Friday, February 15, 2008

Please. Don't forget the condoms.

I spent the morning hard at work, and was happy to see the kindergarten bus pull up mid-day. Had I but known, I would not have been nearly so happy to see it. Here is what happened next.

1.Daughter comes off bus. She gets mad when I remind her she lost computer privileges because she called me "stupid mommy" this morning
2. She screams and throws tantrum
3. She screams for lunch, then screams when told it will take a few minutes to prepare
4. Still calm, I ask her if she wants juice; she refuses to answer, making "unga bunga" noises.
5. Screams because i haven't given her juice
6. Gets a sheet of paper to draw
7. Crumples sheet of paper b/c she's still mad at me
8. Yells at me b/c there is flour on the table
9. Yells at me b/c I have wiped table off with wet paper towel and now it will make her paper wet, forgetting she's already crumpled it
10. Remembers paper is crumpled, lays on floor because I refuse to get her a new sheet of paper after she hurls crumpled one at me
11. Lays on floor screaming and kicking
12. Refuses to get up, notwithstanding loss of other privileges, no dessert, being sent to her room (refuses to go), and various other non-corporal punishments
12a. Gets up and hits me
13. When I say "aha, so you can move," she falls back on floor pretending to have legs that are "too tired" to walk
14. Misc. screaming, yelling, hitting and throwing things (by her)
14a. I try to hug her and hold her, talking in soft voice to see if she'll calm down
15. She gets splashed with cup of water
16. Goes ballistic and takes off dress, uses a la twirled towel in locker room
to snap me
17. Undresses and says she won't put on underwear again
18. I pretend to leave a message on Nana's answering machine telling her how bratty her only granddaughter is.
19. Panics and puts on underwear (her, not me)
20. I tell her next stop if she doesn't stop screaming is back porch. (Hollow threat)
21. She runs onto front porch wearing only underwear.
21a. I bring her back into house before child protective services is alerted.
22. More sundry screaming, hitting, kicking
23. Dumps over 2 clothesbaskets of folded laundry
24. Runs upstairs to evade my wrath and gets stuffed cat
25. I confiscate stuffed cat and tell her she can't have it back unless she picks up laundry and goes into room and quiets down
25. Picks up laundry
26. Has spent last 25 minutes screaming "kitteh" while pointing at high shelf where I placed it.

See, the thing about kids is they don't read the same parenting books that adults do. So they tell you your kid will get his first tooth at age 4 to 6 months, but your baby doesn't read that book, and so soon your kid is a year old and has barely a tooth bud. Likewise, they tell you you can "Ferberize" your baby, but they don't tell your kid that, so you end up listening to the kid scream all night, every night for a week, then give up. Your nerves are shot; your kid is fine.

So here's a kid who gets disciplined consistently, is showered with love & attention, has no physical or mental disabilities, and -- much to my surprise today -- doesn't get smacked. But she still doesn't listen.

I don't know where she gets that from. (Hint: her father.)

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. Your daughter and mine must have been separated at birth. That scenario plays itself out at least once a week in my household. I feel for you. Makes you (almost) want to deal with clients again doesn't it?

kewpiedoll (Amy)

Anonymous said...

That story is only funny because it didn't happen in my house. Today. Yet. No, I take that back: it would still be funny because it happened to someone other than me.

Don't know about you, but still doesn't want me want to deal with clients! Reminds me of the time when our accountant came in, and I was washing the glass doors. Him: "Boy, I bet you miss being a lawyer and meeting clients just about now, huh?" (followed by a knowing chuckle) Me: "Nope, not a bit, not even close. Even cleaning toilets is preferable to that." I was dead serious. He didn't believe me.

Anonymous said...

Stupid Mommy,
Here is my unsolicited advice. I G N O R E her when she is acting badly. The kid is smarter than you. The kid wants to make you nuts. Do not answer anything said in a tone that isnt civilized.

If that doesn't work, get unsolicited advice from someone else.

I feel your pain. Been there with one of my kids. She is smart and itches for fights. I have to remember not to return fire.

Mommy Dearest

Tikabelle said...

When I was tantrum-y, my mom would send me straight to the living room couch. Going to my bedroom wasn't a punishment 'cause I would just read a book, but the living room was b-o-r-i-n-g. I wasn't allowed to come back without apologizing and behaving like a human. I try that tactic with the girl I nanny for, but her dad always lets her come back inside and get cuddled before she "has her feelings hurt." Argh.

I feel for you. Don't worry - after 7 siblings and being a teacher as well as a nanny, my stance on birth control is rock solid.

Skylark said...

Sounds like she had a bad day at school. I hope she was able to talk about it once the tension was over.

I had one just like her and he grew out of it before 2nd grade. Sports helped.

One thing that helped us - bean bags. After sewing some denim squares and filling with pinto beans, I made a target, hung it in the garage and used it in situations like this. Yes, I used the bean bags. Shocked look on his face. "What are you doing?" "I have so much anger in me, I'm trying to get it out." Wasn't long before he used the bean bag too.

Parenting - who knew it would be so challenging?

Wishing you the best!

Carol said...

Dear Mommy Dearest,
You know, this is what perplexes me. If I ignore her, she starts doing destructive and even dangerous things, like knocking stuff over in the kitchen, or trying to climb up a bureau that could topple over on her. She seems unable to stop herself regardless of what I do or don't do, which is what baffles me.
Stupid Mommy

Cindy said...

When my daughters were young, they were allowed to throw fits whenever they were angry, just not near us. They were sent to their room, and weren't allowed to come out until they could control themselves.

Since they wanted to be where we were, they quickly learned how to control themselves so they could come back out. It worked like a charm. We didn't have to listen to them screaming, and they learned how to control their tempers. They also learned acceptable and unacceptable ways to handle anger.

They were still crawling when we started doing this, but even at that age, their fits never lasted more than a few minutes.

Also, NEVER make hollow threats. A child will never be fully disciplined if they know you don't mean what you say. I have seen parents crawling through a McDonald play set, threatening the the whole time, because their child wouldn't come out. All I had to do was say that if they were going to give me a hard time when it was time to go, we just wouldn't come back again. They knew I meant it, so they came out as soon as I asked them to.

kate said...

I know this must have been a harrowing experience for you but the write-up was very amusing for me to read ;-) I'm sure it will get better as she gets older. Hang in there! Love my sock club yarn by the way.

j. said...

Hey, where did that water in #15 come from?

mindy said...

I am in awe of you for even being able to type at this point. I can't even remember how i handled C when she was doing that.

Have some chocolate and love on Charcoal if things have calmed down. Big glass of wine tonight.

I'm worn out just thinking of your afternoon...

Anonymous said...

i feel for you carol. As a preschool teacher and mom of two--my best comments are to go knit and dye your wonderfully delicious yarns. please know in your heart that you are a good mother and that the bottom line is that you keep your daughter safe-of course give her limits when you can-- the advise about never giving empty threats is a real keeper. when you are both calm you can talk to her about what was really bothering her. good luck---bess

Carol said...

I've had so many of those days. You try to rationalize with them like an intelligent being until you remember that they aren't rational. You are not alone. You are still a good mommy. There's a good article from the NYTimes about toddlers being neanderthals that you might find amusing after that glass of wine - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/health/05well.html?em&ex=1202446800&en=71c8f193a5fde0ee&ei=5087%0A

And people wonder why I laugh hysterically when they ask if I'll have more kids...

Loren T said...

Don'tcha just love those days? In my house, tantrums out of nowhere are usually a sign of impending illness. Could she be coming down with something?

I do what Cindy does -- tell them they can scream and cry all they want, just in their rooms.

Anonymous said...

Stupid Mommy
Your kid is smarter than my kid.
Good luck
Mommy Dearest

PS
Let me point out some places you could have acted differently
#3 She screams, you respond. Dont until she can ask in a civilized voice.
#13 shouldnt have risen to her bait.
#14 hug? fogetaboutit.
#15 shoulda put ice in the water
#25 light a match and tell her that the kitteh is toast unless the laundry gets hung up AND NOT ON WIRE COAT HANGERS

Elinor said...

You have some fine mommy skills. I mean that in all seriousness. I'm impressed at the calmness you exhibited, even with the discipline. My mom would have flipped a bit by maybe #13. ^_^ She'd count to ten and make me sit on the stairs by #6. I hope things are going better now! When kids I babysit get like that, I play the ignoring-you game.

TheAmpuT said...

Great story, but I have to say, when it started with "kindergarten bus", I was expecting something completely different (worse) and almost had a mini-heart attack. I actually think this part of parenting is more fun that the last round of parenting stuff you had to crank out (but my kid is 10 and less tantrum-y now, and ohhh how quickly we forget--like the pains of childbirth, me thinks).

I think you and kitteh should go have a tea party.
That oughta piss her off LOL. (j/k, of course)

Sharon in Surrey said...

I was the oldest child in a family of six, a homemaker - looked after other people's rotten children & a best friend to many single moms. After all those kids I refused to have any of my own . . . I found three warnings to be sufficient. If they didn't listen in public(McDonalds) we never returned. I liked Church's Chicken anyway. If they misbehaved in the grocery store, we left & I never took them again. If they threw a tantrum at home, I tossed em into the cold, cold shower. End of tantrum. I was a mean aunty but it was fun to go with me . . . Grins.

Lola and Ava said...

You gave the child a forum a few days ago . . . she wants it back! Seriously, laughed my ass off since I seem to do the same thing with teenagers. I've already told my students that I am not a mind reader; otherwise I would have used it on my girls long before becoming a teacher.

PICAdrienne said...

So, you have a normal child. I can recall, my now 16 year old, throwing herself down on the floor of our van, as we were about to leave her daycare, kicking and screaming. I don't remember the cause, I do remember laughing at her, (not with, at,) and she didn't ever do that again. Her younger sister tried that at a store, it stopped when I walked away and continued with what I was intent on doing. And, I do tell them they have the meanest mom in the world...deal with it. When they are REALLY mad at me, they argue with me about it.

no-blog-rachel said...

Damn. I feel for you! I have no fabulous parenting advice (even though I am one), I just wanted to tell you I sympathize! Sounds like a hellish day - I hope tomorrow is tons better.

Bonnie D. said...

Although I feel your pain, I still chuckle. She sounds just like my middle daughter. Three kids.... three identical parenting techniques... three different reactions. My middle daughter is now 17 and is still very strong willed.

But the same determination and self absorption that makes her so hard to deal with at times, also manifests itself in a joy of life and giving to others that is unmatched by my other two children. She exhibits the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. And I can't imagine her any other way. I wish the same for your daughter as she grows up (and you!)

Hugs to you. (And a great big martini helps, too.)

Ingrid said...

Lovely writing Carol. My mother is fond of saying to me that many characteristics which are undesirable in small children turn out to be very attractive in adults. Look at the qualities she has, she's persistent, independent, and comes up with creative confrontation techniques, and is creative with her negotiating skills.

Are either of her parents litigators?

I don't know how you are meant to deal with these qualities in the un-moderated small child. I battle with them every day.

anne marie in philly said...

(wink wink) and this is why I have no human children.

my cats would never do this to me.

poor carol - wine and fiber and charcoal bun-bun should ease your frustrations.

Sarah said...

god bless contraception.

deirdre said...

1. All less-than-desirable traits can be traced to the father's side.

2. Yet another reason to be grateful for the invention of alcohol.

Kary said...

Thank you for that post...it must be going around. It really helps to know that others have sometimes crazy kids no matter how well we follow the rules.

Barb B. said...

Gee, the only difference between her and my #2 son (now 25) is gender.
1. Stubborn...and when he was 10, and the local pusher tried to bully him into buying dope, he was too stubborn to give in and reported it to the cops.
2. Determined to do it his own way in his own time...learned to ride a bike in one afternoon, learned to skate when he hit the ice etc.

And so many other positive things, I can't name them.
This too shall pass.

That said, mine threw some awful fits..he would literally tear apart his bedroom, matress on the floor you name it. the most we could do was put him in his room, don't touch your toys till you want to behave (and to the spankers etc...tried that, didn't work) We found out that he was suffering not only from partial deafness, but chronic ear infections and sinus infections. The pain and the frustration of the two combined...the doctor said if I had those problems I'd be screaming in the corner.
The bean bag idea above is a good one...we punched pillows at our house.

Anonymous said...

Don't ever hug or hold her when she's like that.

Immediately isolate her. Having you as an "audience" and getting a rise out of you is part of what propels her behavior.

Isolate her in her room, or in a bathroom, until she quiets down. If she comes out and starts bitching again, isolate her again.

I have a five-year-old. When/if she starts to cry/complain for no reason I say "I understand you're upset. Please go to your room and get it out of your system. When you can act like a human being, you can come out."

Lather, rinse, repeat. The tantrums, I assure you, will stop.

Gina said...

Tantrums suck. They go away.

Carol said...

This is one of the reasons I don't have kids. Although I am amazed at you rability to write it down in a rational fashion. I would have lost it. completely.

Meghann said...

wait....were you at my house yesterday?

Sally said...

I'm pretty sure we have the same kid. Only mine wouldn't have gotten on the bus because she's scared the bus will leave her off somewhere other than school, such as the DMZ or Detroit.

I feel your pain, and I sympathize.

Carol said...

Ah, girls. Wait until she's a teen. Same crap, only she's moved to level 13~Not to woryy though, you'll be well on your way to level 12 by then ;-)

Diane said...

If they'd only put all that energy into good instead of evil .....

Anonymous said...

What was her counterpart doing during all this sturm und drang?
Don't you have all day kindergarten?

We used to call middle daughter
"The Red Typhoon". Once, as we drove down the interstate, she chucked a shoe out the window.
Michelene

Julie said...

Please forgive me for laughing hysterically while reading this. It was like I was reading a day from my life when my daughter was young (and not so young).

Rabbitch said...

It's times like this that I thank the FSM that I don't have children.

And then I sober up and remember that I do.

It gets better. Just try not to kill her for the next year or so and it evens out bigtime. I wouldn't lie to you about this. Everything else, yes, but not this.

gabriella said...

hahaha oh carol...if it's any consolation, give her 20 years and she'll laugh herself sick hearing these stories...i'm living proof of this effect! here's hoping you had a calmer weekend. :) gabriella

Anonymous said...

The same thing happened to me on the same day the credit card company was snarky about my lack of income because I am apparently a non-entity since I stay at home with my kids, and I read in a technical journal (I am a chartered accountant) that salaries have increased 47% in the last 3 years that I have been a stay at home mom. I felt for you even while I was laughing my ass off while reading your blog. Been there (just about 2 weeks ago, in fact), done that, no doubt will go through it again. Priceless!

Anonymous said...

I have a half day kindergarten girl as well. It's grey, cold and miserable out. Both kids have been sick off and on all fall and winter. DH was away for work for a month solid. My patience is gone.

I get "I hate you" and "your the best mommy ever" minutes apart. My kid is adopted so I also get "why did you buy me?" and "I wanted a Korean mother not a regular mother" and "I didn't ask for a mother".

At work you ask someone for a piece of paper and they actually hand you a piece of paper without throwing a hissy fit, declaring how unfair it is that they have to do everything ...

Just tired of being everyone's maid and whipping boy.

Did I mention that it is school vacation week ...

woolywoman said...

OMG Your daughter and my son. The too tired thing just GETS me, you know?

mendoquilts@yahoo.com said...

If this behavior is presistent, you might have her tested. My daughter was the same and I just thought it was 'normal, stubbornness and anger', but it was ADD without hyperactivity and with explosive disorder. We didn't discover until she was 16 - wish we'd known way earlier and developed other strategies or medication to prevent this behavior from becoming lifelong. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

My first instinct is that something happened at school that must have set her off. My next thought is that she is going through a growth spurt and just feels out of sorts. Keep up with the consistency and perhaps give less attention to the tantrums...try to ignore them or walk away when they start. When I was a little one, my favorite thing to do was to "run away from home" all the way to the cow barn and to seek sympathy from my father because my mother was "so mean". My mother always told me to go ahead and run away...do you suppose that's the cause of all my insecurities? LOL Ah, the good old days.
Go knit something...it will calm you down.
BLogless Mary Lou

TracyKM said...

This happens all the time at my house. Kids get so overwhelmed by their emotions. THink of them having the same size emotion as us, but all contained in their little half size body/brain.
I highly recommend "The Happiest Toddler on the Block". I even use the techniques on my husband. Also, "Raising Your Spirited Child" and "The Out-of-Sync Child" because maybe there's some sensory dysfunctioning.
I think she's not listening to you because you're not listening to her. You don't empathize or acknowledge her feelings at all, or taught her how to deal with the emotions. Discipline means "To teach; to give life to learning". You're punishing, but not disciplining.
The first two books I mention will help you alot, and the kids don't even have to be able to read the cover :) I have three (all with speech delays, two with a developmental delay called Sensory Integration Dysfunction), and all three are very spirited.

Jennie said...

It's like you're seeing into my house. The suckmeister part of it is that my son is nearly 8 and can still do this Spawn of Satan behavior.

What helps me is to call my sister and inform her that I'm shipping a box with holes in it to her and she might want to open it right away and feed my son.