Libbie, Three-and-a-Half.

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Yesterday I was fairly certain I’d rather be the animal-feces cleaner at the zoo than have to keep parenting.

Every word out of Libbie’s mouth was meant to provoke me, from the moment she got up until at least after David went to bed.

So many weeks of pushing limits. So much discipline doled out: time-outs, toys and privileges taken away, even spankings. And yet she keeps pushing, shoving, her momma teetering over the edge of a complete breakdown.

It’s not the big things that are the worst (although slapping her daddy this weekend was brutal; and had it been me she’d hit, I might have gone ballistic). It’s each tiny defiance piling up, stack after stack on top of my bruised-momma-heart. It’s that she flat-out ignores what I say. It’s how she twists her brother’s hand until it hurts and then doesn’t understand why it gets her in trouble. It’s licking me on the face while I am trying to talk to her seriously.

I am worn thin and ready to try every technique I can think of to help: cutting out food coloring. Trying to create a more calming environment at home. Playing outside as much as possible. No more TV. More one-on-one time. {I do try to do all of these things, but maybe not enough.}

What I can’t give her is what she wants: my undivided attention 33 hours a day.

I fear I’ve let something go too far, but I don’t know what it is. I don’t want to spend more nights crying on the couch, feeling that I’ve failed her somehow. I want to not feel hypocritical for writing a devotional when it feels like my parenting and sometimes my sanity are hanging on by a thin thread.

I kind of want to scream. So instead I write, to the general public, my online shout of frustration.

{Why yes, it IS a good thing she’s cute. And hilarious. And loves books. It’s certainly not that we don’t have good moments … they just don’t seem to outnumber the bad right now.}

8 thoughts on “Libbie, Three-and-a-Half.

  1. These times pass, trust me. They do. And when they do, you’ll look back and think how grateful you are that God got you through it. At least she hasn’t pushed David down a flight of stairs into someone basement. Yeah, it gets that bad at times. But then it gets better. We’ll keep praying for you! 🙂

  2. A friend’s three and a half year old is doing much the same thing – sassy, defiant, trying to be the “parent” to both her younger twin sisters and her own parents!

    Honestly, I think that about that age they realize there is a big world out there that is more than a little scary, and pushing the parental limits is a way to test and make sure that mom and dad are going to stop them and keep them safe.

    This WILL pass…and hopefully, when David’s time comes he won’t be as much of a handful! Praying for you.

  3. Ugh, we’re going through the same type of thing over here and I’m afraid we’re only at the beginning of it.

    I called my mom near tears the other night after a horrible experience at a restaurant (screaming, crying, jumping, throwing food, we were THAT family), and she immediately said that I have got to stop being so emotional about it. That toddlers, especially little girl toddlers, pick up on how upset it makes you and they’re looking for any sort of attention, even upset attention. So. I’m going to try and be more clinical and less emotional about the behavior (not about the child, obviously), and separate the behavior from my daughter from my own sensitivities.

    Not sure if this helps you at all, but know you’re not alone!

  4. It’s tough. i can’t really offer advice since i’m no expert [ha!] but i just wanted to encourage you. You are being a great mom. your consistency will help her learn the way she should act. also, it’s probably a phase but it doesn’t make it any less difficult. keep on keeping on mama, you’re a rockstar!

    God bless :).

  5. I’m so sorry you’re going through this right now. 2 1/2 was our roughest so far, and things got better right at three, but now that we’re careening toward 3 1/2, I’m getting scared. Every time Kate acts like that, I fear I’m raising a sociopath (which is very, very unlikely) and that my attempts at discipline will scar her for life. It’s no fun, I know. But we’re all in this together!!

  6. We actually took my son to a psychologist the be ‘checked’ because I was sure there was something wrong in his brain because of everything you listed and a few more. There wasn’t… It’s been 3 years, things are not perfect but better – the doctor tells me his personality will pay off when he is older. All I can tell you is to hang in and keep doing what you are doing. It is sinking in even if she won’t let you see that.

  7. Darah has just started telling me, “No!” when I ask her to do something. My tolerance for this is minuscule….I’ve got to work on building up my patience, and fast!

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