Helen has been frustrating us immensely lately. Ignoring us, being argumentative, screaming, “NOOOOOOO!” a lot, smearing caramel on the walls (I kid you not), hiding my keys, and being mean to Alice. I’ve caught myself barking at her and yelling at her more than I’d like, and there have been MANY trips to the corner in the last week.

She’s three. She is not going to stop punching our buttons just because it annoys us. Nay, she’s going to do it MORE because then she’s getting attention.

So, being a scientist, I ran an experiment yesterday. Rather than yelling at her, I tried to channel her attentions. Rather than getting into something, I’d give her an option of something more interesting to do. I’d suggest coloring. Or setting up a “bed” out of the pillows from the sofa.

Huh. Whaddaya know. She wasn’t a total pill to deal with from 4:30-7pm (the witching hours around here), she stayed in her room ALL night (again!), and she played QUIETLY when she came up to our room before 7am.

So. I’m trying to continue responding to her rather than reacting, just as I learned to do with middle schoolers when I was teaching. If you respond to them in a positive, constructive way, they’ll mirror you. If you respond to them in a negative, irritated way, they’ll mirror you. Oh. Gee. This isn’t rocket science, I guess.

And my blood pressure is lower, too. Double Bonus.