Posts Tagged With: tantrum

Just Your Average Weekend

Dear Kids,

This weekend was nice! Until it wasn’t.

We had a nice lazy Saturday morning in our pajamas, followed by a nail appointment for me, your Aunt A, and Grandma P.

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I was fascinated by the acrylic nails Aunt A got. No, she did not keep them that long. It would have been interesting, though.

To keep with the theme, I picked up some press on nails for Kitten and your cousin Tater Tot. They enjoyed decorating them with the little nail stickers, but when it came time for wearing them,  Buddy was the only one interested.

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They fell off in about an hour, but he enjoyed them enough to request them again Sunday.

Later we went for dinner at Grandma P’s for her birthday. Happy birthday!

Sunday morning Kitten woke up on the wrong side of the bed. She cried because she didn’t want Mimi (my mom) to see her. She wanted only me to see her. She then spent about an hour walking around with a pink blanket over her head in some sort of mobile seclusion.

Later we went out for some one-on-one time; slurpees and shopping. We had a grand old time and I thought the attitude had turned a corner.

How naive.

After a snack, Kitten proceeded to kick Buddy in the butt to “see how hard or soft it was,” claimed it hurt her foot (obviously this is Buddy’s fault), did it again, and then got mad at him when her face got in the way of his game of catch with his stuffed animal. Brothers, right? How annoying.

She was sent to her room for an attitude adjustment that encompassed nearly an hour and two sternly written “stay out” signs on her bedroom. Who would want to go in there??

She came out eventually requesting that her obviously offensive brother not be in the same room with her. Ever. Again. Like ever.

Her terms were not accepted, but she settled on chuckling at some funny faces I made. Thank God that still works. What will I do when she’s an actual teenager?? This is just 7yrs old, people!

There was dinner where Buddy upended his entire bowl of soup on the carpet. And then baths, where Kitten complained that one side of the bathtub was colder than the other and the water hurt her booboo and omigod, she can’t work like this!!

I lost my cool, people.

“You have to get wet to take a bath, yes??  So, you’re going to have to figure it out!!”

She added hot water to the bath by herself and I left (ran away with fingers in my ears?) while she cried in agony when water touched her slightly scraped knee.

Teeth brushed. Fish fed. Stories read.

I gathered my babies to me for a little heart-to-heart. I talked about patience, being cranky, having better attitudes. Buddy turned around and farted. Kitten fell over laughing. And I turned off the lights and walked out.

I assume they’re still up there. They might even be sleeping. I’m hiding downstairs with my chocolate and late night tv. Send wine.

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Look into the eyes of crazy...

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Sanity and the Tooth: Both Hanging by a Thread

Dear Kitten,
 
This morning you woke up with two loose teeth practically falling out of your mouth. One has been loose for a few weeks and has an adult tooth coming up fast behind it. One only started wiggling a few days ago, but is already sticking out horizontally and hanging by a thread.

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Today is the day.
 
When I saw that tooth flop over in your mouth, I got giddy. I may have squealed. I loved pulling my teeth when I was your age! It was disgusting and exciting and slightly destructive – awesome, right??
 
Wrong.
 
Every time your father or I attempted to even look closely at your mouth you clamped up and squirmed away. We had to pin you down to even look at the dang teeth. Attempts to touch them resulted in a tantrum befitting a 2 year-old; complete with thrashing, weeping, and wailing. Gross.
 
It became a test of wills.
 
The more you pushed us away, the harder we pushed back. If you had expressed any desire or ability to pull the tooth yourself or even work on it, we would have left you to it. But your feeble attempts to even wiggle the tooth combined with your unacceptable behavior, made us dig in.
 
It was coming down to that tooth or our sanity – both hanging by a thread.
 
My older sister was in a similar situation when she was your age. Our father was tired of her squeamishness with her loose tooth. He decided it was coming out. He went down to the basement and found his largest, rustiest pair of pliers. He lured my sister to him with the pliers behind his back, but when he asked her to open her mouth, she got wise and bolted. Our father chased her around the house (laughing maniacally, mind you) until she locked herself in a bathroom.
 
She emerged 30 minutes later holding the tooth in her hand. She was pale and shaky. There was a little blood in the sink and definitely some vomit in the toilet. But, she had done it herself. Victory!
 
I have shared that story with you numerous times since you first got a loose tooth. I’m hoping it will inspire you. Your aunt did something very difficult for her. She was scared, just like you, but she did it anyway. She was brave.
 
It’s not working.
 
Your brother watched you attempt (in vain) to wiggle your teeth this morning and immediately ran to the mirror and started poking at his own teeth. He’s not going to be a problem in this area. My worry is him pulling out teeth too soon.
 
He’s going to be like me in this regard and I only hope that he has a little more consideration for his sister than I did for mine. I used to sneak up on my squeamish sister and pull my teeth in front of her; pushing a tooth to one side and letting the roots audibly pop. She hated it. It was always satisfying.
 
Not wanting to pull your teeth is something I can’t identify with. It’s something I don’t know how to handle. I could just let it go, and I’m actually trying to. The tooth will come out eventually no matter what.
 
But it’s not really the tooth that bothers me so much. It’s the behavior surrounding the whole thing that needs to be addressed. The over-reaction, the tantrums, the fear, the regression. It’s disappointing to see you act this way when faced with a challenge, or something you’re afraid of, or even a little pain.
 
You are bigger than this. And, just like my sister, someday you will prove it to yourself. Just maybe not with this particular tooth…

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Categories: Kids, Kitten | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Stop Staring…I’m Just Parenting

Dear Buddy,

You skipped your nap at school yesterday. It was no surprise, then, that I also received reports of you not listening and acting wild.

When you don’t nap you go manic. Crazy eyes manic. Bad. News. Bears.

When I collected you from your classroom you wanted to be picked up, put down, now back up. You swatted wildly at things hanging from the ceiling. You wouldn’t maintain eye contact. Your eyes were huge; like you were taking in every possible stimuli in your vicinity, and that’s probably exactly what you were doing. You were steadily over-stimulating yourself.

Which is why taking you to the grocery store was such a dumb idea. Rookie move, Mom.

The moment we entered the store, you bolted from my side straight for the nearest brightly-colored display: candy. Thanks so much, grocery store people.

From then on it was touch-and-go. You’d stay within an eight-foot radius of me while I strung you along with an enticing game of ‘finders keepers’. “Buddy, popcorn! Can you find the popcorn? Go get it!” You never did find the popcorn. You couldn’t see anything that wasn’t shiny or brightly colored. You found Mickey Mouse fruit snacks, chrome sunglasses, Ninja Turtles mylar balloons, but none of the items on our list.

Eventually, we – I – found the essential items we had come for and made a bee-line for the nearest empty self-check-out station. I’d scan an item and throw it on the belt…scan, toss, scan, toss. Only…why weren’t any of the items showing up on my total? Which is when I realized that the belt was weighing the items as I tossed them on…it was also weighing the little hands that kept trying to catch the items as they went passed. If the weight didn’t match up, the machine voided the item. Great.

Eventually I was all backed up. Half of the items at the other end of the belt hadn’t been scanned. The machine beeped wildly at me and the attendant showed up just in time to see me smacking your hands off the belt for the umpteenth time. She looked me up and down before she perused the items on the screen.

“Ma’am, you haven’t scanned half of these items.” Are you trying to shoplift? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; you beat your children after all. (Judgment implied)

We sorted out my items while you got distracted by the bright, shiny candy wrappers in the aisle. I was on my last two items when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that you had something in your mouth. It was a package of mini donuts. You were methodically biting them through the bag; One. By. One.

I yanked it out of your mouth and Lost. My. Sh*t.

“This is NOT yours! What were you thinking?? You broke this! Yes, that’s bad!” I threw the dang donuts on the scanner then turned around and gave you a purposeful smack on the back of your hand. I looked you in the eyes, “Do not chew things that do not belong to you!”

I’m sure I looked like the Witch of Aisle Five at this point. No other patrons were even cueing behind me and the scene we were making. When the last item was scanned I looked up in time to see the tail end of a naughty boy Run Off.

Last. Straw.

I abandoned food, aisle, purse – everything – and pursued the fugitive. I caught you by your shirt collar in the neighboring check-out aisle and hauled you bodily into the correct aisle. Your feet did not touch the floor. I considered for a moment the danger of actually hurting you and – by the grace of God – managed enough restraint to place you gently on the floor in front of me. “Do Not Run Off. STAY.” You did.

I payed for and bagged my groceries.

On our way out I handed you the decimated donuts. I looked you in the eyes and said in my ‘fear of God’ voice, “You do NOT damage things and get to keep them. Chewing things does NOT make them yours. Do you understand? Put these in the trashcan.” You did.

You fought me as we crossed the parking lot. You did not want to hold my hand. I strapped you in to your car seat and looked you in the eyes. “You need to listen. You need to do as your told. I love you.” I kissed you on the forehead as you pouted at me with angry eyes. “Buddy, when you run away from me it scares me.” And then you started to cry.

I don’t know if I finally broke through to you by letting you know that you had scared me or if your tiredness finally overwhelmed you, but I was grateful for your tears. It meant the manic monster had abated. It meant you knew you had behaved poorly. Something had sunk in.

We drove home and I thought about the scene we’d made in the grocery store. I had deliberately not looked at any of the other patrons in the store. I was embarrassed. I lost my patience. Had I been a bad parent?

It’s hard to recognize good parenting sometimes. People think good parenting looks like clean, well-behaved, happy children. That isn’t good parenting; that is the RESULT of good parenting. The result of a lot of hard work, strung out nerves, repetition, and consistency.

Good parenting – the verb; the on-going, in the trenches stuff – is messy. Not letting your child get away with bad behavior is good parenting, but do you know what that looks like? It looks like an argument, a tantrum, a frazzled parent, and discipline.

Children should not eat food that is not theirs. Children should not run off. Children should listen and follow instructions. Making sure children learn these things is called parenting. Sometimes parenting looks like a crazy lady losing her sh*t at the grocery store, or the swimming pool, or the restaurant.

I don’t know if anyone recognized that in the grocery store yesterday. I don’t know how many people thought, “poor kid.” I don’t know if anyone was quietly sending me support while I slogged through my parenting moment. I do know that you, Buddy, learned something. So, even if it was messy, and embarrassing, and hard – it wasn’t a wasted parenting moment.

Categories: Buddy, Kids | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

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