Friday, December 14, 2007

Is this three?

Cause if it is, well, I'd really like two back, please.

Over the last few weeks Mary has undergone some subtle (and not so subtle) changes in her personality and attitudes towards life. I just recently connected these changes to the fact that she'll be three years old in a couple of weeks. She's still sweet and loving, cuddly and gentle most of the time. She adores her baby sister, she loves to play with the cats, she loves cars and trucks and books. Lately though, she has been incredibly contrary, temperamental, irrational and independent in bizarre ways. The temper tantrums have stepped up a notch and are far more frequent than ever before.

Last night she wasn't eating her supper. I was okay with this because she had eaten one or two mouthfulls of her chili and a whole slice of bread. I am used to her not eating, and I try very hard not to make a big deal about it. So anyways, I asked her if she was done. She said "NO!" and grabbed the bowl of chili, moving it away from me. She did not eat it. Five minutes later I asked again, and again she reacted the same way. So I scooped up some food onto her spoon and handed it too her. She shrieked in rage, dumped out the spoon, and hugged the bowl. After about 30 minutes of this I was done, so I took the bowl away to clean up. She. Flipped. Out. Screaming, yelling, howling, sobbing, flinging herself to the floor, hitting me, throwing things. It was truly spectacular but nothing compared to the tantrum she had the day before yesterday where she trashed her bedroom (books thrown all over, stuffed animals tossed willy-nilly and the bed ripped apart) and then refused everything I offered her until I wasn't offering it anymore and then she screamed that she needed it. Then I would try to give it too her and because I was offering it, she refused it again.


She does make up for it when she comes into my bed after Ian's gotten up for work and snuggles up with me, patting my back and whispering sweet nothings before falling asleep.


Emmett said...

I think the best advice for that is what you get on those Nanny-type shows: once the tantrum starts, you just ignore them completely. And if they start misbehaving, like as in hitting you, they go off into their room or to the Naughty Chair.

Trying to placate her is only going to feed the tantrum. Ultimately it is about getting attention, right?

I remember when the twins were in their Terrible Twos and would start freaking out over something. I would tell them, "well if you're going to act like that I'm going to go over here and read a book." And I would do that and utterly ignore their flailing and tears. I felt a little cruel, but it was awfully amusing. Five minutes later they would sidle up all sweet as pie, asking me for a cookie or something. Little manipulators. :)

greypanther said...

Emmet is right. One of the phrases in our house is "Little boys/girls who throw temper tantrums do NOT get what they want!" And that is exactly what happens. If either of the kids throw a tantrum they do not get what they threw a tantrum about.

The other thing I can see is she is trying to assert her independence. Keep encouraging her in this such as the skating. I think that's awesome! Have her help you bring you a diaper for Frances and tell her good job, even if all she did was get it from the bag and hand it to you. Little things like zipping up her coat or putting her boots on by herself will mean it takes longer to get places but allow her the chance to learn these skills and you won't regret it.

Okay maybe you will but that'll be in summer when her shoes are gone and the backyard gate is open. You have a gate right? Anyways just keep being the awesome MOM you are and I hope this advice helps.

Lady Myke

Jenn said...

The terrible part is that I do that. I ignore her, I don't give her what she wants, I have even said those exact words, Myke. It doesn't work. The other day she got herself so worked up that she puked. She actually puked....and what do you do then? She will scream and sob for over an hour sometimes (though it's rare). I put her in her bedroom, and she trashes it, all the while screaming and sobbing. It's awful.

I do encourage her independence, she puts on her boots, sets the table for me, and she loves to help with her baby sister. I still think that she's really a good girl compared to other kids her age, but these tantrums are really starting to get too me. She usually has two or three little ones a day that I can get through alright, but every few days she has one of the real doozies, and all I can do is try not to cry myself.

Goody said...

Are you guys still doing naps? Some of the worst meltdowns I've experienced have been when Danny's nap deprived.

greypanther said...

Hmm I see your problem then. Maybe a change in diet or she is stressed from the move and its finally coming out now. I am not sure what they could be about. Try and record what she does and when these doozy tantrums happen and see if there's a pattern. She may be acting out because she's in pain from a food she ate?! Or maybe she's nap deprived like Goody said. It also just might be a phase she's going through.

I am glad to hear you are encouraging her and doing the discipline you think is appropriate. If need be just say some days "I can not deal with this. Wait til your father gets home!" And let her be it will at least give you breathing room. If she pukes but has no other health issues (no choking from vomit bits or such) as harsh as it sounds merely clean it up and say when you've calmed down I'll talk to you. If these tantrums continue for a few months I would suggest seeing someone about them. That long and it is not a phase she's going through.

Since I am not there I can't really say but it almost sounds like she just wants attention. Of course if I am out to lunch lemme know you are there and its your instincts on the line! After all I am good at dispensing advice (not always so good at taking it). All in all though I think you are doing everything you can for her and that to me makes you a good mother. Please take care Jenn {HUGS} I miss you.

Lady Myke