It's barely been an hour since I finished writing that last post about going crazy and things are already looking up. We finished lunch (which was porridge, of course) washed the dishes, got ready for a nap, and only 4 temper tantrums were thrown. That means her temper tantrums were 15 minutes apart (instead of 5) for a whole hour! What rapture!
Sometimes when I feel like I'm going to snap at Rachel my conscience takes the form of Robin Williams playing the role of Teddy Roosevelt in Night at the Museum. He just pops right into my head and coaches,
When that happens I can usually push the unevolved, primitive-minded monkey inside of me back and let the evolved, more kind-hearted mommy do the talking, instead. Each time I am able to do that I pat myself on the back a little bit. Like today. I think I did a pretty good job today. I didn't yell even though I was just on the verge of snapping...
I'm telling you, having temper tantrums come right on top of each other is almost as bad as having contractions come right on top of each other. I'm not my most patient self when I'm in active labor. And I'm not my most patient self when I'm dealing with active temper tantrums all day long.
Sometimes I do yell.
The other day Rachel was following me around and wouldn't leave me alone. And while she followed she whined and whined and whined. I was trying to do laundry and get the house clean and it wasn't as if I hadn't played with her at all...because I had. Usually she likes to help with the laundry and cleaning the house...but this day she didn't and refused to do every little job I asked her to do.
I told Rachel that she had to go spend some quiet time in her room so that I could get some things done. She went berserk. And refused to stay in her room. So followed me around whining and screaming and crying and pulling...
"I can't deal with you right now, Rachel, I can't! So if you can't leave me alone, I'm going to have to leave you alone!" I yelled.
And then I went into my bedroom and closed the door. I didn't feel bad about leaving her "alone" because Andrew was in the kitchen doing the dishes. Apparently she felt bad about it because she didn't even try opening the door. Instead she wandered into the kitchen and cried to Daddy,
"My mommy so mad! My mommy close door! Has time out!"
He explained to her the purpose of "alone time" and that we all need it, even mommies, and that I would come out when I was feeling happy again, just how she can come out of her time outs when she's a happy girl.*
When I came out, she asked me,
"Your own time done?"
"Yes, it's done."
"Happy girl now?"
"Yes, I'm a happy girl."
"Sorry I'm screaming?"
"Yes, I'm sorry I screamed."
And then she gave me a hug. It's funny how much like me she sounded when she grilled me with those questions--almost word for word what I ask her before she's allowed to leave timeout.
Sometimes I wonder who's the monkey and who's the mommy? Who's evolved?
*We don't enforce a time limit for our time outs when Rachel's just throwing fits; we just send her to her room, kicking and screaming, and tell her she can come out when she's ready to be a happy girl again because we don't like listening to her scream and don't have to. Sometimes she comes out 2 seconds later, sometimes she doesn't come out for a half hour or so. But when she comes out, she's usually willing to cooperate or at least communicate about what's bothering her, without any screaming. If we send her to timeout for breaking a rule or hurting someone, we stick her in for 2 minutes, 1 minute for each year. Sometimes when she feels she needs a break, she'll stick herself in timeout.