Sunday, March 4, 2007

crankus maximus


I was trying to explain to my friends Nancy and Tonya tonight the fits that Addie has been having lately.  "She's just challenging everything we say," I said.  "And when she doesn't get what she wants, or if she hasn't eaten or taken a nap, she has a major tantrum."

"She's acting cranky, huh?" asked Nancy.

Um, no.  Not cranky.  Cranky doesn't even come close.  On a scale of 1-10, cranky is like a 6.  Addie's at 11.  Full on Spinal Tap.  Weeping.  Screaming.  Uncontrollable sobbing.  "It's a complete dramatic episode," I said.

Mostly, I think this is fairly age appropriate.  Addie is figuring out how and when to assert herself, and we are also experimenting with how much freedom to give her.  Yes, you can wear your cowboy boots on the wrong feet all around Target.  If your feet start to hurt, we can change them.  No, you can't stab your crayon into Nolie's eye.  Yes, you can wear your jammies all day today.  No, you cannot have a third carton of yogurt.

"Yes!  I!  can!"

Actually no, you can't. 

Addie doesn't like to be contradicted (who does?) and this leads to frustration, and we're trying to teach her appropriate outlets for frustration, and the learning is slow.  For her and us.

Anyway, we're trying all the good stuff.  Diversion, giving her choices, loosening up.  But it's really tough.  We were all supposed to go to the grocery store today, for example.  Eric was upstairs with Addie trying to get her ready (which probably just meant getting a pull-up on that didn't weigh 72 pounds).  Nolie and I were downstairs waiting and waiting.  Things got very quiet, so we decided to come upstairs, only to find Eric lying on the bed, eyes closed, hand to forehead, and Addie in her room, playing with the door shut.

"What happened?" I asked. 

"I needed a time out," he said.

I'm glad Addie is spirited and willful.  I'm glad she has opinions and is expressing them.  But it is also totally exhausting much of the time.  I'll be glad when Crankus Maximus abdicates the throne.

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