Monday, August 8, 2011

The Six Stages of Tantrums

As mothers, we are well versed in recognizing those moments when we feel like we're about to lose our collective schmidt and say something to those precious little people that we may regret later. We usually wind up walking outside with a telephone to call Lydia, or pretending that we have to go poo so we can hide in the bathroom for ten minutes and hope that nothing destructive will happen.

In between those moments, your crack MommyLand Scientific Team has unlocked the mysteries of the Kid Tantrum. There seem to be six stages. We came to two significant conclusions. ONE, that stages pretty much seamlessly transition into the next, usually immediately after the moment moms have figured out how to deal with the previous one. And, TWO, that once you've completed Stage Six, you. are. not. done. Because the entire cycle begins anew. Kate just discovered this with McGee.

Stage One: Six Thousand Decibels
This stage starts the moment you get home from the hospital. That peaceful, sweet, sleepy angel you bonded with after birth is gone and has been replaced with a wall-eyed dictator who wakes up 24 hours a day screaming "WHY IS THERE NO MILK IN MY STOMACH?! THERE SHOULD ALREADY BE A NIPPLE IN MY MOUTH!! WHERE THE F&%$ ARE YOU?!" This ear-drum shattering tantrum also presents for dirty diapers, exhaustion, over-stimulation or a scary visitor. It's also when brand new mothers learn how to rock in the fetal position.

Stage Two: Floppy Jelly Kid/Rigid Kid
This is the car seat or high chair phenomenon. Baby knows he is about to get restrained and either goes completely floppy in a last-ditch attempt to make impending restraint nearly impossible, or somehow morphs himself into a piece of wood who's diapered bum is actually repelled by his car seat. Either way, you're left desperately trying to contort a body that has no intention of accommodating you in any way whatsoever. Of course, there are a few strategies for dealing with Jelly/Woody Baby. If you're battling the kid who's been mysteriously placed in invisible traction, just give him a minute. Trying to hold this position for any longer than about 30 seconds is impossible for a kid who's most impressive physical feat so far is acting like a human bobblehead. He'll collapse soon enough. And, the upside to the Jelly stage? You can pretty much maneuver them any way you want, with little worry about injuring them. Mostly because they apparently have no bones.

Stage Three:Blue Kid Group
Oh this is all very charming. I understand that you don't want to go take a nap. You've made that abundantly clear, what with all the no no no no no no's. And when that wasn't enough, you decided that holding your breath was a strategic maneuver. And you do have a sort of alarming way of contorting your face in such a way that your eyebrows meld together right about the same time you start turning an interesting shade of red. But guess what, sweetheart? In about thirty seconds you're going to pass right out, and when you come to, guess where you'll be? In your bed. Taking a nap. Mommy wins.

Stage Four: I Can Do It Myself
This is by far the longest stage. And, if you try to intervene, they incorporate elements of Stage One, and just scream "I CAN DO IT!" for forty-five minutes. Everything takes nine hundred times as long as it would if you were just allowed to jump in there and do it. Mom putting on shoes: 14 seconds. Kid putting on shoes: 11 days. And they're Crocs. It's not like they're real shoes. Also, this stage just begs for Mom to lose her mind, and you wind up having "I can do it!" "No, just let me help you." "NO I CAN DO IT!" "GAH! WE'RE GONNA BE LATE! I'LL DO IT!" debates with your kids. Which, ironically, take more time. This stage can't end fast enough...

Stage Five: You Hate Me
Wait, YOU hate ME? Guess what, cupcake? I love you very much, but right now, you're not my favorite person at the moment either, ya a-hole. [Editor's Note: We get this from the following video. Please note it's not safe for work or little ears...but it's damn funny. And no, we don't actually think our kids are a-holes, but every once in a while...damn. -Kate]

Stage Six: The Jeffersons
That's right. They're movin' on up. Or, out as the case may be. They threaten go find nicer mommies and better daddies and they pack their backpack with a baseball glove, some socks and their teddy bear and head out the front door. About forty seconds later, they come to a corner, crosswalk or Mommy-defined outer perimeter and stand there perplexed. They also suddenly realize that they're hungry and barefoot and maybe you aren't quite so bad even though that other Mommy would be waaaay nicer than you.

Twelve years think you're done? That once they've entered and left Stage Six, you think it's over? Girl, please...then it just starts all over again, when your lovely tweener re-enters Six Thousand Decibels, Part Two. Now the screaming is equally as loud, but comes from behind recently slammed doors and is accompanied by seismic stomping. Mostly because you don't buy them things.

It also means that the "I Can Do It Myself" in Phase One that involves shoes, clothes and the potty is replaced in Phase Two with driving your Volvo. Super.

Maybe George and Weezy will take them. 

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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