I'll start with this doesn't happen often. I am truly blessed the Miss M, while being a strong willed child, is at the same time mostly compliant with few tantrums. Most times if they do happen, it's because of an inconsistency between how her mother and I handle things (or the nanny) or simply because Miss M is tired. She is in that "in between" phase where she most days refuses to nap but then ends up exhausted by 5:30 or 6:00 PM. Last night was one of those nights. It was also my last night with her before she goes to her mother's for a week for the Christmas holiday.
I was feeling like I'm sure most of us do who share custody. I value every moment and want to make the best of the time I have with her. We play games, hug on the couch while we watch her favorite shows, and read books. Interactive things that make for good "Daddy and Me" time. Last night Miss M told her nanny that whe wanted to wait until Daddy got home from work so that we could eat dinner together...sweet right??!!! So I was excited to spend the evening. We made dinner which she didn't like so much. She was "all done" quickly and then began asking for donuts. Hmmm...
Now, I'm not a hard liner when it comes to having treats (her mother is). As long as she's eaten healthy during the day, a treat after dinner seems appropriate to me. There were some donut holes left that the nanny had gotten her and she knew it. Problem is, the remaining ones didn't have sprinkles on them. Miss M LOVES sprinkles. When she saw the selection, she, in her tired state, immediately began crying and jumping up and down, demanding sprinkles. She then begain demanding chocolate milk. No please, not asking nicely, but "I want!!!" in that 3 year old demanding tone, complete with teary eyes (poor baby, I knew she was just tired). I calmly explained that she wasn't asking politely (she does know how) and to please use her manners. With that, off came the Princess clip on earrings she was wearing. She flung them across the floor, ran to the couch, threw herself on it, and began to cry. Quite the little drama queen, right? That's her mother's side...
At 7:00 PM with Miss M in her jammies, it being below freezing outside, and Daddy desparately wanting quality time with her before she left this morning, I had a dilemma. Do I 1) get her dressed and walk half a block (literally 100 yards) with her to Dunkin Donuts while she drank her chocolate milk, or 2) calmly insist that she pick up the earrings she threw, apologize for the tantrum, and ask nicely for what she wants, all the while knowing that this could take a LONG time? Miss M can be quite stubborn when she's in this state.
Option 1 was SO much more attractive and the path of least resistance. I gave it serious thought. Thing is, I knew that if I did it, I'd be setting a bad precedent for later. Daddy, who's OBVIOUSLY wrapped around her little finger (and she knows it) would be set up for more trouble later. Crap! So much for fun, right?
It took a good 30 minutes to get her to pick up those earrings. The first one came at about 10 minutes. The second was much tougher. Everyone's discipline style is different. Mine is to remain calm, start with "I love you" and explain that her behavior is unacceptable and turn off TV and allow no other activities until she does what's needed. Usually that results in an on the floor crying fit to which I respond again, "I love you and I'll be right here on the couch. As soon as you do "X" we can have some fun." She is stubborn, though. It usually takes a while.
We got through it and had a nice rest of the night and fun morning. I'll see Miss a couple times for lunch before Christmas. Ex has been gracious about that (I know it pains her but I'm appreciative). In the meantime, maybe I'll go buy some sprinkles to keep around the house.