Is fatigue contagious? Jenn, Penelope, and I are feeling run down. No amount of sleep, naps, or exercise seems to help. Or coffee.
Penelope is crying in her room. It’s bed time and she’s sad because her monkey and bear were taken away this afternoon. She sleeps with her monkey every night. When he wasn’t in bed this evening she teared up and said his name. I told her we took him away because she wasn’t behaving. She must not have realized her dolls were really going away.
What’s frustrating about the situation is our collective exhaustion. Jenn and I are convinced the only reason she wasn’t listening to us (and I mean she wouldn’t listen to us about anything) is because of how tired she is. She’s been like a 45 played at 33 1/3 from the time she got up. It took half an hour to eat breakfast. It took an hour (yes and hour!) to eat half a PB&J and some chips…with Jenn feeding it to her!!!
In the few minutes it took me to write those paragraphs she is sound asleep.
Which may explain why she had a personality shift when we saw Aunt Stephanie and Charlie today. Normally she’s all smiles and ready to hug. Today she was shy and buried her face in my shoulder when Stephanie started talking to her. Eventually Penelope seemed happy. As we were in the car she said “bye” and “wuv you” to our parting friends.
I wonder how punishment will affect Penelope in the long term? Tomorrow when Jenn gives monkey and bear back to her will the trauma from this evening be forgotten? Was some neural pathway created when she got in bed and monkey wasn’t there, and bear wasn’t resting soundly on her toy chest? Yes, I’m over-analyzing this because that’s what I do. I feel confident that no discipline will result in worse results than a child with boundaries. But it’s not an academic exercise any more. I’m not just postulating with a group of friends about how the early years shape the latter. This is our daughter!
Maybe I’m just hoping she isn’t past sitting in the corner. I don’t have another tool in the discipline shed ready to work with. Tonight when we told her to sit she refused. I wasn’t prepared to hold her in place like a human seat belt, forcing my will on her. I don’t want to “break” her will. It will be one of the most important things she possess as she grows. I do want her to listen and obey when we tell her to do something because it’s typically for her protection. We don’t want her crawling on her hands and knees to the dinner table. Jenn and I want Penelope to ingest the minimum amount of cat fur.
Any recommendations on disciplining a close-to-three year old that does not involve spanking or humiliation?