I admit, those reactions push every button I apparently have and I have been known to yell back, spank, and probably act a little immature myself.
Well it's time for that to all stop and for the little "king" to come down from the throne. Mama has been empowered and well, I would not try to cross her my little pretty :) I'm taking the scepter back!
It started this week with a hellacious a.m. battle that went something like this:
Me walking into Z's room in the early a.m. singing (yes it was a Monday): Good morning to you, good
Z interrupting with hands over face: DO ....NOT....LOOK...AT...ME
Me: hmmm okay (walked out to go get myself ready)
I went back into his room and flipped on a light in the front half of his room....not above his head. I needed that light to pick out clothes for him to wear to school. Mind you, I did NOT say a word to him before he started ranting at me.
Z: GET OUT OF HERE, I DON'T WANT TO LOOK AT YOU, I DON'T LIKE YOU, WHO is gonna be my teacher?
Me: You need to stop being so rude, NOW, that's your only warning mister. We are going to get up and get ready for school.
Z: I DON'T WANT to go to school, I DON'T LIKE MY SCHOOL; I DON'T LIKE MY TEACHERS and I DON'T LIKE YOU MOMMY!
Me calmly: oh okay, well that's too bad that you feel that way. Please get out of your bed and let Daddy help with your clothes.
Z: NO, NO I WILL NOT GET UP, I WILL NOT GET ON MY CLOTHES, THEY ARE COLD, YOU GO PUT THEM IN THE DRYER AND WARM THEM UP...NOW
At that point, I just left the room. It was very difficult to do...to stay calm and not react...not give him what he was seeking...a giant blowup. So David went outside and started the car (it was 8 degrees so it would take awhile to warm up) and Z freaked out thinking we were leaving. He was yelling our names and I didn't answer. Pretty soon he got up, totally transformed (or so I thought) and from the top of the stairs said "I'm out of my bed."
So once he figured out we did not in fact leave him alone, he went back to his ranting at which point I just told David that after he came back from dropping us off to just remove the prized radio from Z's room. When all was said and done that morning, Z had said he was going to put himself in timeout and could not get ready yet because he was in said timeout. Well we don't do timeout anymore in the true sense of the word, but he doesn't know that. We didn't have time to do the full room time that our new strategy includes so I threatened to take him to school half dressed; he didn't like that...put himself back in timeout and began hitting the walls and anything that came remotely close to him...cats, daddy, etc. David wanted to spank him but I convinced him to hold off for the time (in hindsight he should've promptly been thrown over a knee and swatted about 3 times for complete defiance).
Long story somewhat shorter...bedtime came that night and I just felt all hades was going to break out when he saw that boom box gone so prior to that I offered to cuddle him in his bed for 5 mins after we read books and he said "Really? Okay, that means daddy won't have to do it tonight." haha anyway, we got into his room, climbed into bed and then this is what happened.
Z: Where is my radio?
Me: Well, do you remember this morning before school...how badly you acted? You were yelling at mommy and daddy and saying no about putting on clothes. And, you were hitting walls, spitting and disobeying our rules?
Z: uh huh, yes I do
Me: Well, that is why the radio is gone.
Z: okay, can I have it back now
Me: Most certainly not, it's gone for at least three days..at least until Thursday.
Z singing slowly to the tune of Oh My Darlin' Clementine: Sunday, Monday....Tuesday Wednesday...Thursday, Friday, Saturday....
Z : What is today Mommy?
Z now starts to sing to the tune of frere Jacques: Today is Monday, Today is Monday all day long, all day long, tomorrow will be....Mommy, what is tomorrow?
Z: tomorrow will be Tuesday, tomorrow with me Thursday? all day long, all day long
Me: Nope, tomorrow will be Tuesday, then you have Wednesday, then Thursday.
Z: oh....oh....where's my radio
Me: I already explained why your radio is gone.
Z: I know, but WHERE is it?
Me: I don't know.
Z: you don't know? why?
Me: because daddy put it away
Z: but, where?
Me: not important, end of discussion.
So not as bad as I thought.
Cue to Tuesday morning and the tantrum-prone king reduced to a prince at this point emerges from his room...willing gets half his clothes on then begins ranting again. Told David we once again cannot react emotionally to the outburst but there will now be no Mickey Mouse or Olivia the rest of the week. This has also not been a popular punishment, but this morning was a rare moment with Z getting dressed without a hitch. We briefly had a scuffle about how many dried pineapples he was going to get after he ate his toast, but he realized he wasn't winning so he forfeited this one. Took him to school with white eyes instead of red, breathing normally...wow, not bad.
I know we are not finished the decoronation process, but I think he's starting to see he is not going to phase me with his antics anymore and that it really is in his best interest to be a subject, not royalty. I have felt amazingly liberated by remaining very calm. I'm sure my blood pressure thanks me.
Hopefully we won't ever get to the point where we have to "kick him out of the garden of eden" as John Rosemond says....but I wouldn't hesitate too much if that is what it takes to reign in this "ruler" so that he'll be a respectful, self-controlled ...and yes, sweet, child very soon.