"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where's MY Calm-Down Card?

I have all these great ideas, and no one they work with.

Since spring, I've had to restrict Princess's world smaller and smaller, keeping her closer and closer to me. She's been going 0 to 120 in under a second and hitting or bludgeoning siblings with very little warning, in addition to the bus incident and shouting in the gym teacher's face. I now need her withing hearing distance so that I can catch things going south quickly, which means no girls' room, no basement, and no outside when I'm not there and other kids are. Josh or I are outside plenty every day, but this one is still a particular thorn in Princess's paw.

At the same time, I've been focusing on encouraging her to use her Calm-Down Card. So last night I though, huh; I could pair them together.

This morning I explained that YAY! I thought of a way she could earn some time outside with other kids and no me! Every time Daddy or I tell her to use her calm-down card, and she does, she can have 15 minutes of other-kid-outside-time. Isn't that GREAT?

Princess sure thought it was. She immediately grabbed her calm-down card off the fridge and started to run down the steps.

Um. Princess? So...who told you to use your calm-down card?
But you said if I use it I get time outside with the other kids.
I said if you use it when Daddy or I tells you to you earn time outside with the other kids.

And she went back to running the steps on the card.

Princess. Who told you to use the card?
No one.
Ok. I think you should grab a paper and a pencil. I think you need some help remembering this.

She came back with lined paper and a marker. I recited the conditions. Twice. She wrote them in hot pink marker completely ignoring the lines on the page. When I had her read it back to me, she got as far as word three before she was stumped.

Hey Princess. What do you think the lines on the page are for?
To write on?
Right. So I bet it would be pretty helpful to write ON them, don't you think? Try that.

So she did. Twice.

Honey, do you think it's the marker that's the problem, or your handwriting?
My handwriting.
Ok, then you'll need to write it again, but neatly, because you'll need to be able to read this when if we have a disagreement about it later.


Get a new paper and a pen or pencil.

So it was written and read successfully.

So now can I go outside?
Uh....the Cuddle Bear is out there right now- how many minutes have you earned, honey?
So can I go outside?
Um, no.
Go use your calm-down card.

So she sat down on the steps. A few moments later the noise started up again.

I see you're not using your calm-down card, so you'll need to go finish that noise in your room.

The typical room-scream fest insued, followed by the quiet formal Time Out, and I released Princess to "do over."

So can I go outside?
You told me to do my calm-down card.
Yes, well, but the whole DOING of the calm-down card was missing, and that's kind of the whole thing behind earning Time Outside With Kids.
Oh. Ok.

And she began to run down the calm-down card steps.

Ok! I'm done! Can I go outside?

Seriously, I'll spare you, because this happened twice more with negative-forty calm-down card usage. By 9:30 a.m. I was banging my head on the table trying to hold back tears as to not upset Buddy who was verbalizing his desire to not have to listen to this crap all the time as Josh prepared to leave for work earlier than he had intended because listening to all of this was actually putting him backward in what he needed to accomplish.

Did I mention my Suburban is in the shop? Since Monday night until Friday afternoon? Yep, that's right- I cannot leave. Oh, and by some disgusting slap in the face of fate, Josh has extra stuff after work several nights this week and has to show our old house to several prospective tenants. Fabulous life timing. Plus the thing he's going to tonight has great food and great wine and great people and every year everyone says, "you should bring your wife," but his wife is not fit to be seen because she keeps breaking out in hives and is missing chunks of her hair.

On the bright side, I have plenty of time to pound the calm-down card. Excuse me while I go use it myself.


  1. Oh, I have SOOOOOOOOOOOO been there! Some days I'd think, "She is sitting there playing games with me like 'Mommy's gotta new idea' how can I twist this all up" and other times, I have been once again reminded of these kids' lack of cause and effect thinking and it's really not a game at all. But telling the difference? Now that is maddening!

  2. Total sympathies, completely relate. It does do your head in. You see a problem, you problem solve, you try a new idea, the new idea brings with it more problems.

    Life's got you trapped this week, but don't forget to make space for yourself when it's possible. I'm having to keep my kids close at the moment too, but I'm taking Saturday afternoon off. They'll be ok with their dad and I need to be able to breaaaathe...

    In solidarity x

  3. Let the manipulations begin! Wow! And I only thought my Stinkpot was challenge. Wish I could send you a day at the spa! Hugs!

  4. Ugh. So sorry. I hope this week is better. :)