Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I jinxed it!!!! Darn!!! I knew that somehow by posting about Lizzie's recent progress, I would mess it up!! OK, I don't really believe that but DARN!!! I have to start by saying that Lizzie does have an infected foot and I know it hurts but when that child gets stuck in her whiny, melt down over everything mode, it is HARD, foot or not!!!! The slide back into tantrum land began yesterday. She had not slept well the night before and when I took her brace off that morning, I saw that her sock was covered in blood - NOT a good way to wake up!! We went to the doc and got her on some antibiotics. The rest of the day was spent either whining or tantruming or both. I tried my best to keep my patience because well, her sock was covered in blood!!! Good reason, right?? I found it harder as the day went on, however, and finally announced to the kids that my patience was GONE and they had better be careful cause Momma had "had it up to here" (a phrase always accompanied by the hand to the forehead). Unfortunately, my warnings went unheeded and the kids (in particular my sweet Lizzie) continued to misbehave ie: whine and meltdown. At one point right before bed, I told the girls that I was "done" and that I had had it!! At which point Lizzie corrected me and said, "No Momma, you have had it up to here," accompanied, of course, by her sweet little hand to her forehead, making it very difficult to stay mad!!! DARN!! I think what makes this step back even harder is the fact that she had been doing so great and was just LOVING all the positive praise that she was getting as was I!!! After getting a good night's rest, this morning started better but rapidly went downhill simply because hubby poured Lizzie's cereal into her bowl and Lizzie wanted to pour Lizzie's cereal into her bowl. She ended up having a big tantrum and dumping her entire bowl of cereal onto the floor. This is usually how most of her fits begin, something so small can trigger something so big!! I have read enough to know that she is desperate to control her environment and that small things can trigger feelings "from China" but exactly how am I to handle these feelings and as a result, fits? We have done timeouts and we have done "holding timeouts" which seem to work a bit better but leaves me physically and emotionally drained and just today I tried putting her in her crib until she calmed down but that didn't feel quite right. To further complicate matters, I know Lizzie suffers from SID (sensory integration disorder) and that is a contributing factor in her tantrums. Already having one bio child with SID, I know those tantrums can last well past 3, Lord help me!!! I must say, however, that she does not and never has spit or hit or wet her pants on purpose or said that she hated us, but her tantrums just don't seem "normal" and I would love some help!! In my head, I understand her extreme emotions and all the reasons (unconscious and otherwise), but after a while it gets hard and I have mornings like this morning where I just broke down. I, of course, rallied and we ended up having an OK afternoon which included some snuggle time on the sofa and a very healing game of charades with the boys!! At one point in the afternoon, Lizzie was looking at pics from China in her book and I asked her if she missed her ayis. She said no, so like the very informed (yeah right) AP that I am, I told her that it was ok to say that she missed her ayis if she did really miss them. She then said, "No. I love my Momma!" OK!!!!! All the "difficult" just got way outgunned by that one precious statement. Momma loves you too, Lizzie and tomorrow is another day and we will make it through and we will figure it all out, together!!! So, anybody have ANY tantrum advice. Anything would be better than what the nurse at our doc's office told me, "It could just be that she is 3!!!!!" Yeah, it could be but could ya throw me a bone here!!!!


  1. Little T will throw a tantrum too but not as many. I try to "talk her down" first letting her know that its okay to be mad but its not okay to yell and scream. If that doesn't work I put her in time out in a chair where she can see me. Usually that works.

    You are doing a great job!! Keep it up!


  2. Yeesh! I've got nothin' for ya! Grant's tantrums stopped when he left Kaz. The ones while in Kaz. were doozies though! Does Lizzie settle down quickly when she is in a held time out? What is the difference in her behavior if you ignore her behavior? Can you tell if she is on the verge? We have one little girl at school that you can tell she is on the verge of a big breakdown. Typically I can divert her attention for a time and then we try to "not notice" and comment about it. Her attention is then redirected by something else after a while. Doesn't always work. She may not be old enough to recognize the tantrum feelings until its too late and her emotions have the best of her. best wishes, Annie!

  3. Thanks yall!! We have definitley tried ignoring her or telling her that when she calmed down, we would talk about what made ehr upset. The problem is that she will get up off the floor (still in fit mode) and follow me around the room or where ever I go, clinging to my legs and screaming and crying. If I put her in timeout, I have to hold her on the step or she will get up and I can't always do that because of the other kids. If we do a holding timeout, she does eventually calm down but it is a struggle and she is crying and screaming and telling us that it hurts and in the end we are all exhausted!! Diversion sometimes works but not usually. UGH!!! Thanks Carla and Heather!!! I truly appreciate the advice and encouragement!!!!

  4. I don't have any advice, but I can tell you that all of my children went through some sort of tantrum phase. I particularly remember my youngest son being the most difficult. We kept hoping for the "Terrible 2's" to end, but instead it turned into the "Torrential 3's." Have you thought of hiring a babysitter so you could have an hour or so by yourself? I know with an adopted child it is much harder to distinguish where the behavior is coming from or if it is just a normal, developmental stage. I'd say all in all, you are doing a great job. Just know that there are plenty of us out here going through similar experiences.

  5. My experience was like Beach Mama's... the Tongginator entered her terrible two's at 20 months old and didn't come out of them until just prior to her fourth birthday. The whole Super Nanny trick where you keep putting them back in the time-in/ time-out chair? Heh. Yeah, right. I am many awful things as a momma, but I excel at consistency. That trick? Never worked for the Tongginator. She ended up controlling each and every day. Holding her? She physically hurt me too much to make that feasible after awhile. I know a "good adoptive mom" would have been able to deal with it, but I got too angry to make that work for us. So... as horrible as these may sound... here are a few things worked for us.

    - using the pack-and-play as a time-out chair ... she could always see me, but I wouldn't look at her ... she never used the pack-and-play to sleep in and wasn't a good climber, so it didn't create sleep or safety issues ... this worked until she learned to rock the pack-and-play back and forth until it tipped (ack!) and then she crawled out of it ... that was the last time I used that one

    - using the time-out chair, but then - when she got out of the chair - I would put her back and give her one more chance. When that didn't work (and it rarely did), the second time she got out of the chair, I would calmly walk outside, yank the car seat out of the car, bring it back into the house and place her in the car seat as her time-out chair.

    - using logical consequences instead of time-outs whenever possible ... for example: throw a toy? lose the toy for the rest of the day

    - as the Tongginator got older, THE most effective discipline involved redirection. For example, the Tongginator had a problem with spitting in people's faces, in much the same way a biter would bite. We tried EVERYTHING and were VERY consistent, but she continued to spit at me, her dad, her peers, a teacher, even a neighborhood mom. Then one day - epiphany! - I told her "spitting is just for the bathroom sink after you've finished brushing your teeth. Since you can't seem to remember that rule, you will practice spitting in the sink until you CAN remember that rule." And I made her spit in the sink, repeatedly, until she stopped laughing at me/ giving me the stink eye. That was the last time she ever spit in someone's face.

    So... do you still like me after reading all that?

  6. I don't have the BTDT experience yet with my daughter but will soon be there! But when I was reading about the cereal pouring, I thought of my bio kids especially my four year old. Between ages 3-4 they wanted to do everything themselves including pouring there cereal, picking out there clothes, buckle themselves up in the carseat, etc and when they didn't get to do it they would throw a little fit or cry. We tried to prevent those tantrums my offering choices and one was that I do it and the other was that I help them do it, they learned quickly that to let me help them do it. I laughed about your saying "I've had it up to here", I say the same thing and in fact used it this morning!

  7. Thank you so much, everyone and of course, TM, I still like you after all that!!!! I very much appreciate all my bloggy friends and their wonderful advice. It is so very hard to know the difference between "normal" terrible 3's and what might be adoption or should I say orphanage caused behavior. We can't really afford babysiters right now, Beach Momma, but hubby is wonderful about letting me have an hour for yoga some nights! TM, I totally agree with you about the Super Nanny time out deal! Lizzie would just get up until we were both too physically exhausted to care anymore!! Hehe!! Holding Lizzie is hard too. For someone so incredibly little, she is incredibly STRONG and can wear us both out but it works when she is having a really bad one. Love the car seat idea!! I don't know that I could go out and do that everytime but will have to remember that one! Jen, I love the idea about giving choices! I try to do that but sometimes forget or get caught off guard by what she wants to control!! Yeah, the had it up to hear saying is definitely inherited from my Mom!!! Did yours come from your Momma too??? Thanks again, everybody!!!!

  8. Annie,

    I really don't have any advice for you, but instead I'll be learning from you! Bless your heart, but just think this too shall pass. At least that's the way I like to think. You are preparing me for what might be with us too one day with our little Luke!

    Hang in there! You are a wonderful mom! It shows through every single post I've read!


  9. Poor Lizzie. That's got to be frustrating for her too. Chris and I did laugh about the bowl of cereal on the floor because Austin does that too. I pray you find your answer about dealing with the tantrums. Those are difficult times.

  10. Annie,
    I loved looking at people's recommendations especially at the end of a day where nothing seems to work for me and my little one!

    We've had several tantrums lately that get to the point of vomitting. That's when I feel we've not done very well in the control department.

    1. I tried the ignoring-the-child technique but Kara too will follow me around the room, cling onto my leg screaming while I try to walk while I drag her along (gently of course!) So, ignoring in the same room hasn't been shown to work for me (yet?).

    2. Our pediatrician and speech therapist both told me to step the ignoring technique up one notch by moving her completely to another room and letting her bawl it out. I've tried this but have realized that I have to gate her in/lock the door. I suppose I will need to resort to that but continue to try the other methods. Locking our child in a room is so hard for me to do right now.

    3. Today our pediatrician today recommended a book called "1-2-3, Magic!". She said that is is not a magic bullet and that she'd take parts that work and don't. The funniest (?) part was that she told me that her 2 1/2 year old (bio) daughter is dealing with tantrums for 6 months now.

    4. Does Lizzie throw the same number and degree of tantrums around your husband? My girls worst tantrums are saved for me although she has them for my husband too. I know that I need to try to react less to the tantrums because a lot of it has to do with reaction (attention even if it is negative). My husband does not react as emotionally as I do to them and he has more success with fewer tantrums and ability to extinguish the fire sooner. I try so hard to stay calm and unaffected by them when they happen...but it is hard when it is all day versus part of the day, right?

    That wasn't much advice now was it? I'll stay tuned to see what may work for you. If we find anything, you'll I'll let you know too. :)

    Best of luck...hang in there.

  11. Thank you Denise!!!! I do think Lizzie saves her best for Momma, although Daddy can get some doozies too!! Another aspect with Lizzie is her lack of patience. If she wants me, she wants me RIGHT NOW and that in and of itself can trigger a fit. We are really focusing on patience and waiting your turn and we do see much progress but it is still a struggle. I will definitely keep you posted. A cyber friend of mine gave a great suggestion and I just tried it out today and it seemed to have an effect. I will continue to use it and post about it if it seems to help!! It also reminded me of exactly where some of these feelings are coming from and it is what I need to be reminded of sometimes! Thanks again!!