05 February 2008
Peawhistle has been testing my patience and I do believe I've reached the end of my tether.
Let me take you back to two weeks ago. I was about to start dinner so I washed my hands before beginning. I went to dry my hands on the hand towel on the fridge when I noticed it was crunchy. I looked closer and also noted that it was stained yellow. I was perplexed. "Why the heck would the Husband clean something up with the towel and then put it back?!" I wondered. When questioned about what was on it, he denied any knowledge, leaving Peawhistle and the cat as suspects. Correctly, I guessed Peawhistle was the one with the most information. Under intense interrogation she admitted to having played with some eggs (which she had then responsibly thrown away) and then cleaned up the yoke-covered floor with the towel. Amused, I thanked her for cleaning up her mess and asked her not to play with eggs anymore. "Okay!" And off she skipped.
Two days later I find yet another crusty, yellow towel on the fridge. "Peawhistle, have you been playing with eggs again?" "Yes." "No more eggs, OK? No. More. Eggs." "Okay. Sowwy." And there hasn't been a recurrence since. At least not with eggs.
Forward to a week ago Monday. I've already described the toilet-clogging episode, which was also accompianied by her playing with the remote door-opening key to the van, resulting in a visit from the neighbor warning me that the side door was completely open for who knows how long. At least it hadn't rained. It was also around this time I discovered that someone had been taking bites out of pears in the fridge and then putting them back.
Two days ago, I found her sitting in the dining room with an empty pudding cup, spoon, and napkin (well, that was good of her anyway) on the floor while she was busily stuffing chocolate truffles from the dining room table into her mouth. "Peawhistle! You know you're not supposed to take food out and leave it on the floor. Please pick it up." (muffled by chocolate): "OK. Thowwy."
Back to three days ago. Peawhistle and I were playing on my bed when I saw an orange stain on her PJs. "What's that Peawhistle?" "Leg." "No, I mean on your PJs." "Yogurt." "That's yogurt? "Leg." "Yes. Your leg. On your leg on your PJs, that's yogurt?" "Uh huh." Great. I walk downstairs looking for evidence of her adventures with digging through the fridge to find yogurt. I found the empty container, plus spoon, in the trash. As I was rescuing the spoon, I glanced over into the dining room and noticed several colored pencils on the floor. As I went to pick them up, I saw that she had creatively and quite colorfully drawn ALL OVER a section of the dining room wall. White wall, that is/was. "%&*$#@!" I cleaned up the pencils, got out the super-duper Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and set to work. Noting that this was a big job, I used the scrubby side of the eraser. (WARNING: NEVER USE THE SCRUBBY SIDE ON WALLS. IT REMOVES PAINT.) After removing a section of paint ("%&*$#@!") I switched to the soft side, which I found perfectly adequate. After two Magic Erasers, the pencil marks are gone, but the overall color of the wall is now a pale gray. I stepped back to look at it to see if it was really that bad, and that's when I found the yogurt on the carpet via my bare feet. After cleaning up the yogurt, I was not in a healthy mood. As punishment, she was not allowed to take her lunch to the basement to watch cartoons as I sometimes allow as the occasional treat. This was met with screams of protest, mostly "NO!!!", and a refusal to eat the lunch provided, all of which I ignored for everyone's safety and sanity.
By the way, the protests have not stopped since that time, as evidenced by Saturday evening's affair. For most of her childhood I have been cleaning up her toys at night. Often the Husband helps in this endeavour, and on occasion Peawhistle herself helps, once or twice accomplishing the task by herself and without coaching. Nearing four years old now, she is more than capable of cleaning up the toys she takes out. She does not agree. I'd decided to use the time-honored solution of removing those toys from play that had not been properly put away. I consider myself a reasonably fair person when it comes to this sort of thing so I told her several times throughout the day that she would be expected to clean up her toys from this point forward. When the big moment came, however, she played instead of cleaned. I informed her of my intention to take away any toys she failed to put away. Like I was reading her Miranda Rights, I made certain she understood exactly what that meant. "Are you sure you understand what will happen if you don't clean up your toys?" "I understand." "You understand that what I take away you can't play with anymore?" "I understand." "OK. Let's clean up then." "NO!" "Peawhistle...." "No, Mommy clean up!" I went through the scenario again, trying to let it sink in more this time. Same reaction. So I started to collect doomed toys, informing her that she would not be playing with them for a long time. She excitedly started to hand her toys to me. *Sigh.* She doesn't understand. In fact, she grew increasingly pleased with every trip upstairs I made. This exact scenario happened two nights in a row and she has even seen her toys stashed in our closet. She has gone so far as to request one of the toys back, but when I explain the situation from the beginning she does not seem put-out in the least. She plays with all of her toys to varying degrees, and she has enough to last her before she feels the pinch. Last night she finally cleaned up with much prodding and coaching on my part, saving many a toy. We'll see how tonight goes.
And then there was today. We were at Flopsy's house while her mother and I worked on music for church. Flopsy and Peawhistle had the rare tiff, usually with Peawhistle declaring, "NO!" to Flopsy's requests to play with her. That, of course, bothered me greatly (we then had chats about being nice and polite). However, nothing could compare to the wrestling match between Peawhistle and me when it came time to go home. Screaming, shoving, scratching, and running away on her part, anger and extreme humiliation on my part. Never have I had such a difficult experience with her before in getting her to go anywhere, even home after an equally enjoyable time elsewhere. And it's not as if she wasn't going to see her the very next day, either. As punishment, no cartoons today, which, as we all know, is more a punishment for the parent than for the child.