Last night, after putting Avery to sleep, Emma Kate and I were downstairs playing. I went to do the dishes and EK was left to play on her own. It was suspiciously quiet, so I went looking for her. I found her in the place I least wanted to find her (other than a police station), in her sister's crib. She had let herself in, pulled down all of the dresses framed on her wall (along with the frames), climbed in Avery's crib and was undressing her to put on one of the beautiful dresses. Clearly a better outfit for "pwincess" dreaming.
I just about lost my mind. I was so mad. EK got sent right to bed and I cleaned up the mess, nursed Avery back to sleep, and went back downstairs, fuming.
Fast forward to this morning, it's Avery's nap time and she's resting peacefully in her crib. EK and I are downstairs, playing. I go to get some other things taken care of, leaving her by herself. That same quietness came upon the first floor of our house. I immediately dreaded what was about to happen. I began looking for EK and found her, again, in her sister's crib.
This time I did lose my mind. There was plenty of yelling, and even a little, LITTLE swat on the fanny (the only other time this has happened is when she colored all over the wall in her bedroom). Off she went, to sit in her room and cry while I went downstairs to fume.
After her timeout was over, I called her downstairs, gave her a hug, and we talked about what had happened. She then went to play in her playroom while I cleaned up the kitchen. It got quiet again, so I called her name and began to look for her.
This time I found her, not in her sister's crib, but hiding in the corner, quiet as a mouse. I asked her what she was doing and she said, "hidin'." So I asked her what she was hiding from. Her response,
"Mommy is going to yell at me. It makes me sad."
Talk about a major gut check. I struggled to fight back the tears as I realized my two-year old little girl was scared of me. I'm supposed to be the person she runs to when she's scared, not the person she hides from.
So I'm at a loss. I have no clue how to discipline this child. Timeout doesn't really work anymore, at least not for the big offenses (like sneaking into her sister's room and coloring on the walls), I don't want to spank her, and I hate yelling at her. I've said this a lot, but I want to be the type of mother the General Authorities talk about during General Conference. The mother that "rules in righteousness" and never raises her voice.
How on earth did those mothers discipline their toddlers?
Now I don't know how this fits in here on this blog, but this is the biggest thing on my mind, as I'm sure is on many of other mothers' minds. I figured I would ask the question here and open up the comments section as a sounding board for everyone to share their experiences with this... the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What methods of discipline and positive reinforcement work in your house?
If you don't have children yet, what methods did your mother use when you were growing up?