Friday, January 31, 2014

Tantrum Days

Oh. Mah. GAW. Yesterday was a 10 on the Epic Tantrum Scale you guys. Since turning 4, Lily Ruth has done some experimentation with temper tantrums, begging and whining. This is not necessarily news-worthy - she's 4. If she wasn't testing boundaries and pushing limits, I'd be worried. We even had a few weeks of full-blown screaming tantrums that lasted for a minimum of 30 minutes each.

This blew all of those out of the water. I am still reeling. When I texted my husband at 3:37 with "possibly the worst day ever. Do not come home without vodka", I was only kidding a little bit. Luckily, he gets me. He came home with hugs and pomegranate vodka.

It started over candy (or rather, the lack thereof in Lily Ruth's hot little hand). It continued as a refusal to calm down. It escalated as she battled to stay angry.

"I am going to THROW this!" "Lily Ruth, you know that if you throw something, the consequence is that it will be taken away."

"NO, Mama! I am GOING to throw this, and don't you DARE take it away from me! Don't you DARE!"

"I am GOING to get out of my room. I am GOING to get my things back!"

"NOOOOOOOOO! Don't you DARE throw the candy away! I AM GOING TO BITE YOU!"

This is where she went into pure Berserker mode. A tiny hurricane of angry fists, furious kicks, gnashing teeth and top-volume shrieking. I held her at arm's length as she raged at me. At one point, she actually managed to grab a handful of my hair and pull. I slapped her hand before I even realized it.

"I HATE YOU! I am NEVER going to love you. Never. Ever. AGAIN."

"I am going to call Daddy and tell him that you are acting like a JERK, Mama. I am going to write him that you are throwing my things and acting AWFUL."

It went on. And on. And on. By the time she wound down enough to stop screaming, there were three large containers of things from her room in the garage, and the contents of the candy bowl were in the garbage.

When she came to me white faced and red eyed to ask for water, I was shaking with the effort of holding her back physically and the mental effort of not losing control myself. I made her a large glass of ice water, and led her to the couch. I folded her grasshopper-long legs into my lap and wrapped her in a hug. I leaned my head against hers and whispered "I ALWAYS love you. Always. Even when there is screaming, I love you." She started sobbing again. We hugged for a while. Then I unfolded myself and went in to comfort poor Alec who had been awakened from his nap by all of the screaming. He had himself had been crying for quite some time, but I had been unwilling to let Lily Ruth out of my sight until she calmed down. *sigh*

Don made it home not too long after it was all over. It felt like an eternity. I was completely wiped out. We made (giant) cocktails in to-go cups and bundled everybody up for a walk. After a few minutes of banal pleasantries, I told Lily Ruth that we needed to talk about what happened.

I started with why and how it began. I walked her through the series of events and reminded her of each opportunity that I had given her to calm down and change her behavior. Don and I both talked about how opinions and emotions are both allowed, but temper tantrums are not appropriate ways to express either. We talked about the fact that a temper tantrum will NEVER (not even ONE time) cause Mama or Daddy to give in to a demand. I finished up by reminding her that the loss of candy and toys were a direct consequence of her actions, and asked her if she understood that...

"Yeah, but I get all my stuff back later." She skipped off to pick a weed.

Crap. All for naught?

"Actually, Boo, you will get three things back tomorrow, and we will talk about the rest of it later."


Ya'll, I don't think I am cut out for this. Is it too late to pack her off to boarding school or even sell her on etsy? That's right - etsy. I made her. She's handmade. Therefore, etsy instead of e-bay. I'll bet if I don't mention her propensity for tantrums, I could get a FORTUNE for her.

We made it home, and Lily Ruth retired to the back yard with Dottie Dog to play with the ridiculously over-sized stick that she had picked up on the walk. Soon, she had broken it into two, and was racing around the yard using them as comically large drumsticks.

"Mama! Come out here and listen to the noises that I am making! Do you like my sounds?"

Oh Baby Girl. I love them.

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