We’ve had a long week, and today was a long day, and the kids are all wiped out.
Tonight Number 7 hit a wall and lost her shit.
Number 4 did something to piss her off, and then she just started pretty much throwing punches.
Normally when she goes off the deep end like that, I really lose my patience, and I send her to her room, and it can take anywhere from ten minutes to a half hour for her to stop screaming and thrashing around.
But what I have realized when she gets to this point is that sometimes she can’t really explain why she’s so upset.
She knows she’s upset, but she can’t verbalize the exact feeling. And the more she goes without being able to explain what’s going on, the more pissed she gets.
It’s a vicious cycle.
And so tonight when she went ballistic, instead of telling her that she needed to go into her room until she calmed down, and then standing outside her bedroom door and holding it shut because she inevitably tries, in a rage, to get out, tonight I went into her room with her. I sat on the floor in front of the door and told her I’d sit with her until she calmed down.
She was still pissed, and she tried to kick me and hit me.
Instead of yelling or threatening her when she was flailing around, I gently but firmly held her legs, and told her calmly, I won’t let you hurt me. But when you are calm, I will open the door and leave the room.
I told her I would leave her room when the thrashing stopped.
And through tears and sobs, she said to me, I want you to stay.
She came over to me and sat on my lap and threw her arms around my neck.
I want to go get my blankie with you, she said.
She had left it downstairs earlier in the day.
We went and got it off the couch downstairs.
I knew she was exhausted, and we had a really active day, so I asked her if she wanted to chill out in her bed and watch a show on the iPad, and she said, Yes. But I want you to lay down with me.
I’ll be honest.
I use that iPad time to get stuff done or to just chill out myself.
I told her I’d lay down with her.
While she watched Word Party I’d check Facebook or whatever on my phone.
We got into her bed and we found her show and I took out my phone and she looked at me and said No, Mommy! I want you to watch it with me!
Ugh. It’s nowhere near as torturous as Caillou, but I did not want to watch Word Party.
But I put the phone away, and she excitedly told me what was going to happen because she picked an episode to watch that she had seen before.
And every few minutes, Number 7 would turn to look at me to make sure that I was still paying attention to the show.
It was important to her.
And it occurred to me that she was checking to see if I was still paying attention so often that this was an issue.
Now that I’m coaching every afternoon/night and she’s in school all day, I don’t spend much time with her. And I clearly don’t pay attention to the things that matter to her as much as she’d like me to.
Because of the way our schedules are, during the week I don’t give her dinner and I rarely put her to bed.
So tonight, even though all we were doing was watching Word Party together, that was a big deal for her!
And I was reminded of the importance of spending special time with each of the kids.
The next time one of your kids goes into complete meltdown mode, they could just be throwing a fit.
But they may also be trying to tell you something else.
Maybe it’s not their way that they are trying to get.
Maybe all they really want is your attention.
I am in my 20s, but I just realized that this is exactly how I am! I watch to see if people are engaged in the activity that we are enjoying together. I especially do it with my mother who likes to read while we are watching things. I will wait to watch something with her and she still won’t just sit and participate with equal attention. It has bothered me for years, but I think you have articulated that feeling so well. It is good that you are seeing this now because, at least for me, that feeling did not diminish with age.