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Odd morning - Elf M. Sternberg
Odd morning
Well, the weekend has come and gone, and sad to say I didn't get nearly as much done as I could have. The kids were over and, while they do keep each other occupied, they also give rise to sibling rivalry and all the usual possessive fights that kids are given over to. A bit of that was stir-craziness; the cold and wet kept them indoors and neither one of them has learned how to occupy themselves for extended periods of time. It doesn't help that Omaha and I have been strictly enforcing the one-movie-or-one-hour of television per day, since that means that we have to find something else for them to do.

Yamaarashi-chan can read! At least, I hope it's reading and not memorization; she seemed to go through the whole of Hop On Pop without many pauses. I had to tell her to sound out some words here and there, but on the whole she did so well I was stunned.

Kouryou-chan has hit four, and so we're moving her into her own room, with a bigger bed and everything. She's almost outgrown the toddler bed now. She's also climbing into bed with us first thing in the morning, still, but that's not so bad I suppose. I hope she eventually learns to sleep through the whole night without interrupting Omaha and me. Meanwhile, her TerribleTwos have finally hit massively hard; tantrums whenever she doesn't get her way, screaming and crying. We're dealing with it, and our response seems to be working, but slowly, so slowly.

The girls ate their breakfasts and lunches, but for some reason we just couldn't convince them to eat dinner. Salmon with butter noodles and garlic kale didn't do it for them, I guess. Ah, well. The grownups indulged. We ran out of soy sauce halfway through the recipie and had to substitute; what we came up with was so mutant I shudder to think of it-- it involved bullion, cider vinegar, molasses and sesesame oil. But it worked in the recipie quite well.

I ran out to buy a new pair of jeans and some underwear with the last of a gift card Omaha bought me last year in the hopes that I would "buy new clothes" with it. I must be getting old-- new underwear pleases me. But it's comfy underwear. It would look better on me if I were as buff and well-hung as the guy on the package, though. Gads but the traffic was miserable; was there some kind of unannounced sale going on? A pre-black-Friday-everything-must-go kinda thing?

Oh, and I made cookies, and they didn't spread! I tried two different things: I used winter wheat rather than all-purpose, and I left the butter out on the counter for a few hours to let it soften rather than use the fast-softening trick that involves a microwave. Mmm... home-made chocolate chip cookies. And with baking parchment right on top of the stone, no burning either! Whoo-hoo!

This morning feels weird to me. Usually, by the time I'm out the door my brain is spinning full-speed with ideas and plots and code. This morning it was just quiet; couldn't get a single thread up and going. Maybe it was just the stress of being in the house with the girls, dealing with everything. I hope I can get thinking soon. I don't like feeling this way, not sending off sparks.

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: Every Little Thing, Self Reliance

7 comments or Leave a comment
woggie From: woggie Date: November 17th, 2003 09:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
What's Black Friday? And how old is Yamaarashi-chan?
elfs From: elfs Date: November 17th, 2003 09:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yamaarashi-chan is six. About the time I learned to read, actually.

And "Black Friday" is the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional opening of the Christmas shopping season, and the day that may retailers claim "puts them in the black" for the rest of the year.
(Deleted comment)
omahas From: omahas Date: November 18th, 2003 12:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Don't be too worried

... so I'm REALLY bummed to hear you say that Kouryou-chan is just now starting it!!!

Nope, Elf gave a bit of a wrong impression. Kouryou-chan has been in her terrible twos since around two years old (maybe about 2.5). The problem is that she goes in phases. From around 2.5 to 3.5 or so, she would cry whenever she couldn't get her way, sometimes rolling on the floor. Now, she resorts to some different means, such as screaming her lungs out, walking up and hitting you, and generally deciding to do what you have told her not to do until you physically remove her from the situation while she kicks and screams and yells, "you don't let me do anything I want to." (btw, that will continue to echo into her teens.)

Actually, Kouryou-chan is not necessarily a reflection of how other kids her age will act. She has shown herself to have my problem that I believe is genetic (my father has it, and I think his brother does too, though I see him so seldom I don't know for sure...we have no contact with my paternal grandfather and never have...wonder why...so don't know about him).

That condition is rage problems. I unfortunately was not taught from an early age how to properly channel my rage, and therefore ended up doing stupid things that were at times quite violent (like the time I ran after my brother with a butcher knife...this was what made me decide to move out of my mother's house and in with my father, so I could be away from my siblings and not cause any damage, and perhaps learn to control my condition).

I've been teaching Kouryou-chan that it is alright to be angry and yell and lash out physically as long as she does it correctly, such as hitting the floor or beating a pillow or such. I'm also teaching her breathing techniques to help calm her down after she allows herself her physical response to a perceived uncontrollable situation, or if she can't do one. And as she grows older, I'll be teaching her techniques to reduce the long term stress that this will inevitably cause.

But it will be a long, hard road, because 4 is hardly the time for a child to understand the complexities of these things, and getting her to remember not to hit people but the pillow, and that yelling is appropriate in some places but not others, is hard enough. Sigh.
zaiah From: zaiah Date: November 18th, 2003 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)

thank you

Thank you for the insight there.. and my greatest wishes for your success with that.. it sounds like you have it well and truly handled.

I had a question percolating these past months reading the descriptions of her behavior for she certainly seems to be getting all the parenting she needs - for such abrupt behavior to be continuing..

I have seen the type of rage you seem to have described and think what a blessing it will be that she will come into her own always knowing her own power and her place in the world. Lots of other kids will be easier to raise, but not necessarily anywhere near the match she may be able to reach in her internal sophistication.

Sorry if poking my nose in where it isn't needed, but I wanted to mention my base approval of the time, effort and concern you are giving your parenting and how much it warms the heart.. and how understandably difficult it mmust be as a parent when her behaviors are mis-interpretted as an "attention seeking brat child" by observers.

I have the easiest job in the world as mother.. and Clara, now 5.5 has only ever had one real tantrum and is often quite pleasant and tractable. Different kids, different needs.. all good parenting.
omahas From: omahas Date: November 18th, 2003 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: thank you

Oh, not a problem! I love to hear the insight of other parents. The funny thing is, normally Kouryou-chan is quite easy-going and good-natured. Most people who spend time around her comment on how well-behaved she is.

But the rage problems multiply the anger, frustration...the rage, basically...of a problematic situation. So, when she's tired, when she's stress, when something doesn't work out for her, I know exactly what happens, because I feel it when the same happens to me. A flood of anger that seems to come from nowhere suddenly appears and just seems to take over. It's like all of the frustrations, angers, stresses from your entire life has been stored somewhere inside of you, and you just opened the gates and let it free. Every time.

It's a weird feeling, and also somewhat addictive, because it makes you feel incredibly powerful. I've theorized that a lot of criminals that commit violent crimes just because may be suffering from the same problem, but unlike myself, my father, and hopefully Kouryou-chan, did not receive the upbringing that also instilled a powerful ethical streak within themselves.

When I ran after my brother with that knife, I was fifteen. In the approximately fifteen seconds from when I grabbed the knife (I wasn't even thinking about it...we were fighting, I saw it, I grabbed it) and when he made it into his room and locked the door, I know in my heart that I would have stabbed him.

I then put the knife away, went into my room, and started packing. When my mother got home from work, I told her I had to leave, to move in with my father, and why.

In my teens, I really didn't understand the rage stuff, just that I knew I could be incredibly angry, and that I didn't know how to control it very well. I hope that Kouryou-chan is *never* placed in such a circumstance. My goal is that when she is in her teens, when the hormones are raging, she'll recognize when she's about to be in such a mental state, and invoke one or more of the many tools and techniques I've taught her to calm herself down, to remove herself from the situation, and/or to relieve her stress.

But most importantly, I want her to know that she is not alone, that mom has these problems too, knows exactly how it feels, and it doesn't make her a bad person.
yarnaddict From: yarnaddict Date: November 18th, 2003 12:59 am (UTC) (Link)
My daughter is 4 1/2, and is more or less out of the tantrum stage - but she's moved on into the "stamp foot, cross arms, and state emphatically that she does not WANT to" stage. And then there are the crocodile tears. I don't think we've had a hitting-kicking-screaming fit in about three months. There is light at the end of the child-rearing tunnel! (At least for this particular issue...) =)
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