Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I'm looking into daycare for my oldest. He's three years old, and he's a brat. I know that sounds like I just repeated myself, but seriously. He is mean, he thinks he's #1, and he won't stop talking. EVER. If he is awake, you can hear his constant chatter. He doesn't listen, and he only tries to be a good boy for about 2 hours after being spanked. I don't like to spank him, but it's the ONLY thing that's worked. I've tried time outs, sending him to his room, making him clean up his mess, taking him out of the situation... shit I've even tried praising him for every "good boy behavior." ex. 1 he goes to the potty and only washes his hands once, I give him a big hug and tell him how proud I am and describe what I'm proud of. ex. 2 he stays in his playroom even though he can get out on his own while I get my chores done, I tell him how very good that was, and helpful. Reward: getting to play Mario Party with me.

Nothing has worked. Sure time outs work in that way that he cries, but sits still, he apologizes for the behavior in a way that sounds convincing, "Mommy, I'm sorry I made a mess in the bathroom, I won't do it again." The very next time he goes to the potty? He has soapy water all over the counter, the floor, and obviously - himself.

Pete and I took the kids to the mall the other day. The mall has a cute little park in it. It's all soft plastic stuff to climb on, and it's enclosed so the kids can run around and have a good time. Lucian felt the desire to not only push other kids off of what he wanted to climb on, but he also felt the desire to jump on top of other kids, with his knees! I'm at my wits end here. I don't think I'm a terrible mom, but I do think that I'm failing at teaching my child that he's not a prince, he can't treat other people, be they kids or adults, like whipping boys/slaves/toys/trash. He also, has an uncany ability to break his toys. It's almost as if that is what the toys are for, to be broken. Not played with, not shared, just destroyed.

And what's even worse? He's turning Val into the type of 1 yrd who bites, fights, and growls. Well, Val always growled. We've always thought it was cute, but now he growls at people.

Seriously folks, I'm at my wits' end. I don't think I've spoken to my children in a normal tone of voice in like 48 hours. Do you know what that's like? Do you know what it's like to feel like all you do is yell at your kids? I believe that I am a good mother. I also believe that I'm not the best for them 24/7. I think they, right now, especially Lucian, need to be in daycare. He needs to feel like 'just another kid.' He needs to learn how to treat others. I've been taking the boys to parks, playgroups, out in smaller social situations. I've tried. I've tried, and tried and tried, and I'm tired.

So, while I will of course accept advice (even from non-parents) on what else I could do to help my kids be the sweet angels that they were, I'm really asking for advice on daycares. I don't have an unlimited supply of cash. (I know, right?) So I can't afford much. Should I go with a church based daycare? They tend to be cheaper, but we're not christians, and we don't intend to be.

Do I go with a local private business, or should I be looking at chains? Lucian used to be in Tutor Time and Kinder Care, which were both chains, but he was under two at the time, and I wasn't terribly concerned with him being taught anything. I just wanted him safe and fed until I finished work. Now, I don't even know what I'm looking for.

Is there boot camp for three-year-olds? Is it wrong that I want to find one?

If you happen to live in the Sarasota area, do you know of good daycare options?

Well, I've had enough of writing about it. I'm going to call around.


Miss Britt said...


He sounds like a 3 year old. I don't think day care will change any of that. :-)

Happy Mommy said...

You may be right, unfortunately. But I've taken him to some playgroups, and other 3 yr olds just don't behave the way he does. I've actually been referred to a family therapist after today's adventure. :-(

I'm glad you're reading, btw. :-)

Jamie said...

Blah to the therapist! He IS a typical three year old. Daycare may not help or it may... it may just give you both a bit of breathing room too so you aren't spending ALL day screaming.
I was going to write out a whole comment but I think I will just call you :)

whall said...

The first thing I turn to for keeping kids better behaved is a strict schedule
- wake up same time every day
- lunch same time every day
- naptime same time
- reading before bed
- brush teeth before bed
- bedtime

All of these should be scheduled, and followed w/in 15mins or so, every single day

I've found that kids who are brought up on a schedule all of a sudden understand what is and what isn't. It *is* time for bed. It *is* time to eat.

Then when you bring stuff in like acceptable behavior, consequences to their choices, or stuff like that, it _just_ *is*.

A well-scheduled kid is typically a well-behaved kid because they already understand boundaries.

A week or two on a schedule, and I'm guessing your kid will be a different kid.

Happy Mommy said...

Jamie,I must've missed your call. :-( I hope you call again tomorrow.

Whall, Thank you for bringing this up. I think that a major part of the problem right now is I've changed his routine. With my new leaf came a new schedule. We went from each day bringing something different (from all day at home, or shopping, or trips to the park) to each morning being an outing, and each afternoon being kept in the playroom while I do my chores. I think part of this poor behaviour is the separation from constantly having me at his beck and call to now having to wait until I am done cleaning. It's not easy doing something new. It hasn't been for me, so why should I expect it to be for him?

I am still going to go to Parenting Classes ($20 for 9 weeks of getting tips while my kids are in a daycare environment sounds like a good plan to me... even if what I learn is that I'm doing it all right, and am just paranoid, at least I get a weekly break from the kids!) But I don't think I'll do therapy. Pete pointed out that I'm PMS this week, so I *may* be blowing things out of proportion.

Happy Mommy said...

P.S. From dinner to bedtime has been a well kept routine for over a year, and it has renmained the same. And, I let both of the kids out of the playroom when my chores are done (around 4:30) until Dinner (6pm sharp) to give them some one on one time with me and Pete.

Sheila (Charm School Reject) said...

I can't give you advice on parenting because, well, honestly, my son has always been an easy going, good listener that I could control easily. In six years he's had, maybe, six spankings.

I do know that I am quickly becoming in this position with my daughter. She'll be a year old in two weeks and she's already so strong willed and loves pitching a good fit every few hours.

Travis went to Tutor Time for almost two years and I loved it and all of it's workers.

I agree that it is a three year old thing but I also think that day care is good for kids and teaches them social skills. While it may not solve all of your problems, I really think it will help.

Happy Mommy said...

Sheila, I can honestly tell you that my first born was always easy. Even now, with his meltdowns, it only takes a few moments for him to be comforted and move on. My youngest, only 14 1/2 months old, already throws tantrums complete with foot-stomping. It's this difference that made me question my parenting skills. And I think I'm starting to realize that it's him, not me. I still love on them a ton, and teach as much as I can, he's just a different kid, and my oldest is also having to deal with a different personality in the house.

Lucian also went to Tutor Time for a while. I liked them a lot, too. I think daycare is a wonderful thing for young children. Unfortunately, I am no longer in a position to enroll them for a while.