Friday, July 1, 2011
Sometimes You've Gotta Scream!
This is a pretty sweet face! You would never guess from this picture that she can be quite the surly little girl at times! Now there is usually a reason for the surly rather than just the temper tantrums of the toddler years.
My kids' dad chose to move out of the country almost two years ago. He has been back for only his fourth visit in the two years for a little over the last month. My daughter had a good relationship with him before he left us, so these visits are ones of confusion for her.
They have been on five visits with their dad. After the fourth visit ended earlier this week, she came home in quite the mood. First she was mad because her brother had counted to 100 for me right before I had dropped them off for that fourth visit. In doing so, he earned a small Obi Wan Kenobi action figure. I was supposed to have brought it with me, but had forgotten and promised him that he would get it first thing when we got home. She wanted to know what I had gotten her. When my answer was really that nothing was at home for her other than some new states activity books that I had gotten in the mail, she stomped to the car yelling, "Those are just books!" She continued to be angry in the car until I mentioned that if she was really that unappreciative of all the things she already has, all of that stuff could just go away.
Then we went to pick up my handicapped sister, she was angry that I was going to have her sit next to her aunt rather than rearranging the car to make the third row of seats come up. I calmly mentioned that is not how we behave in families, and that the car ride between grammie's and our house is only a three minute drive.
Once home she continued to try to engage me in all kinds of arguments and was just angry in general. Finally she wanted me to come outside with her RIGHT NOW! I was trying to pay bills and told her it would still be a couple of minutes. She took the sliding glass door and slammed it shut. It didn't break the glass, but it made a sound like it was broken in some way (it was only off track, which was easy enough for me to fix later). I said, "Well, now it is just time for you to have some good bedroom time; see you when you're sweet."
She stomped off to her room and it was fairly quiet up there for a while. Then all of a sudden I heard open/slam, open/slam, open/slam, open/slam, open/slam, then a big scream, and a final open/slam of her bedroom door. Then quiet again.
A few minutes later, she came downstairs again, crawled into my lap, and began to sob. We discussed her feelings, and I just tried to make sure she hears each time that it is not about her. There is nothing she has done that has made her dad decide to live out of the country. I know she does not believe me yet, but hopefully someday she will internalize it for herself.
When I told my mom later about the slamming/screaming incident, she said, "It's just like that time that we all screamed after having grandma in the car." I kind of looked at her strangely, so she said, "Don't you remember the time that we took grandma up to Fargo and back from Sioux Falls, and she kept hacking up phlegm and blowing her nose into those paper towels and it wall all mucousy and phlemgy for all those hours in the car together. We dropped off grandma at her house, and my aunt started to pull away. She said, 'now everybody just scream and get it all out'," My mom, my aunt, my cousin, my sister, and I all just started screaming in the car all together! I remembered it after she told me about it. It felt good to just scream it out and be done with it.
My daughter had a really great day with us the next day. It was the only full day I got to have them. We went to the museum, and she was super helpful with my sister's neighbor girl. She pushed the stroller for the neighbor girl the whole time without complaint and without faltering. The day after that was the start of another visit, and we had a little more anger than normal. I think we will have more scream sessions to come, unfortunately. I told her the story of us all screaming out the yuck of the phlegm ride. She said she was only trying to make her door shut all the way. I just gave her one of my mom smiles! The only thing I can do is love them through it all! AND sometimes we may just have to SCREAM!