Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hell On Wheels

As the lament goes: If my second born were my first, she'd be an only child.

Sara has turned the "terrible twos" into an art form. Telling her "no" leads to a tantrum. Telling her "yes" leads to a tantrum. Handing her the crayon leads to a tantrum. Taking her plate when she tells you she is, "OooooooooDONE! My Dinner! Mommy!" leads to a tantrum. Putting the plate back on the table leads to a tantrum. Closing the door leads to a tantrum followed by her opening the door and then immediately closing the door. Apparently she takes after my sister, Gail.

Given that there is no avoiding the tantrum, I have decided to have fun with it and put it to good use. It's all in how you approach the problem. I could either take it personally, figure I was a horrible parent, keep myself up at night wondering why Colin had so few tantrums, most of which were during 2 weeks when he was 3; or I can laugh heartily, tell her matter-of-factly that if she doesn't stop right this minute, she will get a time out, and follow through with it. I plop her in the crib and give her amused Mom-face with raised eyebrows, and close the door. After 2 minutes I check on her. She is never ready to calm down, still ridiculously mad, and I let her know when she is ready, I will get her out, and leave, this time with the door open. (Yes, yes, I check on her every couple of minutes, how else would I get to see her Furious Face?) Usually 20-30 minutes later, she flips the switch and is suddenly smiley and wanting me to "tickles me". Meantime I actually get some housework done. The other thing is that if she has a such a thermonuclear meltdown, she is usually mostly tantrum-free for the rest of the day and takes a monster nap in the afternoon. So far I have resisted the urge to detonate one as a pre-emptive strike. So far.

I think I may actually miss the tantrums when they resolve.

How the hell will I get the floors mopped, then? You can get a lot done in 20-30 minutes of super-concentrated time.

She has also developed jealousy over Colin's surgery and tells us she has an "owie in my tummy," frequently. Usually when she is shovelling food into her mouth.

I realize that a lot of you have no kids. I just didn't want you to completely miss out. Share the pain. That's my motto.

(Colin update, for those who want to know: I think you could say he is continuing to heal quickly. Monday morning, I had to stop him from climbing up the stairs "on the outside", meaning holding on to the banister climbing up the outside of the steps. He was about 10 feet of the ground when I caught him. More grey hairs. At least the couch was under him. He had fallen from doing such a thing 2 weeks before and ended up with an abrasion on his cheek and quite a nice bruise on cheek and eye. I am not sure all of us are eventually getting out of this alive. Something about God protecting fools and little children.)

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15 Comments:

Blogger The Lioness said...

The Portie God protects the Tot and the Drunk but same thing.

So nice of you to share the pain. Really! And then you wonder why you're read. You're read bcs you're funny and fabulous, that's why.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Cagey said...

Too cute! Keeping sharing!
(she laughs -- unknowingly, innocently, wide-eyed, stupidly)

11:34 AM  
Anonymous sara said...

I'm glad Colin's feeling better! As for Sara, I think it's in the name. When I was that age I was a terror. I wrote "no" on every wall in my parents house. When visiting I'll still see "no's" on any surface that hasn't since been painted. It passes.I became the easy child. ;)

Great way of dealing with the tantrums.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Johnny- Trust the Porties to get right to the heart of the matter. And kisses, dahling, kisses. All 10 of those who read, that is.

Cagey- Are you SURE you want to be reading this? I should start adding a disclaimer to the top: Cagey, pass this post by, you don't need to know about this! I can't wait to hear what your freeloader puts you through. I look forward to years of giggling through your experiences.

Sara- You are just too right. It is in the name. I have 2 friends with Sara(h)s and they are the same. Great, amazing, fun Sara(h)s but the hell they put their poor parents through! We are thinking of starting a club of Poor Benighted Parents of Sara(h)s. Perhaps we should sigh your folks on. We need to know that some have come through OK.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

I like that "no guff" approach. I'm sure Sara's most recent tantrums have a lot to do with the attention being diverted away from her while Colin was in the hospital.

If only she knew what she'd be in for if she really had an "owie in her tummy."

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Gerah said...

Oh, I'm dreading the tantrum days... I just keep hoping that my kid is gonna be one of those laid back un-tantrum-y kinds.

Please, lord. Please.

10:12 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

You know, it's weird, I don't have kids, I don't want kids (although I have thought of adopting a teenager - because I am insane) but I love reading the so-called "mommy blogs."

I think what I love about these blogs, or at least the ones that I read, are because the parents are honest and open and don't gush on about how their children are perfect. Instead they write posts similar to this that are hilarious and poignant at the same time.

Anyway, I'm glad Colin's doing better. As for Sara, this sounds like a great way to deal with the situation.

My nephew has also hit the terrible twos a few months early. His favorite words are "No!" and "Mine!" And when my sister tells me the stories, I laugh and beg her to start a blog. She won't. She is stubborn.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Rozanne- No guff just about sums it up. I really dislike being around badly behaved kids (and trust me there is a difference between a kid having a bad spell and a kid who is chronically badly behaved). It will be interesting to see how she does at Colin's re-check appt today.

Gerah- You just might get lucky. The stereotype is that the 1st kid is easy on the tantrums, it's the second one that smacks you with it. So just don't have the 2nd one, jump straight to the 3rd (sorry, couldn't resist that old gag). And if Kyra does put you through it good, you will have lots of good posts from it.

Dana- Thanks. I always wondered why someone who was not really into kids would want to read this stuff. I try not to go on too much about them, though, just put in what I think is universally funny. I do think they are lovely; not perfect, not "God's little angels" or some other dreck, just cool, fun people with lots of quirks.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Just wandered in here. But as mom of a 4yo, I thought I'd say that your approach is perfect. With our son, tantrums go in phases. It seems like forever, but really just a couple of weeks, and then he's behaving better again. And the most important thing is to be consistent. Nice that she's still in a crib - time-outs are a lot harder once they can get up by themselves.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Anon- Thanks for stopping by. I am fortunate that the much mocked time-out works well for both of ours. I tremble at the thought of Sara without a crib. I know my days are numbered. I remember having to camp in front of Colin's door for a while until he realized that I meant business regarding the time-out rules. Sara is even more tenacious. I'd better have a thick book and a chair.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Stacy Moe said...

ahh, yes...I remember the tantrum days. Allie was such an easy baby and then (que the dramatic music) she was 3. She did two store tantrums that were classics! I have to say I shamelessly copied your wonderful blog idea to keep my fam. informed feel free to check out at http://girlnamedmoe.blogspot.com/
Love ya...

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Kismet said...

I had one exactally like that and I handled it exactally like you are! I think you are on the right track.
Good deal on Colin. Come to think of it, I have an owie in my tummy too!!!

:P

~K!

5:54 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Stace- You are blogrolled. I will now haunt you. The store tantrums are the absolute worst! (psssst, everybody, Stacy is a long time friend and very funny and inteligent. She is v.v. lovely and is a great addition to the blogging community. Go give her love.)

Kismet- Likewise are you blogrolled. (About time, but, again, lazy.) I figure if they are strong willed, they will not follow others into trouble but make their own decisions (leading others into trouble of their own making). Hope your owie is better and just of the indigestion type.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think tantrums are their way of preparing you for their teenage years...

Oh, and thank you for the very kind words. Unfortunately my line of the family has a hereditary inability to handle compliments! As a teenager it was a great way to pre-emptively embarrass Mom and Dad. Dad, especially!

More importantly, remind the little monkey that anti-gravity only works in cartoons. Oh, and did I mention that we have a very large trampoline with a huge safety net all ready for you little ones (Charles, too)? AND, there's the Olde Suffolk Ale cooling in the fridge...

I'll even save the story on how the English ended up with "Bitter" beer for you!

Zoomie

5:51 PM  
Blogger Mojavi said...

Love Love Love the stories!!! This week on the east coast I was asked like 1500000 times... so when are you having kids??? (with the tone of aren't your eggs drying up? you better hurry) later girl

4:30 PM  

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