Thursday, December 11, 2008

Li'l P's Guide to a Freak Out

When past the terrible twos and teething stage, one can find life rather boring and monotonous. So we just have to spice it up a bit with a random freak out, not normally called a tantrum as they're a bit different. This is a guide to how our Pax utilizes his freaking out capabilities.

The actions involved:
a) for quiet freak out: Go totally limp and fall to floor, then look to caregiver with wondering eyes as if asking what on Earth happened to make you crash to the floor. If sitting, go limp and drop whatever's in hand, typically coloring or eating utensil. Again, stare at caregiver. Try to make it out as if caregiver and gravity are in cahoots.
b) for loud freak out: Momentarily go limp as you prepare, then flail, hit and kick. Make sure any food in your mouth either falls out or comes extremely close to doing so and freak out even more when this happens. Cry, scream and yell in a shrill voice, especially words like "NO!" and "DON'T!" and phrases such as "kick mommy!" If there's food or drink in front of you, flail into it so it goes everywhere, or just throw it and aim. Oh, and remember to use real tears and drool everywhere! That's how everyone watching knows it's "real"!

The required stimulus:
a) for quiet freak out: Be told either to do something or not to do something. If eating, make sure this has absolutely nothing to do with food. Wait for a proper "after this we're going to..." then drop your fork, fall forward onto table, and start crying.
b) for loud freak out: Possible stimuli include such things as food not holding right to fork, bananas breaking in half, one or both parents refusing to give you their entire meal to play with, food mixing, food not mixing, someone talking to you, something dangerous being taken away, being told no, being told yes, seeing someone you recognize, a gust of wind, a ray of light, a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere, etc. You don't need a good reason for a loud freak out, just make sure you can make yourself suitably upset about the "cause" such that nothing can be done to calm you.

The come down:
a) for quiet freak out: As this freak out is never meant to last long unless you're hoping to cause someone else to freak out, simply get over it and go about your business as if it never happened. Or suddenly transition to loud freak out. Remember, don't give any warning!
b) for loud freak out:
1-When with mommy you don't get much of a choice. You'll be cuddled on first freak out typically but then quickly put in time out to calm down. If in morning, you'll be placed in bed. If not, you'll be placed on a chair. Either way mommy will stay a suitable distance away such that you can't hit her. Remember to get in parting shots then!
2-When with anyone other that mommy without mommy present, throw a huge fit and wait for the cuddles. Lots and lots of cuddles. Remember to carry on either a very short time (30 seconds) or a very long time (15 minutes). Keep 'em guessing! And remember those real tears, because everyone other than mommy actually buys it. If you can, keep up a string of freak outs such that it seems never ending. Be warned though that this gets boring after awhile.
3-When in the presence of both mommy and other people, freak out as much as humanly possible. Make certain that you mostly do it either right beside or right in front of mommy, so that she looks like a jerk for "ignoring" you or scolding you. Milk it, buddy. Throw that fit, look right into someone's eyes with huge tears pouring down and beg for something mommy said no to. Remember to smack mommy as much as possible, which somehow works to make her look like even more of a jerk as if she asked for it. Be warned! This one won't have the chance to get boring as mommy gets fed up quickly and as soon as a your situation has been diagnosed as a freak out and not a real upset you'll find yourself being picked up and moved to a place where it's just you and mommy, something that somehow also works to make her look like a jerk as everyone and their momma seems to think mommy is spanking you or slapping you or just doing something plain awful when she does this (though no one ever stops her or checks...). You can milk that to but either way you're going to end up placed in a safe, dry time out spot, inside or out, and mommy will stay near but will not interact other than to keep you sitting and safe. Feel free to scream it out, mommy's cool with that, but don't expect a hug until you've ended the freak out as mommy knows you like to head bash in hugs, you little sneak you. Typically after time out is when to end all freak outs in this particular session as mommy will continue putting you immediately into time out the second you start.

Freak outs are fun! They let you get away with lots of awful stuff and most people are cool with it because you're little. Remember to pretend you don't speak English and even more people get angry at mommy. Oh, and you might get candy out of it! You often do when with other people.
Also, remember that you can freak out as much as you like, and mommy will still adore you. It's awesome! Dude, you have it made! If you're worried about this, though, be good and loving for about 5 minutes. That's how long it takes for every ounce of anger to seep out of mommy's body, such that you can start afresh with your freak outs and mommy will be considerably patient with you.


As a side note, yes people do seem to judge me a bit harshly when Pax acts up in public. I'm either the woman who ignores her kid (as if his own mother can't tell the difference between a real upset and a freak out), or I'm the person who can't control her kid (as if he has an on/off switch). At home it's much easier as I can either put him in bed, put him in his time out chair, or if I'm afraid I myself am getting to worked up I can just leave the room for a few minutes, staying withing earshot.

Typically, though, he does this for other people and not me. As soon as eyes are off of him he stops, and the longer it goes the more impossible he gets to the point where he's gagging and coughing because he's freaking out so hard. So many people I know want me to just hug it out, but really? That doesn't typically work for him. I'll try it the first time or two that he freaks but after that, nope, not gonna do it since it's all attention getting from that point on.

I'll probably type more about my various parenting techniques for this child later on, but suffice it to say I'm not raising him or disciplining him in the ways I thought I would.

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