From Bad to Better

FriendsA few weeks back, we were desperate. My daughter’s tantrums had driven us to the brink of insanity. Well, not exactly the brink. We were over the cliff and plummeting to our imminent demise. (See “Major Meltdowns” and Surviving Easter ‘Break’) Well, I can’t say that we’re not insane anymore – that’s a very subjective state. But things have changed dramatically.

We took our daughter to a therapist who’s wonderful. My daughter loves her and gets so excited about her sessions. The first thing the therapist did was to recommend a book, “1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12.” I admit I haven’t finished the book (Because when do I get a chance to read? There’s a DVD too if you don’t have time to read a book either). But the basic premise is this: When your child acts up, you give her two chances to shape up, and if she doesn’t, she goes to her room for a time out. Doesn’t matter what she does in her room as long as she serves her time. read more

Major Meltdowns: From bad to worse

Crying HeadMy six-year-old daughter opened the second-floor -window. “What’re you doing?” I said.

“I’m trying to jump out the window!” She kicked the screen. I grabbed her and held her back. I got my arms around her body and dragged her — shouting “Noooo!” — to her room and wrestled her onto her bed. I lay there with her, telling her this would pass and we’d have to wait it out. “I don’t care!” she said. “You don’t care about me! I wanna jump out the window!” I held her down as she cried and fought me.

“You had some colors and this will go away,” I said. “It’ll get better.” read more

Dealing with Disappointment and Dread

Crying HeadI dreaded my daughter’s return. I had just exchanged emails with her friend Olivia’s mom and we had canceled their after-school playdate. My daughter had anticipated this playdate for weeks. The girls had originally scheduled a playdate themselves, and the day before that one, we had to tell them it didn’t exist.

My daughter didn’t react to that news very well. She got mad and she cried and cried. I tried to comfort her with the news of the real playdate we’d scheduled, but six-year-olds aren’t big on delayed gratification. When she did calm down, she asked about the new play date.  “How many sleeps?” she asked.

“Eight.” read more

Dethroning the Drama Queen

imagebot (3)What a difference two weeks can make! Until about two weeks ago, my almost-six-year-old daughter was having frequent, epic – and I mean epic — meltdowns. She wouldn’t just cry and scream and hit, she’d try to hurt herself to get attention. She’d punch herself, try to make herself vomit by choking herself and once she tried to climb off the second-story deck. But now the meltdowns have pretty much stopped.

That’s right, stopped. After reading “Dog-tirade,” a close friend commented about  what she thought was going on. She said that my daughter’s tantrum sounded a lot like her daughter’s behavior before she stopped consuming artificial colors. I never thought we’d be a family that had dietary restrictions. It’s not that I don’t believe in them, it’s that we weren’t allergic to anything. Even my friend said “I felt like a crazy hippie at first, then I said to myself, what are artificial colors? Chemical dyes. Red is made out of coal. Yellow is made out of petroleum.  If I gave my daughter, say, a small amount of methamphetamine and she had a reaction, no one would be surprised. So…my daughter reacts to the chemicals in artificial colors the way a tweeker reacts to meth.” Because I haven’t watched “Breaking Bad” yet, I’d never heard the term “tweeker,” but I took her word for it. read more


Crying HeadIt all started innocently enough. The landscaper for our next-door neighbors always brings his dog to work. The dog’s a cute little Silky Terrier, and my daughter always wants to play with him. This time he wandered into our yard, and she asked if she could go see him. I said okay and off she went. Then the landscaper called the dog back to him. My disappointed daughter stood on our lawn, watching him go, longing for the dog. I called her back in and she asked if we could go play with the dog next door. I said no, the landscaper has to do his job and we can’t walk on his grass seeds after he spreads them, but we will go talk to him in a while. I wanted to get an estimate.

We went next door and my daughter called the dog as I talked to the guy. He gave me his card and he told me that he’d be by once he was done. I told my daughter to come back home with me. She didn’t want  to, but she came. All the way home, she asked me if she could go back. I assured her that the guy would come over with his dog later and she could play with him all she wanted. read more