Testing Limits

Syd can be a stinker, but lately we have been seeing an interesting new side that’s starting — testing limits and blatantly doing things she has been told not to do. Like most things this is a stage; a stage to figure out yet again what she can get away with and what she can’t.

Bedtime has been particularly difficult lately. We put her down, she gets up, opens the door, asks for things, or just sits there at the door watching, waiting – for what? who knows. This can drag on bedtime for hours; we now refer to it as Whack-a-Mole (“How many times did you have to Whack-a-Mole?” is a common question now as we recap my evening). The thing about WAM is it cuts into the (very little) time I get for myself each evening before I go to bed. My time between 8-10pm is now predominately spent going back into the girls’ room putting Syd back down, closing the door, going back to what I was doing, only to be interrupted 10-15 mins later by my mole. And this assumes that the mole doesn’t wake up Ingrid during all of her shenanigans. Kinda irritating.

Like most things with children and discipline; consistency is key. What I was doing wasn’t working, things were actually getting worse, so I thought about it and changed my behavior. I’ve started to take away the personal (talking, caving to her “I need X’s”, giving repeat goodnight kisses) since it was getting me no where, and have instead replaced it with mean mommy (a curt “go back to bed” as I walk her to her bed and replace her blankets). Last night I only had to WAM once.  Hooray!

In addition to prolonging bedtime Syd has become adept at not listening; and completely defying what we tell her to do (or not do). The other night after a particularly bad evening where I had already taken a few privileges away (wearing her favorite dress to school the next day, and her bedside reading lamp) I had to pull a really mean mommy and took her paci away. Before I took it away I wanted to make sure she understood WHY I was taking it away and she was able to clearly say “because I opened my door again”. So she ‘gets it’, she just defying our rules. Stinker!

Anyways she cried about having her paci taken away but stopped after I told her I would throw it away if she woke up her sister (super mean mommy!). But before I went to bed I went in to check on Ingrid and I noticed the step stool had been moved – she was looking for her paci on top of the bookshelf. Stinker!

Then at midnight I heard some noises so I went to investigate. She had moved the step stool across the room to look for her paci in her dresser (where we sometimes keep it). I was shocked that she could move the stool (about the size of her!) across the room in the dark! Stinker! I moved the stool back to its place, told her to go to bed, gave her a little “you could have hurt yourself” speech, told her to NOT do that EVER again, and then walked out.

However, in the morning when I came in to get her up for school I saw she had moved the stool across the room AGAIN and was rummaging in the dresser drawers. Later she told Royce she was also trying to turn on the lamp on top of the dresser (I had taken away her bedside lamp) so that she could look for her paci. WTH! Stinker!

One of my friends gave us a child-proof thing to put on the door knob so that she can’t open her door anymore. The first night we had it on shortly after we put her to bed we heard her struggling to open the door so Royce went in to put her back to bed and she said “take that thing off, I no like it”.  Ha!  And then last night during story-time she pointed to the door and told Royce to take it off. Persistent little thing.

So this is what we are dealing with right now. Infuriating in the moment, hilarious in retrospect, and something that we will have to deal with for a long time…it just probably won’t revolve around bedtime and paci’s for long.


  1. Huh, this sounds amazingly like my life for the last 9 months or so. The defiance and limit-testing, that is. Thankfully, J doesn’t do the Whack-a-Mole thing at bedtime (we were able to put an end to the dragging out bedtime thing cold turkey by being mean mom and dad for a couple of days in a row and then he’s dead to the world about 5 minutes after he lies down) — we just get the defiance in pretty much every other aspect of life. We’ve been pretty consistent with him over the last several months, which definitely helps, but they’re so stinkin’ smart and sneaky that what works one week suddenly doesn’t work the next. Good luck — we’re right there with ya! I hear that six is a pretty good age …

    • Ya she has been quite treacherous to deal with lately. Spending a lot of time in TO for just being emotionally ridiculous. It’s not helping that Ingrid has been the fussiest she has ever been too. Of an evening I want to scream “everyone just stop!!! SILENCE”. LOL Going to end up in a loony bin.

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