We live with a two-and-half year old and a four year old, both females in case you haven’t been following along, so we have no shortage of hysterics in our house. I really shouldn’t complain because the number of tantrums thrown in our house is relatively low I suppose. While one daughter seems to have a flair for the theatrics a little more than the other, both are relatively adept at handling situations that frustrate them in an age appropriate manner. Tears are bound to happen, but for the most part the crisis is addressed and life goes on.
Depending on frequency of previous skirmishes, degree of sleep deprivation, hunger level, or if the wind is blowing just so from the west our girls may demonstrate behaviors that are a little more, shall we say, exaggerated. This morning Shortcake was highly peeved that her sister was handed the pink sippy cup forcing Shortcake to use the purple sippy cup. Travesty of all travesties! With foot stomping that could be heard clear from the kitchen to the back of the house, Shortcake marched to her room where she closed her door and cried for five minutes. I made the executive decision not to go after her. I explained my reasons for giving the pink cup to Punkin – she asked for it first – and honestly at seven o’clock this morning I didn’t feel like getting in an argument about who gets what cup. Your mother has spoken and so it shall be.
Our little Punkin is the resident Drama Queen of One Carbon Hill. I’m sure you are not shocked by this revelation. Girlfriend can throw herself to the floor with the best of them, her pout has been perfected for months, and she currently possesses a rather impressive range of voice types. We’re talking anything from a high pitched scream to the newly acquired demon possessed growl. She needs some work on her fake cry (probably the weakest weapon in her current bag of tricks), but I assure you that she doesn’t let that stop her from utilizing it when she feels it’s appropriate. The most vivid tantrum I have of Punkin is one that she threw over a year ago at my parents’ house. The girls had spent the weekend with Gramma & Papa while The General and I were off gallivanting at some random social gathering, and when I came to pick them up Punkin steamed straight ahead into “My mommy is here so now I have to show off” mode. I requested that she do something unspeakable like find her shoes, and she threw herself face first onto the floor shouting “NO!” in the process. My mom decided to take the reins, and every single time she said something to Punkin our youngest would flip from tummy to back, back to tummy, tummy to back while simultaneously doing some sort of dramatic donkey kick. She must have done this at least six times, shouting “NO!” with each flip and kick. It is here that I’ll admit while I was highly annoyed by her disrespectful behavior, I was also not-so-silently giggling at her theatrical display. Plus, it amused me that quick-to-fix-it-with-a-little-talk Gramma wasn’t working her magical powers so much that particular day.
There are times throughout my day, whether it be at work, home, or out in the community, that I think, “What I wouldn’t give for it to be socially acceptable for me to throw a tantrum right now”. Example: I’m working on a report at school, last paragraph almost complete, when the computer freezes. I failed to save as I was working. Reaction: fall to floor in a heap. Example: I'm at the store at 5 pm after a long day at work. I have both
We spend so much of our time as parents teaching our kids to “talk it out” or “use their words” when they’re upset. If you stop to think about it though, isn’t the impact of words plus additional large body movements slightly more effective? I mean, I can ignore people talking, but is it really that easy to not pay attention to someone banging their head against the wall in a fit of rage? Do you think that if we as adults handled our emotions in a way similar to our toddlers and preschoolers we’d all be better off? After all, for my daughters they meltdown then move on, not carrying with them one ounce of whatever turmoil plagued them five minutes before. I am famous for harboring feelings for hours (if not days or weeks), ruminating over situations until they almost consume me. Maybe Shortcake and Punkin are on to something with this "hissy fit it and forget it" model.
So let’s hear it. Give me one situation you have encountered (yes, Munchkin, you must narrow it down to one) which would cause you to throw a tantrum heard 'round the world if it didn't mean ridicule and isolation from those around you, and what juvenile technique would you use for expressing your emotion?