Tuesday, December 06, 2011

12/6/2011 The REAL tantrumer

Cripes....just when I think I'm out of the woods -- Gabriel reminds me of what he's made of. The kid is just unbelievable.

It wasn't his fault to begin with. When Julian and Katrina and I got home, Gabriel was quietly working on homework. Julian launched right into his usual pestering and provoked Gabriel. Next thing I knew, Julian was crying because Gabriel had thrown scissors at him. Gabriel defiantly defended his action, but though I was silently sympathetic, I was furious at this dangerous action. I docked him 3 weeks allowance.

This is where most stories end. A swift and decisive consequence, and that's it, right? Uh-huh. He was so outraged that he followed me into the kitchen and threatened me with some object, "I still have a WEAPON Mom, and I'm going to USE it on you." He repeated his threats while I pretended to ignore him while I moved around the kitchen, trying to decide what to do.

Then something else happened to trigger him, and he ended up screaming as loud as he could. I warned him if he continued screaming, he'd have to go outside. Of course he continued, I told him to get a jacket and go outside RIGHT NOW.

Next thing I knew, Julian was shrieking in pain and I heard the front door slam. Apparently Gabriel had grabbed a jacket, then swung it at Julian -- a strict no-no because -- the zipper hit Julian in the face. A swinging jacket with a metal zipper is really dangerous, they're absolutely not allowed to do that.

I ran outside after Gabriel and called him to come inside right now. No response. I couldn't see him, either. He'd gone somewhere away from the house, or was hiding.

I was furious. Throwing scissors, threatening me with a "weapon," swinging a jacket, then leaving the house -- somehow the last 15 minutes had deteriorated horribly. I stormed upstairs and cleaned out two of his shelves and his desk, putting all his recent toys into a garbage bag and box, and then took them to the garage. I checked on him outside, looked around the house, and called for him -- nothing.

Fine. If he's not coming inside, then he's not coming inside. I locked all the doors and took Julian to Kung Fu with Katrina in tow. Then I took Katrina shopping at Whole Foods, which she delighted in. She attracted so many smiles from onlookers, this happy charming little girl delighting at all the Christmas decorations. If only they knew...

Before picking Julian up from Kung Fu, I checked at home -- Gabriel was standing on the front porch, glowering at me. He had on a T-shirt and shorts, and my car said 49 degrees. He'd been alone outside for well over half an hour. I'd hoped to freak him out a little, but he certainly didn't act very concerned. I let him in the house and instructed him in the most deadly voice I could muster, "YOU TAKE YOUR HOMEWORK AND GO UPSTAIRS RIGHT NOW." I absolutely did not want him in sight when I got Julian home. He resisted, but he was gone when I got back with Julian.

The rest of the evening went better. Gabriel was still defiant, but not rude, and he eventually softened during dinner. He never told me where he was, never complained about being cold, didn't say anything about all his toys missing -- if he said anything at all, it was to continue complaining about Julian. He was concerned about missing out on Christmas-tree cookies for dessert, but accepted it.

I would love to hear the reactions from a roomful of people observing Gabriel following me and threatening me, while I pretended to ignore him. I doubt any faction would approve of how I was handling that particular moment. Ignore it? Respond to it? Threaten him? Take away a privilege? Smack the crap out of him? Answer: none of the above. Anything I do, or not do, will egg him on. The kid just doesn't back down. There just is no answer. I've known that since before he was 2.

Though I had a lot of doubts and was worried when he was locked out, in retrospect, it was probably the best choice because it calmed me down and gave him nothing to push against. But obviously I can't leave my home every time we have a conflict.

Thank goodness massive blowouts with Gabriel are much rarer these days, but his potential and his power are really staggering.


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