Saturday, April 05, 2008

Tantrums and The Digital Camcorder

Tuesday, Handsome (4 years old) had a major meltdown over not getting to play after his SEIT left. He, like most kids are a creature of habit and this is the normal reward after sitting with his therapist. This particular morning I had a few errands to run and told him he would get to play later but we had to go now.

After hearing this because I am speaking to someone else I guess, he tried to plug the game in and I said, "I told you that we have to leave and you will play later." He tried again because he needs to test everything. I stopped him and said, if you do that again, I will take the plug away. He stopped and we left on our errands.

We came back and I asked if he wanted to play before or after his speech therapist. He said before. I told him that if he played now I would put the timer on and he had to stop when the timer went off. He said, "Ok." I told him again to make sure he understood and he said "ok".

When the timer went off (15 minutes before the therapist) I told him "ok, time to shut off the game." He said, "No, I'm just playing." (Like I am an idiot).

I told him "yes, I know you are but we agreed that when the timer went off you were to shut it off."

He said, "no" and rushed at me with his two hands thrust out and pushed against my stomach. I will never understand why he thinks this is ok to do. I am not a hitter and I sometimes wonder if I need to knock him on his ass a few times.

I told him that I was unplugging the game because he didn't listen and Speech was coming in a few minutes.

I walked over to pull the plug out and he rushed at me, hitting me with his open hands and crying. I took the plug and walked to the kitchen. He grabbed it and we fought over it for about 2 minutes. I grabbed for my video camera and started recording this fantastic display of preschool aggression.

While we had a tug of war over the plug, my 2 year soon to be 3 year old asked questions like "mom, can I have some water? and "I want to watch something on TV." Is she kidding me. I am holding the camera, street fighting my 4 year old and answering questions calmly.

We fought for about 15 minutes. I won (insert invisible cheering crowd) or have I?

Letting the therapist in, I told her what she had just heard through the closed door. I told her that I taped the tantrum and wanted to show it to him.

I taped the tantrum for a few reasons.

1- He works very well with visuals so I figured I could show him and explain to him what he should have done instead.

2- I could see if possibly I am not handling the situation well and this sets off the tantrum.

3- The therapists would be able to see what I am talking about and possibly offer some suggestions.

4- I could show this to him when his kid is turning 4 and let him know what to expect.

5- If I don't like his fiance' I could sit her down and let her know this behavior is hereditary.

Many, more reasons I am sure.

We watched the video together. He didn't laugh or smile like he usually does when he watches himself on video. This time he was silent until his therapist asked what had happened. He didn't look away from the video but he said, "I was upset."

Then he said,
"you've got to calm down, you've got to calm down"
which is mostly what I was saying while this was going down.

Interestingly enough when I am dealing with a tantrum I go into total zen mode. I am more calm while dealing with him for as long as it takes, than I am in normal life. Thankfully, or I would be Andrea Yates drowning my kid in the tub.

I digress....

We have watched the video 5 times (he asks to see it) and I think recording it was the best thing I ever did. When we watch it together he holds my hands, kisses my arms and hands, hugs me throughout the 5 minute video while telling me "I'm sorry for hitting you mommy. I love you with all my heart."

So, lesson here is always, always, always have the video camera charged and ready.

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