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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Surviving the Hissy Fits

Chives
My littlest monkey is going through a stage. I have to keep repeating Monkey Man's mantra "everything is a stage" because otherwise I'd be wanting pull every curl out of my head. For a couple of months now he's been chucking wobblies... big ones. Neither of my monkeys has ever been big tantrum throwers. The terrible twos weren't that terrible for me. In fact when Littlest Monkey was a baby we marvelled at what a wonderful child we'd been delivered. He was happy to just sit about smiling at everyone. But at six, Littlest Monkey has turned. He is very stubborn - I'll take the credit for that hereditary defect. He takes a long time to make choices. He would prefer to sit at home playing lego than go out and explore the world. He needs to be reminded twenty times to get dressed and have breakfast and to do the numerous other chores associated with getting out the door to school. And he is a very fussy eater.

On our recent holiday he decided he didn't want to do most things. We went snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef - he screamed repeatedly "GET ME OUT OF HERE!" so that all the other snorkelling tourists were snickering or looking concerned or wondering when they would be able to look at the wonders of the reef in peace. At an ice cream shop he couldn't decide what flavour to get - so I chose for him. He took a little lick and had a hissy fit. "THIS IS DISGUSTING!" and stormed out of the shop. While all the other tourists turned with disapproving looks to check out the spoilt child and his ineffective parents. We took a float in a boat on the Daintree River to spot crocodiles and other wildlife. In a voice that was not a whisper he informed everyone that "this is so boring". Only he still has trouble pronouncing his 'r's so it came out "bowing".

Problem is, he has such a cherubic face that no-one can believe he has hissy fits. My friends say he is so cute they just want to squeeze his cheeks and lay sloppy kisses on his neck. So I felt a teeny bit of satisfaction the other day at the park when he put on a show for them. Screaming and stomping about because the food had run out.

Oh yeah, we've been having a lot of tantrums over food.

But the great thing about growing your own is that it really does have a positive effect on kids and their eating. My monkeys are much more likely to try something new when it's come straight from the garden. I'm sure my enthusiasm for the freshness of the veg has rubbed off a bit on them. Last night we speculated about how many minutes old the celery on our plate was. The other day I made pasta. And I suggested that Littlest Monkey choose the herbs that went with the pasta. So the two of us had a wander through the herb garden. I showed him what each herb was and we picked a bit and sniffed it and then he chose parsley and chives for the meal. Good choices - I'm pretty sure lemongrass would not have been a taste sensation with eggs and parmesan. And then he ate it quite happily. Not a whole lot of food went into his mouth mind you but there were no tantrums. And I can't carry on enough about how great it is to have baby spinach growing. I've been picking a couple of leaves each day to chop up and pop into their sandwiches. They will grow to enjoy their greens even if I have to trick them into not noticing it amongst the cheese or tuna or hommus.

So I am hoping that the tantrum throwing stage will soon pass us by. 'Cos it's been catching on in our family and I've caught myself having wee tantrums at the tantrum thrower. Meanwhile, I'll keep sneaking in the veg and tending to the plot.
Look at those dimples. Butter wouldn't melt...

17 comments:

  1. Firstly, I don't believe a word of it...he is way too cute ..and those overalls! Have you read Steve Biddulph's book about raising boys...interesting. Around about six and seven those little male beings get a surge of testosterone and turn into beasts.... good luck. :-)

    P.S. glad my boys are older than you now...they can tantrum all they like...i don't care! LMAO

    PPS...Steve Biddulph says that boys need nurturing from their mums up to the age of seven then need to bond more with their Dads....just pass them over to Monkey Man. He sounds like he could cope.

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  2. I think you are one very good mum, xx

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  3. And I quote " He needs to be reminded twenty times to get dressed and have breakfast and to do the numerous other chores associated with getting out the door to school. And he is a very fussy eater"

    I have two sons and the exact same problem with them!! Haha!! Had to have a giggle as I do believe they go through phases and it will all resolve itself eventually, *fingers crossed!!*

    Sounds so familiar to me, it must be completely normal lol!!

    Good luck :)

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  4. Oh yes, it is hard to believe he is not a sweet little thing... but I have one of my own, and she can be so polite and well mannered at school, grandma's house, and for others! Miss M (6 1/3) has always been a diva, though, sensitive and prone to tantrums/ wobblies/ meltdowns. She quite possibly gets it from me, but I prefer to blame it on someone else wherever I can! The thing that has developed lately has been the 'attitude', possibly from being at Kindy? She is like a mini-teenager in so many ways, and the refusing to do things "No Way" (or even "Never!" screamed at the top of her lungs), ignoring us, being disobedient, going into a stubborn meltdown over the littlest thing, and taking no responsibility for her posessions, behaviours or basic daily jobs (make bed, put PJ's under pillow, unpack lunchbox when we get home). It sounds like she is a demon-girl, but she does have a wonderful, caring, creative, generous nature in so many other ways. I just find it very frustrating, and yes, find myself reacting to both kids attitude or reactive behaviours by being... reactive. Not good. Trying to stay calm, trying to be the grown-up one, trying to have consistent discipline and quality attention... trying to convince myself if she gets it all out now, maybe she won't be like this by the time she's a teenager!! Parenting, hey, who knew!!

    In other news, my two are actually becoming better eaters!

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  5. Those other tourists weren't thinking any of those things, well if they were anything like me they weren't. What they were thinking was - "Praise the lord that on this ONE occasion it isn't my child making a scene!". This week my 5 year has not got dressed on a single day without being asked rather a lot, she has barely eaten breakfast and pronounced any number of exciting activities boring. My almost 2 year old flooded the doctors surgery floor with water from their water dispenser and then screamed blue murder when I made him stop. He was carried kicking and screaming to the car whilst sick people tried to look the other way. I'm assured they will get better one day - of course on that day they will be dressed in black and hating the world but at least they'll be doing it quietly.

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  6. I don't know if it will make you feel better or worse but my 19 year old daughter threw a tanty the other day and accused her father of thinking of no-one but himself. My jaw hit the floor, talk about pots and kettles.

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  7. I don't have any sons, but if it's any comfort to you, I can tell you that my daughters were very fussy eaters when they were small, but they are now real Foodies and into growing their own veg, like me. I suppose you just have to be patient and not let it bother you too much.

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  8. I was thinking the same before I woke up my little Monkey he has become a teenager overnight and he is still 10

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  9. Know how you feel. Mine is 4 1/2 and extremely stubborn. Have had to do the carry away screaming trick numerous times in the past...it's the pits.
    Food wise he loves fresh carrots out of the garden - and bluberries and strawberries come summer.
    Good luck!

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  10. (BTW, your post title says surving, but guessing you mean surviving... typing, meh, it's not so easy when you have annoying kids hanging off your arms!)

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  11. Ah relief to hear lots of you ave similar experiences. Hazel I've thought about that book before. Must get it. Oops thanks Dixiebelle will fix it now.

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  12. Too cute!
    I understand though. Miss Bok is not fun with food either, glumping about with a scowl at her plate (also a tad fussy with food) - she has been better with food the last month so perhaps Littlest Monkey will grow out of his food aversions too. You're not alone! x

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  13. I used to tell myself something very similar when the boys were being difficult "it's only a passing phase" and it was. Hope it gets easier soon. :)

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  14. As a preschool teacher I see my share of hissy fits every day and believe me the only way to deal with them is IGNORE, IGNORE, IGNORE!!! I've been known to physically step over a child throwing a massive tantrum on the floor but having 2 boys of my own I also know how hard it is to stay calm.... Try singing to yourself whilst it's going on and DO read Raising Boys - it's brilliant!!! lol x

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  15. It is true, children like to eat what they grow, we are so lucky that we can have veggie gardens and don't live in an apartment block in a grey city...

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