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Aug 07

Broken windows, marriage check up and “no, walk”

Jessica Mary, my precious little love, slammed her fist into a window yesterday and broke it… she was having a temper tantrum, I had put her in my room to calm down and she responded by pounding on the door. As luck would have it, half of the door is glass, and it broke. No injuries, thank God, but I was livid. I made sure she wasn’t broken or cut and then sat her on my lap and yelled at her for a while.

Talked with Marc in the car on the way to our Marriage Check Up, figured out what we’d do (three days, no computer, no television, and she’d have to help repair the window – plus a chart where she can earn a reward for going so long without losing her freaking mind in a screaming fit). I told Marc yesterday that I’d been dealing with her tantrums for almost five years, and had yet to hit on a cure all technique for solving them. I’ve done time out in a chair, time out in her bedroom, my bedroom, time in – holding her and waiting until it passes, ignoring it, feeding into it by yelling back at her (this actually never works and manages to make me nuts as well), rewarding it by picking her up and cuddling her and reading to her once she calms down, punishing it by taking away the computer or the television… everything works some of the time, and some of the time, nothing works.

The broken glass immediately made me think of the number of times that Scott or Mandi would freak out in the car and slam their heads or fists into the windshield. I HAVE to get this under control asap.

The thing is – she’s such a wonderful, smart, funny, nice kid. She’s exceptionally well behaved with others, and when she’s not a screaming mimi, she’s awesome. She’s just got a tendency to let herself get so emotionally caught up in her temper, it’s like she chooses not to control it and just lets it go, as loud and as extreme as she can. It sucks for her, because I’ve had temper tantrums myself, and once they get bad, it’s really hard to get it under control, you can tell that she’s not enjoying it – and it sucks hard for everyone around her.

My marriage check up went really well too – it’s a great program. We signed up for a study at Clark University and basically we fill out questionaires and every six months or so, we go in for a check up to make sure that the marriage is still healthy. Last night, we got the results of our first session – and it’s all good. Really, there’s no down side, she tells us how fabulous we are and how much we love each other and then gives us a check. The therapist says that we have a strong, loving marriage and that there are very few problem areas – one of them being, of course, lack of individual time together. I don’t think it helped that I explained that our idea of a date was having only one child who was asleep in the back of the car. She actually suggested that we go to the thing in Providence that Becky and Greg went to – which sounded lovely – now I just need to find someone who wants to take on two cherubs. Jessie probably won’t break any windows at someone else’s house – and Sam didn’t cry at all last night when I left (in the interest of full disclosure – he cried until he puked on Saturday when Jess and I went out with Mom).

Just got back from the bank, and then a long walk to the grocery store with my little cherub who says “no, walk” every time I try to put him in the carriage. And the walking takes a long time – because there’s a TON of cool stuff out there. Like grass. He LOVES grass, likes to walk in it, name little patches of it, and touch it. And God help me if there’s an ant. We have to stop and watch his progress for a while. And there’s lots of rocks – they need to be touched, pushed around, and if they’re extra pretty – he needs to pick them up and present them to me.

I bought 96 meatballs, tons of sauce, cheese, pasta and a bunch of cute little rolls for meatball sandwiches for tonight’s game. I also bought some sugar because I was out and sugar for coffee is as critical as diapers for me. One of those things we MUST have in the house at all times. I also bought Hershey’s kisses – as part of my new technique for rewarding time without a tantrum. If she goes all morning, she gets a kiss. All afternoon, a kiss. I’m not thrilled with this – rewarding with food – doesn’t seem like the best idea… but on the same hand, it’s a couple of kisses a day and it’s not like I give her a lot of junk food.

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