When we bring the boys to a store we know that Cooper is a wildcard. And if you saw us you would probably have two thoughts….1. That mom is freaking insane and/or 2. Her kids are so well behaved. Why is she running around like a sweaty lunatic?
Funny, right. When I bring Cooper out I know that I will be the one that needs to manage the situation. Jamie always takes Sawyer. I will be armed with multiple kinds of snacks, a drink, a sucker, a phone, etc. If Cooper gets even remotely squirmy he will get a huge hug and a squeeze and a tickle. I talk with him the whole entire time and point things out. By the time we leave I am usually exhausted and most likely bought 3 of the 10 things I went for. But the key is I know what I need to do in a given situation. If Cooper can’t handle the checkout line we leave. If he starts screaming and hitting his head he gets a huge hug and kisses on his neck until he laughs. I am a preforming monkey. And I do it well.
Our home is a completely different situation. We’ve lost control at home and I am not lying or exaggerating. It’s really, really bad. The screaming and the whining and the tantrums are out of control. The amount of TV Cooper watches is out of control.
I know what I need to do. I need to start using the PECs system and take pictures of everything Cooper does and create a routine. I need to remove snacks from Cooper’s diet so he is hungry at mealtime. I need to either watch him whenever he has a sippy cup of milk or take them away unless he is at the table. I need to shut off the cartoons and make a schedule. I need to sit down and work with him for short periods of time on his colors and numbers and shapes. And I need to sit him on the potty.
The problem is I am so utterly and completely overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start. I can’t seem to get a grasp on anything.
EVERY SINGLE DEMAND he has goes from 0-10 instantly. I don’t want to be the mom that parks her kid in front of the TV but it’s the only thing he wants to do. And I beat myself up for it every second of the day.
A few examples.
Cooper wants a snack from the pantry. He points and I ‘guess’ at what he is pointing at. I grab the crackers. He screams and runs into the door of the pantry. Ok, let’s try again. I pick him up and have him point directly to the item. He points to a bag of Oreos. Now mind you it is 8:30 at night. I say no. He runs to the fridge and knocks off all of the magnets and papers on the fridge. Then slams the cupboard doors shut. Ok. How about a cracker Cooper? I give him a cracker. He wants two. I say no. He breaks the cracker up on the floor. And so on. I put him in his room, read him a story and leave. For the next 20 minutes he will yell down the hallway. And your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what he wants. Usually milk or another story.
The point here is I can usually guess what he wants but he isn’t able to understand the NO yet. So really, the tantrum is inevitable.
I completely shut down on Tuesday night during meal time. Dinner time is so bad that I dread it all day. We shut the cartoons off and put Cooper in his seat. No matter what we give him (even if he likes its) he takes the plate and slides it across the table. We slide it back. And so on. Then he picks up the food and drops it on the floor. And smushes it in his hands and rubs it on the table, the dog, his chair, his shirt, etc. And we’re off. Sawyer starts to mimic Cooper. Cooper gets more worked up as we try and give him a bite and begins hitting his head on the chair.
What I NEED people to know is that timeouts don’t work. A hand slap does not work. A no doesn’t work. Favorite foods or bribes don’t work. We…I, feel so trapped. I can’t get control of it.
I sat there and stared out the window as Cooper dumped out his milk and smeared it all over the kitchen table. I have never felt like that before. He was shrieking and hitting his head on his chair and I just stared. Meal times are so bad. He doesn’t eat or care to eat and I am to the point where I don’t care if he eats.
I have to get control. Jamie and I are completely and utterly worn down. I feel like I am at this crossroads in his life. I can give him a movie and he will be fine for a whole entire day. I could not live with myself if I did that but I can’t teach him anything.
And trust me, I have lowered my standards.
I have a busy couple of days coming up and I am running a half marathon next weekend. After that, I am figuring this out. We can’t operate in survival mode any more. It’s no way to live.