommbie because I was sleep deprived. Anyhow the Lock works great and Teresa and I play a little bit o Miles Davis on the Cd player and sleep throught the night. Well I had fun in durango with you and Had fun seeing LB. She I so smart and and gets her smarts from you. I will call you this week and let you know when I am swinging throught to drop of the clothes.

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  14. I read the Love and Logic for Preschoolers book and I have to say that I liked a lot of it but not all. With my 4 year old, putting him in his room to throw a fit just doesn’t work (besides, I don’t think I’d want it to!) In the good old days, I was usually able to remove him from the situation and hold him while he had his tantrum. He loves an audience so it worked for me to take him to my room or wherever and sit with him till he got it out of his system. That seems a lot more humane to me than locking him in his room alone. Besides, this is the child you want to sleep in her own bed, right? Why in the world would you put her in her room when she’s having a fit and have all those negative associations with that room? Now that our situation is different, I have told him a few times that if he wants to scream and cry, he can go to his room and do it but I’m not listening. Actually, quite often he will go in his room and bang on the walls and scream bloody murder for a minute and come out with a smile on his face. I have days when I wish I could do that, don’t you? Anyway, I haven’t taken the classes but I did get a lot out of reading the book…but I did pick and choose what I thought would work for us and what fit my values as a parent. I loaned the book and the audio book to a friend but I should be getting it back soon. Drop me an e-mail and I’ll try to mail it to you when I get it back. Also, after 4 years of people recommending this book to me, I finally ordered it the other day and while it’s hard to find time to read, I’m getting a lot out of it: http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Rev/dp/0060739665/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228630995&sr=8-1 and http://www.amazon.com/Setting-Limits-Your-Strong-Willed-Child/dp/0761521364/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228631030&sr=1-1. I’ll let you know what I think when I get through them. So far I’m liking Raising Your Spirited Child…the part I’ve read focuses more on learning your child’s triggers and watching their cues and calming them down before the tantrum starts. I know, I know…we had a 45 minute meltdown here tonight because I gave him chocolate milk when he was expecting water. But there really is some good stuff in there and it is kind of eery how well the author seems to know my kid! He’s an awesome child…he’s just “more” everything than other kids. Good luck and hugs to you!

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  15. It sounds like the class has provided some good ideas and a nice place for adult interaction as well. Leave it to a single mom to enjoy a parenting class to fill her evenings 🙂

    I’m glad your mom didn’t lose her job. But you are right, it is scary out there.

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  16. Letting LB have her way when she’s throwing a tantrum, or even validating her, will turn her into a spoiled brat. You definitely did the right thing letting her scream. If she realizes that screaming is not the way to get what she wants, she’ll stop throwing such huge tantrums. Not to say that she won’t throw any tantrums, just that it will be because she’s tired or frustrated, not because she wants something she can’t have.

    This is coming from my experience with my mom’s day care. I hope I’m not leading you down the bad mommy path O.O

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  17. Hmmm… such different opinions here. I just wanted to chime BACK in and second wondermom’s reco of “Raising Your Spirited Child”. I got it because of Son’s biting, and it didn’t really help me there, but I learned SO much more from it in other aspects–just about kids in general. I really, really, really reco it.

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