Last weekend was one of the roughest weekend we have had in a long while with the kids. The I-solemnly-vow-to-make-my-parents’-life-hell -at-any-cost-and-make-sure-they scream-at-me bug must have hit town. It was one of the nastiest bugs ever known to parents.
Both weekend mornings started with both kids screaming as they decided to wake the dead at 6 am by riling each other up. Spud, being the sole perpetrator of their propaganda then decided to not co-operate by sprawling across the floor, refusing to shower, not wanting to put on her clothes after she finally showered and then making a big fuss with her breakfast. This went on with lunch, dinner and subsequent bedtime, with her intermittent hitting of her brother nicely slotted in between.
During her swimming class on Sunday, Spud decided that she would only swim like a mermaid. By that, she unquestionably assumed the cross-legged swimming where she insisted on crisscrossing her calves and keeping her ankles closed together as she tried to move in the water. Hilarious for the first two minutes, and then it got really annoying when she refused to quit after several gentle chides from both her swimming instructor and her father. When she would not listen after 10 minutes of cajoling and encouraging her to swim properly, she got out of the pool because she only wanted to swim like a mermaid that day.
Some minutes of several more encouraging words were lost on her. This was shortly followed by a stern warning of “swim properly or else…”(which was met with sheer defiance and defying of authority), and eventually being removed physically from the vicinity of the pool by me, with her kicking and screaming all her might.
All eyes were on me as I sternly hauled her into the bathroom to get her changed. This was promptly met with another act of defiance of screaming NO right in front of my face and her not wanting to remove her swimwear as she violently tried to remove herself from my clutches.
Oh how I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs and give her a really good slap on her face!
Instead I placed her at the corner of the bathroom, told her with a rather loud voice that we are all leaving without her, left her there, walked away angrily and whisked Squirt away with me.
I was beyond furious! And at that point I did not care if she came along or not and I told Silver Bullet so. I no longer wanted to deal with her and I know I was about to lose my head. I could feel 10 other pairs of eyes looking at me…
As I walked to the car with Squirt in my arms, fuming, I realised I did not have the car keys and had to walk back into the swimming pool compound to get the keys from Silver Bullet. As I walked in, Silver Bullet was sternly reprimanding Spud, continuing where I had left off as she went on her violent screaming spree. The very same 10 pairs of eyes were now on them…
I took a deep breath, took the keys from Silver Bullet; still feeling those pair of eyes hot on my heels as I turned away. I did not want to go back in there.
But Squirt had other plans; he needed to pee. Sighing away, I picked him up and went back inside to use the bathroom where Spud was still fighting Silver Bullet, and the 10 pairs of eyes were now shuttling back and forth between them both, and then me.
Against all odds, Silver Bullet finally managed to get her changed amidst her violent tantrums and loud piercing screams before hauling her into the car. She finally calmed down a little bit.
We then told her that we’d be taking away her fun of being able to meet up with some friends to play, drove straight home and if she decided to continue, we would take away her pretty dresses too. By then, the morning was pretty much ruined.
Back at home, I took away her dresses, with several more time-outs ensued pretty much the entire day. By bedtime, we had taken away several of her favourite stuff and sent both kids to bed by 6pm without any bedtime stories. We were exhausted and felt completely out of our wits.
Since then, every morning has been a huge battle with Spud. She would scream, shout, make a fuss out of everything and literally ruin the morning as she refused to shower, be showered or put on her clothes. A few days ago, she made a big deal about wanting her father to dress her and refusing to do it herself. She then threatened with a “if you don’t put on my clothes for me, I will take off my shorts now!” as she screamed her guts out in between.
As I overheard and ignored the entire fiasco, I dared her with a “Go do it. See if I care” attitude in my head. Not 5 minutes later, her shorts was off and she went sprawling on the floor, screaming away in her underpants. We continued to ignore her and left her to her moaning. She finally came round after about half an hour of temper tantrums and eventually dressed herself up without any help.
By this time, the entire household was high-strung. When Spud gets into one of her dramatic episodes, even our usually happy-go-lucky Squirt seems to be affected by the commotion. He gets visibly upset when Spud goes full-throttle at testing our patience and he would cry for no reason with such great sadness. Funny thing was, when we asked him why he was crying, he wailed with an “I don’t knooooow!” in between his sobbing.
One has got to laugh at that.
I don’t know what it is with Spud though, but her sheer defiance seems to have gone a little overboard in the recent weeks. the meltdowns have been out of control. Talking to her gently and calmly doesn’t seem to work anymore. In fact, the gentler we are, the more she pushes it. So much so that we resorted to raising our voices.
Time-outs and taking away her privileges work temporarily, and then we are back to square one. It does feel like nothing works, and our attempt at disciplining her seems to be futile. It is frustrating.
This really hasn’t been fun.
Like I said, we are at our wits end. This parenting crap is really hard and I constantly find myself questioning if I could ever get my shit together at this parenting thing.
I sure do hope this is one of those temporary phases and that, if we stuck to our guns, this disciplining shit would eventually pay off. Better some disciplining than nothing, I guess.
Oh God help me. I don’t know if I can handle any more meltdowns!