Once a drama queen, always a drama queen.
Katie has not eliminated temper tantrums, but she has perfected them and her performance has matured.
We had a little accident the other night. While attempting to climb into an empty bathtub (something she knows she's not supposed to do), she scraped her knee along the edge. I cuddled her for a full five minutes before I noticed she was bleeding.
Enter nurse mommy and enter the drama queen. Just the suggestion of washing off her knee brought out a banshee I'd never experienced. When I finally got her pinned between the microwave and the kitchen sink to apply the cool washcloth, the screams subsided as it occurred to her that the damp coolness was a pretty nifty painkiller.
That posed a different problem.
I couldn't get her to take off the washcloth in order to apply a Neosporin-treated Band-Aid.
Even though I promised I wouldn't touch the ouchie, evidently I wasn't allowed to look at it either.
She wouldn't have anything to do with the specially purchased Scooby Doo Band-aid (although Nikki begged for one the minute she saw them).
Thus, the second fight for power began.
She was thoroughly treated with Neosporin (and none of it on her cut) before we were done, and I had to add more to the Band-Aid.
It was lots of fun.
After a lot of wrestling and still more screaming (you wouldn't believe how hard it is to put on a Band-Aid on a non-cooperative kid when you're holding the Band-Aid with both hands and they've got both arms and both legs to fend you off with).
Once the Band-Aid was on, and Katie realized that its application didn't cause excruciating pain, she was automatically enthralled with it and had to show everyone her Scooby Doo.
Her 180-degree turn had my head spinning. When the Band-Aid fell off in the bathtub, could I throw it away? No-ooo-o. Katie took that soggy thing to bed with her. Even when I offered to get her a new one, she told me her cut was "all better," and clung to the original.
What do you do?
She exercised her right to be non-cooperative in a less combative, but no less frustrating way a few nights later. It was still fairly dramatic.
She wanted to walk to the car after leaving Nana and Papa's house, but wasn't allowed because she was wearing footed pajamas with no shoes.
It was a battle. When I finally just picked her up, she went limp in my arms. It's a good thing I have a strong grip or she really would've had something to cry about.
When we got home, she adopted the same boneless response when I tried to pull her out of the car.
So, I left her there.
I gave her three chances to come out on her own, then I closed the door and walked outside. I turned out the porch light and the kitchen light (so she wouldn't see me spying on her through the window.)
I gave it about a minute and a half and then went to get her.
She was much more cooperative.
I know it sounds harsh, but I'm told it's important to take a stand and not back down. It's called consistent discipline.
And it's hard.
The results often trigger more tantrums than they prevent.
I'm looking at the long term benefits here.
I guess that means I'll have to resist the urge to bow to the queen in the interim.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.