Posted by: amamasblog | February 13, 2007

The Workings of a Three-Year Old’s Mind

We have been working with Ryan for about two months now on being gentle with his baby brother, Cole.  Ryan gets upset a lot of the times when Cole crawls near him, plays with his toys, or is just in the same room with him.  Ryan usually resorts to hitting, kicking, pushing, or yelling at Cole.  We have told him numerous times that he can’t treat Cole like this, and he should call for Mom or Dad when he is getting mad at Cole, and we’ll help.  We have tried using time-out when he does hurt Cole, but it hasn’t been getting through.

I remembered something today from when I used to watch Dr. Phil, and he said that every child has their price and or bargaining tool, and you just have to find it.  Well, Ryan’s aunt got him a ukulele (but he calls it his guitar) for his birthday, and this is Ryan’s favorite toy by far, currently.  I told Ryan this morning that if he hurt Cole, I would take his guitar away. 

He did really well today- no problems.  Cole is really sick too, with a terrible viral infection, has only slept about 10 hours total since Sunday, and is in a very bad mood.  When it was nap time today, I told Ryan he was a very good boy for being so nice to Cole and he said, “I get to keep my guitar.”  How is that for motivation?  More on this in a moment

Lately Ryan wants to come sleep in my bed with Cole for his nap.  I usually don’t mind, but after a visit to the doctor today, he said it was okay to give Cole some Children’s Benadryl so he could sleep, and Cole finally conked out, and I didn’t want Ryan to wake him up, so I told him he needed to stay in his own bed and go to sleep.  I left his room, and went to clean up the kitchen from lunch, and went back to check on Ryan.  He was out of his bed, standing on the glider chair, trying to turn a lamp on, that’s on his dresser.  I asked him what he was doing.

He turned around, and looked like he couldn’t quite believe I knew he was out of bed.  He said he needed to stay on the chair all day.  I helped him back to bed and told him, “Mama always knows what you are doing.  You can’t fool Mama.”  Without missing a beat he says, “I can fool Daddy.”  I tried not to laugh and told him, “No, you can’t fool Daddy or Mama.  We always know what you are doing.” I am not sure if he bought that or not.  🙂

Back to the guitar- after dinner, I was cleaning up and I heard thunk, and Cole screaming. I knew immediately that Ryan had probably pushed him, and Cole had hit his head on the wood floor.  I went in the living room, and sure enough, Cole was on his back, crying his eyes out, and Ryan was standing there with the guilty look.  I asked Ryan if he had pushed Cole, and he said yes.

I picked up Cole, and calmly told Ryan I was going to take his guitar away now, because he had hurt Baby Cole. The tears and crying started right away, as I put the guitar on the closet shelf.  I explained to him again why he was losing his guitar, and told him he could have it back tomorrow, if he didn’t hurt Baby Cole anymore.  He kept saying, “I’ll be a good boy.”  It was really hard not to give in to him, but I didn’t.  He kept crying and Dad took him upstairs for a talk, which went like this:

Dad: Why are you crying?

Ryan: Mom put my guitar on the shelf.

Dad: Why did she do that?

Ryan: Baby Cole started to cry.

Dad: Why did Baby Cole start to cry?

Ryan: He fell on his head.

Dad: How did he fall on his head?

Ryan puts hands on Dad’s shoulders and says,

Mom put my guitar on the shelf, because Baby Cole was crying.

Dad: What did you do to make Baby Cole cry?

Ryan: I pushed him.

Finally!  As I was kissing Ryan good night, he hugged me and told me in the morning, he gets his guitar back.  So we’ll see how this works.  I am hoping once is enough, but I won’t count on it. 🙂



  1. What a little ham! Sounds like he’s got Daddy’s number! Good luck with the guitar thing!

  2. Hi Momma! Welcome. 🙂

  3. Sounds like fun times at your house this week ! 🙂

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