As I write this, Nixon is sequestered in his room screaming and crying for me and I'm ignoring his pleas and demands. I'm not heartless, though I certainly feel as though I am right now. I'm not doing the "cry it out" method to get him to take a nap, we're way past that and thankfully he likes his sleep almost as much as we do.
No, I'm punishing him (and myself it seems) for his continuous screeching outbursts in public. They've been getting progressively worse and louder recently, and with a plane trip which will last HOURS in our not-so distant future, I'm nipping this shit right and tight now. Even if it means I'm breaking my own heart listening to his cries in the meantime. Because, afterall, most of this is a result of my own doing.
"How so?" you ask. You ask a wise and loaded question. See, I started rewarded Nixon for good behavior in public, which became almost second nature. However, when the tantrums started the rewards stopped and the screeching started! He even got smart enough to behave long enough to get the reward, only to act out as soon as we left because I wouldn't let him get more things he "need"ed. Then he learned to say "May I have...?" and thought that by asking correctly he'd get it automatically, sometimes I'd give in other times not (depending on his prior behavior and what he was asking for), when I said "no" the screeching began. It really became the go-to in his arsenal against us for anything he didn't like. Didn't like dinner? SCREECH!! Didn't want plain white milk? SCREECH!! Didn't want to wear underwear in the house? SCREECH!! Clearly, you can see how it'd wear a person down.
So today, I drew a line in the sand. We went out to run errands while Mac slept (poor guy is on midnights and I decide I'm going to go balls-to-the-wall hardcore parenting....I love you, honey!), I told Nixon "no car" before we left, I told him again when we got to the store, I had snacks in hand for him and we just meandered for almost an hour. Mindless, pointless walking around quietly together after I grabbed what I was there for in the first place. It was nice. It was calm. It was.....short lived. As soon as we left and he realized I really meant no cars, he demanded (re: SCREECHED) to go into another store. I whispered directly into his ear "No, Nixon, I'm sorry but we're leaving" and headed for the door. I got out the door and he asked for a snack (our new distraction when we're going to be a while) out of the vending machine. When he got told no for that as well, he screeched again!
*Enter dirty glares from perfect strangers here*
I gave him a warning, if he screeched or yelled one more time, we'd go straight home and he'd go in his bedroom for 30 minutes with no toys and no books. (I will leave him BeBe though). He was quiet all the way to the car. As soon as it was time to get into the car....a screech that almost popped my eardrums as I was buckling him in!
*Enter more dirty looks from strangers, 3 parking row (not spaces ROWS) way*
I got into the car, buckled my seatbelt and told Nixon we were going home because he had earned his trip to his bedroom.
He screeched, yelled, cried, screamed and slammed his door for 27 of 30 minutes. I spent a couple minutes curled up on Mac's chest on the verge of tears listening my my son RAGE at me and for me. He stopped yelling less than 2 minutes before the timer went off. I went into his room. He was lying on his bed, fingers in mouth clutching BeBe, his sweet little tear-stained face lying away from the door and his eyes were closed.
I woke him, hugged him, kissed him, told him why I did what I did and now he's curled up next to me waiting for me to finish up this blog so he can play one of the games he loves on kneebouncers.com.
My heart still hurts from all his anger, but I know we're going to recover....just in time to do this a few more times over before he gets the lesson I'm trying to teach him.