Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My MonuMENTAL Meltdown

I totally lost it with the kids a little while ago. It has been one of those days-- you know, where you're just waiting for the next milestone (okay, it's almost lunch time, and then it will be nap time...I think I can make it until then). I used my "nice mommy" voice almost constantly this morning to teach/scold/reprimand ("please don't talk to me that way, I'm not talking to you that way", "please don't say things like that to your brother", "please don't hit", "let's try to enjoy one another's company!", etc). I felt rather like I was channeling my mother (horror!) with the phrases I began to hear coming out of my mouth.

After a long morning of trying to be patient with, admittedly, a few minor meltdowns on my part, things went terribly wrong right before lunch. It started with Bud trying to make Ginger play with things his way, and not letting her NOT play with him (this is par for the course when Ginger is around-- Bud considers her his personal plaything) which resulted in Ginger bopping Bud on the head with a LIttle People character. Nice!

I managed to distract Bud with lunch and had him happily eating what I fixed until Pen came in and pulled Peanut Butter Crunch out of the cupboard, which made Bud want to trade in his lunch for a bowl. Of course I told Pen to put the cereal away (not a good lunch, thank you!), which made her mad, and Ginger was still mad about the time-out I put her in for using a smiling Little Person as a weapon (there just seems to be something wrong in that). While all of this was going on, wonderful Big was looking at all of us like we were crazy (yeah, so?!), but was quickly growing tired of waiting for his lunch.

I was truly trying to use my "nice mommy" voice to solve all of the injustices and calm the anger, but after many attempts at taking care of everyone's issues (like I had been trying to do all morning!), and being ignored all the while...I was beginning to feel like a total "Blah".

"The Blah" by Jack Kent was one of my favorite books as a kid. It is really hard to find since it is out of print, but if you haven't read it, you should. It is all about how a person feels when no one notices them, like a "Blah". I thought being a middle child made me feel like a "Blah", but it doesn't even come close to how children can do the job to their mother (again, sorry Mom!).

Anyway, so here I was, using my "nice mommy" voice, trying to get their attention and make everyone happy, when I suddenly lost it! My "nice mommy" voice morphed into something completely different. More like a nice long banshee yell, I would say (not one of my finest mothering moments!). It may not have sounded very nice, but it sure did grab their attention.  

All of the noisy squabbling had been replaced by complete silence (well, silent except for Ginger's sobbing-- I guess I scared her a little). I ordered them to be absolutely quiet for the next 15 minutes so I could get them some lunch and get Big fed and down for his nap-- not one word or unnecessary sound allowed. Bud only lasted about 4 minutes, but the silence was golden! 

When the time came for the kids to speak again, they pointed out to me that the time was up. I agreed that it was and asked them what they thought the first thing out of their mouths should be. The chorus of "I'm sorry Mama!" made me feel so much better! Until it all started again a few minutes later. Just one of those days.


Lisa Marie said...

I thoroughly enjoyed that post. "Blah" is definitely the way I am left feeling at the end of "those" days. I am impressed that you were able to maintain the silence for so long! When I am mid-meltdown and demand silence, my kids last MAYBE 2 minutes. I love blogging and the honesty it brings out in us all, so that you can sit down, finish reading and think "Thank goodness- I'm not alone!!"

Becki said...

Ha! It must be in the cosmos today. I had a similarly frustrating day. Each of my children was needy in a different way. Jake came home, and after witnessing the unpleasant dinner conversation took us all up Rock Canyon for a little hike. Things went much better after a nice walk (the presence of another adult may have helped as well).