Monday, December 20, 2010

Tantrums... and knitting

I used to fight Miss Dainty's tantrums.  I did.  I tried everything.  Then for a short time, about the time when I was 7-9 months pregnant with Baby D, I quit fighting them.  There was really nothing I could do, honestly.  And so I would let Miss Dainty (who was about 3 1/2 then,) feel her emotions, uncontrollable or not, deal with them, and when she had calmed down enough we would talk it through.  She survived.  I survived.

So, tell me, why did I go back to fighting them?  I remember after we had just returned to the States, she went through a long tantrum phase.  And I didn't know what to do.  Mr. Hubs was still in Sicily and I had a 6 month old baby and an every single night tantrum throwing 4 year old.  I tried every single thing that had been given in advice to me.  Every single thing.  I was exhausted.  I was frustrated.  I cried.

After we moved into our current home, she would still throw them, just not as often.  The nights she did were insane.  Mr. Hubs would go to work exhausted in the morning after no rest.  We would all be so tired from fighting the tantrums.  Nothing would calm her down.  She would listen to no one.  It would be hours before she stopped.  We prayed every single time she threw one that it would be the last.  She phased out of it, though, thankfully.  Well, for the most part.  Every once in a while she still throws them.

Like tonight.  Oh, boy did Mr. Hubs miss a fun night tonight!  Two hours.  sigh....

Two.  Hours.  After.  Bedtime.

But guess what I did? 

I didn't fight it.  I didn't know what was causing the emotional outburst.  It could have been because I was busy all day cleaning and doing a ton of extra laundry (it's bedding day.)  Or it could be because Mr. Hubs had duty today.  Or perhaps because our schedule is out of whack due to holiday stuff.  Who knows.  I figured if she had some crazy emotions right then, then she had a right to feel them.  I also decided I wasn't going to let her behavior steal my relaxing time.  So, I picked up my current project, and I started to knit.  I knitted through the screams.  I knitted through the stomped feet.  I knitted through everything.  I would try to talk to her when I thought she was calming down, and if she wouldn't listen, I told her I'd wait.  And I did, and thanks to focusing on every single stitch, I was able to do so patiently.

She eventually calmed down and we talked it through.  She apologized and accepted her punishment (she is losing a LOT of stuff tomorrow.)  We cuddled for a few minutes and then she went to bed. 

Look how much I got done on my second mitten (when I picked it up, I was only a few rows into the first brown section:)
I honestly don't know why I didn't think of this before!


Emily @CreativeDisaster said...

I've been really lucky in the tantrum department and that may be why I am more patient when they do happen. I've noticed that it is mostly because they want/need attention and they aren't getting it. I try really hard to ignore tantrums and go on about my business. Doing something like knitting is good because it is productive and you have to focus on it and not the tantrum. Your mittens are super cute, by the way. Good luck with the tantrums, I know it is tough. :)

Sheena said...

yeah... she's very VERY emotional... I have absolutely no clue where she got that trait from! haha. I figure it would be like being surrounded by people who can't understand you, trying to explain to them what you're feeling and why. She kept saying, "You don't understand, because I can't explain it!" So, I just waited... She's 5 going on 15 apparently. =)