Meltdowns, Mayhem, and Silence
I’m not really sure what age the tantrums begin to disappear, but we still go through phases where daily tantrums are the norm. We are right smack in the middle of one of those phases. And it’s painful.
In order to impart a better understanding of what I call a tantrum, let me describe the scene last evening:
After work, we dressed the boys up in warm gear and they hopped on their respective trike and bike and we headed to the neighborhood restaurant for dinner. Both boys were in great spirits, colouring prior to the meal, eating quietly and then finally asking for an after dinner treat. The boys and their dad went next door to the corner store and purchased banana popsicles (the old school water/sugar ones). Little C started into his, but it was clear he was never going to even get close to finishing half. Little D on the other hand, fully and thoroughly enjoyed and devoured his.
Within 30 seconds of finishing with a smile on his face, he turned into a raging caged animal yelling “I want another popsicle”… “POPSICLLLLLLE”. Thankfully, the restaurant was empty at that moment (between early bird and regular dinner time). Derek threatened, cajoled, reprimanded, to no avail. We gathered him up punching and kicking and headed out the door. We then tried to get him on his bike and finally did. By the time we got home 8 minutes later, tantrum complete, order restored. For about 6 minutes that is, until Little D realized that as a result of his less than ideal behaviour, he was not getting bedtime stories.
Derek handled things from there, telling Little D stories and calming him down until lights out.
This morning I suggested to Derek that perhaps the tantrum last evening was due to sugar consumption given the temporal relationship (sweet child eats popsicle full of sugar; sweet child transforms into raging bull). We agreed that there is a possibility and we would (once again) attempt to limit pure sugar product consumption. Yay – problem resolved.
Until this evening. Little D had a punching and kicking frenzy over the particular type of parmesan cheese being set on the table. I had run out of my regular freshly grated kind and was putting out the gourmet “grano padano”. The cry from my sweet child tonight was “I need to go the grocery store NOW”.
Up he went to his room for a particularly difficult time out which included banging on the door, woeful wails lamenting his pitiful fate, and even punching at himself. I may have taken things a little too far when I told him if he didn’t stop punching himself, he would have to go to a “special doctor” who helps children who get very angry and frustrated.
About 5 minutes later, he calmed down, apologized and accepted brown rice as a substitute for his pasta (served with tomato veggie sauce and meatballs). We proceeded to discuss his periods of frustration. We asked what he does at school (Montessori) when he gets frustrated. He told us, he goes to either the “yoga corner” or the “silence material”. We know the yoga corner (love it!), but I wasn’t sure what the “silence material” was. Little D explained:
“You sit down with your legs crossed and you put up a sign that says “silence”. You then take a little hour-glass and sit quietly for the one minute it takes for the sand to fall through. At that point, you can do it again, or you can move to another activity”
We asked if he would like a silence corner at home. “YES!” was the answer we received from a smiling child.
“Where should the silence corner be in this house?”, we asked.
“In daddy’s office”, came the answer. I suggested that this was probably not ideal since daddy works in there during the week. I successfully counter-offered a quiet corner of the family room overlooking the backyard.
So, again, I can optimistically hope… problem resolved? We shall see. In the meantime, where does one buy an hour-glass??