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Monday, March 4, 2013

I scream, you scream . . .

In the past when Sophia or Jude have gone thru a crazy hair-raising phase of life, it has been one child at a time.  They tend to alternate, Jude being clingy or Sophia being twirpy . . .

No more.

Apparently it is a necessity that they both be going thru absolutely nutty, insanity-inducing, SUPER frustrating phases at the same time.

Jude has developed a toxic earsplitting scream, that he whips out with the least provocation.  You never know when that little guy is going to unleash, but it is usually accompanied by a very loud (also screamed out) "NO!"

"Jude, do you want a banana?"

"NO!!!  AUGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! . . . . 'nana.  'Nana, 'nana, 'nana!"

Jude is to be one confused little boy.  His instant response to any question is "No!" followed by a scream, more often than not.  Then he actually thinks about what I said for a minute and corrects to what his real answer is.  Which is usually to demand said item with aggressive finger pointing, more screaming, some facsimile of the word . . . or a combo of all three.

It seems we are moving into the terrible twos a little early.

I was so bewildered the first few times that Jude let loose with his scream (it really is blood-curdling), that my response was to run and check where he was bleeding.  When it became apparent that nothing was wrong, except that he was being bratty, John and I decided we needed to strategize.

Jude's favorite time to start screaming is around mealtime, when he is hungry.  One night last week he was up in his high chair, practically purple with exertion as I ran around finishing up dinner prep.  I served the kids, Jude took one look, and the screams lifted to a whole new level of crazy.

"Seriously?!  You are going in the other room."  I had finally had enough.  I lifted the Judester down from his high chair and carried him into the living room, where I deposited him on the floor to scream it out.  BLOODY MURDER, people.  You'd think I had hacked his leg off.  Screams slowly turned to crying, which turned to sniffles, and a couple minutes later a sniffly little Jude came wandering into the kitchen.

"Are you done screaming?"  Sniff, sniff.

"Ready to eat?"  He hugged my legs.

"Ok, you can get back up."

A nice quiet dinner followed, filled with sounds of chewing and laughter instead of wild banshee screeches.  It occurred to me that the little guy understood more than I gave him credit for, and since then I've tried to shut down the screaming right when is starts.

"AUGGGHHH . . ."

"Jude!  I am going to take you in the other room to sit by yourself if you don't stop screaming.  No more!"

Nips it!  Heaven forbid he have to go off and sit by himself.  Seventy-five percent of the time he chills out.  If he doesn't calm down it means he is hungry, and is clearly about to die of starvation, and there will be no quiet until he is able to start stuffing his dome full of food.

At least I've got him pretty much figured out.  Now what to do about his sister . . .

Our weekend sounded like this:

"Sophia, you need to get your socks on, it's time to go see Grammy and Grampy Libby."
"I don't like Grammy and Grampy."
"Of course you do, they love you very much."
"I don't love them."
"Well, you're going anyway."
"That's not fair!"

Tears, angry pulling on of socks, and then of course she had a wonderful time and wanted to go back the next day.  But the next day it was time to go to Grammy and Grampy Munsell's house.

"Boots on, kiddo, we are going to go to Grammy and Grampy Munsell's."
"I don't like Grammy and Grampy."
"Of course you do, and they love you very much."
"I don't love them."
"Well, you're going anyway."
"It's not fair!"

More tears, followed by angry pulling on of boots.  And of course she had such a fun time she didn't want to leave.

"I don't want to go home!"
"We have to go home and have dinner, sweetheart."
"I don't like dinner!"
"Well, you need to eat to get big and strong."
"I don't want to get big and strong!"

Oy.

Of course, between these exchanges was the doozy . . . before church.

"Time to get ready for church."
"I don't want to go to church!" (Angry tears already starting . . . )
"But you love to go to your class, and learn about God, and see A and your cousins . . . won't that be fun?!"
"I don't like them!"
"It sounds like you need a cuddle, babes . . . what's really bothering you?"
"I don't want a cuddle . . . I don't like you!"
"Well, I love you, honey."
"I don't love you!  It's not fair!"
"Sophia, why are you saying that you don't like people all of a sudden?  Did you hear someone else say it?"
"God told me to say it!"

Uhhhhhhh.  That one had me.  One of those quick-what-do-I-say? moments.  The conversation was quickly spiraling out of control.

"Well, I don't think that is true, sweetie.  God loves us, and I don't think he would tell you to say that you don't like Mommy or Daddy."

"Yes, he did."

Time for a forced cuddle.  I finally scooped up my angry little 3 1/2 year old, and didn't let her go.

"Do you know how much I love you?"
"No," was followed by a very quietly muttered "stars in the sky."
"Yep, I love you more than the stars in the sky.  And deeper than the ocean, and more than the sand on the beach."
Another quiet mutter, "Higher moon."
"And I love you higher than the moon."

Apparently we hadn't gone thru our iteration of just how much we love each other enough lately, because the day quickly turned around after that.  I heard several utterings of "I love you, Mama!" from the carseat on the way to church.  I wish I could say that fixed it all, but I already told you about the afternoon Grampy and Grammy Munsell fit.  And then there was the whole heap of bonkers she went about having a bath before dinner.  I though her head was going to start spinning around.

Now to find the balance . . . when does she need a little extra love and attention versus discipline for being disrespectful?  Still figuring that one out!

It seems like just when you figure out how to deal with the crazy, there is a whole new crazy that enters the equation.  Of course, I didn't think I would have to figure out the "I don't love you!" crazy until she hit her teens, so color me surprised.  I guess it's all part of staying on your toes in this wild ride of parenthood.

Kids are in bed and it's been a long day of screaming (Jude, not me!) and a migraine (that was me) . . . time for ice cream!

1 comment:

Elizabeth Garcia said...

Awesome and encouraging! Two sounds scary!

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