So to start ... I fell asleep last night at 9:30 ... 9:30 ... this mom stuff is no joke ... I shouldn't be this tired this early! I'm only 24! That is the reason why I didn't post last night ... yea ... I still can't believe 9:30 either! But what I was wanting to write about last night was E and her fit throwing ... so I'll do that now.
Whenever E goes to her mom's house for longer than one night there is a dramatic change within her behavior. Not last weekend but the one before she was with her mom for 3 night ... The child who came back was not the child I sent ... this was the worst I have ever seen E behave since we have had her ... everything became a burden to her, everything a chore ... she no longer liked anything ... and so tears and angry voices were exchanged up to ten times a day (this is not an exaggeration) ... let me give you an example ... E would be getting ready for school and her comments would go like this "I'm still tired, I don't want to eat, I want to eat, I hate that cereal, I don't want to eat that, I don't like these clothes, I don't want to go to school, I want to go to school, your hurting my hair, why can't I wear makeup, etc." ... and this was just before school ... it was like this all day everyday ... negative commentary for everything with intermittent tears and throwing herself on the ground. All of this didn't just last a couple of days like normal ... no ... this behavior has lasted up until yesterday. Again, no exaggeration. Just about two full weeks of this behavior ... I think I managed fairly well in the beginning, the first week ... but then I started to hit the end of my rope ... I was fraying from the inside out ... My voice levels began to elevate as well ... I got more and more frustrated with this situation that I have gotten myself into.
On Tuesday of this week I made a desperate plea to my mother friends on facebook ... I had officially lost it ... she called me mean and I lost it ... got straight up from the chair where I was doing her hair, locked myself in my bedroom, and cried for 20 minutes straight while she did likewise outside the door (only difference was that my cry was silent [I don't like her to see me cry ... long story that maybe I will tell one day] and hers was filled with anger and trying to calm down ... I even got my very first "run away" threat ... didn't know they did that at four) ... I now had no clue what to do so I turned to R and my friends ... the answers I got were diverse and helpful. I have decided that I am going to do an experiment with E ... see which way works the best ... and maybe help some moms out there too!
What I plan to do is do a week with each answer ... here they are ... In the order I plan to do them:
- Ignoring her ... but right before I ignore her telling her that I will only talk to her when she is calm (Thanks Karinne and Meredith!)
- Sending her to her room with a book to calm down (Thanks Laura!)
- Give her the option between calming down or something horrible ...like scrubbing the bathroom floor (can a four year old do that?) (thanks Amanda!)
- Make a "Yes Chart" ... every time she chooses to listen and obey instead of throwing a fit then she gets to put a sticker on a chart and so many stickers gets her something special (Thanks Elizabeth!)
Now ... I should clarify ... E's behavior changes when she is with us for extended period of time without going to see her mom ... usually it only takes her a couple of days to get back to normal (fewer to no fits ... and an all over more positive outlook on life) from being with her mom ... but this time she took much much longer ... I don't want this to be the new transition period ... I know I should let her take as long as she needs ... but tomorrow she goes back to see her mom (yes ... I am slightly dreading what will return to me) ... I only got two days of "normal" E ... I don't think for my own sanity I could have her take another two weeks to transition to a positive attitude ... and so this is the real reason why I am doing this experiment ... ha ... I always seem to do things for selfish reasons don't I!