This Too Shall Pass

by Heligirl on February 6, 2010

in Parenting Tidbits

There’s a monster in our midst. It is a very ugly beast that challenges everything I thought I knew and struggle to learn. Despite all the classes, books, moms groups and research, I feel like this monster and all it’s relatives are staying just a step ahead of me, threatening to take over and destroy all my hard work. I speak of Sweetness’s now legendary tantrums.

I completely missed posting yesterday due to dealing with two of these nasty, nasty creatures. They come without warning now, when before I could usually see the signs and disarm it before it hit. But in the last week or so they’ve been coming on with such a force and lack of warning that we both struggle to get them under control before we suffer permanent hearing damage.

Yesterday she went into full blown hurricane six when I picked her up at daycare. You’d think she’d want to come home with mommy. She’d just finished snack and art and it was a perfect transition time when I arrived. I asked her if she was ready to go.

“No”

“OK, two minutes and we need to go.” I say, utilizing my education that warnings about a transition are very important at this age. Giving her these have worked so well for us the past 12 months.

Two minutes later: “OK, sweetie. Let’s go home and see daddy and baby brother.”

Enter hurricane six. She immediately starts screaming and throws herself on the floor. My attempts to put her shoes on lead to hear grabbing them from my hands and throwing them across the room barely missing another child. The daycare ladies are in shock. They’ve never seen this from her before. “She’s always so good” they say. She does tend to save up her frustrations until I arrive, that’s true, but usually she’ll wait until after we get home.

Since the other kids are getting ready for nap, one of the daycare ladies carries Sweetness out to the car and puts her in the seat. That’s when she starts arching her back and screaming even louder, if anyone can believe THAT was possible. Nothing I tried could get her strapped it. I need to pick up Mr. Man. The clock is ticking. I look over my shoulder at the daycare, fearing someone there will see me, or even call child protective services. The thought is running through my mind: “Is it a sign of child abuse when the child screams when you arrive? Will I be investigated?” I have to put an elbow on her pelvis, and strong arm her into the child seat restraints then listen to her scream for 15 minutes as we go get her brother. I love her so much and will not compromise on safety, I’m trying to tell her over her screaming.

Luckily by the time we picked up Baby Brother she had herself under control and was chattering away. That happy mood lasted until it was dinner time. Then we went into what has been our nightly routine the past week where she enters this same tantrum about the time we announce “5 minutes until we wash hands for dinner.” She’s had a massive tantrum every night now for more than two week from about the time we prepare to serve dinner until she’s in bed two hours later, regardless of whether she had a nap or not. These tantrums include lots of screaming and throwing herself around while our dinner gets cold, her not eating more than a couple of bites if we’re lucky, a very painful bathing experience where our ears are concerned, and a massive fight to get into her pajamas and bed. Last night she literally ripped the first diaper off herself and we needed to put on another one.

We’ve tried everything we know so far – offer her choices of soap, towels, food, jammies, who washes hands with her, if she helps make dinner with us, transition time warnings, and even “time ins” where I put her in her room and suggest she need a little time to calm down just like mommy does, tell her that I love her, and invite her to come out when she’s ready, then I leave, but the door is open a bit so she can see us and come out when she’s ready.

We’re tired of this to say the least and I feel like I’m walking on pins and needles to try to avoid these outbursts. It was definitely a Friday glass of wine night.

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