Something's up with my girl, and I don't know what it is. Nightmares? Fear of being alone? Simple anxiety about independence? Her terrible hay fever? Here's what she does: goes to sleep just fine, then an hour/ two hours/ the middle of the night later she wakes up whining. I want a drink, or I wanna have a sleepover, or ahlsimfiemthtnelfiibktyy. She seems like a thinking wakeful person, which generally leads me to ask, "What is it you want, honey?" But that is the wrong approach. This much I've learned. Asking her how I can help her only ratchets up the whining until it turns into screaming (4 am screaming is really not pleasant) and then, full tantrumming. Honestly, I don't think she's even awake.
What does work is picking her up and putting her on the toilet (with a guess that having to pee is perhaps what woke her in the first place), then carrying her back to bed. I cannot, as I have learned, tell her to climb on the toilet seat herself, or pull up her own pants, or walk back to her room even though I am right beside her holding her hand. Verbal communication only escalates everything.
Mitch thinks it's her brother. Clark hits her all the time, randomly, not just out of irritation but also out of boredom. I don't know why it doesn't occur to her to turn around and hit him back, but it doesn't. Instead she just gets this pitiful exhausted helpless look on her face and whines, "Mommy, Clarky hit me again."
I try my best to get him to quit this shit but am obviously not being effective. I get down in his face and make him look at me and I tell him that we can't act like that etc etc. (the frown he gives me during this is quite theatrical). Anyway, I do that when I have enough wherewithall not to simply shriek, "Clark, no hitting!" He generally goes into time out which is not such a bad place in the pack-n-play with toys and sometimes even his blanket. Two minutes, until the dinger dings. Then he very willingly (and adorably) says he's sorry, everyone hugs, and five minutes later he's hit her again.
This morning Mitch noticed her tone of voice and facial expressions when she's upset in the night are just the ones she uses when Clark hits her and she feels powerless and frustrated. Hm. What to do?
I've been focusing on trying to get Clark to quit it dammit already, but it occurs to me this minute as I write (a-ha! the intended result of blogging about the stress of being a mom!) that maybe I need to give her some other skills. I've been trying to tell her to tell him how it makes her feel, but maybe I should teach her how to say that if he's going to hit her she's not going to play with him, or going to go into the other room, or whatever. That would be a much more thorny consequence to him (oh he loves playing with her. To him the hitting is just part of that play somehow) than listening to me or going into timeout.
Oh yay! I'm going to talk to her about it tomorrow. I hope it works. Or something works.