In the last post, I alluded to the fact that we weren’t all hugs and rainbows at our house. Sure, most of the time everything is beyond great but the spectacular blow-ups that punctuate those times are mind-numbingly awful. On Sunday, I found myself scraping masticated string cheese out of my hair watching my child scream while army-crawling over the Target carpet.
When she blows up, she does it with such passion that I’m rendered speechless. I can’t figure out whether to try to pick her up, leave her alone, soothe her, or let her soothe herself. I default to a bottom line of checking for danger and, if there is none, promptly freezing in place. At home, she usually tears off into her bedroom where she rages until either distracted or exhausted. Efforts to intervene are met with red-faced, high-volume, beligerence. Google defines this as “war-like behavior” and I’m not above admitting that sometimes I’m worried she’s armed with that yardstick she squirreled away into her room.
The reasoning for the tantrums isn’t always clear but can occasionally be attributed to:
The absence of blueberries
The admonition not to elbow-check her playmates
The suggestion not to run wildly down the street
The trend here is clearly the removal of things: the fruit that fuels her very survival, a face with which to target practice, the joy of a traffic-filled swath of freedom.
On a recent walk around the neighborhood, she decided not to ride in her stroller but that she would walk. And by walk she meant blindly pushing the stroller into each available ravine, guardrail, and path of tour de france bicyclists. We are her parents and thus know a) that we should have remembered that this is why we never use the stroller and b) therefore we should remove it as an option while walking. The anger, it burned like a thousand angry suns. And so she screamed. All the way through the rest of the neighborhood and almost all the way home. We had to remove her, beet red and flailing, from the middle of the street where she was laying on her back bellowing in fury. Multiple times. You think I’m exaggerating. I am not.
I felt/feel pretty overwhelmed by this and am trying to continue to look at it with an eye toward development and independence. I also admit to taking solace in this post from Jason Good 365 called “Tantrum in the Woods” The penultimate and final paragraphs of that post reassure me that somewhere else in the world someone else is suffering these same fits.