Parenting ain't for the weak of heart. My Dad says this often.
On Saturday, Jenn and I finally met with this parenting expert/social worker who I had been trying to book an appointment with for weeks. The session went well, but we left after two hours with spinning heads.
I haven't mentioned the challenges that we are having on the blog yet. They aren't major issues, but they're enough to make things stressful and difficult for both of us. The major issue that we are having revolves around the evenings, when Jenn comes home from work. All day long, the girls ask about Mama and when she is coming home. They can't wait to see her. But, when she walks through the door, between 6-6:30pm, they go wild. Their excitement to see Mama turns into complete craziness. They don't listen to a word she says. They run laps around the house, screaming. They become extremely silly and gang up on her laughing and talking in their own language. It's sad and disappointing to listen to and watch. Their love and excitement to see her comes out completely wrong.
The plan used to be that Jenn would play with them for a bit before bedtime, while I would have a break from the kids to clean up the kitchen and prep our dinner. Lately, I've had to step in and help with the girls because they become completely unmanageable for Jenn. I don't get the same wild behaviour from them, but I'm also with them all day long.
Jenn and I recognized that we were both not doing a good enough job of staying true to our word. We were giving too many warnings and sometimes wouldn't follow through on them. We weren't always doing a good enough job of creating reasonable consequences. The girls knew/know this and don't put a lot of stock into what we say, Jenn in particular.
Jenn's brief time with them each weekday had become unenjoyable. As with anything, when you're in it, it is tough to figure out what to do. We had gotten ourselves into survival mode. A friend of mine read Jennifer Kolari's book, Connected Parenting, and found it to be really helpful in dealing with some challenges with her son. She then went to see one of Jennifer's therapists (she has 5 in Toronto, who she has trained and meets with each month). With a couple sessions and a TON of practice, things have improved immensely with their son. A few weeks ago, I sent in a request for an appointment because I figured it couldn't hurt. We were finally able to arrange an appointment in addition to babysitting for Saturday afternoon.
We ended up spending two hours with the therapist. We received a ton of information. We definitely feel confident and hopeful that we can make some changes that are going to things better for everyone. We are still deciding which techniques we would like to apply, and don't want to do it all at once. Once we make decisions on that front, I'll definitely write more. A twin parent said to me once, when the girls were just babies, it never becomes easier, it just becomes more manageable. That's our hope!
Good luck! Sorry we missed you at our BBQ but hopefully you'll now have the tools to make life more enjoyable. :)ReplyDelete
We were sorry to have missed it. Allison said that you guys are getting together at the end of the month. Maybe we can crash the party?!Delete
Wow, I'm going to have to get that book! We deal with the same chaos when Donna gets home, she is greeted with shrieks of excitement followed by completely out of control behaviour, running, screaming, jumping, bouncing & climbing all over her with little to no listening or following of instructions. They calm down a little after a bit but the chaos ensues once bedtime arrives. Donna wants to be present but it's so frustrating for me because they work her over & take forever to calm down & go to sleep. If it's just me, they don't even try the shenanigans because they know it won't fly with me.ReplyDelete
I was just hoping it would improve once school started & we all had a more structured schedule.
I'm sorry that you're nights are so challenging too, but it is comforting to know that we aren't alone! It is so frustrating for me to listen to the girls work Jenn over too. We have tried everything, from changing their bedtime (earlier or later), more activity, less activity. Even after doing a 5K hike in the morning, followed by more playtime, they still manage to have energy to give her a hard time at bedtime!Delete
We decided to pursue help because we didn't like the way that we were parenting. We ended up yelling on most nights. I don't want to be a yelling parent. We were desperate, exhausted and over the top frustrated though :(
I am VERY interested in seeing the follow up to this post because I could have written it. The kids completely lose their shit when Kris comes home from work. Boo clings, LM runs laps around the house like a wild horse breaking free, I'm trying to get dinner on the table, Kris can barely put her bag down before a kid is doing "something" that requires immediate attention. And the attention seeking behavior, oh my! The other day Kris was helping LM at the table and absolutely insisted (to the point of being in tears) that he could not make the curve in the number 2 while doing practice writing. This is a kid who has been writing his name (full of those curve strokes) since he was 3! It was a ridiculous 45 minute ordeal and so obvious a ploy to lengthen the time with mommy.ReplyDelete
I never get a parenting break, Kris rarely can enjoy an evening of down time, the kids are running the place most days. It's exhausting! I can't even imagine handling all this with twins! I think you are SO WISE to address this pre-new arrival. Good parenting call there!
Why thank you :) I will definitely be doing more than one follow up post.Delete
One of the things she told Jenn was to sit down with the kids and explain that when Mama gets home, she will need 5-10 minutes to go upstairs and get changed. She said that coming in the house and preemptively saying, "I CAN'T WAIT to play with you guys! I'm going to get changed really quickly and be right down." It puts the control back in Jenn's hands and also teaches the kids the importance of personal space and patience. She told Jenn that she needs to create a game or have an idea in mind before she walks in the door, whether it is creating a simple obstacle course for the kids or simply doing some jumping and running. She needs to suggest it and control the game. That way, the kids are expending energy, spending time with her, but there is some control to it all.
Man they definitely know how to work us! My Mom says that constantly. It is amazing to her to see how they play us vs. the way they act when they're alone with my parents.
We saw a counsellor with our boys too, mostly to address homework issues, but we got some great advice about other issues too. One thing was to make sure there is time in every day where they get to act crazy. Supervised jumping on the bed, a crazy dance party, etc. To set time aside for that kind of activity at the same time every day. Good luck!ReplyDelete
I've heard the parents who pick up their kids from daycare get the immediate bad behavior, whining, crying etc. And the daycare providers always say the same thing....they were just fine before you got here. I've had my mom watch my kids and then when we come home the bad behavior shows up.ReplyDelete
I think there are all sorts of explanations as to why the behavior happens. We had a babysitter who would get the kids busy with a project so that their attention was on something else. They would still say "Hi !" but would usually go back to what they were doing. Good luck. can't wait to hear what works for your girls. Most importantly...knowing you aren't alone is always helpful :-)