Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Angry Chair

There are these rare instances as a parent when I think inside my head: this really could be a defining moment for me as a mom.  In these split seconds of time I have found myself, truthfully quite arrogantly, thinking that these are the experiences when my clay (aka the minions) are really going to start to take form.

This weekend I had one of those moments when Chris and I both masterfully handled a teachable moment with Molly, then two days later I ended up feeling like a complete and utter terrible mom after I received some additional information about the possible root of  "the shopping incident".  That being said, I'm pretty sure, even in retrospect I'd handle things the exact same way.

Molly needed some spring clothes.  We headed out to Once Upon A Child to get some gently used clothes for her and to look for a couple of items for her brother.  She and I looked around together first and picked out clothes for her.  I dropped those off to Chris and Jack who were playing in the toy aisle and mentioned that I was going to look for shoes for Jack, one of the only items on his list. Molly demanded that I look for shoes for her instead.  I explained to her that she didn't need shoes and that Jack did.  She started to whine, this escalated to a cry and Chris and I both, somewhat patiently explained to her how lucky she was to have lots of nice things and how she should be appreciative.  She took it up a notch and cried louder, an escalating sound piercing enough that we were starting to get attention from other shoppers in the store.

toddler fancy dress christmas
Daddy helping her into a new dress at Christmas.

Chris turned to Molly and slowly, deliberately and calmly stated, "You need to learn to appreciate just how lucky you are.  If you keep crying about what you don't have I'm putting one of the items that you and mommy picked out back on the shelf and we will not be buying it."  Unfortunately and somewhat predictably this did not have the calming effect that he was hoping for. It was as if he'd activated the "go ape sh%$t bananas" button and we were faced with the biggest tantrum we have seen from either child in over a year.  Molly began screaming in hysterics, "I WANT EVERYTHING FOR ME!" and other catch phrases that appeared to be pulled straight from the script of Mean Girls at the top of her lungs and sobbing uncontrollably.  We briefly tried to settle her, but shortly after Chris picked her up and took her for a time out in the car, leaving Jack and I in the store to fend for ourselves.

For a split second I debated not buying Molly any of the clothes as punishment for her poor behaviour, but quickly determined that the only people this would really punish would be Chris or I who would have to go out again to find suitable children's attire at another time.  Instead I bought everything, but when I went out to the car pretended I had only made purchases for Jack.  When I got to the car, Molly was still in hysterics.

When we made a stop, Chris tried to talk to her, at which point she demanded that both Chris and I apologize for making her sad.  We both suppressed our scoffs and laughter.  After some quiet time at home she apologized to both of us and said that she wouldn't act like that again.  She also asked if we could go shopping the next day, to which we said no, maybe some other time.

For the rest of the weekend, and since the meltdown she has been on her best behaviour.  The other night she asked me when her next Mommy and Molly date day was and I assured her that we'd have one soon (it is her turn for a date day this month).  At daycare I spoke to her ECE worker about the "shopping incident".  She told me that Molly has been fairly unhappy at daycare for a few weeks now, as Jack continues to bond with Molly's former best friend and that she's been having a tough time coping. She also agreed with our decision to try to get the minions in separate classes for kindergarten in the fall, but that's still four months away which is still nearly 10% of her life away.

This is where Chris and my thoughts on the matter differ.  Chris believes the shopping incident was purely isolated and a selfish "id" moment.  I am on the same page as her ECE worker who sees a connection to other incidents.

I actually believe I owe Molly an apology.  I wish I spent more time with Molly than I do so I could more easily read why she's freaking out.  I am going to apologize to her for not finding out what was wrong and for not digging further.  I am going to cuddle her and let her know that I know what it's likes to feel left out.  I am also going to remind her that several months ago she was doing the EXACT SAME THING TO HER BROTHER.  I guess I focused on the wrong teachable moment.

To read about dealing with the terrible twos tantrums click here.

To read about behaving badly for dad click here.

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