two wrongs

Yesterday was kind of a stir-crazy day for Rainbow and me. I thought staying inside on a cold, wet day would be cozy, but it was actually kind of claustrophobic. Rainbow got punchy by the end of the day, and I resolved to get out of the stinkin’ house today and do something.

Aha! I’ll take Rainbow to the playzone in the mall! He LOVES that!

AND, while I’m at it, I’ll swing by TJ Maxx and get some dress shoes and a backless bra for the ball! It’ll be GREAT!

And, yeah. No. It wasn’t.

TJ Maxx was reasonably successful. I did find some dress shoes that fit and I bought them. They’re pretty cute. A little more practical than I was hoping for, but the only sassy ones they had were platform stilettos, and I thought that was ill-advised for a dancing event. And I don’t have any cute black dressy pumps, so these will be nice to have.

TJ’s didn’t have any backless bras (!!) and I should have just called it a day, but decided to breeze into Dillard’s with Rainbow (who had been fairly content at TJ’s) and check there.

It went poorly.

I put him in the umbrella stroller and would have none of it. He just wouldn’t sit down or stop crying, and kept begging to get out. He was happy to get out, but wanted to run all over the store. Didn’t want to hold hands, and then had a total meltdown when I carried him. It was a bad scene. Like, almost funny, sort of. In a very dark way. Lots of me standing over him with hands on hips and just watching him writhe on the floor. Trying to reason with him – what is the problem here? do you understand you’re not making either of us feel good by screaming? – which was really dumb.

Since we were already there (dammit!!) I carried him under one arm and went to the lingerie department*. I’d put him down briefly and he’d sort of stay with me, then get a stinker-grin and make a break for it. A cycle of pick-up and carry, cry piteously, be released, then run off with a sniffly little smile. I had the lady show me her favorite backless bra and paid for it without trying it on.


Of course it doesn’t fit. Either the sizes have changed since the last time I bought a backless bra, in college, or I’m not the same size I was when I was twenty. Obviously, they are sizing backless bras differently now.

The lady did say I could return it, so good. Also, I noted on the way to the toddler playzone that there’s a Victoria’s Secret in the mall that I’d totally forgotten about.


Which surely will have the undergarment I need. Which I will definitely purchase without a quickly bored, tantrum prone, nap-resistant little man in tow.

* You would be surprised how hard it’s been to find a backless bra in my neck of the woods. This was literally the fourth store I’d tried (Walmart, Peebles, and TJ’s being the first three) and it’s hard for me to get out and shop, so I was determined to leave with my quarry.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

    Jan 27, 2011 @ 00:35:01

    I know you are a veteran mama. I do.

    But just as a reminder….this happens with boys at 2!

    I got to the point where I told each when they were little what I expected before we went into the store. Then I told them what the consequence was if they did not show me “x” behavior.

    Then we went in.

    I also wasn’t “skerd” to use the kiddie backpack/leash….you know what I’m talking about? It gave them freedom, but kept them close and safe. I got lots of ugly looks, but it beat playing chase-and-tuck to me.

    I then vowed to follow through with whatever consequence I gave them if they didn’t follow my expecations.

    I always gave one warning before following through.

    So, this sounds really silly, BUT…I would often do practice runs.

    Like I would go out to the Dollar Tree or somewhere ramdom in need of nothing just to practice the expecation/warning/consequence routine.

    My expectations were practical for a 2 year old boy…nothing rockstar perfect, but just hit the “We will nots” Like run away, scream out, or grab things kinda deal.

    There were LOTS of failures….LOTS…..but we got there.

    We really got to a spot where I could take them out and get things done and not look like a loon with a crazy 2 year old!!!

    Hang in there…

    Everyone works in different ways, and what works for some does not work for others.

    Just wanted to let you know….I’ve been there…..oh, have I. It will pass.

    Use the force, Mama Jamz Jedi.

    .mac 🙂

  2. Mama Jamz
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 20:44:55

    Yes, I hear you, and I know you’re right. My problem is that, for me, he’s at a weird age for consequences/punishments. I don’t want to hit him, and pretty much everything else is far in the future, you know?

    I can’t tell him that he won’t get Binky at bedtime or something like that, because A. Bedtime would then be a NIGHTMARE and B. He just doesn’t think that far ahead. Like, if I tell him he can’t watch a video after bathtime, by then he’d have totally forgotten his original crime and the punishment would be worthless.

    When he has a toy he’s enamored with, I’ve taken it from him and set the kitchen time for 60 seconds and made him wait to get it back, when he’s been a stinker in some way. That’s pretty good.

    But what do you do when you’re out and about? If I threaten to leave the store, he’d be GREAT with that, you know?

    Clearly, this has been on my mind a lot lately. He’s definitely pushing his boundaries, especially when he’s overtired or bored. He’ll hit the dog on the back and look at me, seeing what I’ll do. Throw his food or his cup. Run off with a crayon.

    We had been doing timeouts and singing the alphabet to give it a set length of time, but he started to clearly enjoy it. “Sing, Sing!” Sigh. So we’re pretty much left with taking a toy away (which is only effective if he’s playing with it right then) or holding his face in my hands, looking very unhappy, and saying NO very sternly. He doesn’t like that at all.

    What do you DO?

    Jan 28, 2011 @ 04:11:25

    Okay, my day is shifting from teacher/mama to business owner/seamstess before that transition is made…I have a glass of wine to my left and am ready to repsond to you!

    He is at the early age of the Terrible Twos. That is tricky.

    I would definitely keep rocking the time outs.

    I think any mom when their child hits Rainbow’s age starts the whole, “Now, what do I expect from this little guy?” mind chug.

    Because we get that they are no longer infants and not yet full blown toddlers, and so the expectation shift and age of a bit more accountablitly starts to take shape.

    I think from about 8 months-18 months the whole re-direction and “keep’em occupied” theory is largely practiced.

    But at the peak age of almost 2, you are starting to feel the independence creeping up from amongst their little within, and yet left with the look on the outside of just a little bit bigger baby.

    I know full well that advice on child rearing is to be taken with a grain of salt if at all. So, please do not think what I say is how I truly feel all parents should do it or that I deem it “the right and only way”. I offer all of my advice based purely on what worked for my Eli and my Casey with me as role of their mama.

    I sat back and gauged out a rough sketch POA for the boys at about 9 months old.

    This POA encompassed the kiddos in all areas of development but for the topic of behavior spefically I honed in on: expectations at home (meal time, bedtime, naptime, play and out in public)
    2. my limitations for them (what would not be okay with me as far as what I wanted them exposed or not exposed to) non-negotiables (all based on the situation at hand, but overall what I would not budge on with the way they chose to act.)

    For example:

    1. My expectation: No screaming at the kitchen table during meal time.

    2. My limitation: I did not want them watching TV and eating dinner.

    3. My non-negotioable….this particular expectation (#1) was a non-negotiable for me. (not all expectations where non-negotiables. Some were just guidelines that altered based on the situation)

    My usual method for behavior is:

    1. warning
    2. time out
    3. consequence

    Let’s take the above screaming at the table:

    1. warning if they do it. I am always firm and direct with my warnings. Definite eye contact and stern voice for sho. I even sometimes creep a little closer into their personal space to be sure to get their attention. I don’t like a weak warning…it’s kinda in vain to me. If your gonna warn, do it with a purpose in hopes of not having to go to the next step.

    2. Time out if they did it again…

    Time out is a chair in our dining room as well as a bench upstairs.

    I would do the whole stern yet calm, “We do not scream at the table” and then remove them from the high chair/booster and put them in the time out spot and leave. I timed them for 1-2 minutes based on their age….around Rainbow’s age I did 2 minutes, I think.

    I did not talk to them. I ignored them and went back into the kitchen and ate with Kenny. If the kid got up and out of timeout, I would simply go back and put them in the chair. I did this until the kid sat in timeout without getting for the 1-2 minutes. I didn’t care if they screamed, kicked, flailed about in timeout, I just ignored it. The only thing I wanted them to get from me was that I am did not accept their kitchen table behavior and they would not get my attention for choosing wrong. I then went and simply and sternly re-affirmed my behavior expectations, reminded them what would happen if they screamed at the table again, and then brought them back for a 2nd try.

    I did this a gazillion times repeatedly with both kids in the beginning. It didn’t take long and they realized I wasn’t playing and I for sure wasn’t giving them any attention when they were in timeout.

    If they did it again once back at the table, at Rainbow’s age and younger, I would do the whole process of timeout over again.

    I didn’t spank until they were about 2 1/2 years old and I only spank if it is an extreme and out & out disobedience that was intentional….like if they knew better, did the time out, and then did it again only to see what I would do next…at 2 1/2 a pop on the bottom was what I chose to let them know I meant business on following directions.

    It sounds tedious and overly controlling, but it worked for me. Eli and Casey both learned quickly starting at 9 months that you ***sit at the table with your family for dinner with no TV on and you do not scream.

    **{the above being my POA (expectations, limitations, and non-negotiables) in alignment with their desired outcome behavior}

    I think that is why the boys today know that is what our family does in our home, at someone else’s, or out in a restaurant. “Screaming” of course was interchangable with later developmental meal time mannerly expectations as they grew older. As a family, we really enjoy meal times together with lots of talking about our day in a peaceful atmosphere. I like!

    As for your out in public situation:

    Out in public I always (even now) tell the boys before we go into any store what I expect of them.

    I never bribe them with treats or toys if they are good.

    When I do catch them showing my expected behavior, I am sure to have a stash of something “treaty” on hand in my purse to intermittently show postive reinforcement by target talking “Eli, thank you for sitting nicely in the grocery cart. You sure are a big helper to mama” —hand over a Dum-Dum sucker and hug—-continue shopping.

    I never do the treat trick consistently either as I never want them to come to expect it the second they try to do what’s right each and every time.

    If they ask for a sucker or “see mama, I’m doing good” I always ignore the sucker comment and say, “Yes, you are a rockstar today! Keep it up.” Er,uhhhh something like that.

    So, you have to shop. Rainbow, most of the time, has to be with you. I would say come up with a plan of what you expect from him and how you want to implement these expectations…

    So, maybe like:

    1. Tell him you are two are going into the store and tell him what you expect from him.

    a. staying close to mama (in the cart, on the kiddy leash, stroller, or by holding hands
    b. using good voices. (no screaming)
    c. no grabbing things

    2. Let him know what will happen if he does not do these things.

    1. warning
    2. timeout (in store or in car depending on where you feel best)

    a. I would go back to the car and sit (timing myself) or go find a bench or a couch. Sit with him beside you and pull out a book to read…if in the car….make a phone call….do SOMETHING so that he gets you could care less for his “fit” behavior. He needs to see you oblivious to the fact that he is throwing a whopper.

    * I think the key is NOT to give him any negative or postive attention. He is learning what pay offs he gets from acting the way he chooses in the stores…like, if I do this, mama will play chase with me or if I do this mama will leave the store.

    You will feel dumb and it will get on your nerves, but it didn’t take long and the boys figured out what I needed from them.

    *******So this is where you make the un-needed trips out to be able to do some practice runs on him. That way you aren’t ill that you didn’t get what you needed bought. Go to places where he has to behave and practice the drill of what you expect. Make the trips short and then be sure to praise him BIG time when you get the results you want out of him. You might want to throw in a toy store aisle parade while sitting in the cart the whole time. He will really want to look at the toys….you will remind him he has to stay in the cart. If he doesn’t, man that HE would HATE having to leave the toys!!! PRESTO! BUT, if he does stay in the cart the whole time on his bottom and doing what you expect, man, how awesome will it be to PRAISE him big time for his success all throughout the toy trip and when you get home too. Then, next time you are out, you can remind him of the behavior he showed on the toy trip. He will have a memory to connect with the behavior you expect to see out of him. This will make your expectations more concrete as opposed to abstract to him.

    I know this sounds perposterous and a bit over-the-top, and perhaps it is. But, this is what worked for me. Between 2 1/2-3, I weeded out the whole tiemout in public and raised the bar for my expectations. They were to get a warning and then for the 2nd offense a spanking when we got to the car. Sometimes I will say before going into the store, “If you make good choices and do as I expect you to do, we will see about going to the toy aisle before going home.” OR, better yet, if they do well, as we are about to leave with the gorceries, I will wheel the cart around and say, “Hey, y’all rocked today in the store, how about we go check out some toys!” They LOVE IT!

    That’s where I am at today with them. We still have times where when we get to the car or when we get home they know they will be getting a spanking.

    I rarely have to spank them, and am not a huge fan of it, but I think a little fear of consequences is good for them. My spankings are always sharp and concise with a talk before and a talk after followed by a hug.

    For the most part, they are really well behaved and most importantly, know that they are responsible for their behavior at 4 and 5 years old respectively.

    They learn quickly if you stick with your POA and stay consistent. It needs to be something that works for you and something that is going to help bring forth your desired result behavior from him.

    Now, take all of this and trash it if you want. It might be just mumbled muck to you. Some of it may help. Either way, my intentions for this response was to make sure you know you are not alone and to provide something to think about as far as what worked for me and how you want things to work for you.

    Take a deep breath and remind yourself, you are just at the beginning…baby steps and you will have Rainbow just right where you would hope for him to be!

    Good luck!

    .mac 🙂

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