Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mt. Redoubt, you have nothing on a toddler tantrum

I just witnessed/experienced/lived through Abigail's first full-blown tantrum. Wow. I'm exhausted. She's asleep, thankfully.

The setting for the blow-up was benign enough: leaving Little Bears after a morning of fun and sunshine. Getting the little girls into their car seats has been a semi-challenge the last month or so, with them wanting to do as much for themselves as possible and resisting most attempts by someone else to get them into their seats.

Such was the case today, when Abigail was being annoying obstinate determined and wouldn't get in. I gave her a "you do it or Mommy will do it" option and she 'chose' to 'allow' Mommy to do it. Right. What followed was a little wrestling, some screaming, a lot of snot and not a little crying so hard she almost threw up. Yeah, that was fun.

The ride home was equally joyous...screams and cries and the occasional gag. A lot of "I do it" as she lamented her poor 'choice' of 'allowing' Mommy to put her into her seat. Dear little Bethany took it all in stride and chatted to me over her sister's noise.

Once we got home, I thought I'd try the old "you can help Mommy get you out..." trick. Used a soft, soothing voice and everything. Ha. She wasn't taking the bait. Not even close to placating the unhinged child. So, I crossed back over into 'mean Mommy' mode and released her buckles against her will. Which set off an entirely new set of wailings. "Me help". Uh, too late sweetie. Another bad 'choice'.

I had to carry her into the house football-style (she looked like Diddle diddle dumpling my son John--only a flailing one--because she had thrown off one shoe and the accompanying sock) and she screamed the whole way in. I hoped no one would be alarmed enough to call the authorities, she was that loud and that distraught.

Suffice it to say that the next several minutes were full of floppy limbs, ear-splitting noises and a general feeling of chaos*. An offer of reading a book went no where. An attempt at giving a cuddle was decisively spurned. The calm sister bringing the freaked out sister her blanket brought on a whole new round of "me do it" rather than a gracious "tink you".

I'm telling you, this would have been the perfect thing to film when considering effective ways to convince teenagers to practice abstinence.

I finally put Abigail in her crib out of consideration for Bethany's ears and for her own safety. She calmed down the teeniest bit while in there and then I found it. The perfect distraction item. I have no idea how it came to be on their dresser, but there it was. A little red feather. After a few rounds of "should I tickle your knee/cheek/hand/toes/etc" Abigail was sufficiently calm to take into my lap for a true cuddle while reading a book (holding and twirling the feather, of course).

By the time the book was done, she was herself again. She even shared the feather with Bethany. She happily sang the ABC song, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with her sister. I laid her down, tucked her in, exchanged "Iloveyounightnight"s with the babes and all was and has been quiet since.


*this was not the contented kind of chaos like we usually find at our house

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, the tantrum. Nice one! lol
    I would highly recommend that next time, you take the content child into the house and pay her attention while ignoring the screaming child altogether... and actually allow her to try and get herself out of her own car seat. When she can ask nicely and calmly that you help her, then you let her out of her seat. It works. believe me. The sooner they learn that only speaking to you with respectful voices and not screaming,will get your attention, the quicker your house will be much more pleasant. I'm a mom to 4 kids and also raised 4 foster children. It works.
    I also highly recommend the book "Have a New Kid by Friday", by Kevin Leman.
    Love the story and the visual. I was chuckling through it all. I am glad you got her calmed down so you could snuggle.