Been a while since I blogged about Louis, because it just sounded like a litany of complaint, all day every day. I was tired of thinking it, you were tired of reading it – it was just a giant mess of misery. So I shut up about it and spent a fair amount of time researching some possible solutions to his various behavioural & developmental issues.
The good news is that most days he’s doing better. He wore underwear all day yesterday and didn’t have any accidents! I did have to insist that he give the ol’ poop a try after lunch – his belly was actually distended and he was complaining that his stomach hurt – but with very little resistance he did try, and he succeeded. Twice this week! So we’re very slowly winning that battle. He’s proud, I’m relieved, and his parents owe me a present or perhaps a day off with pay.
His whining has decreased markedly since I explained to him what whining is and why he shouldn’t do it, complete with modeling of a better way to talk. He still defaults to whining when he’s upset, but I don’t have to model anymore; I just say “wow Louis, that is a VERY whiny voice! Goodness!” or something similar, and he chuckles and says it again in a completely normal and cheerful tone.
Tattling is still an issue, although it’s slowly getting better – he desperately wants me to be Marshall Dillon in all of his little conflicts, and I persistently don’t play that. I do hear him attempting to resolve issues himself at least 30% of the time, and whenever I do catch him at it I praise him extravagantly, which he loves.
He has suddenly decided that Pixie is actually a fun playmate, most of the time. Her verbal skills took a sharp turn upwards recently, which I think helped. They play together all day, pretty much. Lots of cars / trains / airplanes, but also more bizarre flights of imagination, such as yesterday when Pixie dressed them both in capes and said they were vampires. (Apparently, vampires flap their capes like wings and talk in a weird, kid-from-the-Exorcist voice. I dunno.) Today was possibly the most awesome yet. They wrapped themselves up in sheets and curled up in the corner of the room with a teapot and two cups.
Pixie: We have HEADACHES.
Louis: We need to have DRINKS OF TEA.
They played what I have dubbed “mama needs some Advil” for almost half an hour.
I also added some new books to the repertoire. Sandra Boynton’s Happy Hippo, Angry Duck has been a big success, with the parents reporting that the kids mention it at home, too. I also borrowed a book from the library called Words Are Not For Hurting by Elizabeth Verdick (part of the “Best Behaviour” series). It’s a bit saccharine but one of the illustrations is exactly what happens here at least a couple of times every day – Louis builds with blocks, Daisy knocks them down, Louis screams and yells at Daisy, Daisy cries. Seeing it in a book seems to be helping him contextualize what I’m saying when I ask him to try and have more patience with the littler kids.
Don’t misunderstand me – he can still be a remorseless, out-of-control ball of rage & upset. When I forget to give lots (and lots and lots) of warning that a transition is coming, whether it be to lunch, or nap, or even a walk outside, he is still completely capable of throwing a screaming meltdown complete with flailing limbs and siren-like screaming. His parents were so troubled by his wild mood swings and erratic behaviour that I finally looked up some resources online to reassure them that Louis is just an almost-three-year-old and not actually a more serious case requiring medical intervention.
He is still challenging. He still takes a certain approach. But I think I’m getting a handle on it, and that’s a good feeling.