The upside of temper tantrums

tempermental family

Kids.  I love them.  Well, I love all five of mine. I’d probably like yours, but I’ll reserve judgement on that point for the moment. Anyway, my kids are the highlight of my day life. They say, do and completely loss their shit over the greatest stuff ever. With that in mind, I’ve decided to start a running list of the best kidlet melt-downs of 2014. The cause, duration and magnitude, the resolution and any notable quotes thereof will be shared herein. I’m only doing 2014 because this is a blog, not a novel and with five kids, ain’t no one got time for that many tantrums.

So, because I came up with this brain child in the middle of the last week of February, I’ll name today’s entry as Tantrum Number One (TNO), otherwise known as the You-WILL-Wipe-My-Bum-Or-Else! tantrum.

Without going into too many gory details (good luck with that!), one of my adorable minions has proven to be resistant to owing the responsibility for wiping her own bottom after using the potty (number one, not two). And since (I have been told) I will not be allowed to accompany her to junior kindergarten next September (whose stupid policy is that, anyway?!?), I have decided that this particular minion must learn not only how to, but also commit to performing the wiping ritual by herself, even at home. Part one, done.  She understands how it is done and that it is necessary. Part two. She wants none of.  And so therein lies the conflict that lead to the aforementioned TNO.

Now, I don’t know if you’re familiar, but I dare you not to not laugh (and I mean really laugh, like out loud and expelling tea from your nose) when confronted by a very angry, short, red-faced minion of your own making, who is repeatedly screaming at you to ‘WIPE MY A-GIIINA NOOOOOOWWWWW!’ while standing in the doorway wearing only a tee-shirt and knee-high socks, raising her shaking fist full of toilet paper at you, and stomping her foot so hard the windows shake in the next room. And then, once you’ve recovered from nearly drowning in your own tea, I dare you to sit back down and resume eating your lunch while that same possessed minion continues to rage and demand your immediate assistance, despite your constant and gentle yet firm assertions that you WILL NOT be helping anyone do anything right now, particularly anyone who is screaming demands at you.  You are on a ‘break.’  (Hell, if the minions are going to treat you like hired help, you’re damned well entitled to a frickin’ lunch break – workers UNITE!).

And, after the third kick to your shins, push on your arm (causing you to miss your mouth with your fork and drop the once much-wanted food right into your lap), I would suggest that you may choose to carry that mostly naked, enraged, tear and snot covered minion-of-fury up to her room and gently close the door after telling her that “when you calm down, and would like to apologize, you may come back downstairs, apologize, wipe your bottom (which has now been air-drying for half an hour) and put on your clothes, then you are more than welcome to do so.”  Then you may close the minion’s door and pat yourself on the back while you limp back downstairs to finish your now cold and unappetizing lunch.  But, you didn’t give in.  You PARENTED.  You parented the shit out of the situation and that is more far more gratifying than sustenance.  And because you held your ground, your kid will be a huge success in life. Right?!? Um, right?  For the small price of a pounding headache, two very small shin bone-chips, a crappy lunch and 45 minutes of your life, you didn’t have to wipe a bum and you taught a three-year-old that you can’t be bullied into doing it either. So there. Hmmm. Now that I think of it, I kind of totally won and lost at the same time. But, because I’m the grown up, and she doesn’t read my blog, I’m taking the win for the whole “I stuck to my guns” thing. There are no ‘tie games’ during these times of battle.

But, hind sight is 20/20 and you know what? Next time (and there will be a next time, bank on it), I’m just going to wipe the minion’s butt and get one with our otherwise peaceful afternoon together. This was probably one of those battles I didn’t need to engage in. Live and learn. Besides, I’m pretty sure that my bum-wiping days are on borrowed time – even kids get weirded out about it after a while, and when it’s all just a memory, I know I’ll be a little sad and miss these days.

2014 Tantrum Success Score:  Mama – 1        Minion Army – 0

no keys

17 Days to Spring and counting.  Not sure I’m a believer yet, but I’m SO OVER this sub-zero weather, that I’ll take any hope that is thrown at me.

“Ponder it”

Those were Plum’s (17) last words to me last night.  He was clearly frustrated, annoyed and angry but instead of yelling and screaming, he remained outwardly calm and chose instead to walk away.  I was proud of him for that.  But, he is his mother’s son and he couldn’t walk away without getting, or at least trying to get a parting shot or the last word.  “There is nothing that you care about, is there?” he said to me.  I paused, thought for a beat and said “I’m not sure what you mean when you say that” and he said “ponder it a while then” and closed the basement door and returned to his room and world of MSN chat, Facebook status updates and YouTube.

A completely unrealistic rendering of me, pondering it.

Perhaps I should start somewhere closer to the middle, the beginning would take all year.

I had to make an unscheduled run to Wal-Mart yesterday evening, after tucking all the smalls into bed, to fill a prescription.  Also, we were out of banana and my smalls just don’t start their days right without a banana with their breakfasts 😉  So, while in Wal-Mart my phone rings.  It’s Plum.  After asking me where I was and what was up (um, you called me, remember?!?) he asked if he could go to the gym later on (time of the call was 8:45pm).  Keep in mind, it’s a school night, the first week of a new semester and he is not in his strongest position, school-wise right now.  So, I asked him what time he would be home and he said “oh, 11:45 or 12ish.”  Um, what?  Lemme see here.  It’s a school night, curfew on school nights is 10pm (which I still think is insanely late during the week, but that’s another discussion) but going to the gym is NOT a reason to lift curfew.  I talked with him for a few minutes while pushing my cart through the store.

I was trying to be diplomatic and calm, but it got harder and harder, the more he pushed to get what he wanted.  He couldn’t see why it was a problem since he would be awake until 1 or 2 am anyway.  Or because when he was working he would come home that late or later on school nights (which I reminded him had always been a problem as well).  Or that he was quiet when he came in.  Or it shouldn’t be a problem because he was going somewhere  not just hanging out or “whatever.”  I heard what he had to say, and if you’ve never had to deal with teenager demands, via cellphone, while in Wal-Mart, all I can say is, DON’T.  The conversation went from bad to worse before it ended.  Hanging up, I admit I was annoyed that I had allowed him to get to me, to use ‘that tone’ on me, you may know the one – it’s the one that teenagers use to convey to you that you’re a complete idiot and really shouldn’t be out unsupervised because in your idiotic state, you may forget to breathe.  But, I digress.

My point was and is that I don’t care if you are 7 or 17 or 27.  The house rules are the house rules.  Curfews are set for a reason and turning 18 (yes, Plum is 18 in two weeks) won’t change the curfews or the rules.  If anything, the older my children get, the more I expect of them.  I expect them to do more, to be kinder, more mature, responsible and respectful, show greater consideration for those around them.  My only expectations of Ms. Moon for the past 20 months were that she be adorable.  She has excelled at that, but now, she’s shaking things up and in the last week has decided that her youngest brother is a better chewy toy than playmate, so being on high alert for her baring her pearly whites in his direction has taken on top priority when they are together (which is almost all of the time).

Anyway, I cut my trip to the store short and headed home.  I did some laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, put away the few groceries I had managed to purchased (sale prices only, of course!), and sat down to go through my email and clean out my inbox.  When Plum appeared soon after, and indicated that ‘if he were allowed to go to the gym tonight…'(you can fill the blanks), I took the opportunity to reiterate in shorthand: my house, my rules, curfews are curfews for a reason and while he may not appreciate or understand my position, that on this one, I was not compromising any further.  Not impressed, he stalked out of the room but not without taking his parting shot “”There is nothing that you care about, is there?”  Me: “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying with that one”  Him:  “Well, ponder it then.”

Did I push his face in at that point?  No.  Was I tempted, yes.  But I didn’t.  I pondered.  And then I it pondered some more.  And what I realized was that this whole thing was his way of throwing a temper tantrum and trying to get me to engage in a full-on war over something that I didn’t need to fight about.  Seven and seventeen have more than just the ‘seven’ in common, you know?  It may be normal behaviour for kids to try whatever they can to get what they want, but unless I remind myself to breathe through these trials, I lose sleep, cry a river of tears, ,get MAD and then feel like the worst mother on the planet.  But, I’m not.  I’m not the greatest ever, but I’m far from the worst, and I am always trying to improve and get better at things – for my family and for myself.  I love my kids.  I do my BEST to take care of their NEEDS and as many of their WANTS as possible, but part of my job as MOM is to be the bad guy and try to teach the hard life lessons sometimes.  It sucks, and nobody told me almost 18 years ago that one day my sweet, beautiful, perfect baby boy would paint me as the enemy on a daily basis, but if they had, being barely older than he is now, I wouldn’t have listened anyway, would I have?

This too shall pass and he will love me again one day (like when his kids are pulling stunts on him, maybe?)

Any temper tantrum stories to share?  Dealt with a difficult teenager?  (and no, my parents are not allowed to share stories of my adolescence.  My blog, my rules *grin* 😉

It’s five against one around here – but I am winning!

17, 7, 5, 3 and 19 months. Those the ages of my children. The first four are boys, the baby is a girl. And no, we weren’t ‘trying’ for a girl. We actually fully expected another boy and were totally floored when Miranda appeared, in all of her girly perfection. It took us eons to actually process that we had a daughter, a girl that we were now completely reasonable for – for some reason that fact was scarier to me the same fact for my sons.

Anywho – totally not the point of this post. Focus Honey B. So. 5 against 1. My three middle children fight, play and fight some more with the dedication and ferocity of kamikaze pilots. My teenager is in the throes of hormonal hell, and takes me on a regular hellish emotional rollercoaster ride, with moods and attitudes changing and shifting more rapidly than an eye can blink.

Right now, 7 is at McDonalds, having a play date. 5,3, and 19 months are napping. That naps are happening is winning in and of itself. Anyone with children has a much deeper appreciation for naps. It’s a beautiful and peaceful time in the Badger house. Until I remember that I have some issues to address with 17. To be truthful, I haven’t forgotten for a second, I can just think of a hundred things I would rather be doing that dealing with teenage drama and temper tantrums. Like what, You ask?. Well, at this moment, I do believe that I would rather swim with the alli-gators in the Bayou (don’t you just LOVE that Swamp People show?) than deal with 17 right now. But, seeing as he in only a staircase away from where I am currently sitting and those alli-gators are far, far away from here, I will choose to deal with the teenager. Nobody ever said being a mom would be easy. And it’s a good thing that nobody promised that it would make me popular either. Time to go and have a little chat with T-Buddy. Wish me luck 🙂