I’ve been informed that when I previously posted this blog it showed up with no content. Frustrating to be sure, but such is life when dealing with things in the computer age. I’ll try to reconstruct what I’d written.
Yesterday did not go as I’d intended. My plan to intermix work and fun throughout the day lasted all of 30 minutes. Lucky for me we were in the work portion of the day during that 30 minutes so I did manage to get what I’d planned to accomplished. We worked on picking up the two kids bedrooms, and all went well until we got into the boys room.
The kids all have a variety of stuffed animals that they keep in their beds. Some, like snuggle puppy, reside there continuously. Others make their way in and out of the beds depending on their mood. One such animal is Cameron’s stuffed Toad, from the Mario Brothers. While he doesn’t ask to sleep with it every night, he is quite attached to it and gets extremely offended should anyone else lay their hands onto it. Well the incident started when Brendan picked up Toad and threw it into his own bed. Cameron instantly started objecting to this and, seeing that it is his, I sided with Cameron and told Brendan to get the Toad back out of his bed.
Brendan was not happy about this and immediately started to go into meltdown mode. Realizing we weren’t going to get any further cleaning done, I sent him up to his bunk and cleared the other kids out of the room so that he could have his fit and calm himself down. After just a few minutes he calmed down and joined the rest of us.
About the same time my phone rang, and it was the school calling. I was quite surprised by this as school was not in session. In fact I panicked for a moment that I’d mistaken the day and that I really was supposed to take the kids to school. But as it turns out they were just calling to confirm that I had a child who would be enrolling in Kindergarten in the fall. As Kaylee was in one of her loud modes I took the phone into my bedroom and shut the door. I was only on the phone for about 3 minutes, but in that time things in the living room degenerated to chaos.
By the time I hung up, Cameron was sobbing at my bedroom door and begging me to come back out, Kaylee was screeching at the top of her lungs, and Brendan was yelling at the two of them. After the incident we’d just had in the bedroom I’d had enough and I lost my temper. All three kids were seated onto the couch in timeout and told that they would not be getting up until they changed their attitudes for the day.
I was most lenient with the baby. At 2 there’s only so much you understand about changing your attitude at that age. So as soon as she stopped screaming and crying I let her out of timeout. Cameron took a bit longer. He stopped crying almost immediately, but it took him some time to get over being angry. One thing I will say for Cameron is while he can be the most stubborn and obstinate child I’ve ever met he’s actually pretty good at understanding that changing his attitude will end his punishment much faster than fighting about it. As soon as he’d confirmed that his attitude had changed I let him up as well.
Meanwhile Brendan was having a lot more trouble with the timeout than his brother and sister were. We’ve never been able to successfully have him sit in timeout. We’ve never identified why, but sitting him in timeout generally makes him more agitated in a given situation than he would otherwise be. As a toddler he was so bad about it that we finally started placing him into his top bunk when he got like that. He flailed and struggled so much that to leave him anywhere else put him in danger of harming himself or breaking those things around him. For whatever reason he never tried to get out of the bunk and up there he had nothing with which he could harm himself. Being in that situation calmed him much quicker than any other place we’d tried. We still employ the same tactic today, though its much more difficult as he gets bigger. I can no longer lift him into bed myself but am able to convince him to get up there. Once there he generally melts down completely and goes into the same mode that he did as a toddler. I’m not sure what we’ll do when he gets to be a teenager and is taller than both of us.
After getting him into his bed for the second time that day, I decided to move forward with my plan to play with the kids. I got out the Cootie game that Kaylee got for Christmas. As this was the first time we’d opened up the game it took me a while to get it set up. In the time it took me to set it up, Brendan had gotten through his second tantrum and came into the room to ask if he could play with us. Thinking that a calm and relaxing game of Cootie might just be what he needed to get over his attitude problems I agreed to let him play.
Unforunately the game was anything but calm and relaxing. The basic rules of the game are to roll a die and use the numbers you roll in order to collect the diferent body parts for your Cootie bug. It’s completely random, and the success or failure of your game play is entirely tied in to the roll of the dice. Kaylee took off to an early lead. Her ability to roll the exact number she needed on the dice was incredible (though I think it may have something to do with her technique–she’d stand up and say, “dwop” then drop the die and and say, “boooiiinnnggg”). Brendan took offense to being beaten by a toddler and started to throw another fit. It only took one warning that if he threw a fit he’d no longer be welcome to play the game to get him to bring himself back under control. The rest of the game progressed without incident.
That’s not to say that was Brendan’s last meltdown of the day, far from it. He’s had a really big problem controlling himself lately, and we’re not sure of the cause yet. Regardless, between his meltdowns, Cameron’s destructive nature, and Kaylee’s tendency to scream I’m more than ready to go back on vacation.