Tuesday, May 27, 2008

scowls and sneezes

Savannah's been super moody and pouty lately; the most common look on her face is a big ugly scowl. Many times with the crossing of her arms and the appropriately placed "HUMPH" alongside of it. When she's told no or asked to do something she doesn't want to or getting reprimanded or most often, anytime her little brother says or does anything to her, she immediately adopts an ugly pouty scowl. Seriously it's getting out of hand. We've been cracking down on this attitude all weekend.

Last night she and I had some nice time together running a couple of errands and she helped me with a quick grocery trip. We were out past bedtime and we talked about how much fun we had and how we'd have to hurry and get ready for bed when we got home. Well, when we arrived home, Sawyer was still up too and he and Ryan were just finishing up one last game of Sequence for Kids. Seriously finishing up, as in they only each played like one more chip. Savannah plopped right down and tried to join in the game and Ryan told her no... they were done. And they weren't playing again, and it was bedtime. And immediately she crossed her arms, stuck out her bottom lip, furrowed her eyebrows and let out the loudest "HUMPH" I've ever heard. I was so fed up with it. After a whole weekend of talking up and down about focusing on attitudes and reactions and checking herself and all that; after a whole weekend of reminders, of turning frowns upside down, of time outs, of apologies, of distractions, of sending her off to be by herself with those faces, I was running out of patience. So in the midst of this pout last night I told her, "If you don't change that look on your face right now, I'm getting a big black permanent marker and making a big black permanent mark down your nose. If you want to spend your days making ugly faces, I'll help you out with that and make a big ugly mark on your face for everyone to see. And when people see your face and ask you why you have a big black mark on your nose you can tell them it's because you like to be ugly."
I was serious and she was scared. She went to bed with a much better attitude.
And apparently that tactic stuck with her because first thing this morning (which is always worse, as she's a grump in the morning) when Sawyer offered her part of his bagel, after she ignored him and he just left the half in her lap, of course she glared at him and started her scowl.
Then she looked at me, I gave her a look like 'watch yourself', and she immediately lost the scowl, her eyes got wide and she said, "I don't want an ugly black mark!!". HA!

And another little funny from the other half of the dangerous duo around here...
Sawyer was sneezing next to me on the couch just now and I said "bless you!".
He laughed one of those you silly mommy, you don't know what you're doing laughs and said "Mo-om... two bless yous!"
He did sneeze twice, duh!


jenny said...

i think you might have scared her straight with the 'ugly face'! hope it sticks! :)

Anonymous said...

You seem to have some great tactics and strategies for dealing with your kids' behavior- which reminded me that I think I read somewhere on your blog that you were a preschool teacher for a long time? You seem well-equipped to deal with any and all toddler/little kid issues! Do you have any parenting or child development books you'd recommend for the toddler stage? My little guy just turned one, and I feel like I want to read up and get prepared for the toddlerhood and tantrums that are coming my way :)

Christina said...

Oh my gosh, way to step out of the box on discipline. I like it. I was reading your post in a fit of giggles just visualizing the pouty ordeal last night. I'll have to try that tactic on Emilio as he has a really nasty ugly face when he's mad about something and a big bad attitude to go with it. Anyway, I love hearing your stories and appreciate your honesty.

Erin said...

The best thing my mother ever did was creative consequences. I was in high school and telling my friends, "No, you don't understand what my mom will do!" Seriously, your kids have to think you're just a little bit nuts. If she does it again, draw the line on her nose. It'll be a while before she crosses you again, I promise.

K.M.L said...

That is hilarious! Maybe when Ryan gets mad, you can draw that ugly face on him too! ha! :)

lina said...

That is a great way to explain away the scowl. I will have to remember that one, because boy do we sure see enough scowls & hear the "Humphs!" plenty out of Lydia too!

Anonymous said...

i agree with anne... send any advice you have my way! you rock. :)

Swistle said...

Ha! And you know, it's perfect for subtle public-behavior modification: pull a Sharpie out of your purse, with raised eyebrows and a significant expression. Instant cooperation.

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