Thursday, February 12, 2009

Project Tantrums: Day 3

Yesterday was a bit of a break... the kids stayed at a friend's house while My Hero and I went the the Olive Garden and did a little shopping. We picked the kids up at 4, then left them with my parents at 6:15 on the way to our small group.

However, there was at least one opportunity for training. Peanut Butter was sparklingly cheerful when we arrived to pick him up after group. They love my parents' house. He was carrying around a box that holds dominoes, and I took him into the other room to pick up all the dominoes and put them away. I'm not exactly sure what I did "wrong", but as I put the last ones in the box, Peanut Butter began to wail, saying he wanted to do it. I think now that it was probably that he wanted to do the last ones. It had been a long day, and he was tired, and I had no intention of creating unnecessary battles, but truthfully, I wasn't even sure what the matter was. He pointed at the box saying he wanted to do it, but when I took out the one he pointed at and offered it to him to put away, he was not appeased. I tried to get him to stop wailing and tell me in a normal voice what it was he wanted, but he just kept saying that he wanted to do it. My main concern was to end the tantrum quickly, so I pulled off the top dominoes and put them back on the floor to see if that would "fix" the problem. It did. Phew. He stopped crying, picked them up and put them in the box, and all was well again. I'm not sure if I did the right thing. It seems as though I gave in to his tantrum and rewarded him for it. But the truth is that it's more upsetting to him when I don't understand him than when I tell him no. Picking up the last dominoes wasn't something I had to do, and if I had known originally that he wanted to do it I would have let him. If I had an alternative established, a way to nip the tantrum in the bud without giving him what he started to wail about, I could have. I could have explained that this time Mommy picked up the last dominoes, and even though he wanted to, he was not to cry about it, but to be strong and hold in those naughty noises. I don't know if it would have worked. But since I wasn't really sure exactly what the issue was, I didn't even have that option, and he didn't know how to explain it to me any better than to point at the box and tell me he wanted to do it. I'm content that the tantrum was stopped and the habit of that response was ingrained into him one less time... and hopefully he at least gleaned from the experience that Mommy is not out to steal his fun and is happy to let him do things when he lets me know he wants to do them. He's used to sharing jobs with Christopher Robin, who does not always have his best interest at heart. Maybe next time he'll be a little slower to lose control and make more effort to communicate what the problem is.

Normally we would visit the library today for story time, but I think we'll stay home today. After a whole day of not being home yesterday, it's time for a good dose of routine, and training is much easier at home than in public.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I truly applaud you, sis. It can't be easy being on the job like that every day! I think you're doing great! Love you!