Sure, my little preschooler has had her share of tantrums. I remember my birthday 2 years ago – I tried desperately to enjoy the Chinese food my husband had brought home while she lay on the kitchen floor and wailed. But nothing, NOTHING was like what happened last week. In the midst of it I could not even recognize her. It was scary.
Both of my kids have been really tired this summer, whether it’s the heat, or something in the air, or what, I don’t know. And it’s been affecting them with big time crankiness.
We had a play date that day, and Peanut didn’t get her usual quiet time; I’ve learned she really does need that down time (actually she probably needs a nap most days, but she won’t take one). She and her play mate had a few squabbles early on, the usual stuff when 2 preschool girls both want to call the shots.
It wasn’t until after play date (thank God) that Peanut completely unhinged. I don’t even know what started it.
No, wait, I remember… She had taken her top off to put on some dress up clothes during play date and she was complaining that she was now cold. She wouldn’t go to her room to get her shirt because her bedroom light was off. If I really thought she was scared of going I might have gone with her, but she goes down the hall and turns on her own light ALL the time. I was pretty sure it was a “I wonder if I can make Mommy do what I want” moment, and so I continued to put away the dishes from the dishwasher.
Then came the whining, followed by her hanging on my leg. They always say to ignore a child having a tantrum and it will end faster. And usually it does for my daughter, but how do you ignore someone hanging on your leg???
I asked her to let go. I eventually pried her off and tried to get her to go get her shirt on her own while I watched her go down the hallway. She made it 2 feet from where her shirt was before she came running back. Again there was hanging on my leg, then my arm.
Both kids had eaten dinner, but I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, having spent most of the dinner time putting a sweater on my topless daughter since she was cold, only to have her take it back off. The rest of the dinner I spent trying to get her picky brother to eat.
I was trying to eat some of the zucchini I had cooked for them; that’s when she really went off the handle. She kept trying to knock the plate out of my hand. I had never seen her like that before. I put the plate down, let her know that was NOT acceptable and she started hitting me, still yelling something about wanting her clothes. I knew she was tired, but I had no idea just how tired until as she was screaming the yawns just kept coming.
I tried putting her in time out after the hitting, but she kept leaving the corner. I really didn’t want her little brother to keep seeing her that way, so I tried putting her in her room. But she would run out screaming and throwing herself at me before I even made it down the hallway. Her brother thought this was hilarious.
I hate to even say it, but at one point I locked her door, certain if she just was alone a few minutes she’d calm down, maybe even fall asleep from exhaustion. Evidently she has learned how to unlock the door because she came out pretty much right away after that, too.
I gave up at that point. I grabbed her and just hugged her, maybe a little too tightly at first, and when she finally stopped fighting as hard, I, again, told her that she was tired and needed to go to sleep. “But Mommy,” she said, “I’ll be uncomfortable in my clothes.” (She had at some point gotten her shirt back on while in her room.)
So after an hour with a little girl I didn’t realize, we went down the hallway, this time with a little girl I did recognize, to get her nightgown on and go potty. I promised I’d rock her a bit, and she was asleep in less than 5 minutes, even with her little brother asking me to draw pirates and cars the entire time on his Magna Doodle. She was asleep by 6:30 and didn’t wake until her usual time in the morning.