tantrum or possession??

Last night, I attempted to put Jenna to bed.

It was late, because we just kind of dragged our feet, and it was Friday, and then daddy came home and things got delayed even more….

We did the potty thing, the teeth brushing thing…. and then got settled in bed.

I am not sure what happened next, it was like a flip switched and suddenly I had this feral child trying to escape from me. There was screaming. A LOT of screaming. The kind that has to be shredding the back of her throat, yet she continued. A lot of trying to climb off the bed, a lot of “Mommy!!!!! I want downstairs!!!!”.

Her distress prompted a couple visits from daddy, convinced I was torturing her, and wanting me to let  her come back downstairs.

I finally gave in. Wouldn’t you know it…. she screamed downstairs too??

It was one of those fits that has to just taper off…..no matter how long it takes. She was too far gone to rationalize this.

Back upstairs. I thought if I held her firmly, not TIGHT, this might help calm her down. In the same way you wrap the psych ward patients in a straight jacket and maybe a cold, wet, tightly wrapped sheet during an outburst.

I held her in my swaddling way…. speaking softly and trying to calm her down.

This is when she started to really scare me. She may have been speaking in guttural Latin, I’m not sure. Bucking and thrashing with superhuman strength, I fully expected a glowing pentagram to show up on her forehead and for her to start biting my face.

I let go, didn’t seem to help after all.

Somehow it ended… Oh yea, I was back downstairs with her by then. Sitting in a kitchen chair. Googling 2 year tantrums and child possessions.

Guess what happened at 3am?

More of the same. This time screaming for popcorn, downstairs, water.

Fell asleep as I sat holding her on the kitchen floor, after drinking water and screaming a bit more.

This morning she woke up late. So did I. We were in my bed, me terrified to move until she wakes up.

Her little shaggy head pops up, and her little voice chirps “Hi Mommy!, I want Paw Patrol!” Seems completely normal again. But I don’t trust her.

I will not turn my back on her....

I will not turn my back on her….

Noise pollution

On any given day…. for any variety of reasons, or maybe for no reason…. you will hear a sound in my house.

It’s a horrible whiny, screechy noise. It can last and last depending on what started it. It makes my ears want to bleed.

It’s Sammy.

I’ve been told this is normal for his age. A completely normal part of development.

Lately it has been happening when his baby sister decides to take something of his, or he wants to take something of hers and she won’t let go. It happens when his brother doesn’t want to play with him right now. It happens when he doesn’t want his dinner, when he doesn’t want to wear an undershirt, when he doesn’t want mom to retain her sanity much longer…

You can’t reason with it. I’ve tried.

Some days, I swear the only noise he makes is a whine. He can speak in a whine, I think sometimes he actually forgets what his voice is supposed to sound like, I know I have. The older kids get fed up, and tell him he’s a baby. Then he comes crying to me, like a baby, telling me that they called him a baby.

How ironic, he is, at this very moment sitting on my knee…..crying/whining as he tells me that Jacob told him he’s a baby. I’m choosing to pretend I can’t hear him. Sometimes I tell him I can’t hear that whiny noise…I am only capable of hearing normal speech.

Conversely, his sister is almost two. She does not whine and rarely cries. She usually tries to comfort him when he is having his mini meltdowns during the day, much to his displeasure. She’ll pat him on the head, “It’s ok Sammy”.  This usually makes him cry/whine more about people touching him.

Today, playing number flashcards….. his older brother said “11” before he did. This is what happened:

The master of distress

The master of distress

We had to put the card back, and let Sammy say the number first….Amazingly his smile came right back!!

Over time, you can develop a good ear for the real cry over the fake cry. Sometimes, during a good fake cry/whine session, I will take photos to admire my sweet cry-baby, and keep them to share with him or future girlfriends when he is older. I think taking a picture is much healthier than yelling at him or rashly putting a plastic bag over my head to stop the noise. Being able to laugh at the situation, is often a saving grace. And sarcasm. Sarcasm helps a whole lot.


I know it looks serious. He is a great crier, especially when he fakes an injury and can continue crying about it for 30 minutes straight because he is secretly mad that he doesn’t have a REAL injury…

This too, shall pass. Right? Right??!!

She’s leaving me

Proof...she loves me!

Proof…she loves me!

My 17 year old is gleefully counting down the days, no, the HOURS until she leaves for college. Leaving the rest of us behind as she forges ahead into her dazzling future.

I did the college visits, kept harping on her to start the FAFSA, and the early application process. Sent emails and made phone calls to people working in the profession she wants to study, trying to find out where the best colleges are for that sort of thing. Talked about getting a job, being responsible, growing up…..

All the while seeming to forget that I was working on her ticket OUT of here. Away from me. Like…. away as in not planning to live with me in a permanent way anymore.

I must have been refusing to face that part of it for a while. After our trip to PA to check out a school there, I was telling a friend about it. I got a concerned sounding “and how are YOU doing?”…”Well, I’m…fine…. how are  you?”  I wasn’t sure why I was being treated so carefully and considerately. But I get it now. Because I’m going to fall apart, and my friend was just checking to see if I’d started yet.

I think now that the flurry of activity is over, I have time to really think about this.

And here come the random episodes of blubbering and panic, the desperate wish to freeze time, the happiness for her and sadness for myself.

I feel very much like a certain Greek father asking his daughter “Why you want to leave me???” with his teary, tortured voice.


My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2002. Best Movie Ever. courtesy of yourtango.com

I’m far from an empty nester, with three other kids who will be staying home for years yet. But she will leave a void and no one else can fill that spot. She’s my daughter, but also sometimes I feel like she’s my only friend in this house, like she’s got my back in a way that no one else can. She makes me smile on days that I am so fed up with the world, even if she tempers her greatness with moments of being a pure teenager.

I love that girl.

And it’s hard to know that she won’t be here with me every day anymore. She will start to change. She will come home on breaks, some weekends, and she will be itching to leave…she won’t tell me what she’s up to, at least not while she’s doing it.

And I will watch her transform into a real adult. A woman. Independent. And I think I’m allowed to shed some tears for that, because I’m so full of emotion I can’t seem to help but cry a little when I think about it.

I can sit here and say, she is EVERYTHING I could ever have hoped for in a daughter. I have worried from her infancy that I wouldn’t know how to “do this” right. To keep her close to me. I know what I wanted, it was not the relationship I had with my own mom…she and I did not have an amazing bond, and still struggle to understand each other. But I think I got it right, somehow, with my own daughter.

So of course I hate to see her leave, as much as I love to see her embrace her future.

And so, we turn to our usual comfort measures…

little chocolate donuts. The cure for all ills.

little chocolate donuts. The cure for all ills.

Naked in the context of KIDS

I realized today, as I shouted the words “everybody get naked!”……just HOW much my life has changed from that era of Before Kids.

My request was not made in a daring, funny, or sexual way. I was not at all hoping to see anyone close to my own age in their birthday suit. I’m not sure how it happened, but I find that comments that might have been racy or suggestive in my past, have taken on a whole new meaning.

For example, “Get naked! Now!!”  This does not mean I want you, I need you, I’m dying for your touch. It means literally….get naked. now. I have to give you a bath, like I do every night, I don’t want to chase you around anymore, and I don’t want you throwing your underwear at my head.

Talking about naked. So in the past, if I found a camera in the house with some blurry and close up photos of some sort of body part…..I might wonder what kinky stuff my husband was up to….??  But, no. I find said photos on my 3 year olds leap pad…..and when I tire of tilting my head, squinting my eyes, and trying to decipher what the picture is….I ask him. “It’s probably my butt”… “Oh, really? Well what is THIS picture of then?”, “It’s probably my butt too…”. So this kid then tells me “you weren’t supposed to see those, mom” He had taken his leap pad into my room and tried to take pictures of his butt, saved them, and used them as backgrounds for some of the drawing applications he used. Budding artist, or weirdo??  Probably too soon to tell. In fairness to him, he had done the same with various more acceptable body parts, like an eye, a foot, and also used them for backgrounds. But still…….

So yea, naked is a little different than it used to be.