I had a bad day (to be sung like the David Powter song)

I'm having one of those days.  One of those days that I wish I could just get into my car, turn the radio on full blast, open up all the windows and just drive (and drink the wind)...  I'm having one of those days that started with my dog throwing up three times from eating an entire corn on the cob (most notably the cob part) and having to clean up the throw up while my not-quite-walking son was desperately trying to climb up the flight of stairs and my daughter was yelling to me from the family room couch that she was uncomfortable and the blanket wasn't on straight (not sure if anyone else can relate to that one).  The morning continued this way as Luke cried every time I wasn't holding his hand leading him in circles around the house, Hannah dropping an entire yogurt face down on the family floor and Bella eating a Q-tip (can't wait to see that one come out).  For the last 30 minutes before driving Hannah to camp she pretended she was a mouse and refused to use words, only "squeaks".  

 "Hannah, put on your shoes".
"Hannah get your lunch bag."
"Squeak, squeak"
"Hannah, please stop squeaking at me."
in a whisper, "mommy, I can't speak English, I'm a mouse and can only squeak".
"Hannah, PLEASE stop pretending to be a mouse".

The entryway to camp appeared like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

The hours between drop off and pick up were actually uneventful with Luke.  I guess my playing tennis for 3 of the hours while my mother-in-law babysat and Luke sleeping for another 3 of the hours helped.  In the back of my head the entire day I wondered how the evening would go.  This was Hannah's 6th day of camp and so far, we are 6 for 6 for nights with tantrums in the evening.  And I'm not talking about little wussy tantrums that are over before you know it.  I'm talking, full-blown, thrashing on the floor, smacking her hands on her legs, banging her head on the floor, screaming, hour-long tantrums.  Ones which when they are over, I think I should have video-taped and sent to The Nanny for immediately help.  Hannah is honestly like a ticking time bomb when I pick her up after this long day at camp.  And I haven't quite figured out how to diffuse her.  My tactics aren't working.  I've tried taking her out for a nice mommy/Hannah activity, bringing her right home to relax in front of the TV, taking her for a smoothie, reading her books... nothing has worked.  And tonight... well, I almost completely lost it.  

Today I feel like I'm doing something wrong.  Why do I have a 4.5 year old who still throws these horrendous tantrums?  I thought they were supposed to be over at this age.  I've read the books (although I haven't found the one called, "I've already tried that, give me something better"), I've asked my friends and family (and probably shouldn't have), I've tried reasoning with her, punishing her, reward charts, time-outs, walking away, ignoring her... and nothing is working.  What makes it worse (or maybe better) is that Hannah doesn't throw these tantrums at school or camp or anywhere outside of my or my husband's eyesight.  We're the only blessed ones lucky enough to witness this craziness.  And when I try to explain it to people, they don't believe it.  "Hannah??" they say.  "Sweet, Hannah?".  They can't imagine.  No one can.  

So, I'm having one of those days.  I am tired of these days when I'm so spent and don't even want to vent (hey it's a rhyme!) to my husband because after his long day, I know he doesn't want to hear it.  I just want to fix it.  Hannah said to me tonight, "Mommy, you're driving me INSANE!", and as my mouth dropped open in dismay, I realized that it must be something I've said to her.  How awful of me to say something like that to her.  She's four.  She needs a calm, reassuring, patient mommy.  But I'm forgetting how to be that mommy with the tests she's putting me through.  I'm looking for words of wisdom.  Anyone?  Anyone?  I'm sure SOMEONE (of the 6 or so people who read this blog) can cough up a miracle tantrum cure?  How's it handled in Australia (for my Australian reader)?   Maybe put Hannah in a boxing ring with a kangaroo?  In any case, I'm feeling beaten down and for once really WANT some parenting advice.  I (kind of) promise I'll listen...


The Not Drowning Mother said...

Your Australian reader here. Traditionally the British just sent problem four year olds out to the colonies.

Unfortunately for me, I'm *in* the colonies.

I don't know what to suggest except to say that people always talk about "The Terrible Twos" and say that six is the devil's number but in my humble experience FOUR is the devils' number.

It's a difficult age, made all the more difficult by how strong, willful and knowing they are.

Stay calm, keep your head. Be consistent. Stick to your guns. Keep breathing. Have a drink of wine.

Know you are not alone.

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