I've been reading this wonderful book, Raising Godly Tomatoes. It's a parenting book with lots of scripture back up and the author herself is the mother of 10 children, so I think she knows a thing or two.
Anyway, one of the main premises of the book is getting your child to submit to your authority. If your child submits to your authority, there are so many battles that you don't have to face in the future. So this morning Aaron was having a full out temper tantrum. He has learned how to get through our gate on the stairs and take off upstairs. Unless the gate is TOTALLY latched (which I now have to train my big kids in), he can push it in against the stairs and make a little Aaron-sized hole that he can get through. So I grabbed him and told him no and he threw a major fit. So I took him to the sofa and sat him on my lap. When he started to scream louder and wiggle off of my lap, I gave him a gentle swat on the tush and told him "NO". He'd scream and cry and wail and we did this over and over for probably 5 minutes or so (it felt like longer than it really was). Finally he decided to submit. He stopped screaming, he stopped wiggling. Once I was sure he was done, I turned him around and snuggled him. This was the sweetest moment...he laid his head on my shoulder and just cuddled. It was TOO sweet. He was perfectly cheerful afterwards. Apparently showing a child who is boss really does work--go figure. It's definitely not fun and you really have to be willing to win any battle you choose to fight, which takes a lot of time, commitment and stick-tuitiveness on the parents part. I think it's worth it though, to have a child who is happy and comfortable knowing that they are being taken care of. Right now it seems like there are so many battles to be faced, I'm definitely not taking them all on at this point--there is just no way I can put in that energy when I'm this close to having another baby...but sleep-training MUST commence. We had another potentially rough night last night and I just thought, "No, there is NO way I can go on like this". My 11 month old does NOT need 20+oz of formula during the night. He's going to HAVE to learn to fall back asleep on his own. When I left his room last night (after his bottle), he started crying again. I went in, held him, put him back in bed and, of course, he cried. I picked him up again, put him back down again and left. He cried for maybe a minute or two and slept for the next 6 hours or so. My goal is to get him taking in more calories during the day--sticking with the bottle for naps and bedtime (and first thing in the morning), but not giving him a bottle before 5am. I know he doesn't NEED it, it's just the "easy" way out for me, but it always comes back to bite me in the rear. So I may be in for a few rough nights, but in the long run it will all be worth it...not to mention that this is the time to take this on--while Jeremy is home and we don't have another baby yet.