This morning started with our 3-yr-old crying to come get her when she woke up. That is never a good sign. I try to give her extra TLC on those mornings because she is usually still tired and needing some loves. But today was just one of those days when no matter what I offered, she one-upped it, and I couldn't make her happy.
It started with her wanting me to carry her downstairs. I have been telling her for some time now that I won't be able to carry her anywhere much longer - she's just too big. It doesn't help that I still have to carry Baby R since she can't walk yet. And I sprained my ankle at softball Sunday night (I'm too old for double headers!), so I definitely couldn't carry her today. She was fussing about it, and I told her she needed to be quiet because I didn't want her to wake up Baby R. She wanted me to hold her, and I told her I would love to and offered to snuggle in bed for a few minutes. She didn't want to. She wanted me to carry her downstairs.
After trying to circumvent the inevitable by appeasing some of her requests and trying to cajole her into going downstairs for breakfast, I realized it was going to be a battle of wills kind of morning. And when that happens, I have to be the tough guy. I tried to be calm. She was wailing on the stairs and I told her if she woke up the baby, I would be angry, and she would be in trouble. Of course, Baby R woke up. I was boiling. I struggle with my temper, but I bit my tongue and went into the nursery. I saw Baby R's sweet little face and was able to bring myself back under control by the time I got her changed and dressed, despite the howling on the staircase a few feet away.
I hobbled past S on the staircase and asked her to join us; all the while she was yelling, "Mommy! Mommy! Carry me!" She finally made it down to the kitchen on her own, and I got her distracted by talking about breakfast. After I poured the cereal, she said she wanted to sit on my lap. I told her I would love that, she just needed to change out of her Pull-up so it wouldn't leak on my work pants and handed her clean underwear. (That sounds insensitive - the kid just wanted to be held! But we had talked about this the last couple of days because she's had a leaky diaper a few times this past week, so it didn't come as a surprise to her.) She screamed that she didn't want to take the Pull-up off, and threw the underwear on the floor. I calmly told her she needed to pick it up, because we don't throw things when we are angry. And that was the beginning of the end.
Her tantrum lasted 30 minutes. In that time, I tried Love & Logic, time out, and finally a spanking (all without raising my voice), but she just dug in her heels. In the end, I had to put the underwear on her and put her in the carseat mostly naked where she continued to scream. At that point, I finally couldn't keep it in and yelled, "I AM VERY, VERY, VERY ANGRY RIGHT NOW!" I was not happy with myself for yelling, but I was glad I was able to hold out for that long, and that I used an "I" sentence. It could have been worse, but it certainly could have been better. I have no idea how Mrs. Dugger does it.
The commute was lots of fun today because Baby R has reached the age where she hates her carseat, so she usually screams from the time I put her in it until I take her out. It was like they were having a contest to see who could cry louder. And it was raining today so I couldn't roll down the windows like I usually do to keep my ears from bleeding.
As we drove away from the house, the sun started to peek out though my windshield wipers kept running. This provided a little distraction because it gave us the opportunity to look for a rainbow. By the time we were almost to my parents' house, one had appeared in the sky behind us. When we got out of the car to drop off Baby R, we went outside to look at it, and S was all smiles. As we were waving goodbye to Baby R and heading to preschool, the sun started shining brightly, and the rainbow faded away. S had calmed down by then, but I was still holding on to my frustration (though I was staying calm with her). She said, "Mommy, it stopped raining. Isn't that amazing? If it starts to rain again, the rainbow will come back." It melted my heart to hear her say that, reminding me of God's covenant with us. No matter what happens, how many tantrums we have, the rainbow comes back.