Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Change of plans

I had intended to come and tell a great story about my day... but instead, I need to vent. My daughter is 3 years and 8 months old. Some days, she is fantastic. A joy and delight. I want nothing more than to spend every moment of my time with her- cuddling, laughing, playing, talking. I love chancing her down the sidewalk as she rides her tricycle. I love cooking with her. I love her sense of humor. And then there are moments like right now. A reportedly good day at daycare. A fine evening at home. Ate dinner, watched TV, played with some blocks. And then it was bedtime. She'd been "warned." 5 minutes until we put on pajamas... I am back in the bedroom, nursing Zach. I hear the screeching meltdown. *sigh* Here we go. Again. Offer to swap. Jeff wants to handle the pajamas. Zach is desperate to get off my bed and keeps saying "dada." He knows that things aren't right with his dad, his sister. We end up swapping after the pajamas get put on. She is in full on screeching, crying, screaming meltdown. I haven't seen this since... well, Saturday. She gets so worked up that she is incoherent, inconsolible. Bargaining for the other parent, crying the heartbroken cry. Raging and sobbing. I'm not proud of my own choices. I yelled. I threatened. I feel like I snapped. When she has this out of control meltdown, I lose it. It isn't a rage or even an overwhelming anger. Just a wave of frustration like I've never known before. I expect her to make good choices. I am trying to teach her to control herself. And I can't do the same. I can logically. I can talk it. Why can't I make myself do it? What is it about that screeching, out of control meltdown that gets under my skin like that? Logically, I know all the right answers. It's the practicality of making it happen that is proving to be my biggest challenge.

3 comments:

Alix said...

Oh Liz. How this brings back such memories. You're tired. You worked all day, picked up the kids, made dinner, kissed the hubby, set the table, fed and bathed kids, nursed one, and was hoping for that elusive five minutes of peace before you collapsed. Instead, the firestorm came. I've been there, done that, and I don't envy you. Trust me... all moms are guilty of occasionally shouting, crying, and threatening - myself included. It comes with the territory. You're human. An overworked human. Unfortunately, the shouting bit never gets the desired results so on top of the problem, we sometimes end up shooting ourselves in the foot on top of it all. Just relax. Your little girl will respond much better to you when you are relaxed. Let her have her little fit and you focus on whatever you are doing at the time of the revolution. Don't give her the power to upset the family apple cart. Yeah, I know... easier said than done. So go get your iPod and plug yourself in. Listen to some Chopin or smooth jazz or Johannes Linstead. When YOU ARE READY, deal with your daughter's outbursts in an extremely calm and unexpected way. Speak to her in an oh so soft voice (she'll have to quiet down to hear you!) and shower her with love even when your impulse is to swat her fanny. She'll be positively unnerved by your sweetness and will be all sorts of chill in short order. Even though it's dreadfully hard to hear your kids exerting themselves with tantrums, they only wear themselves out quicker. Then you rush in with soothing motherly love and quiet her with hugs, kisses, and a good tuck in. It might take a few fly bys before she gets the gist of it, but when you remain calm and in control, she has no option but to follow suit. When you finally hear her settle, reward yourself with a nice six or seven martinis. (Just kidding)

ImogenSky said...

well I don't have the answers for you, but I will say that I too have lost it, and more than once at that. Here I am trying to tell C to calm down, but I'm yelling and out of control...

*sigh* I just don't know what else to add!

Tracy said...

I feel like I understand you COMPLETELY when it comes to how the meltdowns get under your skin.

I try so hard to be gentle, caring, loving. Offer choices, be respectful, etc.

But when Gayatri is screeching that particular screech... I just lose it. I yell back. I say horrible things. I HATE it.

I've gotten better the last few weeks. But every single time is hard. *hug*

-t