Grace has definitely hit the terrible twos and she's hit them hard. Add in 2 brand new siblings and the terrible twos become the extra terrible twos!
Grace has been acting out like crazy, hitting, biting, climbing, destroying things. She's also having major tantrums which involve the lovely limp limbs and jello body. We were at our whits end! So this weekend we finally buckled down on discipline, cut back on babysitters, set hardcore timeouts, planned more Grace only activities, and added in some Santa threats and so far so good. I can't say things are perfect, but they are significantly better.
We started doing timeouts Nanny 911 style...we explain what behavior we expect ahead of time, give her 1 warning if she does something she shouldn't, if she continues to act out we put her in timeout for 2 minutes, and every time she gets out of timeouts we restart the timer. This is pure torture for Cole and I, the first day each timeout involved lots of crying and would take almost 45 minutes before she'd stay in timeout. But after sticking with this plan for a few days, just reminding her that she'll get a timeout is enough to get her to stop the negative behavior.
Cole and I have started trying to do a Grace only activity everyday whether she helps us bake cookies, or her and Cole go for a walk, or if I leave the babies in the other room while Grace and I play. Grace seems to really enjoy these activities and it's a good way to help her learn to listen to directions, without other distractions.
We've also started planning one activity to look forward to each week, with the understanding that if she can't behave during the week, then we will not do the planned activity. This weekend the activity was to go to the Christmas Place to see Santa, and this weeks activity is to go to the Enchanted Village. Grace gets very excited about these activities and will immediately stop acting out if we tell her we won't go if she continues.
Now our plan is not perfect and we're still ironing out details, but I feel less frantic when she acts up because I know what my plan of action is. Now trying to juggle the needs of 3 kids under 3 is another story!