new daily rhythm. Time for an update.
Everything is NOT perfect, but everything is much, much improved. We are all sleeping better, eating better and generally happier. I can count on one hand the number of emotional outbursts that occurred this week - from any of us.
Monkey is tasting new foods and hasn't asked for candy/treats/dessert/etc. almost the entire week. He still says he doesn't like certain things and has to be reminded that he may not say he doesn't like it until after he's tried a bite, but he is starting to feel comfortable and trust that I, just as I say, will NOT force him to eat something he doesn't like.
He still questions the new system, but with a little empathy on my part, he responds extraordinarily well to the routine and the natural consequences of not following through. For example, "If you can get PJs on and brush teeth now, we'll have time for a book." Yes, we've missed out on a few books this week, but there were no tantrums, just a few complaints followed by, "I know you love reading books before bed and I know you are sad that you didn't get ready in time to read, but I'll bet tomorrow you'll be so fast that we'll have time for our book."
He has also said "I love you" out of the blue more this week than I've heard in the month prior. It makes me feel wonderful that the limits I'm setting are actually bringing us closer.
Since reading Siblings Without Rivalry, I feel like I'm helping Monkey to stop feeling like he's competing with Bear for my attention or anything else for that matter. I have started using suggestions from the book when they are playing together, even though Bear is too young to voice his opinions. One that works especially well is, "I'm sure you can think of a way to play that makes everyone happy." This might still result in Monkey taking whatever Bear is using and at this point, that's fine, Bear doesn't care, but it helps Monkey to consider his brother's feelings without making him feel like the baby gets special treatment simply because he's a baby. In general, this suggestion results in Monkey saying something like, "No, thank you, I am using that, but you may have this toy" and then handing him something else. Everyone happy? Yup.
We did run into some snags this week on Daddy's days off. Monkey was testing the limits more than usual and I had to remind myself to remain calm. He had to be put back in bed 4 or 5 times one night, but each time, I just reminded him that it was bedtime and I'd get him tucked in again, but that things were not going to be different just because Daddy was at home.
Fortunately, my husband's wackadoodle schedule is switching to something more stable at the end of this month and I couldn't be happier. Not only will we get to see him 3-4 days a week (in a row!), but he'll have time to be rested enough to spend quality time with the boys. Once he has a chance to see the new rhythm in action and can get on the same page, everything should settle down.
I'll update again soon!
Do you have a rhythm in your family? Tell me about it!