Thursday, July 29, 2010

Learning to deal with independent twin toddlers. Alternate title: Trying not to lose my sh*t.

Currently, Maddy and Libby go to preschool 3 mornings a week and they absolutely love it. For the past month, we have been walking to and from the car to the classroom instead of using their stroller. I know this may not sound like a big deal, but when you have two little ones to get out of the car, up the stairs, past the playground, into the church, down the hall, and into the classroom, it can sometimes be a challenge.

Mornings are usually a piece of cake. They will wait on the sidewalk for me, they don't pay attention to the playground, and they typically walk right to their room. OK, sometimes Maddy wants to push the stroller by the crib room, but typically we are OK.

Afternoons are a whole other world. At first, they were OK. Then, they wanted on the playground, so I started going another way. Then, they wanted to check out other hallways. Then, they wanted to climb into the bye-bye buggies that were in the hallway. Then, they wanted to sit in the little chair outside the school director's door. Then, they would refuse to walk to the door and I would end up carrying screaming children (often with the help of a teacher, or school director) to the car.

Today, on the last day of school, 3 bye-bye buggies were parked outside of their classroom. I cringed. I brought the stroller today, because I knew we would have extra items to carry (leftover diapers, emergency clothes, etc), so I thought maybe I would be alright.

Of course, they both end up sitting in the buggies and whenever I would tell them that it was time to go, or actually pick them up, I was met with a screeching toddler, yelling "Nooooooo!" I finally just ignored the screaming, told them it was time to go, and had to force them into their stroller. Of course, they splayed their legs and arms out making this difficult so I really felt bad pushing them into their seats. Two other Moms tried to help out, but it was really just a nightmare.

I ended up carrying Libby, while pushing Maddy in the stroller, both were sniffing from crying, and I was hot and flustered from everything.

So, what is the solution? You want them to become independent and it's hard to tell them not to climb in the buggy when it's something they do every day. At 2, do they really know the difference? Or do they know the difference, and just know that they have the upper hand? We are usually on a schedule in the afternoons and I have to be back at work, so I don't have time just to let them play for a few minutes. Should I start looking for books on raising headstrong children, or how not to get pushed around by your toddler, invest in the back pack leashes, or just result to dragging them down the hallway?

We have a month to come up with a good solution since school is out until after Labor Day. So, readers ... get to work so I'm not known as "that Mom" at the preschool.


LauraC said...

Well you can take my advice with a grain of salt because I am a "mean" mom. I would make the buggies off-limits and put the girls right in the stroller. At 2, they do understand, they are just testing boundaries and do not want to listen. Our experience has been the rules and discipline we set down in the 2s made the 3s SO MUCH easier.

We went through something similar with my boys at day care, where they would not walk in the correct direction to the door because they wanted to play with the buggies. This was after we stopped using the stroller so I started bringing the stroller and telling them if they didn't listen, they had to ride like babies.

Also I spent a LOT of time in the 2s carrying an objecting child out of places. It's a balance to find the things where you can let them have independence and when you need to get stuff done. Even now, last night I had to take away a library book from Alex for not listening at the library and he ended up sobbing. But it is the price I feel like I have to pay to have well-behaved children. And they need to learn that they are part of a family and the entire family has things they need to do.

Plus everyone understands because two year olds are INSANE.

Mad About Plaid Girl said...

I think I'm with Laura...especially when it comes to saying that 2 year olds are insane!HA so true. And 3's can be worse so at least by then they will know that you mean what you say. Sometimes I even say I have a special book in the car and we can't wait to go see it! Or I will tell Josie Kate that if she walks like a big girl to the car I will give her a treat. That might get you into a mess, but sometimes when you just want peace it is worth a skittle or one sweet tart. I'm just sayin. Sometimes I even tell her I saw a squirrel outside and we need to go and find it! :) Hang in are doing the right thing!

Natalie at Our Old Southern House said... 18 mo old has a mind of her own. she's good for me 99.9% of the time in PUBLIC b/c she knows mama don't play. {i do the whole 'oh my gosh--do you see that little bird--let's walk to the car and find it' LOVES some birds).
in private she's an on the go whirlwind.
i have no advice--just wanted to say that your post wore me out...and i wasn't even there!

Jamie said...

I agree with Laura, you have to have some tough love to begin with to establish the boundaries. Our two do really well walking in, but it is the afternoon that really will get them out of sync. Mine will be 2 in less than a month, and we have a spoon (some people use a fly flap, a flip flop, a whatever-will-get-there-2yrold-attention). But I will say routine and not putting up with the "let-me-get-some-attention" attitudes have really helped us. We also talk alot, we make the kids use their words and try to help them understand what they are feeling when they are pitching a fit or not doing what they should.
You are so right, when you say not lose your $^!*...I worry that some one is going to get the wrong idea when we use discipline and teachable moments...but I have to keep telling myself: God gave us these kiddos to raise in a Godly manner and that includes loving discipline, spare the rod spoil the child, and do to other as you would have them do to you. You can do mom at a time can change there kids into disciplined beings and oneday the world will be a better place!
Good Luck!

Ashley W said...

I am really glad I am not the only one with this problem!! Mine is only 14 months, so I am really in for it when he is 2!

Chris said...

I so love your blog. I am a mom to only one and I cannot imagine how you handle two. From my limited experience I suggest (i.e., learn from my mistakes) consistency and consequences (yes, even at 2). If you can establish (and stick to) the guidelines at 2 it will make future years easier as you add to the guidelines. It is so much easier said than done but if you can remain calm it pays great dividends. I think I always worried too much about what others thought during meltdowns and I have come to the conclusion that most Moms have been there, done that and ignore the rest until they have walked a mile in your shoes.

Good Luck!