Monday, July 20, 2009

The Terrible Two Tantrum Throwing Tyrant

There is nothing that interrupts my daily activities more than a tantrum.  It doesn't matter who's it is, it just takes time to get past them.  With Sonya it takes longer.  Her tantrums last a week where as Lana's last about two minutes.  However, what Lana's lack in time she makes up for in frequency and Sonya, especially now, doesn't have them all that often.  I suppose that evens them out.  Still, when one of them starts breaking down I know whatever I'm doing, or planning on doing, is about to be put on the back burner.  This was the case on Friday morning when Lana started a morning meltdown.  

I'm not exactly sure why or how it started.  I do know at one point she came over to me and wanted me to hold her.  I was in the middle of trying to get breakfast for all of them and I didn't have a lot of time to play with, because we had gymnastics to get to, for her in fact.  I picked her up gave her a hug and held her for a minute, but told her I had to get breakfast ready and put her down.  She was not happy about this at all, and set about to throwing all of the letter magnates, that stick on the dishwasher and fridge, on to the floor.  I gave her a warning, but she wasn't listening so I ignored it and carefully stepped around magnets that were being hurled at my feet.  When she wasn't getting enough of a reaction from that she started to sit on the floor and whine and cry.  At this point I thought about putting her outside with a sign that said "FREE-Take at your own risk", but realized Social Services would probably frown upon that.  Instead she ended up in time out.  

Usually time out does the trick for her.  She calms down and is ready to listen when her two minutes are up, but something had really gotten into her on Friday morning.  She was still angry when I went to get her out, so I gave her another time out.  She was still upset after that one, but I decided to let her out and see if she'd calm down.  Instead she continued to kick and scream in a full blown, stereo typical, two year old tantrum.  Andy decided to step in and try some disciplinary action, since I seemed to be getting nowhere.  He put her in time out and got the same result. However, he stupidly forgot about not putting her to close to the toilet paper. When he walked into the bathroom, not only was she still screaming, there was toilet paper, shredded, all over the floor.  He left her there for another 2 minutes with still no positive result. Finally he took her out of her chair,  to the living room, where those of us in the kitchen heard Daddy go to the end of his rope and yell, 
"LANA!  THAT IS IT!  KNOCK IT OFF!"  This is somewhere I have been way too many times.  I hate when I scream, but sometimes you just have to.  Andy doesn't usually get to that point, because he's not dealing with them all day like I am, but trust me I've been there on more than one occasion.  All of us, including Sonya and Georgia had really had enough at that point.  The odd thing was Lana NEVER went on this long with her tantrums, and it seemed there was nothing stopping this one.  

After "the yell" he picked her up, took her to her room, and put her in her crib.  Then he took out every stuffed animal, pillow, blankie or fun thing in there.  He closed the door and walked back to the kitchen to finish his cereal, with Lana howling in the background.  I don't think either one of us knew what we were going to do at that point, but what happened next was certainly something neither of us expected.  All of a sudden the crying just stopped.  It was like blowing out a candle flame.  The fire was just gone.  No whimpering or whining, just complete silence and then we heard this, 

"Daddy?" Lana called.  Andy and I looked at each other completely surprised, not sure we heard right.  I think I might have even said, "Is that her?"  

"Daaaadddyyy!" She called again, but not angrily.  She called him like she does when she is ready to get up from a nap.  

"Yes, Lana?" Andy called back.

"I all done."  That was it.  Just like that, she was done with her temper tantrum.  Andy went in, got her out of the crib, and placed her in her chair where she ate her breakfast without incident.  Then after breakfast I asked her to clean up the mess she made in the bathroom, and in the kitchen.  She did so without giving it a single whine or complaint.  I was completely and utterly amazed.  If it would have been Sonya she would still be in her crib crying, but not Lana.  Nope she realized she had taken it so far that she was banished to her room without anything to play with or eat, and she was having none of that, so she just decided she was done.  The best part is that even though it was about a 20 minute disruption with our morning, we still made it to gymnastics on time with Lana in the best of spirits.  

It did stick with her to, because when we came home she said to me, "Daddy take all aimals owt of my cwib."

I said, "Yes he did.  How come he did that Lana?"

"Because I make a mess and  scweeming and cying."  she told me.  Then she said, "I sawy mommy." 

See people!  Kids-they do learn from their mistakes, when you effectively discipline them.  Who knew!

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