Thursday, July 16, 2009
It begins with a crease. A slight furrow of the brow.
Then, a whimper.
Soon, too soon, a resentful look.
A lower lip juts out.
A nose wrinkles.
A howl reaches ear splitting heights.
Within seconds, tears sprout like from a fountain, sweat beads up on her forehead, all eye contact is denied... Hurricane Charlie has arrived.
Temper tantrums. Daily basis. Sometimes on a minute by minute basis.
They used to show up whenever I left the room, but now they appear whenever she doesn't get her way. It's also her nap time and bedtime routine... the back arching, wailing.. she never falls asleep peacefully, it's always this colossal battle against herself to allow herself to sleep.
I'm not sure how to handle these tantrums.... I've tried different things. I've tried ignoring them (that doesn't work, she keeps going until she is spent and then falls asleep), and I've tried holding her (she arches her back, refuses eye contact, shrieks, until she's spent and falls asleep), I've tried standing near and coming closer when she lessens up and farther when she intensifies (has no effect). She is 10 months old. Ten second time out? (Or, for attachment parents:) Ten second time in? Somehow I don't think that will work... ten seconds is not noticeable to her during one of these meltdowns. Although I haven't even tried time outs... I think at this age they are worthless as she wouldn't understand what was happening.
I don't know how I am supposed to pay attention to anything else around the house. For example, today I needed to pick up dog poo in the yard. The dogs track poo in if I don't pick it up and it's unhygienic so I have to do it. I put her in the high chair, on the deck, where she was within 15 feet of me and could see me at all times. The high chair is very sturdy and she is safely strapped in. She wailed the whole time (15 minutes). This also happens when I shower, even if she is in the bathroom with me. Or any time I'm not paying attention to her 100%.
Did the nannies in the care center pick up every child as soon as they started crying??? I find it amazing to think, but I'm starting to believe it.
Should I just let her cry?
I feel like such a bad mother if I do that. Here I did all this work to bring her here and she's had all this loss and trauma and so how can I let her cry? It doesn't seem right. But soon I will be going back to work and we need to have some ways that we can survive and get things done. She is going to have to be ok being the only child of a single woman. God or whoever put us together and so we must find a way to make it work. She needs to learn, and I am definitely learning!
On the other hand, when she is not tantrumming, she is a delightful, smiley, playful child. She does great with eye contact, she's alert and interested in the world around her, and she is affectionate with me. So this is not RAD or anything as severe as that... it's behavioral and I seem to be making it worse rather than better.