Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Transitions, Tiredness, Tantrums

Just minutes after posting my thoughts about Owen this morning, I heard the unmistakable sound of a battle of wills going on downstairs. Owen had taken Pedro’s alarm clock from the bedroom and dropped it on the dining room floor. Pedro was asking him to pick it up and take it back to the room, while Owen was adamantly refusing to do so! Such a simple thing, yet our two-year old was insistent about doing things his way, not Daddy’s … Needless to say, the exchange was not pleasant and tears were spilled before reconciliation was finally achieved!

Fast forward to this evening when we returned home from dinner at my sister’s house. Tucked between the bars of the front gate was a folded piece of paper, which instantly piqued both girls’ curiosity. Eva reached it first and pulled out an advertisement for something – I don’t even know what. Isabel was on her heels and was devastated about arriving too late to pull the paper out herself. She began to cry and then without further ado escalated into a full-blown, top-of-the-lungs, screaming and jumping temper tantrum!

While she has always been more prone to meltdowns than our other two, usually it is as a result of tiredness or hunger. Over the years we have learned to head off such scenes by providing proper rest and nutrition. Having had a long nap today, and having just finished dinner, she surprised us with her outburst. Unfortunately, on my part the surprise quickly turned to frustration – for this was just another in a string of similar tantrums we have witnessed over trivial matters this week. As it turned out, however, this tantrum far exceeded any other in its passion and length!

I am so thankful for my husband at times like these, because he seems to have a patient way with our daughter when she is in the midst of her crisis. Even so, the tears flowed freely for a long while before any type of resolution was in sight. I put the other kids to bed before joining Pedro and Isabel in the bedroom. By then my own tears were spilling over as I wrestled with why this was happening yet again, and how to help our daughter express herself appropriately when frustrated rather than demonstrating such an utter loss of control.

Much later, after a long talk and crying together and prayer, she was calm and able to go to sleep. I truly believe much of this is a result of “transition stress,” if you will – bottled up frustrations from the many changes she has experienced, and an inability to verbalize her feelings the right way. If I had hoped for some incredible breakthrough after our long talk, however, it didn’t come. Even after speaking of my deep love and concern for her, which she accepted and reciprocated, the words she spoke in response left me wondering if anything we said had really sunk in! She said, “Mommy, sometimes at lunch, a boy at our school … he burps!”

Sometimes, you just have to let it go and laugh!

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Oh, sweet Steph...thanks for hanging in there and for continuing to stay faithful in the challenges of parenting...especially cross-culturally...and especially with children! :) Keep on keeping on...and keep on laughing. :) Love you!