Sunday, February 10, 2008

Two Conversations and an Anecdote

Over Birthday Dinner

Me: ... and I was so mad at the Pie today when she was throwing that tantrum and wouldn't sit still so I could buckle her into the carseat that -

Hubby: (staring with shocked expression) You can't get mad at the children.

Me: Well, I calmed down after a few min - Wait. I can too get mad at the children. What are you talking about? I'm allowed to get mad at the children sometimes. It's not like I yelled at her or anything. My mom says she used to scream at us, and I don't even remember it, so it's not like I was scarred by it.

Hubby: But, but - they're just little children!

*****

After Watching Too Many Danger Ranger Videos

Bub: (shortly after the Pie went down for her nap) Danger Ranger Mama, did you put Danger Ranger Pie into her bed???

Me: Yes, Danger Ranger Bub. Yes, I did.

*****

Tantrum Times Two

My tummy was feeling rumbly Thursday night. We had just watched the latest episode of Lost and were getting ready to watch a taped episode of Survivor from earlier in the evening. I poured myself a bowl of Corn Flakes, reached for the brown sugar, and realized that I had slightly less than a full spoonful. This was a disaster with implications not only for my bedtime snack, but also for my breakfast in the morning. Why had I not put brown sugar on the grocery list when I poured the last of the bag into the plastic container? I kicked myself for the oversight, anticipated tomorrow morning's white-sugar cereal with a sinking feeling, and began to develop a growing suspicion: somehow this must be all hubby's fault.

Then I went to the refrigerator for milk and realized that there was about half a cup left - barely enough for my snack, and nothing for the morning.

Suffice it to say that there was much banging of bowls, some shouts of "That's just great!" and "I guess I just have to starve!", a general throwing of boots and coats, some stomping of feet and banging of doors, and then I was off to the grocery store at ten o'clock at night, the Fans and Favorites still frozen mid-screen, their shelters unbuilt, with no idea of what they were playing for.

I thought of that yesterday when, after being denied hot chocolate at Starbucks and then enduring the further indignity of having an Estee Lauder compact full of eggplant-coloured eye shadow torn from her happy little hands, the Pie howled and stamped in her fury. Her rage animated her whole body; she roared in frustration and screamed "Don't look at me!" when I tried to make eye contact.

"Do you need to make a deal?" I asked. "Will you go back to the crib if I read you a story first?"

She nodded, catching a sob in her throat, relaxing her body against me as we curled up in the chair, cracking just the barest hint of a smile as she filled in the blanks. "If you give a mouse a cookie," I began, "he's going to ask for a glass - of - "

"Milk," she whispered.

42 comments:

Terri said...

I loved the Danger Ranger conversation. I knew my youngest, who was at the time maybe four, had seen Spiderman one too many times when she would emphatically tell me, "Mama, I not Bethany, I Spi'erman."

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

You're never too old for a good tantrum.

And let me just say that you have definitely not left your husband alone with the children enough.

Omaha Mama said...

I don't know if I can or should get mad at the children, but I do. And I've surely yelled. Little children or not.

Sometimes, I can see it. How people completely snap. If I felt that way, that anger, all the time. I'd lose it.

Here's hoping for a more peaceful Sunday for us all. And maybe some Danger Ranger shows (although we don't really have that here...but I do believe I hear Mickey Mouse Clubhouse).

Maddy said...

Pity Starbucks don't sell emergency milk, they'd make a killing.
Cheers

slouching mom said...

This cracks me up. Because last night, I went to the grocery store in a snit -- at 9:45pm.

There was no sugar, and if I hadn't gone, I wouldn't have been able to put coffee in my sugar, no, no, sugar in my coffee this morning.

What made it tolerable was that there was NO ONE in the supermarket. Except for me. It was ... blissful. In a relative sense.

McSwain said...

Ha! I 100% that comment about leaving your husband alone with the children. Not only do I get mad at mine, sometimes I get mad at the 30 in my class at school. It's not whether you get mad, it's how you handle it.

The hard thing about being a single parent as I am is that when the milk is gone or there's not enough sugar late at night and the kid's in bed, you have to just sit there and pout. Because there's nothing you can do about it.

Gwen said...

I love how this is hangs together thematically without you once telling us that it should.

The other day my 7 year old said something with this "tone" to her 4 year old sister, and my husband and I stared at each other in horror: "She sounds just like us!" we whispered.

cinnamon gurl said...

I think it's ok to get mad at your kids. In fact I think it might even ben good for them to see a full range of emotions expressed and handled relatively appropriately. My husband also doesn't spent large chunks of time alone with Swee'pea the way I do, and I'm quite certain it would change his understanding.

kgirl said...

um, i threw that exact tantrum last night. (the cereal one, not the nap one.)

Lady M said...

I think we only make it to the grocery store after 9pm. "Shoot, we don't have enough milk for tomorrow. Darn it, we have company company and nothing to cook. " and so forth.

Blog Antagonist said...

Denying our anger only makes is grow. Getting angry isn't the problem, but dealing it with it constructively. With a Spirited Child with a learning disability, it's something I've had to work on. A LOT. And when I'm not successful, I apologize and that has value too.

That milk thing pisses me off to no end. I now have a teenager in the house who will guzzle the last drop from the carton and put it back in the fridge. As soon as that kid get his driver's license, HE will be the one making 10:00 pm excursions to the grocery store.

Veronica Mitchell said...

You can't get mad at children.

I... uh... ummm...

Nope. Speechless.

Beck said...

I had my very own little mini tantrum this morning when I found out that we were out of cocoa powder while I was making cookies. WAH!

Why AREN'T we allowed to be mad at our kids? They are frequently very annoying.

Jenifer said...

I am laughing about Beck's comment, "frequently annoying" amen to that. Well, I sure get mad, actually sometimes I wonder if I get too mad. They can be annoying and frustrating, it is a human reaction I would think.

That said you can't go around like a tyrant either, which is not to say I don't yell because I do. After though I usually apologize because yelling doesn't solve anything - even if it feels good at the time.

When the girls see me get mad and remedy it, I figure that is as good a lesson on learning from our mistakes as any.

You Hubby's shock makes me think he is a pretty calm and cool fellow.

bubandpie said...

Jenifer - He is that exactly - calm and cool. Which is why even though he was kind of joking when he said that, he was also kind of not.

Swistle said...

Your husband---lobotomy, am I right?

Christina said...

We're not allowed to get angry at our children? Oh, well, I'm in trouble then. I get angry at them a lot. I just try not to take that anger out on them by yelling at them.

And tantrums, in moderation, are permissible at any age.

Kyla said...

Can't get mad at the children? Has he ever been alone with them? ;)

Danger Rangers. Cute.

And tantrums, yes. I can think of many occasions I wish I was two and could really let it all out. LOL.

Janet said...

Wait, we can't get mad at the children?

I need to go back 8.5 years and start all over again...

KAL said...

Well... sometimes I yell. I try not to yell AT them though. This morning I left hubby with boys for one hour. ONE hour. When I returned he was playing video games while the boys ran around him still in their pjs. I picked up the closest child and felt sopping wet flannel. Then I saw the line of dribbled smoothie behind the couch. I yelled. He said, "well that was disproportionate to the event." Huh? Maybe one should refrain from yelling at little children, but how about the bigger ones :)

Btw, other than the trip to the store for milk/sugar, your Thursday night sounded exactly like the one at our house... go fans! And Lost is going to have a much better season I think.

Lisa b said...

Sometimes it gets so hard being the mom that I forget how hard it is being little.

You've got me wondering if I don't consume enough sugar but I think what I actually do is consume it with chocolate.

minnesotamom said...

Though mine is only 5 1/2 months, I am looking forward to these little "lessons from the Lord" in humility and anti-hypocrisy. I can imagine myself telling Anja, "Honey, we don't act like that in this house," only to be acting that same way moments later when something doesn't go MY way.

As usual, you have put this scenario into words beautifully.

Christine said...

i'm ALWAYS mad at my kids. your hubby would think i'm a tyrant. kids are little people and many people make me mad, why not them?

and sometimes a good tantrum is jsut what the doctor ordered.

Hairline Fracture said...

I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one who gets mad at my children.

I just think it wouldn't be normal to NEVER get mad when they do so many things to test the limits.

I agree with everyone who said that seeing an adult get angry and deal with that anger appropriately (or apologize) is more helpful than pretending "we never get angry." I do wish I was more cool and calm (like your husband?) but I have an Irish temper that I am learning to control, but I'd rather not yell when I get angry.

realitytesting said...

Okay okay okay. I got it! Tomorrow, can you write one just like this about GAS? Because that's my issue right this very blinding snowstorm dark late night.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Regarding tantrums, I'd say I never throw any except that every time my daughter stamps into her room screaming, my husband sighs and says, "She's exactly like you!"

Kathryn said...

Um. Children can be very maddening. I just...
yeah. Maddening.

kittenpie said...

You can totally get mad at the children. As long as you try to contain it and let it out in a safe way. How could someone never get angry at a child, ever? They can be maddening sometimes, let's face it!

Stimey said...

Oh, man, if we're not allowed to get mad at our children, I'm in big trouble.

Heather said...

Ummmm, I got mad at a child and threw a tantrum in front of my toddler this week.

Funny thing is she actually seemed to listen to me. I guess I was speakin' her language.

anna said...

Ohh. Do you have to go to Starbucks? Did you know they practice gender apartheid where it is legal in the world to do so?

I really miss the way a young child's body relaxes against yours...

Chaotic Joy said...

My husband and I regularly have similar conversations about getting mad at my children. He always says "You can't take it personally, they are just being children."

To which I reply. How can I not take it personally. They are the fruit of what I do all day everyday?

Oh and the other day I was confessing to my mother that I have been yelling at my children too much and my mom said, "Well I yelled at you guys. Sometimes I couldn't help it." I have absolutely no recollection of that. So there is hope for me, I think.

Julie Pippert said...

LOL

Of course you can get angry at children...it's an emotion!

You just don't DO something that harms them from the anger.

And I am probably one of the most tolerant people wrt temper tantrums; I am, after all, so good at them myself.

AnneK said...

Hey, my mom used to scream at us regularly when we were growing up. All of us including her had to be out the door at 8:30 am. Before that she had to make sure we ate breakfast, pack lunch for us and also make sure that all us kids were wearing matching socks. We are none the worse for it. I think.

Don't beat yourself over it. In hindsight I can totally see how annoying I was...

Rose Daughter said...

Unfortunately I've screamed at my kids, soemtimes there is only so much you can take of all the noise and fighting. I think maybe your husband needs to expierence that I want to scream moment to truly understand.

Laural Dawn said...

Do I ever get mad! I figure as long as I try not to shout and I never hit, it's okay to be mad sometimes.

But, you're totally on with the empathy thing. When you can see it in your child's eyes it's a lot easier to make things better.

Pieces said...

I love the way you put this together.

Amy said...

Oh yes, I've done the bowl bang, cabinet slam, it has to be SOMEONE'S fault! thing.

And seriously, he thinks you shouldn't get mad at them? Wow. Just wow.

Aliki2006 said...

I'm often amazed by how similar my tantrums sometimes seem to the tantrums my kids throw--maybe they, too, can't discern the difference?

Merle said...

I know exactly what you mean. That sinking feeling as you envision the white sugar on the cereal as it falls through all the cracks and ends up in a big pile at the bottom of the bowl. That is just the wrong way to start a morning.

I also loved how you said that poor Pie had the added indiginity of losing the makeup. That is so true. I work so hard to place myself in A's shoes. To him, it is a great indignity to have me interfere. And frankly, I can often understand why he throws a tantrum. I think Heather has the right idea. Those of us who are prone to throw tantrums ourselves are most likely to be able to sympathesize and tolerate the tantrums of others. We speak the same language.

ewe are here said...

I'm sorry, but anyone who believes you can't get mad at children 'because they're children' isn't spending nearly enough time with them.

Because we all get mad at our little darlings. We love them madly, but they also know how to drive us insane! ;-)

Sus said...

Danger Ranger makes me laugh out loud. I put my kids in the car yesterday and then went back inside for one last ditch effort to find my daughter's scarf. I was literally stomping around the house yelling at my husband (who was completely innocent and at work), who is CLEARLY at fault for every missing thing or empty carton of milk. Amazing what will put me over the edge. You can call me Pie. :)