Monday, 8 December 2014


The Terrible Twos I was expecting. The Twice as Terrible Threes people warned me about. Why did no one mention the Flaming Awful Fours?

I'm positive that there are both reasons and cures for the current bout of uncontrollable meltdowns we seem to be facing, and talking to other mums, we're not facing them alone. Squeaky has only been in full time school less than a term, even though she had a year of part time before that, so she's tired. She's in a class with a handful of children she knows well and a whole lot she doesn't, so that's caused a bit of upheaval. They have more structure to their day in the reception class than they did in nursery, so that transition is hard.  And while she is getting older and more able to express her wishes, she's still very young and unable to control her emotional responses correctly.

Do not be fooled. Meltdown in 20 seconds
This all leads to the kind of meltdown we had the other evening. Tears running down her face, snot bubbles, wailing and kicking on the floor because her friend Boy Next Door wasn't home to play out with her. Highlights included 5 minutes of melodramatic gulping breaths, and the phrase "I have been waiting for this day for weeks." Even though she and Boy Next Door had cooked up this play date of their own accord without telling either mum involved, and they had other plans.  I couldn't even face offering Frozen as an alternative because if I'm asked one more time if I wanna build a snowman, I'm going to scream myself.  And me having a screaming meltdown isn't something anyone really wants to see.

I'm trying to return to the tips I learned in parenting class, rewarding the positives to reinforce positive behaviours get attention, but it's really difficult when positive behaviours mean I can get on with everything else that needs to be done around the house. In fact, I tried some of the techniques on Daddy, but he's less impressed with playing bubbles if he sits at the table and eats his tea, or receiving Pound Shop tat in reward for putting his clothes away nicely.

Not enough reward for Daddy

So what's the answer? Aside from staying calm myself, and trying my best not to laugh (you've got to admit tantrums can look pretty hilarious, but it just makes matters worse), I'm working on reassuring her when there's something behind the meltdown, but when the end of the world has been brought about simply by wearing shoes to leave the house, my patience can only stretch so far.

Every parent I've spoken to on this subject seems to be experiencing the same thing, so it's not just Squeaky, or something I'm doing wrong, but once again I'm left looking for the instruction book that the midwives seem to forget to give me when they handed over my squeaking newborn baby.  Not so newborn any more, but still causing just as much upheaval.  There were no less than 3 babies in our office the other week, with a combined age of less than a year. Oh, so little and squishy, I swear you could hear people getting broody, but honestly not me. There's too many things I don't miss about having a new baby around the place, and chances are They wouldn't give me the instructions then, either.  I wouldn't swap these days for a newborn for the world, but sometimes I just need answers.

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