Sunday, July 19, 2009

I lost it

Last night I brought the girls back from the Pitchfork Festival around 8pm. Friends of ours (another 4 year old Z and her mom) came back with us and they stopped inside our house to pick up a pair of flip-flops Z wanted to give to her buddy.

In the course of handing off the shoes, Z's friend had an accident. She needed fresh clothes. A t-shirt and undies, at the bare minimum. But apparently a puddle on her floor and the prospect of loaning her clothes unhinged Z completely. Yes, she was tired. Hungry too, although she wouldn't admit it. Whining and foot-dragging wouldn't have surprised me. But a tantrum unlike anything I've seen in about 6 months? That I was not prepared for.

And it was embarrassing. But Z's tantrum didn't stop when our friends left. She screamed and cried and carried on about that damn t-shirt for over an hour. Refusing food. Stomping her feet. Pushing away A, who kept trying to pat her reassuringly. Cursing me with "you're a BAD MOMMY" and other hateful, but completely G-rated slurs.

Finally, my reservoir of patience dried up and I lost it. I yelled--nay, ROARED at her. I snatched her up, carried her into her room, dropped her on her bed and told her to STAY THERE.

My blood was boiling and I lost my shit. There's nothing worse than seeing your kid's eyes change from tired/angry/defiant to scared. And she had ever right to be fearful. I didn't hit her, but if I couldn't stop her ridiculous temper tantrum, I wanted to punish her for putting me through it.

Fortunately, a little separation did us good. I put Z in the bath and put a very tired A to bed. In the time it took to read A one board book and tuck her under her blanket, Z stopped crying. She opened her mouth cooperatively for tooth brushing and flossing and curled up against me as I read her a few bedtime stories.

Either Z realized the error of her ways or she's afraid of unleashing the Mean Mommy, because tonight she was a perfect angel.