Watching my 2-year old tantrum while dutifully doing all that twenty years of raising children has supposedly taught me…does not work with this one child. I move away from the “fit thrower” (as instructed) …disinterestedly walk over the display at my feet and calmly relocate myself to another room. Then I continue with life as though there is no shrieking, kicking, screaming (adorable) red-headed little girl in the next room pounding the floor and trying to further punctuate her disgust by self-induced sporadic vomiting (and…no…we are not making a home-made video version of “The Exorcist”). Suddenly silence. Oh good, the advice of the sage pediatrician has finally paid off… 9 kids later…who knew?
On second thought not a chance. The room that I have sought peaceful refuge in has just been invaded by the closest human copy of the Tasmanian devil known to mankind. Uh-huh… “Miss Hissy-Fit” has cyclone-style come spinning into my peaceful lair and relocated the demonic demonstration at my feet (so that I do not miss one moment of “the show”). Before everyone judges what kind of mother I am (that is usually the way when a toddler offers diabolical behavior in a store the “other parents” all secretly side with the toddler and “mommy” is seen as the evil woman dragging a poor tired child around a store for pure sadistic pleasure). This child is being unreasonable. The meltdown has to do with me not allowing her to bang on my computer keyboard (and not necessarily because I am worried about a competitive blog occurring by happenstance). This kid uses “no” all the time…but if the mommy dares to use “no” it becomes a dirty word. So time to move to yet another location in the house as apparently “ignoring” this type of behavior is what is medically recommended. I retreat upstairs. For a few fleeting moments there appears to be calm and serenity prevailing. I guess that Doctor was right… (thank goodness for the second level in my house)!
Oh no, “the beast” is on the move again and the Tasmanian tantrum is mounting the stairs like an all-consuming tornado. It really is quite pathetic as I am a 47-year-old literally on the run to find a place to hide in my own home (from a two-year-old baby) where I can truly practice “ignoring” this behavior while still remaining within the confines of the house. (Although every cell in my body wants to leave but some errant brain cell has me thinking I should not leave the 2-year old alone regardless of her superpowers). I am now folding laundry (always an entertainment option at my house) amid the raging and banging. We have been at this now for well over thirty minutes (seems more like a lifetime). I have been calm (I think) collected (mostly) and patient (reasonably). There is only one thing left for mom to do….LOSE IT!
I let out a blood-curdling shriek as I tell this baby to “cut this out…this is horrible behavior…YOU stop this right now!” At this stage I no longer know which one of us is possessed. The screaming-red-faced, vomit spewing toddler or the nasty-looking, shaking, villainous (old) witch I have become to effectively deliver this message. Not feeling very proud of myself as I have truly become Tasmanian myself…I brace myself for more tantrums, throwing things, foaming at the mouth (the usual). The complication now is that after witnessing my poor performance the drama queen will (no doubt) be empowered further.
When suddenly there is now DEAFENING silence. NO! Really? The demon-possessed toddler is sweetly smiling and blowing kisses. She is “sorry” (!!!) Does this kind of result render the tactics used as successful? I did everything by the book and only when this child got a moment of possessed behavior in return (from me) did she reconsider. Why? I do not have the answers but I think I am on to something. I think some of these kids are embarrassed by their own behavior and only feel able to cease the behavior if they think you, the parent, lose it too…once in a while (??)!
I have seen this in the adult world before.
Almost 2 years ago I was lucky to be making an escape from my harried life to drive a few minutes out-of-town to visit my best friend. This friend is someone who had recovered from cancer. I have always celebrated the anniversary of that day (and my gratitude to my Creator that this friend was in my life) by bringing my friend flowers. I had an older teenager babysitting at home so an escape was possible. However one of the younger ones (at the thought I might escape my cage for an hour or two) began feigning some type of illness just as I was leaving. I had my cell phone with me. I left my house with instructions to the “parole officer” to call me, if in fact, the contrived illness returned for real.
The laws in the province where I live were in the process of being adjusted to forbid driving while using a cell phone. The law had not yet passed but one caught driving while holding a cellphone could be given a warning. Just moments from my house, after I had to follow a detour (road was being dug up for new gas lines) my cell rang. I was navigating the car around a tight turn on the detour and had allowed my car to wander into more of the middle of the road as I struggled to answer the cell phone. Just at the same moment a car came toward me, also in the middle of the road. Quick reflexes and a head on crash was adverted. Fortunately my car was going very slowly although the approaching car was speeding. As I pulled my car over to the right of the road this oncoming car backed up. A very agitated, irate lady (I use the term loosely) got out and started screaming at me. All sorts of language (!@@&*%$ %&) you name it…she said it to me! She told me I should be reported to the cops because she saw me on the cell phone. Sure. I answered this accusation very calmly indicating that she was right I would give her my license, plate and telephone number to make it easier for her to report me to the police. I humbly confessed I knew better and should not have answered the phone while driving. This answer drove her wild!!
More screaming and yelling, swearing. At this point my 17-year-old daughter (whom I was dropping at her co-op class) was out of the car yelling back in like kind (sadly). I continued to remain calm as I owned up to my mistake and encouraged this “fishwife” to call the authorities. I finally convinced my teenager to get back in my car and continued on my trip… basically leaving the woman screeching at the side of the road.
The cell phone call that started all of this had been to tell me that “the sick” one was up and running around and I was not to worry. I put the fiasco behind me as I excitedly welcomed my freedom, dropped my daughter at co-op and went to see my beautiful friend where I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon visit..
About six weeks later, a phone call came from the police looking for my husband (works shift work). When my husband returned the call, the police informed him that they had a warning to issue to the owner of the car. This was in response to a certain “incident” that took place May 5 in which two teenagers were driving a red car (licensed to my husband) talking on a cell phone and had nearly had a head on collision with the complainant. My husband told the police that no, there was only one teenager in the car and the other (the driver) was his wife. The police answered with “Oh and another thing this lady said was that the driver was on some type of medication or drugs because no matter how much she (the complainant) screamed and cursed the driver was very polite and calm.” (???)
I died laughing when I heard about it. I cannot be too angry at a stranger that thinks I still look like a teenager and I am sure the story would have been completely different (the other lady not so angry) if only I had allowed myself to “LOSE IT”
Memo to self… “LOSE IT” more often! Might solve a thing or two…..
The “too-tranquil” Garden Goat