is there such a thing as military school for two-year-olds?
this is the question that began to plague me about ten days in to our mountain vacation. ten days seems to be the duration of time that the bird is willing to feign compliance and cooperation in a camp or school-like environment. he affords everyone just enough time to fall in love with him before his teachers report, with measured caution and disbelief:
[the bird] was a little agressive today.
i found myself having the same discussions with the bird’s clubs teachers that i had with his PDO teachers last year. i apologized. i asked for advice. i sincerely hoped that they could impart the key to managing the bird’s behavior and maintaining his magnanimous spirit. but in both cases, the teachers had no new ideas.
i think the moment that elicited images of boot camp and boarding school was when the bird’s teachers asked me how to deal with the bird. this felt very confusing. isn’t it obvious that i have no idea what i am doing?
somehow, and for no clear reason, things did get a little better. the bird did not get kicked out of clubs. maybe he won’t even be kicked out of every school in memphis before he’s ten. one can dream. as i was nursing these worries (as i am genetically prone to do), i shot a quick email to my friend sharon in pennsylvania, who has given me quite a bit of unimposing, sage motherhood advice over the years.
“does it every get easier?” i wrote.
within a few hours i was reading the following reply that was so encouraging i got permission to share it:
parenting gets easier when everyone can use the potty without help, no one is sleeping in a crib (but everyone stays in their bed all night more nights than not), and everyone has at least some ability (however rarely used) to verbalize what they need. it also helps if no one requires a stroller or pacifier or elaborate car seat (belt-positioning boosters are much easier than five-point harnesses).
and finally, parenting is easier when your family figures out a behavior management system that works for you (meaning the kids respond to it and the parents are able to use it somewhat consistently). we use a significantly pared-down version of positive parenting with a plan (it’s for kindergarten and up, though). friends have had luck with the smart discipline approach (also for kindergarten and up). the point is…IT DOES GET EASIER. you’re probably at a really difficult stage, i would guess, based on the ages of your little guys. hang in there.
it’s helpful to know that there is hope (and a couple of new behavior management options) on our horizon. for now, the best i can do is maintain a sense of humor and strive for patience.
…and send the bird to clubs in this carefully selected, organic cotton shirt: