Back in November, I wrote about the squealing. Well, the squealing has morphed into a nasty, two-headed beast, called the SCREAM.
Now, in all honesty, Sophia can be a bit of a drama queen. She has the flouncy sigh down to an art form. It is quite amusing for the most part. On the other end of the spectrum, she is the most loving, sweet and hug-able little girl you will ever meet. She smiles and you can’t help but smile. She just has that kind of face. Which makes the screaming even harder to deal with, because how can this adorable, usually sweet little girl emit such a sound?
So far, (as in November) the screaming happens at home, when she feels an injustice has befallen her. Olivia takes a toy? She squeals. Olivia doesn’t immediately give said toy back? This squeal turns into a scream. Even if Olivia does nothing, but she wants something that Olivia has she does the same thing. She gets scolded? Screams. That little turkey will look right at you, as you say “please use your words and tell me why you are upset”, and scream in your face. Often, she even has the frame of mind to stop screaming to listen to what you are saying, look at you and emit a short little gift of head-splitting noise.
This past week it came to a head, when after a particularly long day which included no nap (not for lack of trying, believe me), both girls collapsed and fell asleep shortly after 8 (early for us–don’t get me started) I was ecstatic! “Maybe a short nap or even no nap is the way to go!” I thought. Um. Yeah, not so much. After an hour Sophia woke up and wouldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t get her to talk to me, I couldn’t get her to calm down, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. So I calmed her as best as I could and told her it was time to get back into her bed. She seemed okay with it, and as soon as I put her in her bed she started SCREAMING. What.The.Hell? So Bill and I moved Olivia into our bed and just let Sophia hash it out. After 30 minutes I went in and picked her up and she stopped.
Obviously she was wanting what she wanted and knew screaming was the way to go. I comforted her and put her in her bed and told her this screaming had to stop. She started again, so I left. I closed the door and she screamed until she fell asleep.
I’ve tried everything. I’m not proud, but I’ve popped her mouth. Doesn’t work and makes me feel worse. Same for popping her hand or her leg. I do not feel like a good parent by using these methods, so please don’t suggest them. What seemed to work was telling her she sounded like a chicken and I was going to call her Chicken Sophia. Taking a humorous approach, instead of an exasperated, tired and stressed out approach.
She also discovered that if she pulled her screaming stunt she misses out on fun things. On Saturday, after their nap, we were going to all go to the mall so Bill could get new shoes and treat the girls to ice cream (or something out of the norm). I asked Sophia to get dressed and ready to go. She kept playing. I asked her again. She didn’t acknowledge she even heard me, so I took the toy from her hand, got down on my knees and moved into her line of vision. She started screaming. I couldn’t get her to calm down. She threw a massive, screaming tantrum. So I told her she wasn’t going anywhere acting that way.
I stand firm in my belief to not take a misbehaving child out into the public. Any and all errands I may have can wait if my child is melting down. I don’t know what I will do if she pulls this when we are out in public. I won’t speculate because I have never been put in the position, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.
Since there were two adults and one of our children was ready to go and behaving properly, Bill took Olivia and I stayed at home with Sophia. It took her about 15 minutes to calm herself down, and when she finally did, she looked at me and said she was sorry for being ‘ug-ee’ and she happily played for the rest of the afternoon. It broke my heart when she came to me and said “Can I have a spe-shul tweat, I be a good gurl!” So we compromised and while she didn’t get the same ice cream cone that her sister did, Bill brought her a little something home and she looked at him and said “I sowwy I acted ug-ee and sank-yew for my tweat”.
She’s a good egg, we’re just having a hard time figuring out what it will take to help her deal with her frustrations. Olivia responded very well to the “Blue’s Clues” technique: Stop.Breathe.Think. But once Sophia gets to that point, my pleas with her to breathe fall on deaf ears.
I am also discovering her sleep (or lack thereof), is closely tied to her meltdowns (duh). So we have decided to start making her go to bed a bit earlier than her sister. Olivia just doesn’t need the same amount of sleep at 4 years old that Sophia needs at 2 and a half. Granted, you can’t force her to fall asleep, and last night she was still awake when Olivia went to bed, but we are doing what we can.
Do YOU have any suggestions to stop the screaming? My ears (and sanity) will thank you.