Thursday, April 12, 2012

Times Like These

How come, Sean asked me last week in an exasperated, annoyed and defeated tone, you never blog about times like this? He gestured toward Lucy who was sitting at the table whining, crying, and screaming for no apparent reason we can identify anyway

As a matter of fact I reply in the same tone with a bit more snarkiness and an underlying tone of a threat, I have three drafts about just such moments…….and I just might publish them!
The “times like this” we are referring to are the temper tantrums and melt downs Lucy has been having on a (too) regular basis for the past few weeks….and by regular basis, I mean almost every morning
This morning, she woke up crying out for us. She had snuck into out bed sometime last night and when she woke up, neither of us were there. I heard her cry out but my mouth was full of toothpaste. When Lucy realized she was not getting a reaction, she stopped winging, hopped out of bed and padded into the bathroom.

Her hair was a tousled mess, she was rubbing the sleep from her eyes and her diaper looked to be at least 4lbs heavier than it had been when I put her to bed. Within minutes, after a good morning kiss, she started to babble away about her party.

She laughed and giggled, helped me clean the bathroom and waited as I got her toothbrush. In my head, I was thinking thank goodness....we're off to a good start.

Mummy, we listen to some music?

Sure I say, we've got plenty of time

She requested a specific song, I turned it on and she started screaming

I DON'T WANT THIS PART GO TO THE OTHER PART! THE OTHER PART!!!!!!!!!! THE OTHER PART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lucy, what other part?


By now, she was in full fledged meltdown mode. So I turned off the music, took her off the table and told her when she was done to come talk to me so we could figure out what she wanted.

She of course cried louder and harder, I ignored her...until she reached fever pitch and then I spoke sharply to her as Sean came up the stairs

Really Lucy? Again? he asked.

She cried some more

Lucy, Mummy and Daddy have things to do I said. We're going to head downstairs for breakfast, come down when you're ready

Sean asked me at some point what set her off and when I told him, all he could do was ask in disbelief


We retreated to the first floor to get breakfast ready, she stayed upstairs crying.

When she finally descended the stairs, at least 5 minutes later, she informed us, through tears and sniffles,

I'm ready to talk

But when we tried to talk to her, she started again - so we ignored her

Needless to say, 15 minutes later we finally got her seated at the table
Threw breakfast down her throat and we left as if nothing had happened

Every morning for three weeks this has happened....except Saturday and Sunday

What sets her off?
Who knows...........
One morning, she was set off because I moved her animals
Another morning, she was upset because she realized I did not read her 101 Dalmatians the night before (instead I has read Bambi)
One day it was because of the outfit I picked out

I don't know what sets her off and I sure as hell have not figured out how to combat it.
Wait her out?
Well here's the thing, we have jobs
Ignore her?
Again, we have jobs we have to get to
Try waking her up early?
She's up pretty darn early as it is - any earlier and we may as well skip sleep all together
Look, I'm sure there are a million things we could be doing differently - and on some level, I think we're doing just what we should be doing -
We just keep telling ourselves its a phase......that got us through the first week...

No, we do not feed Chinese or Mexican food before before she goes to bed
No, she has not been tested for an emotional disorder or autism as I don’t think she has either
No, we at not sending her to a therapist
No, we are not concerned she is having a reaction to gluten, wheat, yeast or the alignment of the planets
No, we don’t think she needs any early intervention
And no, we don’t think this is because she eats processed chicken, macaroni and cheese and non organic foods
You know what I do think?

She's 3...she's 3 and trying to figure out her place in the big world
Trying to figure out why she falls asleep with Mummy or Daddy reading to her but wakes up to a dark room with no one there
She's trying to figure out why she knows what she has to do to climb up on the blue tubes at school but her body won't do what she wants it to do because her arms and legs are too short
She's trying to figure out why she knows what she wants in her head but she does not quite know what the words are to tell us
She's trying to figure out what she is feeling and how to express it so we understand
And, she's trying to figure out just what Mummy and Daddy want from her...why on some days is it okay to have a snooze and a cuddle but other days, we're rushing her out of bed

Maybe she's just not a morning person

And then I think maybe it's not her

Maybe it's us
Maybe we're the ones who are trying to figure things out and are just not getting it
Maybe she has figured it out and is just pissed off because she does not know how to tell us what to do
And maybe, just maybe, she is telling us and we're not listening

One of her teachers told me the other day Lucy is one of the strongest willed kids she has ever seen - I agreed and noted that later in life, such a trait would come in handy, right now it's a bit trying

You know, she said, Lucy is also really hard on herself.....

I cocked my head to the side unsure if I should be concerned, offended or ambivalent to what the teacher said

I paused...What do you mean? I asked as nonchalantly as I could

Well, I mean that when Lucy tries something new, if she does not get it right the first time, she is so hard on herself...she beats herself up because she cannot do something. Like the blue tubes

The blue tubes?

Yeah, said the teacher, Lucy sees the big kids climb up on top of the blue tubes...and Lucy knows how to do it in the sense that she knows where her hands have to go, knows where her legs have to be but she's just now quite big enough to reach....she got so frustrated! And she looked right at me and in between tears told me she was frustrated!


Hmm, she really is a bright little thing - and she so badly wants to do everything.....I just keep telling her that in time, things will come....

The teacher wandered away to check on a couple kids and Lucy, who finally noticed me, ran over and hugged my leg

Come on Honey, its time to go home

No Mama! I no want to leave
She stalked off leaving me standing there counting to 10....

This is her other new thing....not wanting to leave which I think stems from this fresh little girl that tells me Lucy does not have to do what I front of Lucy...
Then she tells Lucy she does not have to go.
Lucy adores this girl and whatever she says as long as said child is not there, pick up is smooth. Unfortunately, I always get there before parents of said child.....
Now don't get me wrong, its not all this little girl's fault. We all hate being taken away from somewhere we're having fun but, I could usually get Lucy out the door by the third time I said its time to go. Now, I find myself asking/telling her a least a half dozen times before she even acknowledges me...and then I have to tell her another half dozen times before she finally realizes what I'm saying and then she and this little girl run away from me! Pick up now takes anywhere from 15-25 minutes and usually ends up with me scooping her up while she cries and then her pleading with me to let her I set her down and she runs then I catch her and pull her into an empty classroom to speak to her....Good times....

Anyway, I tell Lucy again its time to leave when she says

Mama, I want to show you something

She takes my hand and pulls me over to the tubes onto which two little girls are climbing

Mama! I tried to climb on top and I no do it! And I got frusterated (not spelled wrong, this was how she said it) and cried! Yeah Mama, I cried...

You did? I ask

Yeah Mama, I cried 'cuz I put my arms here and here (she positioned herself) and I stood here and look...

She tried to throw her leg up but of course could not quite reach

Yeah Mama, I can't do it and it made me cry 

I kneel down so we are eye to eye

You know what Lucy? I know how frustrating it can be when you try to do something and it does not work....

She is rubbing her eyes and had her head down and is sort of kicking at the ground with her toes

But you know what Lucy? You just have to keep trying....and if you keep trying and don't give up, guess what?

Yeah Mama?

Eventually, finally, after trying and trying, and maybe growing a little bit, you'll be able to do it! And pretty soon, you'll be on top of the tubes...

Yeah Mama?

Yeah Lucy....I promise. If you keep trying, you'll figure it out, you'll get there....

Tomorrow Mama?

Well, maybe not tomorrow but soon, I promise

Ok Mama....Mama?

Yeah Lucy?

I sorry I no listen to you.......and that I ran away with (name withheld to protect the not so innocent)

I know you are Lucy....thank you for telling me but let's try to work on that ok? When Mummy gets here to pick you up, we have to say good bye to our friends and the teachers and go home ok?

Ok Mama

Alright, I say getting ready to deploy the reiteration tactic, so tomorrow, when Mummy picks you up...I'm interrupted with...

Hey Mama! Is tomorrow my birthday?!?!

Lucy, Mummy was talking...

Sorry Mama, but is tomorrow my birthday?

Honey, let Mummy finish. When I pick you up tomorrow...interrupted again

It's gonna be my birthday when I turn 3?!?

Honey, tomorrow when Mummy picks you up and says its time to go...interrupted again

For my birthday party Mama? Tomorrow's gonna be my birthday...?

Lucy, Mummy is trying to tell you something

Ok Mama..well keep trying! Don't give up! What you wanna tell me?


I love you Lucy....and your party is Saturday and your birthday is Monday....

I so exited Mama! Can we go home now....?

Sure Luce, we sure can.....

So though it is not always fun and games at out house
Though Lucy is not always sweet, witty, charming and endearing
Though we are not always as patient as we could be or as calm as we like to think we are
Though dancing, singing and laughing are sometimes replaced by crying, whining, yelling and door slamming
Though I sometimes wonder if I accidentally brought home Rosemary's baby

We're just going to keep trying.....we won't give up....never give up...

Maria the Mum

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