Tori has a look. A defiant sideways glance that says, without words, “Look, mom, I’m about to do something just to piss you off.” A look that then changes into a stare/glare that says, “See? I’m totally misbehaving. What are you going to do about it, b***h?”
That leaves me with only three options. I can:
a) Gently but firmly say, “no, Tori, we don’t do that because…”
b) Throw the offender into time out.
c) Forget everything the parenting books ever taught me and yell my fool head off.
Sometimes the offense is relatively minor, and I can easily solve the issue with option a. For instance, when she peels off her diaper and runs through the house naked, there’s no real reason to get upset. In fact, the only reason admonishment is necessary is that I really don’t want her going commando in the middle of the mall.
More often than not, though, more discipline is necessary.
Today alone, we had nine time outs. Nine. Twice because she hit me, three times because she pinched me, once because she decided to throw her toys at the wall—hard—and…well, that’s enough. You get the picture.
That little girl of mine is testing me. Frequently and obnoxiously. Even so, most of the time I can remain calm. It’s natural, I know. She has to test her limits. Find out just how firm the rules we’ve put in place for her really are.
Sometimes she does outrageous things. Things like get up off the potty, trot out into the hallway and—slowly and deliberately—pee on the floor.
Is she still testing me? Sure. Do I remain calm, cool and collected? After 12 hours of similar tests, no. That’s when option c is the only choice my brain can embrace.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t scream at her. But neither am I rational. Or quiet.
So, sure, I yell. As did my mother, and my mother’s mother, and her mother before that. Can someone please tell me why, exactly, that’s so incredibly damaging?
Or better yet, introduce me to a mom who’s gotten through every one of her child’s 18 years without raising her voice? Because I don’t believe that person really exists.
Suck it, Dr. Spock. I’m going to do this parenting thing my own way.