When is my birthday?

2:46 AM

Ever since Queenie's birthday, Firecracker has been trying to figure out when her birthday is. She had a meltdown a few weeks ago when we went to her friend's party because she claimed that I said her birthday was next.

"You said it was your birthday, then Queenie's birthday, then my birthday, then papa's birthday, and then Christmas! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

Principe couldn't help but laugh because her order was so far off that there was no way I ever said what she claimed I said. Of course that kind of reasoning didn't avoid the tantrum....

This year of being three has been difficult for Firecracker with a new baby sister and then going to school full time. I wonder if she is looking forward to turning four in order to see if that year will bring her something new? Out of the funk of the last year?

That might be reaching  bit for a three year old. I am pretty sure she is only thinking about the presents.

But you can bet that I am thinking about that. I look at the calendar and see her turning four so far off. Of course there is nothing magical about turning four. In fact, turning four turned out to be the start of the worst three months of temper tantrums from Queenie. So really, there is no magic in turning four! But Queenie wasn't very verbal at that point and the temper tantrums started melting away once she got into speech therapy. So that is a different ball park....

Will there be magic next April when Firecracker turns four? Will she magically start listening to me, learn to stop when someone says stop, learn to express herself instead of wailing and crying? Will she suddenly wake up and say, "hey, whacking my sister over the head with my backpack isn't nice, so I am not going to do it again!"

Hmmmmm. That would be magical. And not to take away from magic or anything, but that probably isn't going to happen over night.

In the meantime I am trying to take a different approach to temper tantrums (TT) as we seem to be having a lot of them. I know that she is tired and I know that at this very moment she probably doesn't feel 100%, but I refuse to give her that excuse all the time. Especially when she purposely kicks the door closed just as I am in the doorway because she is mad I am not paying attention to her TT.

I pray a lot about handling these TTs because I don't like how crazy they make me feel. I read a lot about how to talk to your kids, how to get them to talk and open up, how to ignore the stupid pouting sessions and the crying about nothing. Of course, the violence of hitting, kicking, etc, cannot be ignored. That is when she goes into the gym room where the floor is padded and she can roll around being angry and scream while being out of my way. I have even been victorious lately in avoiding them. So far I have learned this about my child and me, which is nothing really new or earth shattering, but for some reason it still takes learning:

1. My tone of voice affects her. If I yell, sigh, speak down to her or generally have a not-so-nice tone of voice, things will go downhill faster.

2. I am capable of keeping myself calm if I refuse to sigh, if I keep my voice light and if I don't focus on what she is doing that is so irritating (like refusing to walk up the stairs, or saying "wait" instead of coming to brush her teeth)

3. Things are better if I can immediately ignore her minor disobedience and quickly move on to the next thing. Preferably with a smile. For example, if she has made me wait to come brush her teeth and then needed coaxing to open her mouth and then needed convincing to keep it open, my mood is generally shot at that point. BUT, once she opens and keeps it open, if I can ignore what just happened and talk to her nicely or even make a joke about her stinky teeth, I can usually get her lighten up. If I stay in a funk and crab at her about talking while I am brushing her teeth or whatever, then usually a TT ends up rearing its ugly head.

4. Most of the time she really just wants attention and is going to get it no matter what. If I can stop what I am doing, give her a hug and kiss and pay her a little attention then we can usualy avoid a TT.

5. Going along with number 4, if I can forget about us being late and stop putting her shoes or coat on while she is talking and make her see that I am listening, as soon as she is done she will get ready faster and again we can avoid a TT.

Amazing how most of it comes down to me.....and my attitude and way of doing things. For the last few years I think I have focused on the negative (she won't go up the stairs, she tells me "no", she is not obeying, she isn't getting ready and we are going to be late, she is going to have a melt down) which has not lead to anything positive happening. Now I try to ignore the negative and focus more on the positive. That isn't to say that we no longer have TT. There are a lot of factors involved here for them to just magically dissapear, but maybe by April the stars will align and I will suddenly have all the steps down pat so I no longer have to remind myself of them or no longer need to go into the kitchen for a quick chat with God who makes sure I know I cannot sell my girl at th market (just kidding). Instead focusing on the positive will just be nother habit, a part of my daily life and magically, all TT will be
avoided from that point on.

Now that is just one more reason to count down the days until her birthday!

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