Saturday, February 11, 2012

Taking Deep, Calming Breaths


It's the only way to get through it.

The screeching.  The wailing.  The whining.  The "NO!", over and over and over again.

Repeat slowly to yourself: "you are not given anything you cannot handle", followed by, "this too shall pass".  Cliche?  Yup.  These lovely little isms are over used for good reason.  They provide a sense of relief in moments where I want to throw myself on the floor and throw an embarrassing-style fit to expel some of the frustrated energy that is threatening to blow my Mommy-cover.

The good times are good.  Like, really good.  I can light a Super Wal-Mart with my proud beaming.  The good times fill my cup and make a sloppy mess on the floor as it spills over and we slosh around in the glory of learning together, reading together and running wild through supermarket aisles together.  For my purposes today you can go ahead and equate the word 'good' with "not throwing a seemingly nothing-induced fit of epic proportions".

This fit has many faces and is rarely preceded by an event that one would say is fit-worthy.  It shows up with a hearty, "What the hell?" and as many longs breathes coupled with slow eye blinkings as it takes to get through the mess with out causing physical harm.  I've been successful 100% of the time.  I am mother, just try me.

Under my calm, composed exterior I am freaking out.  I wonder if this one is gonna last only a few minutes and just fizzle out into happiness again ("What the?") or if it'll be the one that breaks me.  The one where I cry too.

The new screechy sound that she has discovered doesn't help.  I imagine it was by accident, during a particularly intense roiling of emotions that she came upon this sound that made me wonder if she was seizing or possessed or some such frightfulness.  She wasn't (well, I suppose I don't know for a fact that she wan't possessed).  And since that day, oh happy day, she whips out that lovely tune whenever the fit strikes her.

Most recently these displays include falling to the ground, throwing things, flailing feet (hey, when you're strapped into a car seat, you do what you can) and loud, loud screaming.

My signature move is non-reaction.  Oh, man is it a challenge.  Part of my philosophy is to let her have her feelings instead of telling her she can't experience them (making her stop doing what she is doing- short of hurting someone/thing) by interacting with her non-reactively and inquiring as to what is going on for her.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea- but it works really well for us.  The way I see it, she gets acknowledged for her feelings and feels paid attention to and loved.  This gives the reason for the season (er...'fit') no more fuel, and off we go!

Reaction.  Therein lies the rainbow colored sloth in the room.  My internal reaction is everything I've already said and it ain't no picnic.

Whoever said parenting wasn't for sissy's was a gal-danged wordsmith.


  1. I once had a student who did not handle change well. (And that is the understatement of the century.) So the first week she was in my class . . . oh, dear lord, I didn't think I was going to survive. The tiniest thing would set her off and she would scream like her arm was being chopped off. (I admit - a tiny part of me was really impressed.) It took everything in me to ignore it and carry on like everything was fine. But in the end, it worked. She stopped, and the rest of the class learned how to deal with her fits. Unfortunately, we went through another extremely rough patch when her parents split up around Thanksgiving, but after we survived that we made it through the rest of the year without any more intense fits. (The crazy part is that by the end of the year she was one of my favorite kids, which I never would have believed if you had told me that at the beginning of the year.)

    And the bonus part was, thanks to her, from then on out I was pretty immune to screaming. In fact, later that same year I got a new student who tried the screaming thing and it took everything in me NOT to look at him and say, "That's it? That's the best you can do??" (His scream wasn't nearly as loud or as piercing.) With him, after a few rough days the fits got shorter and fewer and farther between, and eventually he figured out there were other, more effective ways of expressing how he felt and getting what he wanted.

    Keep breathing! You will survive!!

  2. This is a perfect moment for the phrase, "I know, right?". Rose developed the scream at the top of her lungs (especially in the car) right about the same age. I am constantly battling in my head on whether to react calmly about it and explain that it is unacceptable and extend the time out or whatever or just ignore it knowing that she is just looking for a reaction. Ahhh! It makes me want to scream right back at her although that would be the worst solution. I do have to say that Ro's reaction to Rose's screams in the car was perfect. Rose was really concerned that she made Ro cry and apologized a few times to her. Alas I don't think it would have the same affect if I told her that her screams hurt my ears. She would most likely just scream louder. :) I know that this too shall pass but shesh!