We're living on timers and play-doh

October 26, 2018

So, both of these things will probably stop working because I'm telling you that they are working for us right now, but I'll take the risk. 

 
Kiddo is nearly three years old, and I feel like his current phase of development can only be described as "turned up to 11." He is incredibly sweet and language is cruising along and his imagination is blossoming in very cool ways. These aspects are all awesome, and Scott and I whisper about them after kiddo goes to bed each night, dumbstruck by what a fun little interesting person he is. 

 

But also, there's the rest of it. So much angst, possessiveness, aggression, and boundary testing, all of which are both developmentally appropriate and also totally exhausting. We have read the books. We do all the things. He's just almost three, and he is KILLING IT at being almost three in a relatively classic fashion, and that's fine. We are still constantly trying to find ways to keep relations as smooth as possible under the current circumstances. Right now I have two coping mechanisms that are saving my life; timers and play-doh.

 

The timer bit is all very simple. I tell kiddo he needs to do something, say, get socks on. He screams "no no no no! I not do it! I not like it! I not like mine socks!" and collapses into a heap of screams and sobs before I have finished speaking. I take a deep breath, consciously unclench my teeth, and say "Okay, do you want to put on socks now, or do you want me to set a timer." He visibly cheers. "Timer." I set a timer on my phone for an amount of time that makes sense considering the situation, generally between 30 seconds and fifteen minutes, and leave the conversation. The timer goes off, and he does a funny dance to the chime, and 90% of the time does the thing, whatever it may be. 

"I not go to bed I snuggle mommy's room." 
Timer.

"I don't need a dipe. I'm clean."
Timer.

"I not take a shower."
Timer.

 

"I not like mine sweater."
Timer.

It's magic, and I know it can't last forever, but for now it's an impartial arbiter of our lives and I am so grateful for each reprieve it affords me until it inevitably stops working. 

 

The other lifesaving technology I currently depend on is play-doh. Many activities seem to wind him up into a frenzy of hitting and kicking. It is not super awesome for me. We have a punching bag and all that, and sometimes it works, but often I just need him to transition to a lower gear, and then my old friend play-doh has my back. We have an exciting large box with dinosaurs on it with all kinds of play-doh and associated tools and toys, and he jumps at the suggestion of playing with it, unless something is truly terribly wrong. 

Play-doh and timers, that's my life right now. Fingers crossed we can squeeze out a few more weeks until Scott finishes grad school before these gems stop working. 

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Hey, I'm Jillian, and I'm creating an extraordinary life on an ordinary budget. 

I'm just an actual person, trying to make sh*t work. I'm doing pretty okay at it.  About Me.

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Hey Jillian features articles on self-care and mental health, budget beauty, parenting, recipes and meal planning, DIY home improvement projects, and product reviews relevant to people who are interested in those things. xoxo Jillian
Jillian Kirby | Burlington, Vermont | Email me at hi@heyJilliankirby.com