The verdict? I hate to discount the book in any way but really it has all come down to staying consistent, following through and giving her any undivided attention we can. Those three things are of course recommended in the book but I probably didn't need the book to tell me that.
It sounds easy but when staying consistent means enforcing consequences even when you either a. know it will break her heart or b. probably isn't really that big of a deal NOW but could become a big deal LATER- it's hard. I hate to take away activities or toys especially I know when she's really sorry and even more so when I like the toy or activity! :) But being sorry isn't enough- it's the "hurt" that comes with having to leave the park or putting away a fun game because we weren't following directions.
Another piece of the puzzle is giving her lots of attention when we can. I feel terrible when she asks me to come play with her and I can't (because I'm feeding, changing, soothing, etc Adler) and it's no coincidence that during those times she starts to test my limits. So my solution has been to play with her even when she's playing well by herself every chance I get and if I can't play with her I've been getting really creative with some actives (I'll post pictures later) that she can do by herself. And again, sounds easy but that means less checking email and reading magazines for mama. It's ok though- her improved behavior is well worth it!
I know if people were to watch us in action they'd probably think, "Geeez! Relax..." but if I know one thing about Sloane (and most kids) if you give her an inch she will run right over you and make you pay. It's better for everyone to keep her in line even with the little things.
I hate to even say this for fear of jinxing it but I've even thought a few times, "Wow, what a well behaved girl she is." Of course, it's not all the time but she's so good about saying, "please, thank you, excuse me, may I..." and there have been a handful of time she has picked items up without being told!
And finally, since Sloane and Adler can't say to me, "Mom, you're doing a great job with us, keep up the good work. We appreciate it." I've realized there are a few things that need to happen everyday (or most days) that make me feel like I'm doing a good job. These are in no particular order....
- Exercise--it honestly give me more energy and patience to deal with whatever comes up later in the day....I think this was one of the missing link a few weeks ago but now that Adler is 6 weeks I can take them both to the nursery!
- Clean--something, anything! My house is by no means spic and span but having stuff a little picked up helps.
- Doing something active with Sloane
- Reading books with Sloane--she used to love books and now it's like pulling teeth to get her to listen to a book. We're working on it.
- Having a plan for dinner-- ideally, we'd eat together and I'd like to be the one to cook it. I'm not a cook but I do feel more "mom-like" when I do and I really feel good when we eat together.
- Shower-- Hey, it can be hard to find time some days!
Thanks to everyone who has given John and I support the last few weeks. We've really needed the encouragement. Throw "adjusting to two (or more) kids" on the list of things parents don't talk about until you ask them and then they tell you how horrible it is. FYI also on the list- breastfeeding and potty training. Hopefully someday we'll pass the support onto our kids.