Friday, November 7, 2008

Stark Raving Lunatic: Part 2

She. did. it. again. This morning. While Ruthie was still sleeping.

She started a few minutes before David was going to work. He offered to stay a little longer to try and help her come out of it, but I told him not to bother - it would just make him late and probably wouldn't help anyway.

It lasted about 30 minutes and was the same as the others. Flailing, rolling around on the floor, hiding in a corner, this awful cross between a high pitched whine and crying. She looks so, so pathetic when it happens and can barely speak. I'm just glad I didn't smack/spank her - I'm just so glad I didn't. I did yell, but it was more for shock value to see if it would snap her out of it. I kept repeating, "Do you want Mommy to leave you alone or do you want Mommy to stay with you?" and then I would say, "Okay Esther, just answer yes or no. Do you want Mommy to stay with you? Just say yes or no." And she would just. keep. whining.

And then it ends just as abruptly as it starts.

I asked her about it later in the morning - I wanted to see if she had any comments about it. The first time she just kept saying "I cry because I wanted Daddy." An hour or so later, I pried out of her that when she cries like that it means that she needs a little break and that I should go away from her for a few minutes and then come into her room a few minutes after that. That might be part of what prolongs it - I HATE leaving her alone because I don't want her to feel abandoned. And I like to still think that a hug from Mommy could fix it all.

The problem is that if Ruthie is sleeping I don't want her to wake up Ruthie. I think I'll try telling Esther that when she needs to cry loud, she has to go into the "new room." I think if we talk about it several times before the next tantrum we might be able to get her to remember it. With the door shut, Ruthie won't be able to hear her crying.

So, I'm taking an extra long lunch break this afternoon. I've got a library book and some diet coke and cake chilling in the fridge. Bliss.


Sandy said...

It has been quite some time (Laura is 20 years old now) but I do remember Laura doing something very similar. I would refer to it as childhood PMS. One day, while grocery shopping with Laura sitting the seat of cart, she merrily started to sing PMS...PMS, to the ABC tune. I quickly started to sing ABCDEFG....with her.
Sometimes, I think children do not know what they want and can't express how they feel. They can't say I feel blah... I would leave Laura alone and tell her where I would be when she was ready for a hug. I'm not sure I had the right answer then, but looking at her now, I don't think she turned out too bad.
Next time this happens, take a deep breath and repeat over and over again..."this too shall pass." Hopefully this will be stage that passes quickly.

dc604 said...

it's good to talk with her about it when she is calm and to make a plan, tell her what the plan is and then try it. who knows why she does it? and it really is a dilemma about leaving her alone and the risk of her feeling like you didn't help her (i.e. abandoned). you may not be able to control what's going on when the lunatic episodes occur - but you can be in charge of how you discuss it and help her to process through it later when it's not happening.

AwwwTrouble said...

Wow. Am I completely nuts for wanting to see this? I get this feeling at times that Elizabeth is teetering on the edge of such a tantrum. She's had some interesting periods where she's acted out, then she does some strange stuff where it's like she's too lazy to pitch a fit. She spent 10 mins lying/rolling around on the floor of her bedroom this evening moaning the word "Open" over and over in a tone similar to the kid from The Shining (think "Redrum"). I walked out of the room and she just kept doing it. She wanted to climb into her crib - and get the !#@$ pacifier - and she can't get in the crib without the gate being in the down position. Reason doesn't seem to work, and I always feel guilty when I forcibly take things away. The only solace I take is that I'm betting this doesn't scar her for life. - Rich

dc604 said...

ummm....yeah....she pulled the lunatic on me...her Ana - it was sheer luck that she happened to kind of roll on her thumb and started sucking it and then stopped crying. My favorite part was she couldn't get her sock off and just started banging her foot against the wall while the rest of her body seemed possessed by a contortionist. so, good luck with all that.

Laurie said...

Zoe has tantrums. I tell her I can't understand her when she whines, etc., and as soon as she's ready to tell me what she needs, I am eager to help her. Then I go stand somewhere nearby and wait for the tornado to run out of gas. It sucks. Another mom told me that she once videotaped her kid during a tantrum. When the kid was in a better place on another day, she showed her the video. She says the kid thought it looked so silly and was embarrassed and never threw another tantrum again. I find that hard to believe, but whatever. Life must be sooo frustrating for the little people at this life stage.

Rachel et Natalie said...

Rachel does a similar thing too and yes it is before goin to bed when her sister is already asleep

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