is trying new things,
and completing challenges that require strength and intellect.
He's creative and can spend an hour creating an entire Play Doh village or pretend conversations between his superheroes.
He's aware of when he needs down time or when he wants to cuddle.
He randomly tells me "I love you" and "You are the best".
So, why then, do I find myself raging a war with this child to clean his room?
Why am I saying "Keep your hands and feet to yourself" every five minutes?
Why must I try every tactic possible to simply get him to get dressed?
Why am I about to lose my damn mind over the fact that he won't follow directions?
I am at a total loss with how to redirect Jackson. He has been mimicking the trio's behavior for the past few weeks. I thought he was just cranky from the severe allergies, pink eye, sinus problems, and interrupted sleep. All medical concerns have been resolved, yet his behavior at home has worsened.
He's been whining. Babbling like a baby. Throwing things when he doesn't get the answer he wants. Throwing himself to the ground for a full tantrum.
Giving him individual attention doesn't work.
Time out doesn't work.
Reasoning with him doesn't work.
Yelling definitely doesn't work, though it's still an automatic response for me.
I keep explaining that he is a big boy and he knows how to use his words to express his feelings. His siblings don't know how to tell me they are frustrated, so they pull each other down by the shirt collar or throw themselves on the floor. This behavior is appropriate (though still challenging) for 21 month olds. It is completely unacceptable for four year olds.
I have been so irritable and downright angry with Jack lately. We still have fun together, snuggle, read stories, and go on adventures. But in between the good moments there are many dark, ugly moments where my patience withers away and I do not like the mother that I am. I feel like I am parenting four toddlers instead of three. Shouldn't we be over this stage by now?