Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Triplets and sharing... or not

I've been teaching the girls a new word, "mine" (myne). I don't want them to push/shove/bite/pull hair when someone takes something that's theirs. I want them to be able to verbalize it. They don't yet have all of the words to ask nicely. So, even though I know I'll regret it, I'm teaching them to stand up for themselves when a sister pounces to grab and run away with a favorite lovey or blankie.

Of course, I want them to learn to share too, but they share almost everything already, and this is mostly an effort to stop Ada from bullying Emma and constantly taking her blanket or lovey. Ada does it to get my attention, I know, so I'm making a concerted effort to give her other positive attention throughout the day, and to make sure she can locate HER blanket/lovey when she wants it, instead of taking her sisters'.

It's working, but takes a ton of discipline from me to step back in those moments, not get frustrated, and say to myself, "Why is she doing this again?" And the answer is almost always, "because she wants my attention." It's my biggest challenge to divide my attention somewhat equally between the three of them, and still give each child the 1:1 attention they crave and deserve. So this behavior targets my achilles heel.

I try not to physically intervene each time unless there's bullying. I want them to (eventually) learn to amicably resolve their own battles. But I do pipe up with words they can use when they start showing frustration. They don't actually repeat those words yet, but I'm hoping it'll start sticking at some point. In that regard, I've often treated them like much older kids, even though I don't expect a big kid reaction from a toddler. They've often surprised me.

Mostly, a redirect/distract with a "new" toy/book works wonders. Sometimes, it's more difficult to solve, and it requires me playing with them 100% actively to keep the peace. Quick! Sing a song!

I find that they play fine on their own after they wake from naps, and I can play with them for about 10 minutes, step back but still be in the room for a few minutes, etc. But when they're tired/hungry, it takes everything I have to maintain the serenity in this household. Even my 100% attention isn't enough at that point to keep the meltdowns at bay. It's hard.

There is, however, lots of great sharing of toys happening already, which amazes me for their age. Julia is such a compassionate kid, who will easily take something to her sisters (sippy cup, toy, blanket), or give a toy in exchange for another toy offered by her sisters, or simply give it when it looks like her sisters really want it, and then go find something else to play with. She'll even prompt them to say, "dankie!" (thank you). Melts my heart. She's also figured out that if she wants something, she can hold out her hand to her sisters, and say, "dankie!" and that often results in her getting her way. Sneaky.

Emma will just wail if anything of hers is taken. She's starting to want to bite in an effort to fight back, hence me teaching her words like, "mine." She's my gentle, sensitive kid, and I try hard to empower her. She has more words than anyone, is starting to form 2-word sentences, and will most likely be the first to verbally express her needs. But Ada walks all over her (figuratively speaking).

Ada has such a strong personality, and is the self-appointed leader of the trio. She is immensely sweet, but can also be very demanding and independent. She figures stuff out that her sisters pay no attention to, like how to work the vacuum cleaner, she'll pull the garden hose to the splash pool in an attempt to fill it, and she knows how latches, snaps and locks work. Stuff that's supposed to be way beyond a 1.5 year old's interest and capability. When the other two see her making a discovery, they're all over it too.

Emma is really into her dolls at the moment. She loves them, hugs them, rocks them to sleep, and says, "Du du" to them while patting their backs. We're seeing more pretend play with all 3, and we often drape a blanket over dolls to pretend to tuck them in, or offer sippy cups or snacks to the dolls and soft toys while they're eating/drinking.

Today, I'm proud to admit, we took it to a whole new level. I "diapered" a Panda, Raggedy Ann, and a Hippopotamus. Because these soft toys aren't potty trained, and I don't have enough kids to diaper as it is. The trio thought it was hysterical. I told the hippo - in particular! - to lay still because he's such a wiggle worm, and blew pretend raspberries on the soft toy tummies (not as easy as it sounds... *cleans fuzz out of mouth*) I'll often blow raspberries on the trio's tummies when I change their diapers, so I went through the whole routine. Then they blew raspberries and helped me fix the soft toy diapers. Soooo cute.


BB said...

That is such a lovely update. I almost had a meltdown today - handling the tantrums, and the toy pulling, and shoving... and all the likes you just described! So glad you posted this. Just shows me I am not alone! :)

What IF? said...

BB, thanks so much for the sweet comment. It helps me too to know I'm not alone in dealing with the tantrums, and toy battles. So sorry to read about the illness in your family - I hope everyone's feeling better very soon. I've tried to leave comments on your blog, but there seems to be a problem with my Blogger/Google account. It wanted to authenticate me, but then didn't go through...

BB said...

Yup, looks like Blogger has had a bug too! :) I have had a similar situation going on for some time now and it seems to have resolved now.

Did you move close to us? Would love to meet all you lovely gals!