So I’m thinking I must have been living in some fantasy bubble that’s finally popped. I don’t have a dream child. I have the child from hell. My dad announced today from the front passenger seat as Sage was engaged in a full-blown, mind-bending tantrum, “I’m not going anywhere with that thing!” And, so, no trip to Orlando this summer. I’ve always known that Sage has an eye-popping set of lungs but the outbursts ended as quickly as they erupted when she was a babe. Now, at 3.5, those throw downs sound out as often as the word NO and last for an hour. In fact, it’s usually ‘no’ that instigates it. I’ve followed all the rulebooks- ignore the screams and tears, take away cherished items, never give in, time outs; nothing curbs the horror. Today, this morning, it was wanting to watch Dora. Because Dora wouldn’t come on for another three minutes and she couldn’t wait, she got worked up. I shut off the TV and told her she wouldn’t watch anything then. Hoo boy. Screaming louder than a tea kettle and crying so hard she had trouble breathing, I dropped her in the bedroom, told her she could come out when she calmed down, and took a shower. I dried off to her thumping on her door and my mother trying to tell her to stop. I took over and she stopped pounding but she kept crying. “You can come out when you’re done crying,” I told her. Eventually, she came out. That works when you are at home with no immediate plans but what about the car?
Heading home from Fruita last weekend, she lost it. Because we told her to let her food digest after she said she was hungry and she had already eaten a cheeseburger and a quesadilla (road food). She thrashed about in her carseat. We took things away from her. Her sippy cup, her stuffed bunny, her shoes, her jacket! She could get items back when she calmed down. Nope. We threatened to not take her on another roadtrip, we pulled over for a brief moment (but really needed to get home), we ignored her and talked amongst ourselves. No end. Then it was her pants, her shirt and voile she was sitting in panties and crying her head off about being cold with no sign of letting up to get her clothes back. We didn’t know what else to take from her! After an hour of torture (on us), she literally passed out. All I had to do was insist on her shutting her eyes. In five minutes, she was sound asleep. Poor thing was exhausted. Three and tired, with a pending cold. Of course! But then my dad has to go and say, “No excuses. Stop making excuses for her.” Stella saw Sage in action when we visited in January and Sage refused to take off her daughter Alyssa’s princess costume so we could leave for the airport. I saw concern, shock, sympathy, disgust in Stella’s eyes as I shut Sage into a side room for yet another timeout while she tried to blow out her vocal cords. Again, she was exhausted from five days of convention walking at the SIA show. I’m thinking of my dad’s words. No excuses. Just because she’s wasted does not make it ok to sound like a five-alarm fire and you’re being attacked by pitbulls all at once.
After today, I can no longer live in denial. I’m calling an intervention on myself. We need help. Even Ryan agrees now. It’s happening at least once a day. At home, we can shut her in her room until she chills. We aren’t embarrassed because the displays aren’t public. Here, in San Diego, very public. We had a perfect 2+ hours in the movie theater watching Ironman 2; she comes trotting out all gleefully talking about how she wants an Ironman costume for Halloween. In the bathroom, she softly says she doesn’t have to go potty. In the parking lot she shouts about how she has to have chocolate ice cream. It wasn’t a scream. An adamant demand. I told her not to shout or she won’t get any ice cream at all. “But, Momma! I had chocolate ice cream with Noah and Isaac!!!” She shouts. There was absolutely NO cause to raise her voice. But she was in the moment I guess. I told her well, that’s it, no ice cream. And so it began. The entire drive home was a nightmare. I felt the way I did when I wanted everyone to see how awesome Tenaya was but instead she barked at them and they called her Cujo. My heart sank. But to tame the beast and turn her into one of the most loved dogs in the neighborhood, I used a shock collar. Don’t think there’s a legal one for children. DAMMIT!!! Sage was once again wiped out from a weekend without naps and 8-hour (rather than 12-hour) nights. No excuses. She kicked, screamed, cried, SPIT all the way back to my parent’s house. We all pretended she wasn’t there. No luck. My dad put down his window and told her he would roll it up when she stopped. Nope. Just made her scream about being cold and her hair getting in her mouth. She tried to undo her seatbelt. I grabbed her wrists. She spit on my arm and screamed. I swear the drivers next to us must have thought we were kidnappers. She peed on herself, then cried about it. We got home, got out of the car and my parents hugged me and said they were sorry I had to go through this. Then they ran. I carried Sage to the bathroom, changed her clothes, put her in the bedroom to calm down- which she didn’t do for another 30 minutes. No ice cream, no swim, no bath; there went all the things she wanted to do today. I wish I had recorded the fit. You can’t begin to imagine.
Once she calmed down, I sat her down and explained that we don’t act like this; that others do not want to hear her scream and cry and that she’s not going to get what she wants with ths bhaviour. Yeah yeah, you’re thinking well she’s getting my attention. But she gets that plenty without the screams and how do you explain the car ride?
She’s sound asleep now. Been that way since 7 p.m. Poor thing’s exhausted. No excuses! I’m picking up the book Love and Logic tomorrow. If that doesn’t help, I’m sending a tape to Super Nanny. This has got to stop. Her preschool teachers have no idea what I’m talking about. Apparently, Sage is a little angel for them. Ryan says it’s because no one tells her ‘no’ at preschool. I can’t believe that. Plus, I don’t really say the word ‘no’. Most of the time, what she wants is reasonable or I offer a substitute I know should make her happy. The “no” comes after the tantrum starts. Like with the Dora thing today. I told her she could watch Dora… when it was on in 3 minutes. I never told her she couldn’t. She threw her fit; I turned off the TV. I said she could have ice cream. I didn’t have a problem with that. She yelled, I said no ice cream if not quiet, more yelling then crying.
I want to go to Orlando. And I want my parents to see how great Sage really is. I want to be able to say no to Sage and not worry that I’m starting WWIII. Any advice? Bring it.