I probably should have taken more of these.
To help us deal with all the battles, we really needed to find something that worked. Something we could threaten to take away from her, if needed. Something to help us get her to stop defying and pushing us. Whenever we reprimanded her, she would always have something fresh to say back to us, under her breath.
Again, we were working at being very consistent, so you would think that the negative behaviors would subside. We tried to follow through with our threats. But no. The behaviors did not subside, and life was not always pleasant in the Beck household. We tried the ever so popular time-out, smacking, yelling, taking a toy away, no T.V. ... We even tried reasoning with her, even though she was only three. None of it worked. Then it hit us. We realized that Jordan loved books more than anything else in the entire world.
Yes, books. It was that simple. Adam came up with a visual way to represent her behavior. (That's one of the reasons I'm keeping him :)) If she had a good day, we gave her a thumbs-up, and we would read her two books before bed. A thumbs-middle meant only one book. If she got a thumbs-down, we wouldn't read her any books before bed.
Not rocket science, but we needed something, and it appeared to work. We walked around with our thumbs held up in the air, tilting them up and down like the gauge on a blood pressure monitor. And, believe it or not, she would rein in her behavior. Just like that. She usually only got a thumbs down when she threw a full fledged, out of control tantrum. After one of those, I really didn't feel like reading a book to her anyway.
Here's an example: One day she screamed and cried when we were leaving her cousin's house. Um, sorry... but we don't live there. The struggle of getting my large three year old strapped into her car seat, kicking and flailing, especially when I was big and pregnant, kind of helped take the joy out of the soothing before-bed-time book moment. And having Kayla slide right into her car seat, also didn't help with the whole resentment/anger factor. I know, parents shouldn't compare their children, but come on. We're human, aren't we?
And that night, when we were talking about why she got a thumbs-down, she said "We don't need to talk about that now, Mommy". Um, yeah, we kind of do.
And then, Mommy will take her own well deserved time out.