Terrible twos did someone say? What about terrible threes?? My three year old discovered her screaming abilities when she was two, or perhaps even before, and has been fine tuning that skill ever since. She does not talk anymore, she screams. Most of the time she’s playing teacher and berating us all at home, in the manner, I suspect, her teacher does at school – it’s like she becomes another person when she is role playing.
How do you tell a three year old to stop screaming? It only leads to more hollering and screeching, followed, of course, with the whole lying-on-the-floor-won’t-get-up act. When she does finally, and most reluctantly, lift herself off the ground, her ego is bruised, for she has not been cajoled into silence by mommy, rather she has, most grudgingly, been forced to give up the act on account of being neglected, and because of mommy’s cool do-what-you-want-you-can’t-bait-me-this-way reaction. Once the ego is hurt, that’s it. Tantrums follow – storming out of rooms, sulking, et all.
It settles, eventually, somehow. Then she sleeps, which was part of the problem. It’s a vicious cycle – she gets sleepy, refuses to be put to bed, in fact opposes any subtle signs that could hint of mommy’s secret intent of sending her into dreamland. The sleepier she gets, the more hyper she gets, the more hyper she gets the sleepier she gets and fights it all the more – so it’s a matter of time, of holding out, till the fatigue takes over and she can fight it (and mommy) no more. I then sink into bed with a sigh, worn out by this tussle.
Minutes later I rustle up the energy to get up and change – put on the idiot box for some mindless TV, (father and daughter safely, and mercifully, asleep) but it’s too mindless at times for my liking. I then reach for my book – reading Satyajit Ray’s Feluda stories right now (for those who have not read them, I recommend them highly).
I sink into the book, forget all about the recent histrionics and read till late. I know I should sleep, for tomorrow will be another day – waking up the rascal for school and all that follows, the screaming (again), the I-don’t-wan’t-to-go, the I-got-ouchie, the I-don’t-wan’t-to-bathe, the don’t-comb-my-hair…I know I’ll need the energy for it all. But I enjoy the silence of the night and my book too much to worry about tomorrow..