Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's Payback Time

In the tantrum department, we had it pretty good with Boychild. He didn't have "terrible twos." Groom-boy and I chewed our nails and waited in nervous anticipation, but they never arrived. The threes were mighty fine, too. There was a smattering of activity during the "Fearsome Fours" when there was a lot of testing of boundaries but, overall, Boychild has always been somewhat compliant and reasonable.

Enter Girlchild.

Compliant? Ha!

I can probably count on one hand - maybe two - the number of all-out temper tantrums Boychild ever had. They were so rare that when they happened Groom-boy and I would stand around and scratch our heads because we didn't really know what to do with him. We watched other parents struggle with kids having tantrums and had a vague notion that we were lucky, but mostly wondered what the other parents were doing wrong. That's because we were dumb. And a tad judgmental.

With Girlchild, I can count on one hand - maybe two - the number of all-out temper tantrums she has had TODAY. Okay, it's not quite that bad, but we can usually depend on at least one daily doozy.

We don't stand around and scratch with Girlchild. We have developed "strategies." Many of these are preventive: 1. to prevent her from having the tantrum in the first place and 2. to prevent our eardrums from bursting once one erupts. (Note to parents: Never confine yourself and a small, screaming child in a tiny powder room with the door closed.)

I am one helluva mean mother. I won't let her graze all day (although some days it's close). I won't let her go out in the winter without clothes on. Or even in the friggin' cold spring around here. I won't change the CD at bedtime more than three times. I won't let her wear the princess pajamas if they are covered in filth.

No wonder she falls to the floor, screaming and flailing.

Tonight, as she spent half of supper shrieking in her crib because, well, because some planet didn't align just so or something, I had a little brainwave. I dusted off one of my neglected baby books (not much time to read them when number two comes along) and turned to the tantrum section. I seriously remember skipping over these sections in the books. It just wasn't issue with Boychild.

Ahem. Yes, well. Might as well brush up for the exam because, evidently, we're in the throes of the Terrible Twos. Who woulda guessed that now WE are sometimes the parents dutifully carting a small pink screaming flailing blonde puff away from the scene.


Evenspor said...

These day if I ever catch myself thinking something judgemental toward another parent, I try to stop and think there must be something I don't know about. I don't want to catch any more bad parent kharma.

Steph said...

Omigosh, Arwen, I hadn't even considered the karma factor! ;)

You're so right, though. When you glide through life with compliant child it's easy to lose sight of what's going on behind the scenes for other people. I see that more clearly now.

momma's heart said...

I read your post about the ick, then thought - Oh my gosh - We haven't been sick since Dec. The day after having that thought, my six-year-old threw up and my husband developed a chest cold.

I've found payback time comes from even the most innocent thoughts, such as, "I'm glad my child doesn't do that." That's something one should NEVER say. LOL

Sparky said...

I will always remember the time I made the mistake of cutting a slice of food court pizza in half. That resulted in the most monumental tantrum that the-boy ever had (age 2 and a half). Thank god he would walk and scream-cry at the same time because hi sister was only 6 months old and I only had an umbrella stroller with me. I tried to walk as if nothing was happening. It was kind of hard not to laugh because he was so loud.

Steph said...

Pam: You are soooo right!

Sparky: You cruel mama. Cutting a pizza. Tsk tsk. What WERE you thinking? :)