the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Post vacation tantrum

After being relatively ok for vacation the 3yo got a toy she’d been working for for a long long time.

I’m not going to say Maggie was a dream kid on vacation, she wasn’t, she was pretty terrible, but that’s a threenager for you. What she wasn’t during vacation was someone who spent four hours fighting a progressively losing battle to not go to bed.

Earlier in the day she’d been awarded the toy she got for giving up pacifiers, and had previously promptly lost for going back to them. This had been day nine without pacies, she received the toy she’d picked out months back and promptly lost when she started using again. She had the doll about an hour this time before the insanity started.

She went to bed a little later than usual. We’re still two timezones off so we haven’t been pushing it. It was dark, baths were had, stories were read, 3yo was tucked safe in her bed and went to sleep.

Then got up an hour later, complained of a rash of symptoms House M.D. would have had a field day with – itchy head, body aches, stomach ache, not tireditis, etc. She was informed it was an hour after her bedtime at this point but she ended up snuggling up on the couch while we watched insanely boring shows. I’ll give credence to the tummy aches, there’ve been a few lately I don’t doubt.

Then the “no”s came out, no won’t go to bed, no won’t quiet down, no I won’t play quietly, no I won’t listen. At that point she got carried to bed kicking and screaming and the next three hours spent yelling that she didn’t want to go to bed, didn’t want to stay in her room and be quiet, didn’t want to hang out alone, didn’t want to quiet down so anyone could sleep, didn’t want to not stomp and kick and throw things.

At some point we decided to just start hauling stuff out of her room. First the breakable and sharp things, then the things that might actually make her pay attention and stop yelling the same things over and over again. After hours of someone yelling and kicking and stomping and kicking you tend to try things.

A lot of times we reached a point where she would stop and seem to simmer down. That didn’t last. By 11pm pretty much everything was gone from the room. Nothing to break, throw, stomp, play with.

By hour four the freakout had ended. She’d yelled that she didn’t want her mommy anymore, she wanted to go live outside, spent a long time yelling that she wanted tears in her eyes which was weird.

I took the precaution of dual babygating her in her room, lot of runaway stuff had been said, gave her a glass of water, and said I’d see her in five and a half hours.

She woke up this morning, exhausted, asked for a couple of hugs. I asked her if she remembered last night and that she was being punished today and she said yes. I asked her if she understood why we were angry with her last night, she said yes.

I talked with her quite a bit before I dropped her off at class to make sure she understands that she’s being punished at this point for stomping, screaming, throwing, kicking, and not for not wanting to go to bed or having an opinion. She said she understands.

I’m a bit unsure how to handle this. I don’t want her ashamed of her feelings, but I do want her to understand that these things have consequences. I know tantrums are also very hard for a child to stop, but there were so many opportunities that she was told how to win and chose instead to do the one thing that lost.

She’s now working to get her stuff back. Maybe that’ll be an incentive for her.

I’d like to think this is all from the vacation, tiredness, travel, etc, but she’d been becoming progressively horrible at school as well with me having to come over three times in the past 30 days and remove her.

I wonder what this looks like from the eyes of a three year old. Parents forcing me to do something I don’t want, won’t listen to my complaints, removed fun stuff from my room, refused to let me out.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.