Master of Many Meltdowns: Friday’s “What the frak?” Moments

Friday’s “What the frak…?” moments (WTFM) are brought to you by………..

The Master of Many Meltdowns: No reason. No warning. Just a flipped switch transforming a previously happy four year old boy into a screaming, whining, sobbing pile of snot. Who is likely to act out. Or throw things. And he doesn’t hear a word you say.

I don’t know if it’s continued withdrawal from Iowa.

Or a growth spurt.

Or low blood sugar.

Or another ear infection.

Or a demonic possession.

Whatever the reason, The Tackler had more random meltdowns on Wednesday (and several on Thursday) than I dreamed humanly possible.

WARNING: Meltdown imminent.

I considered myself a fairly experienced mom, at least with the Under Age Five category. I often see a meltdown rolling down the hill like the giant boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Not these.

These were a different entity, the likes of which I have rarely seen.

It all began as I picked my two children up from child care at the gym.

Where he was smiles. And happy.

Meltdown #1: Lil Diva held one of the “new” Little People in her hand (versus the old school ones, without appendages). As they buzzed the doors open, she walked out with it.

“Can you take that back to Miss M?” I asked her.

The Tackler stepped in, trying to rip it from her grasp.

Lil Diva got pissed and protested.

“Son, let her do it.”

“NO I HAVE TO DO IT!” Tears streamed down his cheeks as his barely coherent screeches echoed with the “I’m hungry and tired and it’s past my nap time” edge.

Only he gave up naps. Nine months ago.

Meltdown #2-3: He calmed. Briefly. Lil Diva returned the toy.  He stood in the waiting area, by the glass doors that block the chaos from the rest of the gym.

Someone opened the door.

Meltdown. Same as before.

“NO I WANTED TO DO IT!”

The parent gave me an apologetic look. The door closed.

His sobs trailed off. Perhaps he only gasped for air.

Another person opened the door.

Same meltdown.

Meltdown #4: Lil Diva ran off, The Tackler and I falling behind, still at the glass doors as I attempted to calm his hysterics.

“We have to go, sweetie, or baby sister will sneak into the locker room.”

He took off.

“You can’t go in there! It’s for girls only!”

Same meltdown, as he paused in the open hallway leading to the women’s locker room as I sprinted in to grab Lil Diva.

Meltdown #5: I requested he grab a short table in the cafe for us to eat lunch. He instead chose his favorite tall bar stool table.

“We need a shorter table so baby sister can reach.”

“NO WE HAVE TO SIT HERE!”

Same meltdown.

Meltdown #6: Lil Diva  fluttered about, grabbing for protein bars on display as I hurried to procure a high chair. The Tackler left his seat, and went after her.

He grabbed her wrist and dragged her towards the table.

She walked, whining and fussing, but not digging her heels in.

“I need to do that, sweetie. When you pull her like that she gets very upset.”

“NO I NEED TO BRING HER TO THE TABLE!” Only it came out more like “Noweyeneedto bringer to da TAAAABLE!”

Same meltdown.

Are you seeing a pattern yet?

Meltdown #7-10: I plopped Lil Diva into the high chair and pulled out my culinary masterpieces: PB & J.  The Tackler’s sandwich was quartered. Lil Diva in sixths.

This is always the case.

“NO YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT IN FOUR PIECES!”

Quickly followed by.

“SHE CAN’T HAVE A SANDWICH! NEVER AGAIN!”

Rinse. Repeat. Revisit. In between bites of sandwich.

The same meltdown.

Again.

Twenty minutes and ten meltdowns.

What. The. Frak.

It was as though he’d regressed a year, to the Age of Naps.

Then he ate.

The meltdowns ceased.

Long enough to leave.

The rest of the day unfolded a bit like this:

Meltdown #11: I fully informed him before the gym Lil Diva would nap in her pack ‘n play in his room (usually she’s in my closet). He was okay with it. I put her down for a nap right after we arrived home? Meltdown.

#12: He tried to choose his post lunch snack, for being a good boy at the gym. I reminded him for the 50th time he was informed AT the gym if he didn’t calm down, there would be no candy.

#13: A repeat of concerns of  her sleeping in his room, about ten minutes later.

A brief respite, as he plays alone…

#14: He wanted to hang outside with the cable guy. My backyard is a mosquito playground and I had to stay inside while Lil Diva slept.

The same meltdown as the previous ones, only a bit longer.

#15: Lil Diva woke up mad. Too early. I played Tangled to calm her.

“NO I WANT TO WATCH TOY STORY 2 RIGHT NOW!”

#16: (as Rapunzel cries in the movie) “NO SHE CAN’T CRY! SHE NEEDS HER HAIR BACK RIGHT NOW!”

He’s seen this movie over thirty times. This was no surprise.

#17: Tangled has a continuous play feature. The movie ended, Lil Diva danced to the credits,  and the usual “behind the scenes” played afterward. CG arrived home and we paused it.

Same exact meltdown.

#18: The Tackler wants the toy Lil Diva has, and snatches it.

#19: We asked him to put is shoes on so we could go out to dinner. He demanded the movie extras.

#20: He kicked a lunchbox CG tried to distract him with on the floor and was told to go upstairs. He wanted to leave to eat.

#21: An explanation of how he needed shoes. He wanted the movie.

#22: Told to go upstairs again to calm down. He wanted to eat.

“It’s like he’s one step behind of all our suggestions.” My husband said.

#23-26: Repeat aforementioned cycle.

#27: “I WANT TO GO TO SERRANO’S!”

“We are! Calm down.”

#28: A getting out of the car meltdown.

Then?

Perfectly fine in the restaurant. Even when told he couldn’t eat any chips until after he finished his dinner.

#29-35ish*: Bath denied, teeth brushed, potty resistance, PJ resistance, bed time resistance.

CG, frustrated and needing to bathe Lil Diva, did a rare trade with me. I read The Tackler a book and tucked him in.

Suddenly, a perfect angel.

Wednesday ended, my mommy cache exhausted. My brain confused.

What the frak, y’all?

Can four year old boys have PMS?

Do they experience “nap time regression” – where after almost a year of skipping naps – they suddenly need them again, but trying to give them one creates an even bigger meltodwn of biblical proportions unless you drive endlessly (or take a road trip) and then they finally sleep?

I’m still dazed. And confused.

And in need of chocolate.

Or reinforcements.

Here’s hoping your Friday is meltdown free…

*The actual number of meltdowns is estimated to the best of my knowledge. I was not present for all, but heard them through the walls. Also? I probably forgot a few instances because they were so… weird and unexpected.

Did you or a child have a “what the frak” moment this week?

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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23 Responses to Master of Many Meltdowns: Friday’s “What the frak?” Moments

  1. My twins are only two but I’ve noticed that sometimes even if they wake up in a relatively good mood that it can change to some kind of, as you put it, “demonic possession”!
    Nothing I do or say works. Its like they are totally and utterly disagreeable! And its not the usual tantrums. This is something else entirely. By the time they go to bed (after an hour of utter defiance) I am left shaken and mentally battered and bruised.

    • Some days, my kids do wake up like that.

      But my son, has been better since he turned four. More even.

      Except for the whole “not listening” problem.

      We learned long ago that if you prepared and warned him what was to come, you could usually avoid a meltdown.

      These things? Most he knew were/would happen.

      So atypical.

      Good luck with the twin. Two two year olds… Oy.

      • Hmmm, maybe we should just put it down to a really bad day? I suppose little people might have that too?
        Yeah, twin two year olds. Im surprised I havent yet landed up in a mental facility yet. Who knew? ;)

        • They do have bad days. It really took reading The Tackler the book “Alexander and the really bad, no good, horrible day” for it to click that some days just are that way.

          And there’s nothing I can do about it.

          Here’s hoping you continue to avoid the mental facility…

  2. kir says:

    Yes. I have 3 yr old twins, all my moments are What the frak! LOL

    I just think that at 3 and 4 and 5 when children want to be independent and self assured there are days that they want those things more than others and they act out because of it. My boys still take naps so I know when the meltdowns are no sleep induced but I also see tantrums like this when I see a growth spurt in them, like their brains are outgrowing their abilities and the frustration just takes over.

    I hope the rest of the week was better..it’s hard to contain the tornado of boys this age. #sendmorechocolate! ;)

    • I always thought the “growth spurt” was an excuse.

      Perhaps I shall begin measuring The Tackler weekly to collect empirical data to confirm such things.

      Because with out it, my husband would never believe it…

      Some days I swear, he just needs to nap.

      But having a nap battle makes it even worse… Short of strapping him in and driving around for 45 minutes to get him a 30 minute nap.. I don’t know how to make him take naps “sometimes.”

      Chocolate is always appreciated.

  3. That’s a lot of meltdowns. I’m glad you got a reprieve at the end of the day.

  4. Dianne says:

    I just went to a workshop that describes exactly what you are talking about. It was a fantastic workshop and really helped me understand my little guy. The woman is Carey Contey her website is slowfamilyliving.com. She is a nationally renowned child development expert that has written fabulous books and she happens to live right here in Austin so we have the great opportunity of being able to meet with her in person and learn from her fabulous wisdom. Seriously, after taking her workshop I have such a different level of understanding my insane children. She describes exactly what happens in the brains to change them like you describe and gives tools for helping them through it. Good luck and I hope today goes much better for you!

    • I’m going to have to check her out.

      Thanks for the tip!

      Oh, and Friday was amazing. He was in Angel Mode most of the day. It was surreal, especially after Wednesday.

      He did everything I asked. He was helpful. He didn’t have a single meltdown. He listened.

      It was a bit like having a different child.

  5. Damn. I got tired just reading this! Here’s hoping today (and by “today” I mean “The Tackler”) is kinder . . .

    • The Tackler, in typical irony, was an Absolute Angel on Friday.

      It’s why I was online so little – when he’s good, he is rewarded by getting to do special things.

      Friday was an awesome day.

      If every day was like Friday, I’d be craving another baby…

  6. Kim says:

    LOL… I have days like that too… not kid meltdowns… my meltdowns! hahaha

  7. Leigh Ann says:

    My nephew hasn’t napped in a long time, but when he was 4/5, my SIL would put him down to nap/rest if he seemed tired or cranky like this. It can happen!

    • I tried that one day in Iowa – when he was obviously over tired.

      It resulted in a meltdown of massive proportions (actually, it was a continuation of the ongoing one already occurring, but it got worse).

      He still refused to lay down. He read books instead – which in Iowa with family around, reading alone in a room is near torture.

      He didn’t nap.

      I have to wonder if he was overstimulated… He was always one to thrive on activity – the more the better, so it doesn’t seem possible.

      I try to encourage quiet time – usually letting him read or play alone during nap time so he can have “him” time… while I have “me” time. If he’s good, we also have one on one time then too.

  8. You know it’s a bad day when you have to number the meltdowns…

  9. Paige Morgan says:

    First, you are an angel, I would have left my kids at the gym “on accident”.

    I have also noticed that two weeks before my son starts a growth spurt, he turns into a lunatic.

    I hope you got your well-deserved chocolate!

  10. “SHE CAN’T HAVE A SANDWICH! NEVER AGAIN!”

    I love the rationale here.

    Perfection.

    (ah, to be four years old again. without the PMS ;-)

  11. Pingback: Rewards and Discipline – DEFCON Style: Tacklerism Tuesday | Dances with Chaos

  12. Pingback: A Plea to Dr. B and DEFCON Update by the Numbers | Dances with Chaos

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