Every year around about the Pickle's birthday she starts to forget her usual manners and test the boundaries. I am not sure why it happens yearly, but it does and as she is now 4 it is definitely a pattern.
She is normally so easy going and responsive I have never had to institute a 'naughty step' instead the power of three has always been enough to strike fear into her. Yes, counting to 3, I have never got beyond 2 and I am not sure what I would do if I did. She was once reduced to a soggy mess when one of our friends did not realise the rules and counted fast and flipantly, actually getting to 3.
This year we needed further amunition. She started to lash out when she got cross and she responded to any request with 'I'm just....' if she responded at all. So we created THE RULES:
1. Loads of smiles
2. No hitting or hurting
3. Loads of cuddles
4. Do whatever Mummy says, when she says it.
The combination of tough and fun rules works a treat. A week or so in and we have had no tantrums just a marked improvement in behaviour. I got my Pickle back. Hooray!