Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Atomic Tantrum

There are tantrums, and then there are TANTRUMS.  The Atomic Tantrum, the tantrum from which there is no return. When one has "gone off the deep end" or "gone around the bend", and Miss Monkey has done this on several occasions.  Of recent memory there have been massive explosions of emotion in the grocery store for nearly an entire shopping trip, big slamming of doors, and stomping of feet, blood curdling screams that would 'cause even the most stoic person pause.  God bless the dramatics of Little Girls.

Visions of her making horrid noises, mean faces at people, trapped in the grocery cart as she was, caterwauling up a storm, interspersed with my comments of "Oh it's too bad you're having a hard time" & "I love you....I imagine you're feeling sad and mad" then walking nearby to shop.  At one point I parked the cart near the flowers ("here sweeheart, you'll have something pretty to look at while you scream") and went on with my produce selection, a kind woman commiserated with me that her daughter was the same when she was little. 

Miss Monkey had friends over to visit, it was a long fun day, everyone was doing welll with each other.
At first glance the initial tantrum was simple, and short lived, something to do with sharing balloons, that almost cascaded into her friends, all mitigated with a good snack.  Hunger is a catalyst after all.
The Follow-Up, she went Atomic kicking at me flailing aggressively, threw a boot at me and a wooden rattle as a second choice to her toy laptop.  Image etched in my memory of her red-faced fuming, fists clenched glaring holes through me 'cause I wouldn't let her have First Choice of chocolate chip cookie before our guests.

This is embarrassing to be sure, and acceptance is best in a situation where I know I'm not responsible for another's behavior.  Think about it, I can't control another person unless I stoop to devious methods, even children.  I know I have my hard days, and so does Miss Monkey.  At my best I'm pretty empathetic, at my worst I don't care what you're feeling just stuff it and get on with life.

Love & Logic workshop The Man and I recently took was an immense help, yeilding up many more tools to use, most especially the verbiage we really needed.  Take care of myself first, saying what I'm willing to do, rather than barking orders.  Offering choices, even silly seemingly mundane choices, helps to maintain control on my terms, rather than constant power struggles.  Let empathy and consequences teach the lesson (rather than monologuing, or forcing the lesson on them).  For example, her newly acquired allowance will now be relegated to paying for damage she did to her door during the two most recent displays of temper .  Once more, she knows it, she's accepted it, and is moving on.  Ah, the resilience of little people.

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