Wednesday, January 21, 2009

1/21/09 Can't stand the heat

A few nights ago, a miraculous thing occurred...I sat down to dinner and conversed with my family for over 10 minutes, while Katrina happily played. I felt light-hearted, relaxed, happy to chat over dinner with my children.

It gave me a tiny taste of how easy and joyous life could be, what it would be like without the nightly agony of Katrina's dinnertime tantrum.

I've also grown to like cooking. I like to muse on the drive home about what fresh ingredients I have, what recipe I haven't made for a while, what recipe I'd like to try again and do a little differently. Maybe I'll even stage a baking project as I'm preparing dinner, bringing ingredients up to room temperature or measuring dry ingredients. I like thinking about this during my hour-plus of driving around and picking up kids. It's a nice way to cap off the day.

Except for:


She completely disrupts these ideas, and turns what should be a busy, but homey time into a tense, frustrating ordeal. I grimace the instant she enters the kitchen, because after that, it's almost nonstop tantrum until she demands to get down.

"I scare-me!"
"I want snap!"
"I want TRAY!"
"NO TRAY, I do it my-SEFF!"
"I want water!"
"I want orange juice!"
"I want Shredded Spoonfuls!"
(Mean Old MOM: I won't give her breakfast food or treats for dinner)
"I want milk!"
"I want string cheese!"
"I don't want string cheese!"
"I want pasta!"
"I want rice!"
"I want peas!"
"I want 'ta-toes!"
"I want fish bib!"
"NO fish bib -- I want aminal bib!"
"NO aminal bib -- I want boo bib!"
"I want milk in a red cup!"
"NO milk in a red cup!"
"I want milk in a train cup!"
"NO milk in a train cup!"
"I want Gabriel cup!"
"NO milk in a Gabriel cup!"
"I want blue spoon!"
"I want aminal spoon!"
"I want puh-tle (purple) spoon!"
"I want Spoonfuls!"
"I want...I want...I want...WAAAAAAHHHHH!"

Pretty much every night.

OK, it's easy for you to think, "Well, don't give in to her, and she won't have these tantrums." Oh YEAH?! Hah! She WANTS tantrums! Indeed, if I overact and pretend as though some or other demand is serious -- that is, not resisting her -- it can calm her for the moment. If I refuse to get her such-and-such item, the situation escalates to the point where she is completely out of control, she won't eat a bite, and the tantrum never ends. And no amount of standing up to her will affect tomorrow. Giving in is the easiest response (doesn't work). Saying NO is the next-hardest response (doesn't work). Ignoring is the next-hardest response (doesn't work). Finding ways around the tantrum, circumventing it, removing its bases -- much, much harder, and often impossible. Also doesn't work.

Gabriel had worse tantrums overall, but he wasn't as predictably disagreeable as she is. It's almost inevitable that at dinnertime, she's going to throw a major, constant fit until she's had enough and is ready to get down. Maybe if I were willing to let her live on Clifford Crunch, I could avoid it, but I'm not ready to go there. Yet. It's bad enough that I finally compromise and let her have yogurt for dinner -- TJ's premixed lemon, which is so sweet she thinks it's a treat. She needs to learn to eat real food, but BELIEVE ME, she's some combination of too young and too dedicated to conflict for me to attempt the "if she's hungry enough she'll eat" route. I'm completely confident that the rest of the family will suffer far, far more than she will.

Someday, my evenings won't be ruled by a demanding, opinionated, controlling, impossible toddler. Who, while she's angellicaly sleeping, clutching her beloved Kitty-Kat, I love dearly.

Please, get me out of the kitchen.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She's halairious!

- Gabriel