Saturday, February 27, 2010

the Fury

Yesterday was the second time in a week that I wasted a perfectly good opportunity to lose my temper. But I had to do something. A fellow can only be in a crowded public place, listening to his sweetest little precious scream, ‘You are shit!” so many times….

V. is at that delicate stage of life when one gives up one’s afternoon nap because Emily and Katarina and Doo Doo don’t take one anymore. Even though one is not really physically strong enough to go without that sleep. So one is a tad irritable when a papa picks one up from kindergarten.

She shrieked at me in school, at the U-Bahn station, on the train, and also when we got stuck in the elevator, after V. punched all the buttons, including the red one that says, ‘STOP.’ She called me caca, and stupid, then she added that she would not be giving me any presents. That really hurt.

The walk home was nice, though.

A small dose of bubble gum seemed to placate her for awhile.

But the kniptions erupted again after dinner. Violent protestations about my choice of pajamas for her, etc. etc. So I said to her, “V., you’ve been screaming at me for no good reason for three hours now. I don’t like it. I’ve had enough. Will you stop?” And she stopped. For about a minute.

Then she screamed,”Kakao!!”(Translation: Give me my bottle of warm soy milk, NOW!)

“No,” I said. “That’s it. No bottle tonight. And you’re going to bed right now.”

So she lets loose the Fury. Screams of indignity, the ear-piercing howls of the criminally persecuted.

I looked right into her little eyes, and told her, “Honey, if you scream at people, they’re not going to do Anything nice for you. I’ve had it. I know you’re tired. But I asked you if you would stop, you said you would, but you kept screaming at me. Now that’s it.”

The Fury raged on for a while, though it had probably turned to hurt. I gave her some water in her bottle, and sang “Moonshadow” to her, like I always do. But she got no kakao. And I didn’t get mad.

Beastly behavior has consequences. And she won't get to be CEO of Google, or for that matter, play right midfield for Manchester United, until she understands that.

It took her a few minutes longer to fall asleep. The next morning, she was my sweetest little precious again.


Tricia Mitchell said...

oh, you know this is my favorite-- the hardest parenting moments. sounds like you did a brilliant job of leading the way!

pat said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement, Trish. I do prefer "poopy pants" to "caca."

David C. Fox said...

dear Sir: your actions re: these incidents are unusual and commendable.
i remember when i was parenting children of this age some other parent telling me [snidely, as i remember], "just wait till they are teens!" and me thinking, 'well, they are pretty much a handful at their present age, thank you very much.'
but you kno what? that other parent was right :)

pat said...

Thanks, David. And, yup, I know I know, we're gonna have a hell of a ride when our little darlings hit puberty. I keep trying to tell myself that I will learn something, grow as a human bean, that sort of thing....