Ava is experiencing a return of the Mama Phase. See here and here for the original version of the Mama Phase. I'm sure it didn't appear from nowhere, but somehow I didn't notice until it hit critical. Ava now wants me to do everything for her and refuses to accept attention and assistance from anyone else. She doesn't want her Daddy to kiss her hello or goodbye. She doesn't want her Daddy to get her from her room in the morning or after nap. She doesn't want her Daddy to help her go to the bathroom, dress her for bed, read her stories, get her milk, wipe her face, or anything else. "No! Mommy do it!" is the phrase we hear all the time around here.
This time, we know better than to give in. We learned last time that giving in only makes it worse. We also know that the way to fix it is to give her reduced Mama time and extra Daddy time (making it fun) until the phase passes. It is even more "fun" this time around though because she has so much more speech. As she was pitching a huge fit the other day because Daddy happened to be the one carrying her out of Chick-Fil-A instead of Mommy, she tried a variety of tactics to get him to switch. "I need Mommy" didn't work. Then she tried, "I need to pee, I need to go poopy, I need to get down." Sigh. These situations are even more fun in a crowded public setting. So that's Ava right now.
And then there's Michael. It just wouldn't be as much fun if my children didn't experience their difficult phases at the same time. I remember saying the following statement. I remember saying it to multiple people, on multiple occasions, over several months if not years. I really should have known better. I said, "Unlike Ava, Michael is fundamentally a rule follower. He usually pretty much listens to what I say and doesn't question it much."
Oh boy. Little did I know that he was just saving up all his defiance for 3 1/2 instead of for the "terrible twos". You name it, he's trying it right now. Where did my sweet, compliant little boy go? I say, "Don't do X." He immediately responds by doing the forbidden action. Then, in the action specifically designed to increase my temper into the red zone he giggles and runs around in glee at my obvious anger. He's hitting, throwing, and making messes several times a day. In his defense, they're all pretty low level versions of those things and he's obviously just testing, but it is driving me crazy. I need to take a step back and come up with some kind of plan, because I really don't like the amount of yelling I've been doing recently and it isn't working anyway. Ideas?
Oh, and as a bonus, when not dealing with all of the above, the Why phase rages on here as well and it is contagious. Now they're both at it. They take turns. This one doesn't bother me as much though. It gets to the point where it is just funny. I enjoy trying to think of the answer to the next why that I know is coming as soon as I finish the last response.
I hope all of your parenting adventures are going more smoothly than mine.