Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oh, the Screaming!

Over the last few days, Girlchild has started another new thing. Think "banshee," "screaming demon," "blood-curdling shriek" and "tortuous screams" and you'll get the idea.

For whatever reason a two-year-old might have, she has decided it is just fine to wait a short time after going down for a nap or off to bed, lulling her parents into a false sense of security, and then she starts to scream as if someone is poking her with hot irons or shoving bamboo under her fingernails.

Naturally, the first few times this happened, Daddy or I made the grave error of "rushing in" to see what was wrong. As soon as I entered her room, she stopped shrieking and said, very happily, "Hello, Mommy! Want juice!" Yes, these dramatic episodes generally end with some sort of simple request, like a drink, a snuggle or more music.

Grrrr.

It didn't take us overly long to realize she had a New Great Game and that this horrible, horrible sound brought Mommy and/or Daddy in on the run. So we stopped running and started setting the timer for five-minutes-that-seemed-liked-45-minutes before going into her room, patting her on the head and saying, "There there. You go to sleep now, dear. Nighty night." This is sooooo hard to do at 3 in the morning when you just KNOW it is going to wake up Boychild, too. It makes for a long day.

Ever looking for the silver lining in things, I'll say this: 1. At least at this time of year the windows are closed, otherwise the neighbours would be calling the police to investigate whatever it is that is causing someone to scream like she's being sawed in half. I tell you, it would wake the neighbourhood in the summer. 2. This whole horrible, horrible phase may be short lived. The frequency was down today. We can always hope it will be over soon because anything that involves demon-like shrieking is just not good.

6 comments:

Chris said...

Oh,I remember this phase. Cath worked out this system where we would go in after five minutes the first time, 10 mins the second, 15 the next....etc.etc. I don't remember how long we lasted, or how far around the clock we got, but I do remember the physical pain.

Bon chance, mon amie

Heather said...

Our two year olds must have gone to the same secret banchee finishing school.

Mama P said...

LOL. Not funny for you, but funny for me because boy can I relate. I do a Tantrum Tuesday thing on Babycenter. Is it okay if I link to this? And another question is this: how do you handle it? Hang tight! You make the rest of us feel normal.

Steph said...

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone! You'll be happy to know the phase seems to be petering out - at least for now. Touch wood.

Chris - We did the 5-, 10-, 15-minute thing, too. Seems to me we got up to 40 minutes a couple of times with Sam. Not pretty. You're right, it IS physically painful!

Heather - When I find that school....

Mama P - Sure, link away! I've been pretty lucky with tantrums. Sam rarely had them and Isobel is usually okay if you give her a big hug to help her settle down, but I generally don't "handle" them well. It's that A-type personality in me - things have to be Just So, thank you very much! When tantrums happen in front of other people, I am mortified and flustered and have a hard time thinking logically. (I wish I didn't let other people's opinions get to me, but I do.) With this screaming thing, though, the timed return seems to have worked in combination with not responding when screamed at. Fortunately Isobel is old enough that she is starting to understand when I say, "Please do not scream that way. It hurts Mommy's ears." Not to mention that it makes Mommy's head go spinning off of Mommy's neck and into orbit, but I don't actually SAY that....

Mama P said...

Oh, thank you so much! I will link you up on Tuesday. I will paraphrase and credit you with much of your technique. If for some reason I simplify it too much, let me know and I can change the post any time.

Looking forward to more of your tips.

Ps: I get you on the mortification thing. I am really working on not letting others opinions (or my ASSUMED opinions that they have) get to me. No one is perfect. Well, except our kids. Ah... there's the rub. Moms are never free from wanting the world to love them as much as we do, huh?

Steph said...

You're welcome! I look forward to seeing it.

It's so true what you say. When my oldest was a newborn, I couldn't understand why other people didn't want to just sit around and stare at him for hours because he was soooo beautiful. Yeesh. Of course most of those "other people" had already had babies who were probably the most beautiful children in the world (and so it goes)....