Monday, June 16, 2008

More Tantrums and Mess Patrol

I thought the fixed strep throat would minimize the tantrum episodes. Who am I kidding? Today was a tantrum-in-the-making day. First, we transitioned back from the weekend (when Claire gets attention) to a WFH day for me where I struggle to do my job and give each kid some attention. The morning actually went decently well, but then I got the call my mother was headed over for the afternoon, and I hadn't realized she was playing with Claire today. The grandparent thing is definitely a mixed bag. I'm happy my kid is overjoyed to see her grandmother, but the no discipline, all sugary snacks (or worse, a forgotten snack), and the 100% attention can be death to the order around this home. Today my mom entertained Claire (while I worked and took care of the twins) with the neighbor's kids. Aaaaah, yes, the neighbor's kids. They are six and three years old, two girls, daredevils, very spirited, and they've definitely lost their innocence - they call each other 'poop head' and say "I hate you mom" and all the things we've avoided thus far. With their arrival in our neighborhood a couple months ago, we're hanging by a thread now. Claire has learned some new vocabulary words but I am fighting the conversion. I'm not ready to have my 3-year-old speak the way those kids do.

I've noticed a disturbing pattern that after a long amount of play time with these girls, my child comes home and throws a class-act tantrum - usually directed at mom the monster. So knowing I had the double whammy of grandmother time PLUS neighbor kid time, I should have known that packing the kids up to drive to Dean & Deluca to pick up dinner would be a bad idea. But I was clueless tonight. I got to Dean & Deluca and the tantrum started ... in public ... not her usual mode. She was mad because I wouldn't buy her candy. She was mad because I wouldn't buy her the $4 French sparkly lemonade. She was mad because I wouldn't buy her a cookie. She was mad because she didn't want to leave Dean & Deluca to go home. When I finally got her to the car, I tried to calmly let her know she had lost stars and other privileges. Bad idea mom! She lost it in the car, screaming as loud as she could, and scaring the twins half to death. This makes me unbelievably ANGRY so I was starting to have trouble controlling my anger at her eruption. I threatened a spanking (we are a non-spanking household, but I reserve the right to spank under extreme circumstances). I told her she couldn't play with her friends anymore. I told her she'd be eating dinner alone in her room. I told her she had to stay in her room until bedtime. I was hoping that something, anything, would get through to her and make her calm down but she just got madder. It was an AWFUL 15-minute drive home. I came pretty darned close to tears once we were home which is a huge rarity for me.

So I'm feeling pretty serious about severely limiting her play time with the neighbor's kids. I've already been controlling it tightly and she's had little time with them recently (and no tantrums as a result) so with today's tantrum I think that solidifies my resolve on this. We may not be able to choose our neighbors, but we can choose who our kids play with and this does not seem to be a good deal for us currently. I contrast this situation to the other neighbor kids and the in-home daycare kids that Claire plays with and she NEVER throws tantrums after playing with them so I definitely think I can link this behavior to these kids specifically.

The twins had a pretty good day. They did sleep a bit more than usual thanks to our big Father's Day yesterday (and this is never a bad deal for me). Lily is finally making a "DA" sound and she crawls around the house shouting it over and over and over "DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA". Molly has really gotten good at the army crawling - enough to make me wonder if she'll ever crawl with her belly off the floor.

I must go start the house tasks (which I can hear husband working on also) for the night. You know, Mess Patrol. I tend to refer to parenting as at least 60% Mess Patrol. You clean, and then clean, and then clean some more. Especially with multiples (and a preschooler too). You clean up toys, dishes, floors. Baby bottoms. And bottles. I've got the bottle cleaning down to a science. I can clean 8 bottles in about 6 minutes thanks to bottles with liners and steaming bags. Whomever out there spends hours cleaning the insides of baby bottles is CRAZY. Playtex bottles with the liners are the only way to go, especially with twins. I know, you'll probably tell me that when I warm them .... in the microwave, heaven forbid ... that I'm letting nasty chemicals leech off that bottle liner plastic into my babies' pure little bodies. Well, I'm just ignoring this little fact and waiting on the official study and until then please don't burst my bubble on easy bottle cleaning. Please.

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