Another day, another tantrum. Just finished publishing a piece on how I am trying not to remember this time as the “dark ages” and then wham, I wake up to this:
My daughter melted down this morning. None of the usual tricks worked. She just got stuck in this very cyclical pattern of repeating herself. “No, I am not going to do that!” “No, I’m not going to my room.” “No, I am not going to calm myself down.” And so on.
And once the train was going, it was gone. The issue? She wanted to bring 3 toys with her to preschool today, which is not allowed. They have already made an exception for her to bring 1 small toy for security, but 3 is just over the top. Imagine the chaos of trying to participate in activities with 3 toys, or one of them getting lost, or even another child trying to play with one of her beloved attachments. CHAOS is only the beginning.
I offered her other solutions: she could either put 2 of her babies in a special place at home where I would keep them safe, or she could put them in her backpack and take them to school but not play with them while she is there. Nothing worked. She told me I didn’t have good solutions.
I tried to hold her calmly in a firm, comforting bear hug. Didn’t work.
I felt lost. After a half hour of listening to her rant on and on, I lost my patience. I told her she needed to make a decision or I would. And that I didn’t want to hear any more about it.
To my surprise, she calmed down and made her decision.
With my daughter, I am always threading that needle of working her through her emotions or trying to talk her down from the ledge. But sometimes I just can’t get through to her. She needs to know what the limits are. And how much everyone else is going to take.
In no time, she was packed up and shipped off to school. Even cheerful and lovey as we parted ways.
And me? I’m a wreck. I feel as though I have an emotional hangover. My heart hurts; I feel totally bummed. I can’t stand starting the day this way. Listening to her tantrum, losing my own patience, and raising my voice. It feels like we’ve ruined the record we were setting of tantrum free days.
In the midst of my misery, my husband calls. I don’t like venting to him about this because I don’t want to weigh him down – but as I talked, his words cut through my misery with complete clarity.
“She’s already well over it, why aren’t you?”
It reads snarky, but it wasn’t at all. He remembered being a kid, having drag out blow out tantrums, and being over it just 15 minutes later.
I was shocked. I never had that experience.
But here I am, 5 hours later, still reeling from the effects of the argument, while it was likely no longer even a thought in her mind.
So, for my future sanity, I am going to take a lesson from the kids’ play book:
When it’s over, I’m going to let it go.
Sara Brunsvold says
This term you use — tantrum hangover — is spot-on. The hangover is real. My child is resilient, while I am an internalizer. I too find myself staying too long under the cloud a tantrum can hang over me. I try to think of lovely things, godly things, as the antidote. (Thus my blog name, Find the Lovely.)
Sane Mama says
That’s a good solution! Thanks for reading 🙂
Oohhh, I get this! I feel like I’m getting better at letting it go once my kids have calmed down – as long as I didn’t lose my cool too. The guilt stacks up when I lose my cool and that’s harder for me to let go.
Sane Mama says
I agree, it’s like having too much to drink & doing something stupid. A double whammy.
Girl, it is so HARD! I am now entering this toddler stage and oh my goodness, they know how to take the very, VERY last ounce of patience right out of you. It’s not even funny. I feel so helpful and clueless at times. I wish we could just act like them sometimes and “get away with it” but instead we have manners (for the most part! lol). Hang in there. They do get over their attitudes fast, and smile right back. It’s like they’re bipolar 😉
Sane Mama says
They totally are. It’s amazing how much a child can really dish it out. That is something NOBODY warned me about.
I’m going to have to steal this term! As a counselor in a school, I deal with tantrums on a daily basis, and they can be more exhausting for me than my clients sometimes.
Sane Mama says
You are welcome to it! Just send some people back my way for more word gems 🙂
Oh my goodness! I love this term! I always feel like the WORST mom after a tantrum even though I know I did everything by the book. My three year old is going through the same exact thing!