Hell on Wheels

In the past two weeks, Jack has gone from being your run-of-the-mill toddler to Rosemary’s baby. While he was once a bit whiny if he didn’t immediately get what he wanted, and he could certainly hit if he was in the mood, he wasn’t all trouble, all the time.

This is the report we got from day care today:

Crazy this morning. Jack was anti-(baby) and (little girl). Jack kicked baby 2xs and little girl 2xs. Hit little girl several times and grabbed her hair. He pulled her hair really hard and a chunk came out.

Please talk with Jack about kicking and pulling hair. The kicking scares me especially with baby.

Then, there’s a smiley face.

Now, two weeks ago, day care woman (DCW) was fine with Jack’s behavior. It wasn’t angelic, by any stretch, but she said he was normal. She said that another boy there had had a problem with not being the baby, and that Jack would probably grow out of it.

Just last night, I talked with Jack specifically about the baby. We worked out what to do if baby wanted his cup or his toy – which was, to say “no” and then go and get the baby a cup or toy meant for baby. Max talked with him this morning about little girl, and how to be nice to her.

Jack isn’t overly violent at home. He does have his moments with the cat, and I know we need to watch that. I just don’t know what to do about his behavior there.

When I came home tonight, he was crying in his high chair. We figured out that he was exhausted, though he had a normal nap, and it took awhile to put him down to bed because he had worked himself into such a state. He is currently having a hard time getting comfortable. He’s “peeping” through the monitor. I’m really quite worried about him.

Anyone have any thoughts?

4 thoughts on “Hell on Wheels

  1. All I know about kids wouldn’t slop over the sides of a thimble. But you teach the kids right from wrong, good behavior from bad behavior, as many ways as you can think of, as many times as they need it, and when their brains are ready, they’ll learn it so fast it’s like they never didn’t know it.

    That’s how Dad did it. That’s how America does it. And it’s worked out pretty good so far.

    Hee hee.

    But otherwise, is there an environmental trigger that may be influencing his behavior? A change in snack at day-care with more or less sugar, a new kid, something around the house that he’s taking with him to day care? There needn’t be, as kids change on their own all the time, but it might be something to look for.

    Or so I’m led to believe. Not actually being a parent makes me really good at giving advice to them.

  2. Sure he’s not hitting a growth spurt or getting some new molars or something? Both of those totally threw my kids into a funk for at least a week.

  3. Congratulations….you’ve hit the terrible twos! It’s all about ego at this stage. While I agree that Jack is a smart cookie, he cannot say “I’m frustrated and I just don’t understand why you are trying to take my toy.” I’m not sure about the baby, other than jealousy? The family dynamics have changed with you going back to work, and having two different people’s discipline styles could be confusing for Jack. I would think that an experienced DCW would have more ideas and tactics to handle this common situation. I know my DCW is very strict in regards to the kids respecting each other, and I’ve never had a report of Wes hitting (yet!). Honestly, I think it is her firm yet loving discipline that keeps him in line. Maybe he is acting out because he went from undivided attention from you to sharing attention with 4 other kids and he’s still adjusting to that. Maybe it’s just a testing phase. In any case, I think the key is consistent and calm discipline. Whatever technique you use, just do it every time (even if you are at the park, at the store, etc)

    I remember Owen abusing our cat and no matter how many time-outs he got, the temptation to pull that cat’s tail could not be resisted. He laughed when the cat squealed in pain and I was mortified. Wasn’t one sign of a serial killer cruelty to animals? Then one day a few months later…it completely stopped and he was back to his sweet self.

    Be patient…its not a reflection of anything you are doing wrong. By all means, take it seriously, but don’t stress out too much. I think all you can do is keep talking to him about it (especially if you aren’t there when it happens) and if he sees consequences for his actions, he will soon enough figure it out.

    Hang in there!

  4. Comments from the related LiveJournal post:

    May. 14th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC)
    This may or may not be obvious to you, but from Jack’s point of view the last few months might look like this:
    o i go to this other place during the day
    o mommy is stressed
    o mommy is in pain more often
    o (this is an assumption) daddy is stressed
    Of course, you know that this is because you’re working and that you’re working because of financial realities and responsibilities that need to be addressed. He might think that all of the stress and tension is because he goes away during the day. I’m not saying that going to daycare is upsetting him, but, he might think that going to daycare is somehow causing other problems and that might be enough to cause him to act out at daycare.
    I would try to set Jack up to feel successful about his days. Help him set goals like:
    o I will build a tower today
    o I will sing a song to the baby today
    o I will draw a picture today
    Discuss these goals with the daycare provider at dropoff time and follow up at pick up time. It might help him to feel some purpose about his day. It would be super bonus if there was a camera with which pictures could be taken of these goals being met, or a list on which the daycare provider could record the events. Jack is a tiny bit young for this, but it’s worth a try.
    Good luck, it sounds like a horrible situation. =(

    May. 14th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
    This is great! Thank you for this perspective. I did think that maybe Jack feels somehow put-upon, because yes, there is a lot of stress around here. Our day care provider has a camera and takes pics of the kids.
    The other thing is that both baby and little girl are girls – they’re the only girls and there are 4 boys including Jack.

    May. 14th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
    psyko_kitty has some really good input there. I agree with what she had to say.

    When Alex misbehaves, we always try to focus on what he’s doing right versus what he’s doing wrong. It goes a long way to build up his confidence and feel good about himself. My guess is Jack doesn’t like the way he is acting, either. Sometimes when Alex got in those spirals, he just needed a bit of a “reset” to get him back to his sweet self. That usually involved *me* taking a deep breath and not anticipating every action from him to be an unsavory one.

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