Let me start this by giving you a bit of back story. Most of the time when one of the girls throws a temper tantrum we will walk away and let it happen. That is if we're not in public. Sometimes we try to do things to calm them down, like tell them to take deep breaths, or relax. When they do calm down, we will usually commend them by saying, "Good job calming down, Lana (or Georgia or Sonya)." This helps them to completely come back down to earth and actually listen to us.
On our first day in San Francisco, the same day we forgot to bless Lana, we were on our way back to the car after a full day of Fisherman's Wharf and the Aquarium of the Bay. It was also the first day of no naps for the two little girls. The first of THREE days of no naps. All the moms out there just gasped, because you know how bad it can get without one nap that is much needed, but three days in a row? I was pretty sure one of the girls was going to to start having her head spin around while speaking in tongues by Monday. But, we were on VACATION! So we were letting it go and doing our best to control the crankies. I have to say, they did do pretty well overall, and to be honest I think the first day may have been their crankiest. Well, Lana's anyway.
So, we were on our way to the car when Lana decided she needed to pee. I told everyone to go to the car and get the other two buckled in while I took Lana to the bathroom. When we returned to the car, everyone was waiting for us. Lana climbed in the car and started to get in her seat. I walked over to the parking payment station to take care of the parking for the day. When I got back to the car, I found Lana outside of it and Andy threatening to leave her there. I asked what the problem was and they informed me Lana wanted ME to buckle her. This is an ongoing theme with her, wanting me to do everything. It's less about me and more about her need to have power over a situation. We decided we were not giving in to her this time, and Andy forced her back into her seat and buckled her himself.
To say she was unhappy would be a serious understatement. She started a temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums. Since we were in the car, we decided to let it go, doing our best to ignore her. She screamed and cry and thrashed her body around the car seat. She threw her blankie on the ground and pulled her shoes and socks off her feet. Then she complained of her skirt falling down. Most likely due to all the thrashing about. Instead of getting a hold of herself to ask nicely for help she yelled,
"MOOOMMMYYY!! HELP. ME. NOW!!"
When I continued to ignore the orders, she whined and cried some more. Then she began to yell,
"MOOOOMMMM! TALK TO MEEEEEE!!"
That one killed me, but I knew that talking to her at that point would just negate everything we were trying to do. She knew how to ask for things and how to calm down. I had to believe she would figure it out.
Then she started to yell for her blankie. The one she had thrown on the floor. Again, I waited for the demands to end and to hear a nicer request from her. Sonya and my in-laws sat in the backseat doing their best to ignore the situation and played "I-spy" as we drove toward the Bay Bridge and our hotel. Georgia sat next to Lana in her car seat sucking her thumb, clutching her blankie and staring straight ahead.
The tantrum went on for what seemed like ten hours, but was at least a good ten minutes. She would slow down and seem to be getting to a stopping point, but then rev back up again. Finally, just when I thought I was going to break, I heard her take a deep breath and say very calmly,
I really didn't think not to respond to her because she had said is so sweetly and calmly. So I immediately said, "Yes, Lana?"
"I peeze have my bankie?" she asked very kindly.
"Of course you can," I replied and handed it to her. She put it in her mouth and relaxed further. Then, from the seat next to her, Georgia pulled her thumb from her mouth turned to look at her sister and said,
"Goo calming dow Lana."
I looked over at Andy and the two of us giggled at Georgia's praise of her sister. We then agreed and complemented Lana as well.
It's so hard to figure out the right thing to do in some of those situations, especially when the tantrums get so out of control. Every parent has their own way of doing things. Who knows if we handled it the "right" way, but as least I know we're teaching our girls to support one another. That has to be at least one point in the doing things right category.