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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Buh-Buh-Buh-Buh Baddd...

Brace yourself. This post is nothing more than recapping Elaina's bad day. And by bad day, I mean she was BAD.

First off, Eric has been out of town for the week since Monday and I've been a little anxious but hopeful about how my week alone would pan out. I know that other mom's single- parent every day, but I'm just used to having my husband there when I need him.
When I arrived at the babysitter's house, Nancy looked at me with a look of despair and said, "Oh Laura, I hope I did the right thing. There was an incident today." Oh boy.
She went on to tell me that Elaina had a complete and utter meltdown/tantrum when her other little friend was using the cup that she wanted. Nancy had decided not to give into Elaina and told her that she was not able to have Kayla's cup. Apparently, Elaina threw herself on the floor, kicked, screamed and even resorted to scratching at her own arms in her fit of rage. Nancy held her tight and reassured her until they reached an agreement that Elaina would be using a green cup instead. Oh boy.

Nancy's primary concern was her trying to scratch her own arms and hated to put her through all of that because she said "no" over a stinkin' cup. I reassured Nancy that she absolutely should have stood her ground and not let Elaina get her way and I've seen her so mad that she's even tried to pull at her own hair. That's been scary for me to see too. The minute she starts this, I grab her arms VERY firmly and tell her "don't you dare pull my daughters' hair." Like she's some kind of split personality psychopath , torturing my baby. Whatever. She stops and just cries.

Nancy relayed this incident while Elaina was not present. When she came back in, I could tell that she was clearly avoiding me so I pulled her close and hugged her and told her how glad I was to see her, just like every other day and then asked if there was an accident at Nanna's. I didn't so much want to punish her again, only wanted to acknowledge to Elaina that I knew what had happened and have her apologize.
So, there I am, thinking our incident was over and we were ready to leave. Just then, Elaina decided to hide behind a chair, stand-off style and told me she wanted to stay. Nothing I did or said made her want to budge for the better part of 5 minutes before I strapped Lincoln in the car and made a separate trip to carry her out kicking and screaming. Apparently, I lost my "good" Elaina, because in the almost 3 years that I've been taking her there, we've never had a circumstance escalate even close to this type of behavior.

Once in the car, I turned off her favorite kids music CD and ignored her. Silence for the whole four minutes home. I unpacked the car, tucked Lincoln safely in the living room in front of the TV and finally made my way out to speak to Elaina. Only briefly. I've learned that shouting and threats don't scare my daughter nearly as much as blatantly ignoring her. She has fear for the unknown more than she fears my words. Once inside, she knew she wasn't quite out of trouble and was crying and still carrying on. She was made to sit on the bottom step of the staircase for a time-out until she could quit crying. After nearly 5 minutes, she settled enough for us to talk and she identified her bad behavior and I helped her to recognize that her behavior will not be acceptable. I didn't have to tear into her like I felt on the verge of doing and I didn't even need to raise my voice. I impressed myself that I held my temper too and that the whole evening wasn't lost on dealing with an out of control toddler teetering on the edge of a beating all night long. We did it. I don't have any idea what sparked the demon in my baby girl today, but I also saw how we were able to get through it. I think we both learned a lesson today.
After an exhausting day like today, it looked as though Elaina needed just a little more comforting from her friends. And her books. And her shoes and just about everything that wasn't nailed down.

1 Welcome Comments:

Tracy said...

It sounds like you are doing a great job. My patients is what I have to work on. It sounds like you have that under control. Great job. Hang in there!