Tuesday, January 3, 2012

That tears it. I'm done.

I could probably just post the following pictures with no explanation and it would still make perfect sense to you all. But I need to write this down to work through it, so here goes...

Today after lunch the girls were playing downstairs like they do most days, and after awhile Evie came upstairs with orange marker scribbled on both her cheeks. I asked her why she had done that, and she replied that it was Lila who had drawn on her. Deciding to bypass the discussion about why/how her younger sister was allowed to, or alternatively, could possibly over-power her to draw on her face (for now), we went straight for the obvious. "Why does Lila have a marker at all? Bring me all the markers!" With Lila's track record of drawing on furniture I just don't allow them access to markers. Period. (And don't even get me started on scissors...)

A little while later it was time to go pick Jake up from school. I called the girls up and because we were in a rush and it's unseasonably warm I just grabbed Lila and carried her out to the car. As I was buckling her in I noticed that she had drawn on her pants.

Then I noticed her feet.

I reprimanded her quiet sternly and gave her a talking to the whole way up to the school about why we don't draw on our clothes or our bodies. I also gave Evie another talking to about the fact that none of them are allowed to have markers anymore and if anyone finds one they are supposed to bring it to me immediately!

When we got back home I sent the older two down to start picking up their bedrooms and the play room and told Lila to get a diaper so I could change her. I went and got the camera because now that the unpleasantness of having to get after her was over I thought I should document her naughtiness for when she is a mom and complaining to me because her three year old is drawing all over her furniture...

That's when I discovered just how much she had drawn on her pants.

And then I took off her pants to change the diaper.

My eye started to twitch at this point.
(These baby tattoos do not come off with either a wipe or soap and water, any suggestions?)

While I was trying desperately to breath and count to ten and say all the state capitols in reverse alphabetical order and calm down before I "talked" to her about it again, Jake came upstairs to inform me (in a very fearful "don't shoot the messenger" kind of way) that Lila had drawn on the couch downstairs as well.

I lost it.

I was scary.

I screamed and cried and wailed and gnashed my teeth and pulled my hair. I smacked Lila's bum and sent her to time out on my bed, where she obviously sensed it was in the best interest of her continuing health and well fare to stay put. And I made a terrible pronouncement that reduced the other two to tears as well. "We will no longer have art supplies of any kind in this house!" I grabbed a garbage sack and made them fill it up.

So there we are, not even together for an hour today and every one of us is in tears. I called Brian, a shaking and crying mess, to tell him what had happened and so he could help talk me off the ledge. I calmed down after a few minutes and agreed with his wise counsel not to throw everything away in the heat of anger. We are going to get a box or tote or something that can be locked, and all art projects will henceforth be done at the kitchen table under parental supervision. It makes me very sad that both Jake and Evie have to suffer because of Lila's continued bad choices, but I simply cannot take it anymore. I have tried everything I can think of to get her to stop drawing on the furniture, the walls, the toys, the television and herself (and apparently anyone else who will hold still long enough) and I have failed. I've talked, I've yelled, I've reasoned, I've cried, I've made her clean it up, I've even smacked her hand a time or two. 

I am completely at my wit's end, which is a really scary place to be. It terrifies me to think that I cannot figure out how to parent this child. I have been fighting this same behavior for more than a year and a half (and considering that she is only three is pretty sad) and have not yet been able to teach her not to keep repeating the same mistake. It's frustrating now, but it's terrifying to contemplate later on in life when the consequences of mistakes can be much worse than a ruined pair of pj's and a destroyed couch. 

This is one of those parenting moments when I just wanted so badly to lock myself in the bathroom and call my mom for guidance and reassurance. I wanted her to tell me again about the time I drew in permanent marker all over the room that my parents had just finished wall papering and made my dad cry, and see, I didn't turn out so bad after all did I? 

Or did I... 

I did just throw a rather spectacular Mommy temper tantrum.

Is 5 pm too early for bedtime?

For me.


Natalie said...

Oh no. I'm so sorry and I wish I had some good advice for you but I fear I have more mommy tantrums than I should be allowed. Please know you're not alone and I know you love your kids despite the fact that they drive you crazy. I know I love mine. Here's hoping we can both find better ways to teach the little turds.

Troy and Lisa said...

Oh Chrissy, I'm so sorry. I can't relate...yet...but I'm sure I will soon enough. I remember having certain students who were just naughty and I lost it with them and felt so bad after, but it's hard in the heat of the moment. There's a book and classes available for teachers called Love and Logic and I know there's a parenting version of it as well. I can't recommend it from experience, but I've heard good things from moms of fun and crazy kids!

Emilie said...

Chrissy, I am so sorry.

Being a mom is hard. VERY hard. I wish I had the fix all answer for you. Of course I don't. All I can offer is the one thing that sometimes works for my kids. Keep her on a short leash for a few days. And by short I mean super short. It's painful for you too, which is why it is so hard.

Just let her know she can't do *insert a privileged she asked for* because she broke your trust by breaking a rule and when that happens all the fun things have to go to time out for a while.

And it's got to be the good stuff. Computer time, movie time, t.v. time, favorite activity. That sort of thing.

Just remember you are a far cry from the only one who has ever thrown a mommy tantrum.

And remember I was once a child who used permanent marker to um, "decorate" YOUR doll when your mom was watching me? I turned out mostly ok....

Dinee said...

I just got home from Relief Society where we had an evening with speakers who talked about the temple. My bishop bore sweet testimony that he recently attended the temple and while there received insight into his daughters certain behaviors (he didn't go into detail) and how to respond to them and he felt like he has been able to improve his relationship with her since then. Of note he is a young father with three little girls. It made sense to me and made me realize I need to attend the temple more often and seek His guidance with my kids.

Noelle said...

Those days are the worst! I hate that out of control feeling.. It's so frustrating. I know you are a great mom, and having intelligent, independent children is hard! I don't know if you really want any suggestions or advice, or not.. But I do the love and logic with Taya and really like it! Hang in there :)

Amanda said...

Oh, dear. Parenting is hard work, even on the good days. I haven't had a really serious artist yet at my house. But my older brother did throw rocks at a neighbor's Porsche when he was younger. Not a happy parenting day for my mother. Can the couch cushion be turned over? I think locking up the art supplies is a good idea. And I wouldn't worry too much about 3 year old naughtiness translating into teenage rebellion just yet. These things have a way of working themselves out. It's just the hanging in there that's tough.

Kaylee said...

I don't know if it will take permanent marker off of the couch, but nail polish remover does a good job of removing it from the body. I figured that out this week. ;)

Elena Loo said...

Oh man, I'm so sorry. I saw Josh thsi morning and said, "Chrissy had a rough day with Lila." He said, "I know...I read it!" We both feel for you. I had several thoughts go through my head as I read:
1. You are a good mom
2. Lila is a pretty good artist
3. Maybe you could learn to make couch cushion covers?
4. I admire that when you look at problems like this that you see the big picture. Not that Lila colored all over her and the couch, but that maybe she has to learn a lesson several times before it sinks in.

Sorry it was such a rough day. Love you, and keep up the good fight! :)

The Cole Family said...

Rubbing alcohol will take marker off skin....I don't have any miracle suggestions on how to keep it off there in the first place ;)

Sarah said...

Hairspray can remove pen and marker from clothing, so I'm guessing it can from couches as well? I'm glad you share so I can learn from your experiences. and I think you are an awesome mom. :)