do they have wiccan toddler exorcists?

I’m taking a mental hygiene day, but I don’t feel very clean in the brain. Couldn’t make my nap work, so I’m swilling coffee. The child has been possessed by snot and some kind of malicious entity that has turned my zOMG sweetest natured baybay ever into a hysterical, rabid little mess. Sleep the past nights has been teh bad.

I have (so far) less frustrated burned-out mom feelings and more heartbreaking empathy and that thing where she pulls my heart out with her tiny fingers and opens it right up and it bleeds all over the place. I cannot stand to see her so raw and freaked the fuck out. I think I’m chill enough to project the idea that one of us is in a place of stable normal function. I am not entirely sure, though. She looks like a feral kitten plunged into ice water, and her big blue eyes that look into my soul on good days are full of this mad, fearful spazziness searching me for answers I can’t give.

Her triggers seem to be sleepiness, including the everyday waking in the morning kind, which means that every weekday there is a massive nuclear meltdown on the changing table; bathtime, until I climb in with her and hold her tightly for a long time, and then another one when I take her out; overstimulation, which paired with her cold and naplessness yesterday for the worst freak out to date.

Tactics attempted include:

-desperate boobie offers, rejected out of hand by the child who is now apparently totally weaned during daylight hours but MUST have nummins if she so much as stirs during the night.

The Dr. “Happiest Toddler” Dude caveman approach. Not working. I might not be trying hard enough to match her intensity. I still feel a little nuts doing it. (The speak Toddlerease thing did, however, totally pwn a tantrum thrown by E, the Birdy’s BFF.)

-gentle, hippie mama chanty soothingness

None of this seems to diffuse the worst part; I am unconvinced that anything could. (Or should? Does she need to vent this rage? Is it natural as a hurricane?) After the really bad part passes, I am very good. The aftershock involves a request to “hold” and/or “rock” and songs and stroking and whispered shhh’s and all the newborn stuff I was so good at and crave like comfort food. (I seriously will have to get a lapdog or a new cat if she gets non-touchy as she grows up. I am a big cuddly kissy touchy person, and new babies are the best snuggly thing in the world. I should hire myself out as a babywearing nanny.)

I haven’t tried ignoring her- shocking, no? I am not sure I am capable but it seems rationally to be a good strategy, if coupled with lots of loving attention during non-tantrum times. Bu wants to spank her. I can’t believe we are still discussing that as an option. I can’t write about that without coming across as insanely pissy and maybe elitist or something, and spouting terms I hate to use like “redneck” or “white trash” so I’ll spare you the ordeal and just say that I take issue with aspects of my husband’s upbringing. My opinion is also colored by my brother’s being spanked in anger and arguably emotionally abused. I’m not calling spanking abusive across the board but my momtuition rankles.

So, mamas:

Open call for advice! No flames allowed or expected. Suggestions to lock her in a dungeon or duct tape her mouth shut will be considered delightful black humor and dismissed, but seriously… has anything worked for you? Does she just need a Roary?

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9 responses to “do they have wiccan toddler exorcists?

  1. I really love the book “Adventures in Gentle Discipline” by Hilary Flower, published by La Leche League.

    One of the things she stresses is meeting your child’s needs, WHICH YOU ARE DOING. The problem might be, her needs have changed and she’s too little to tell you what they are. So keep looking for what you think she might need.

    The other thing is key (to me): What is it that you need right now. As you already know, they are sensitive boogers and if you have an unmet need, they might react.

    Take a moment, assess basic needs for both of you (hungry, tired, angry, lonely, thirsty, have energy to spend, etc.)

    Or, maybe she just needs some pots and pans to bang on or a park to run wild in.

    I wish you luck!

  2. Oh, thanks Melissa- I’m emailing my LLL leader right now. I bet we have it in our library:)

  3. Well the spanking won’t solve the problem so that’s pretty much out, n’est pas? Have you tried “quiet time?” Not a nap per se but maybe going to her room and siting quietly and playing with some quiet toys or listening to music (or both)? That tends to bring down the crank factor in Z&H (we use either of their rooms).

    This book is always a good go-to for some wind-down play: http://www.amazon.com/Unplugged-Play-Batteries-Plugs-Pure/dp/0761143904

    Paint or coloring also works to focus Z&H. I usually find that when they get ubercranky, it’s either tiredness or they’re sensory overloaded. Do you have a good place to go for a little walk? Fresh air can also do wonders.

  4. Eden, Thanks for the ideas. I’m thinking they will be good preventive measures if I can catch her before it’s crisis level:)

    I am definitely going to go on the offensive and try to get her in the happy place before she melts down. I’ll look at this book for sure.

  5. We’ve had no luck with the Toddlerease/tantrum defusing and I must be doin’ it wrong – C just gets MORE freaked out when I try it.

    Somewhere I saw a really good website that, while a tad bit TOO crunchy for me (sorry, but my kid won’t let me hold him during a tantrum), did give a good argument that tantrums are actually a kid’s way of clearing out emotional static and that they really NEED to go through them to come out happy on the other side, because the emotions are too big for them to understand and handle. That rings true for us.

    I don’t always handle things well myself (tantrums really trigger that INFJ empathy for me, as do most emotionally-charged situations) but I try hard. What seems to work for us, if he really *isn’t* calming down with anything I try, is giving us both a bit of a time out by closing a door between us. He hates it but sometimes I need those two minutes to calm down as much as he does…and generally, on the other side, he’s much happier about actually cuddling and calming down once we’ve not seen each other for that period of time.

    What absolutely does NOT work is holding him. Some kids seem to be happier if mum holds them through the tantrum but Ciaran just gets more and more upset and angry if I do that. I suspect that he’s also a little introvert and needs Mama for safety once he’s calmed down but really needs some alone-time to work through the emotions when he’s really over the top.

    Sometimes I could really kill him, though :/

  6. how old is your child?
    If old enough to talk, then the encouragement to “use your words” may help. It’s sending the message:
    I wont respond to you with any emotion, nor will I be able to help you until you formulate the words that allow me to help you.
    If you need to just scream and scream- then please do it in your room, on your own. It may be helping you, but, it is not helping mamma

    So, specifically to the toddler child, who can use words, I would say, “I want to help you. Use your words please.”
    wait and repeat without any emotion.

    then if words are not employed,
    “You may scream in your room, not here”
    pick child up and place in room.

    If your child is too young for words, then look for clues. Is the child pulling an ear? try all the other needs – offer food, drink, look for bruises and bumps, then try holding, rocking, or ignoring.

    You are doing the right thing.

  7. Thanks for the ideas, mamas- these are all good plans. I have a copy of Dr. Sears’ discipline book coming as a loaner that should help too.

  8. Dr. Sears eased my anxiety about parenting. There’s magic as well as wisdom in those books, I’m sure of it.

  9. I do like Dr Sears’s books very much…but sometimes they make me feel very, very inadequate as a parent. Especially when my son was younger, I felt like I was failing him by not making him special homemade foam blocks to encourage movement, etc. etc. etc…and while the section on colicky babies had lots of helpful solutions, I didn’t find much reassurance for the times when absolutely nothing worked.

    I hope his toddler book is a little less perfectionist!

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