Sunday, 08 March 2009
Millie is approaching/has arrived early to the terrible twos and it shows. Livie didn't have terrible twos, she had frightful fours, so this is a bit of new territory for me.
Last night, Millie brought back to mind a piece of a nursery rhyme: "When she's good she's very, very good, but when she's bad she's horrid." For only the second time in her life, she had a complete and total meltdown in which she turns into an angry, screaming, kicking, fighting banshee, and nothing in the world will get her to stop.
The first time was last week when she was sick, so I blew it off as a combo of illness and exhaustion. Last night, she wasn't sick, but I guess she was over-tired. (I should also note that this is the week Jonny is out of town, so he was spared.)
I tried distraction, I tried comfort, I tried discipline, and finally decided bed was the answer, so I somehow managed to bathe her and get her in her PJs (which resembled several different rodeo events in one, only imagine them being performed by a pregnant cowboy who's too large to bend in the middle), and deposited her in her bed at 7:00 without her usual bedtime routine.
She continued to scream for 30 more minutes, at which point she fell asleep and slept all night. It was so bad that while she was in the bath tub, Livie came in and said with concern, "What are you doing to her?" I guess she thought I was torturing her and it made me glad we didn't live in an apartment because I'm pretty sure the cops would have been called. I sure would have called them on my neighbors if I had heard what Millie was doing emanating from their apartment.
Livie would have meltdowns at this age, but they would manifest as uncontrollable crying (like sadness), rather than full-on screaming rages. Ahhh, the joys of motherhood.
Interestingly, though, as Millie has gotten older and is starting to have more emotional moments, it is changing the way Livie is acting. Livie is naturally highly emotional which can sometimes turn into whining and moodiness, but several times in the last week, Millie's emotions have stopped Livie in her emotional tracks.
Last night, Livie was whining about dinner, but when Millie started ramping up her screaming fit, suddenly Livie stopped complaining, decided she liked the dinner and proceeded to eat the whole thing (after asking for ketchup to dip everything in, which is always fine with me). She also acted much more grown up and was pleasant the rest of the evening, while normally her whining about dinner precedes an entire difficult evening. (She kept saying, in reference to me dressing Millie for bed, "That was like wrestlin' a hog!" That's my Texas girl.)
So, I guess the moral of the story is that God clearly sees that I can handle only one emotionally charged child at a time and is merciful in allowing Livie to grow up some by seeing her sister act out. Or, the alternative moral is, there's always a silver lining if you look hard enough.
And I'm also glad that as an experienced mother, I know this is a stage that will pass, if we can survive it.
How did you handle your children's terrible twos?