Last night June presented her first Chernobyl-scale meltdown that resulted in her nearly flinging herself off the changing table.
I was changing her diaper. My daughter hates having her diaper changed. She acts like she’s going in for a forced lobotomy every time I lay her on the changing table. Sometimes she fusses a lot, sometimes she whimpers a little, but it’s a protest every time. I tell myself this means potty training will be a breeze; she just doesn’t like people, not even her mom, poking around her diaper area. I get that.
Last night, however, she behaved like I was coming at her with a chain saw and wearing a hockey mask. She thrashed. She screamed. She bucked. She hit — yes, she smacked me in the face a few times. She reared. She twisted so ferociously that at one point I had to pin her down with my forearm while I reached for the diaper. It took 10 minutes of wrangling before I was able to fasten it (sideways).
I’ve never before had to discipline June. Naturally, I give her the usual, “Uh-uh, lets not fling every Kleenex out of the box,” or ”No, sweetie, how about we don’t stick our hand in the garbage” on a daily basis, but that’s not discipline. That’s guidance — creating boundaries.
But last night was different. ”No, June!” I stuck my finger in her face, which of course had the opposite affect of what I’d intended by making her scream and thrash more violently than before. I became frustrated and annoyed. My breath was short. This blows, Daddy can’t get home soon enough. I picked her up, plopped her in her crib, turned out the light and left the room.
Within 3 seconds she stopped screaming. I could hear her sucking her thumb from the other side of the door. All I could think was, am I doing the right thing? What do the books say? Poor kid was strung out — tired and exhausted. I think she needed the “time out,” her first. After a couple of minutes, I went in and picked her up. She was calm. I was calm. We finished putting on her pajamas in silence, then spent the rest of the evening reading together.
This morning, I asked Grandma Nanny if June has been having meltdowns there too. Grandma Nanny nodded her head and said, “Oh yes, lately she’s been pitching a fit because that’s what she sees Jay Lynn and Olive do. June never used to act like that. She was always my good one.”
See, babysitters are sly. They know exactly what to say to gratify a parent’s ego and ascribe blame elsewhere. It’s Jay Lynn and Olive’s fault. My kid is perfect. They’re the troublemakers.