Thursday, October 29, 2009

We're Having A Party! And A Meltdown!

Today is the first demonstration of my co-room-parent abilities. Today, the other mom and I go in and do the Harvest Party. This is the first time I've encountered parental competition. Should we change our plans because the other class did this or that? Are we doing enough? Should we make it more exciting? Thankfully, my co-parent is on the same page as I am. We put together our ideas, we came up with our plan, and we are sticking to it. We aren't focusing on what anyone gets but instead on what kind of themed fun we can have. We will open the par-tay (and this is for 3, 4, and 5 year olds) with some Upside Down Apple Bobbing. Instead of apples floating in water, we will have apple slices dangling from dental floss and grown ups will be "fishing" for kids. We figure it's a way to get a little food in them first (the party starts around snack time) and also start off with some silly fun. I've got apples, a knife, and dental floss ready to go! Second activity is mini-square dancing. Nothing terribly difficult. I'm going to line the kids up facing each other. We will march in place to the music, learn a little do-si-do and promenade. I stayed up until 11:30 last night grabbing music off Rhapsody. Started out with Cotton Eyed Joe and ended up finding some great fiddle music and some bluegrass and country tunes from my own childhood. I loaded extra music on the CD because I figure we can use it during other activities. Next we move on to a team-relay pumpkin head activity. Co-mom has these plastic face parts, similar to Mr Potato Head, that are for pumpkins. We have 3 sets of complete faces and 3 pumpkins. I'm pre-setting some holes on them to make it a little easier. The teams will take turns picking a face part and then putting it on the pumpkin. We should end up with 3 silly pumpkins! We have coloring sheets and a special book to read. Final activity is putting together a snack mix. We have all the ingredients. Each child will BE an ingredient and also collect ingredients. We have large bags of items, scoops, and bags for each child. They control what items go in their bags. And it's a nice symbolic activity of it taking the whole group to create the snack. I think the kids will have fun. Except maybe mine. She is, right now, in her room, screaming and crying. I wish I could tell you what set her off. It was somewhere between getting cereal and getting dressed. Jeff and I have both had to walk away as the anger bubbles and bubbles. I am so tired of this. So, so tired. These meltdowns have to stop. It is becoming a greater and greater challenge for me to find a calm place from which to deal with her. I am frustrated that this child has the ability to destroy family days, days off, party days, fun times. I wish I could maintain a mindset that we are somehow allowing her to act this way. I wish I could identify the triggers and fix it. I wish I knew what to do. But I am starting to feel like she is wrecking any semblance of happiness in our home. Jeff and I are still managing to find humor in the meltdowns. We still manage to stand together. And I think that's the most important part. But I'm not sure how much longer my sanity can bear these temper tantrums. So Happy Harvest Party Day. I'm feeling pressure to have a great party, guilt because I don't want to be around my child right now, guilt because I can't make it better and don't have the desire or energy to go soothe her or calm her down or comfort her, frustration because of the screaming and crying and crying, anger because of how each day seems to contain some aspect of her drama, fear that this will never end... I want to be her soft place... I do... Jeff and I both do... but she makes it so very, very difficult. And then I feel guilty all over again.

9 comments:

Kori said...

Wow; just-wow. First, I am amazed at your willingness to even BE a room-mother type person; I shudder at the idea. I think that your Harvest Party sounds like a great time. the thing is, I don't really think kids that young care what you all do, they just want to get together and do silly things-so forget completely about what everyone else is doing, lower your expectations some (they are still just babies; it won't go smoothly all the time), and enjoy the hell out of it.

I ALSO am amzed at your honesty; I don't know the backstory with your daughter, being a new reader and all, but just for the simple fact that you can verbalize and acknowledge your feelings of frustration and, yes, anger shows me that you are a kcik-butt parent. I am really reluctant to make any kind of suggestion or give advice, partly because I DON'T know the story and partly because I have never been where you are; I was just thinking that sometimes there are counselors who deal specifically with these kinds of behaviors, adn maybe that is an option? But again, I don't know the story, so I am just sending you hugs and saying that I think you are pretty dang amazing.

mimbles said...

The party plan sounds fabulous, I bet it'll be a huge hit :-)

As for the meltdowns, firstly *HUGS* and my deepest sympathies. Reading your description of the impact on family days etc threw me straight back to the times when Tom was doing something similar to us. He was a bit older than Tegan so we had less of the screaming temper tantrums and more of the arguing, whinging, sulking and truly astonishing rudeness. One particular incident was when we were waiting outside the Sydney Opera House about to have a Chinese meal for lunch and then go to see a comedy show at the house and Tom decided we were the worst parents ever because we weren't going to Luna Park (an amusement park) instead.

He doesn't do it these days. One day you'll be able to say the same about Tegan. In the meantime know that you are a wonderful mother and it's ok to not want to be anywhere near your kids sometimes - we're only human after all!

Kristi said...

One thing I don't miss about my daughters' being T's age, is the daily meltdowns. It really is just a phase, and it shall soon pass, I promise. She's just testing the waters and becoming more independent. My younger one had way more of these than my older one, but they did both have them, and still do once in a while. You are doing right by her by sending to her room to cool off, and taking a break from her so to speak. I find I have to do the same thing, for both of us. Hopefully thing will get better very soon! Meanwhile, enjoy the Harvest Party!

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

Oooooooo, glad I'm here and you're there!

Teacher Tom said...

That's hard Liz. She's doing what she has to do, and it sounds like you're doing what you have to do. One day it will be behind you. Parenting is hard. =)

(((((((((Liz)))))))))

Karen said...

Sounds like a really fun party!

You should talk to my blogging buddy Gina at Namaste By Day. (namastebyday@gmail.com) Her two-year-old son was having ridiculous tantrums and she went to some sort of class that really helped. I'm sure she would be DELIGHTED to share some insights!

Nancy said...

Hugs Liz. Last night I got tired of telling Delainey the same thing over and over, so I just stopped talking. It was either that or yell, and I am tired of yelling. It gets us no where and then we are both unhappy. I sure hope that this is just a phase and won't last forever.

You are a fantastic parent, even though you don't feel like it now. You are raising a thoughtful, caring daughter that is testing her (and your)limits. I said it earlier, I think that there is a girl's night out somewhere in all of this!

Lori said...

You guys did a GREAT job!!! Thanks so much again for giving of yourself and your time for the kids. They enjoyed the party and continued to talk about it throughout the day! As far as Teag's meltdowns, I think sometimes when you're a 4/5 year old, the world is just a difficult place. Trying to find your boundaries, wanting to be in charge of yourself but not sure of how to do it...I think it's just a frustrating time. Not to mention she's a girl...and the hormones are kicking, I swear, even at 5!!!! Enjoy your weekend!

Mrs4444 said...

Poor Teagan; I don't imagine she is any happier about the meltdowns than you are. I'm glad she has good parents who know what to do about it (getting help.) You will all survive this :)