Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lessons in Tantrumming

Yesterday my wonderful, usually happy, son threw a serious tantrum.  He kept asking for something, but whatever he said was in some other language, probably Chinese.  I asked him to "show me", and he dutifully took me by the hand and pulled me into the kitchen.  There the helpfulness vanished, because I still had no idea what he was trying to say, and told him so.  He was frustrated and began to cry and yell at me.  I was frustrated too, because I am usually good at figuring out what he is saying, and because I hate it when kids cry.  Especially my own.

Zane went to the fridge and opened it.  I thought that he might reach in and get out what he wanted, so our problem would be solved.  Unfortunately, what he wanted was not in the fridge.  I continued to say that I didn't know what he wanted.  More crying and yelling, including "Mama, tut op!"  "Tut op" means "Shut up".  (The only one in the house who is ever told that is my MIL's yappy dog who barks at the sound of a leaf falling from a tree three miles away, usually at whichever time is most inopportune. So even though we don't say "shut up" to each other, we have said it enough to the dog that Zane picked it up.  Lesson learned the hard way.)  

We went to the pantry, Zane crying and yelling at me the whole way.  Ever helpful, I held up several different items that I knew he liked.  None of those were what he wanted.  More crying and screaming.  Now I was being told to "Go!" and was getting hit and having stuff thrown at me.  So I threw my hands up in the air and told him to let me know when he was done, and left the room. 

You would have thought that I had dumped him out of my car out in the middle of nowhere and taken off.  OMG, the drama!  I considered making popcorn for the show, but I was supposed to be ignoring him in the next room.  Finally he wound down a little, and came to me and said a word I understood: "Ba".  Bath. 

I was so very happy to be able to understand that, and Zane was happy to have his request finally accepted.  And for the 20 or so minutes that we were in the bathtub, life was wonderful for Zane and me.  We splashed and played.  He was even in a good mood when I finally let the water out of the tub, dried him off, and put his jammies on(this evening we were sporting a Thomas the Train ensemble).  I was relieved that Zane was in a better mood, and settled in to watch American Idol. 

Whereupon the theatrics started up again.  Whatever it was that Zane wanted in the first place, he still wanted it, apparently, and my son is a very stubborn child.  From what I could see/hear of AI, Zane's tantrum was the better show, but my ears were starting to bleed from the noise. In desperation, I decided that I was going to film him with my camera phone so that I could share the fun with my husband when he got home.   I wanted Zane's father to share my pain.

So I have a video of my son screaming and yelling and crying--until the Kindle commercial came on. He was quiet during that, even peeped his head around the corner to watch it.  Then he started up again, running into the kitchen to get away from Mom with the camera.  He finally calmed down enough to say "Ca". 

"You want a cracker?"


"Which cracker do you want, this one(Ritz) or this one(Saltines)?"

"Ca."  Saltines were the choice for the evening.  I gave him two crackers, and life was good.  Too bad all of life's problems can't be solved with a couple of saltine crackers!

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