Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Evening Rages

Night times are still sucking the life out of me. G has a tendency to want to argue or fight with me right before bedtime so that about 80% of the evenings she is in full fledged melt down mode by the time she goes to sleep.

One example is last Wednesday, I think, the day after the tooth pulling, we drove into our driveway and G said, "Mama, you don't know those people." (She was talking about our next door neighbors and she is right I don't really know them). So I said, "You are right. I don't." She got this confused look on her face like I brought her up short and she said louder, "Yes you do."

She was baiting me see, she wanted to argue with me. When I didn't play along she tried to change tactics but kept up the baiting. I wish I could say I was able to out maneuver her every time but alas, I am only human, and I failed (and continue to fail) miserably by bedtime.

Now I can't even remember what she got upset about next. By bath time though things were going down hill fast. I tried to divert things but she was upset that I wouldn't stay in the bathroom with her while she showered (she claims to be afraid). Then she was upset that I didn't brush her teeth the same way I did the night before (not sure what she meant there). Then she was too helpless to even put her clothes on (she is 5 after all, dressing herself was accomplished by age 3 or 4). Then she demanded that I change her toothfairy pillow case to which I agreed, but she immediately changed her mind when I did agree.

After I got my shower and we were getting ready to write in our thankfulness journals (whole other post) she had a really bad attitude. I warned her to knock off the attitude and write if she wanted to do so (which she does or did then) because when I was done lights were going off (I thought this would snap her out of her attitude, FAIL). She then proceeded to argue with me, but not write, about my ability to write faster than her. She took up literally 10 mins arguing that point while I tried hard to ignore reminding her that she needed to start writing.

Then in her very bad attitude she wanted to switch pens, but in her helplessness she couldn't find the pens that were right in front of her face literally. Her hand even brushed against them in her attempt to find them as she sat there looking right at them. Had you witnessed it you might would have thought her to be blind or maybe make you want to jam you thumbs in your eyes like I wanted to do.

Then she decided she wanted the red pen (we use different colored pens for journal writing) that I was using; she knew full well that I had it. So I said, "Fine, babe, you use this, I am done anyway and I will wait for you." MAJOR FAIL.

This lead to an hour and half meltdown rage trying to get me to use the red pen again. Never mind that she never got a full sentence written down in that two hour time frame from beginning to write to her finally falling to sleep. She raged, she stomped, she screamed, she begged me to use the red pen. She attempted to control every part of the evening by doing the opposite of what I was doing or by intentionally interrupting me or stopping what I was doing in some way or other.

I mostly stayed on the bed except for one point when I hid the pens from her because she had started to hit herself with them. I tried to de-escalate the situation by leaving the room at another point even. She was so blind and deaf to anything I was trying to say and her repeated mantra became, "Use the red pen." We tried even to attempt to write again, but she refused to let me use any other color than red by taking out of my hand any other pen or by forcing the red pen in my hand or holding it on my notebook where I couldn't write.

Seriously, I know it wasn't about the red pen. I know that her anger came from her inability to control her situation at that point in time. I know she had all afternoon attempted to pick fights with me and for the most part I either ignored or defused them.

If this doesn't sound like such a big deal, then let me just say that twice this week alone (today is only Wed.) we have already had two tearful meltdown raging nights. Both of those were over, not the pen, but her last year 5 year old birthday shirt that she refused to wear until after I made it into a pillow to save it. She wants me to take it apart so she can wear it again which she can't because it says 5 year old birthday. She wore it at her party last year and on her birthday but refused any other time I offered. Hour. long. melt. down. Seriously.

I told her not to even mention the shirt again (for this was not the first time) or she would lose her book and journal time which she lost both two nights in a row. And when I picked her up from school Monday, the first thing out of her mouth was about the pillow/t-shirt. So Sunday night and Monday night she melted down about the t-shirt. She even told me that when I asked her if she would wear the shirt she said, "yes" and that I just didn't understand her. In reality she said, "No" and I did understand her. She told me it was a hard decision to make between undoing the pillow or leaving it alone. I am thinking not so much as a pillow can be kept forever.

Last night we didn't have tears or melt down. What made the difference? She melted down earlier in the day at the end of the field trip because she didn't have long to play in the water at the Children's museum. She thought I lied to her about getting to play in it when I was as unaware of the time as she was.

Then it was about leaving school during recess even though she said she wanted to leave an hour before recess (field trips allow chaperons to take kids out of school earlier) which she didn't. Then it was over bottled water vs. ice water, SERIOUSLY! She actually fell asleep in the car and woke up 15 mins later crying because I had changed the radio station.

During these rages sometimes she tells me she is going to cut my head off or kill me. To which I say, "No you are not." Sometimes she asks why not but sometimes she doesn't. I am not going to worry about that because over all she is a really good kid and I love her dearly. I refuse to be afraid of a 5 year old. I am an imperfect mom and she is an imperfect child but we will continue to be imperfect together figuring it all out as we go along.

I am picking her up in 20 mins waiting to see what will be the melt down topic du jour.


bajones said...

You don't know how good it felt to read this post. You've described my last 4 yrs with Ellie. There has to be a deliberately picked argument and meltdown every day, often several times a day. It's hard going through life when you feel like you can't make any move, say anything, without provoking a rage. I've joked with friends about living in the Twilight Zone episode where the little boy wished people into the cornfield when they didn't do exactly as he wanted, I would be in the cornfield 20 times a day.

The Byrd's Nest said...

I think that Lottie lives with you AND me! You are right is ALL about control! She is so out of sorts here in another country that she is control overdrive!!!!! Her threat to me is always, "Well, I will never snuggle with you again" (sigh) Emma is the opposite and never gives me the time of day and would go home with a perfect sranger...those are entirely different issues:) I hear you....I feel your pain....and we all just need to continue to pray for each other...I really DO pray for you and friend:)

Heather BT said...

You don't have to post this, but I was here with Acer too. I was worried I was going to snap and it would not be pretty as my temper can get physical if I do. Oddly enough, my saving grace was Super Nanny. Yes, that TV show. I tuned in, watched and saw a boy whose behavior was Acer's, just escalated. Then I saw it change, and I saw the tools they used. I changed it slightly, Acer gets time in's - where he is touching me as I continue to do what I was already doing.
I watched 5 episodes, got a little bit to add to my tool box each time, and it is working.
Drop me a line if you want to vent, or discuss it.

Kikilia said...

My Pipsqueak can turn from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde in a nanosecond.

When she was younger (now 9) she would have these major meltdowns too.

Then we had vision/eye therapy and a lot of the tantrums stopped. It was amazing how much of the meltdowns were related to her eyes.

Now, it's a control thing for her too. She tries to goad me as G does you- and I am getting better at ignoring or difussing... I find that when she has food that helps a ton. She's tall- but thin- with a fast metabolism (wish I could be so lucky) and needs to at least have a snack every few hours.

Good luck- it will get better as you get better in recognizing the signs and learning to respond.

Oh- I've found being really calm to help a lot--- tends to tick her off that she can't get a rise from me- but she's finally taking notice that she's not in control and the world still goes on.