“No” Fatigue

Do you ever have those days (or weeks, or months, or years) where it just seems like there’s constantly one mess after another? Physical messes like sickness, or cheerios, or spilled smoothie; mental messes like locking the keys in the car (or house), having to take the car in to be serviced for the “check engine” light; Spiritual messes, like praying, “Dear God, I’m doing my best, please get so-and-so for their nasty comment,” or not praying or reading the Scriptures at all…

Well if you don’t, you’re an anomaly, and I envy you.

Today (it’s only 10:05 AM) has been one mess after another! For me it’s been physical messes. Trying to teach a 9 month old little guy how to self-feed is more of a chore than I expected. He’s always grabbing at my food, even if he just finished eating. One time, he was so full he wouldn’t eat the last spoonful of blueberry cereal so he grabbed the spoon and threw it on the floor in protest. THEN, he proceeded to beg for my omelet, which was totally off limits anyway because it was covered in siracha!

The messes ensued from the time Teedle (nickname my husband gave him… I know… poor guy) woke up this morning at 6:00 AM. I am not a morning person until I’ve been properly caffeinated; he’s ready to go as soon as his eyes pop open. He’s constantly in to everything, and most recently, he’s been trying to climb the barriers we’ve set up in front of the end table that houses a lot of the “no” items. I encouraged him to play with his own toys, but there’s just something about my phone charger cord  and Tupperware bowls that is waaaaaay better than the Fischer Price stack rings he usually plays with.

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The climax of the mess madness was when I was trying to get driving directions from my husband and Teedle toddled over to the end table and managed to scale the makeshift-gate and he grabbed the lip of my purple smoothie cup…oh wait- for this to make total sense, you have to know that my husband usually lets him play with our plastic Tupperware cups… Anyway, he reached for my purple cup full of purple smoothie and tipped it everywhere before I could stop him. In fact, I think my efforts to stop him only made the spill worse. UGH! I mopped up the most of it with a cloth diaper (they’re multipurpose around my house) and my husband got the rest in a bath towel. All I said to my little man was, “NO!!!” He doesn’t even register what “no” means yet. And yet, I feel like I’m saying it non-stop! “No, don’t eat that paper!” “No, get your fingers out of the dog’s nose!” “No, don’t climb the entertainment center!” “NO NO NO no no no no no no no no no oo oo oo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

I have “no” fatigue. I’m sick of hearing it, I’m sick of saying it. How do I teach my guy what it means without driving myself insane and giving him a complex? I’ve read a lot of parenting books and none of them really provide any useful or practical information. With longevity in mind, I’ve tried so many different methods (3) and none of them really work. Kind of like the myth of sleep-training. I call BS on that one…

Anyway, my current approach is to treat my son like a really smart puppy who will eventually learn how to talk. Before you call DCS on me, let me elaborate. My two border collies are really intelligent. I’ve seen them use teamwork to distract me long enough to eat an entire tray of taquitos. They’ve got natural herding instincts and can circle me in to their room to feed them without me realizing what they’re doing. Anna, the oldest, even uses reverse psychology on Cyd to get her to drop a ball in favor of a bone. Brilliant! So Teedle is basically like a puppy with less hair. (Side note- people who say you don’t continue love your dogs like children after you birth a human child in my opinion probably aren’t worthy of the amount loyalty and affection their dogs still give them; my doggies will always be my fur babies.) He is small, moves pretty fast, is super curious, poops a lot, is constantly hungry, and depends on me for just about every aspect of his care. So how did I teach my dogs what “no” meant? Through positive reinforcement! AHH! EUREKA!

My dogs respond better to positive tone of voice and clear, concise commands, and praise when they do something well. Why wouldn’t my kid, other than the fact that he doesn’t speak English yet?

So all of that is just to say I’ve been going about it all wrong and the “no” fatigue is my fault. If I’m not getting the results I want, I need to change my methods. So… That’s my challenge for today and– well, he just woke up from his nap so what better time to begin my practice.

Happy Mad-house Mom-ing Monday!

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