Monday, February 6, 2012


It seems that the "terrible twos" have descended upon our house a little earlier than anticipated, with Mackenzie's behavior ranging from bad to worse to downright nerve-racking. That said, she sure has a knack for quickly reminding me just how wonderfully sweet she is deep down inside.
I'm told that the tantrums she's resorted to are merely a matter of her age, though I suspect the fact that she's having a baby brother in two months has something to do with it as well. Regardless of the cause, it's a bit rough on a parent to witness these episodes. They don't last long but they're extremely unpleasant, not to mention scary.

Frightening as they may be, one has to wonder whether these tantrums occur because Mackenzie isn't getting her way. A good majority of the time she's throwing herself on the floor not simply because she's cranky, or tired, or "at that age"... she's doing it because I've put the kibosh on watching more Elmo or I won't allow her to eat pretzels for dinner.
Enter discipline.
Or dismisscipline which is how I feel about it lately. As in, I'm being dismissed each time I try to enforce the rules.
Doug has been traveling a lot lately and I've reached a point (several times actually) where I've just about given up on any attempt at discipline mostly because it's so damn exhausting and I usually wind up feeling absolutely defeated.
But we all know what happens when we throw in the towel and let our kids get away with everything. So I've forced myself to make every effort to stand firm, no matter how many times Mackenzie messes with my head, knowing all too well how to push my buttons.
Luckily when our sweet little girl decided to tear apart her room this weekend, Doug was there to serve as back up... or rather take the lead and be the enforcer.
I tried. I really did. But instead of being pushed to tears, this time I had to fight the urge to burst into a fit of laughter.
Mackenzie -- usually a world class fighter when it comes to naps -- stood quietly while I left her room Sunday. I thought we were golden. I envisioned a two hour nap where I could read Us Weekly and Doug would watch hockey.
Instead we were interrupted by the sound of a little monster throwing books against the wall. Doug and I looked at each other, rolled our eyes, and silently agreed that we'd see how things played out rather than race to get Mackenzie right away.
Well that idea lasted about ten minutes, when we realized that things were only getting louder and more violent upstairs.
When we entered Mackenzie's room we were greeted by a smirking little girl who had managed to tear apart her room... one of the many joys that come with transitioning to a toddler bed.
Clean up went something like this: Doug sternly telling Mackenzie to put her toys, books, and dolls away, Mackenzie wiping her hands together and saying, "All done!" even though she wasn't, and me sitting on the floor trying to verbally back Doug up while covering my face so Mackenzie couldn't see me laughing. She was just so darn cute about the whole thing.
Ah hah!
Perhaps this was why she pushed my buttons.
Because she knew she could.
Because she has me wrapped around her little finger.
But who could blame me?
With every tiny ounce of naughty comes a ton of nice. And Mackenzie is an incredibly nice kid. She's kind and loving and generous and affectionate.
But she's also conniving and deceitful when it comes to poor, old mommy.
Well, Daddy don't play that.
We stayed in Mackenzie's room for as long as it took. I managed to get over the sillies and maintain a straight face most of the time. I couldn't help but be impressed by Doug's unwavering ability to discipline our daughter in a way that didn't involve any additional tantrums or tears. He remained calm, cool, and collected. And it made me realize that I have a long way to go when it comes to showing Mackenzie who's in charge. Half the time I break down and give in and the other half of the time I break down and lose my patience, raising my voice and acting childish... basically stooping to her level. Neither one of those scenarios is effective.
Of course I can make excuses... telling myself that it's easier for Doug to waltz on in and successfully serve as the disciplinarian because he's not "stuck" at home with our daughter day in and day out. He isn't immersed in the daily grind of motherhood and therefore subjected to the normal wear and tear that accompanies it.
The truth of the matter is that he just has more patience and more willpower.
Don't get me wrong, Mackenzie is still capable of turning him into mush.  He's just able to stand strong when push comes to shove.  And for that I applaud him, even though I'm insanely envious.

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