Andy threw a mother of all tantrums yesterday. It started with the underpants. I told him on his way to school that if he didn't have any accidents in his underpants, that I'd take him to the burrito store after school to celebrate.
Andy: The burrito store?
Me: Yes. If you stay dry -- no pee or poops in your underpants all day, we can go to the burrito store.
Andy: And can we eat there?
Andy: I love the burrito store.
So when I picked him up, sure enough, he'd been dry all day. They put him into a pull-up before nap that he was still in, but he'd been dry all morning. So true to my word, I took him to Chipotle. It was early, like 5:15, when we got there and we were ahead of the dinner rush. He started acting obnoxious, saying he didn't want this or that in his whiney voice and yelling at me if I disagreed. I explained, as I have been lately, that it's not okay to act like that. And that if he kept it up, we would leave. I probably gave him three or four chances to act right and when he didn't, I grabbed a to-go bag, packed up our stuff in Meg's stroller and headed out, dragging Andy by the wrist.
He was PISSED. Seriously. He started screaming full scale once he realized I was serious. I tried loading him into the car, but he was wigging out, jumping out of his seat, trying to hit me and throwing his earphones into the back seat. I was failing at everything so I threatened him with spanking; I NEVER do that, but it was in the parking lot with lots of traffic and a baby in a stroller and I was feeling anxious that it was dangerous. When he still didn't act right, I pulled him out, swatted him on the behind (not hard really) and finally got his attention long enough to get him into his car seat. He started screaming for his earphones, which he had thrown, and I ignored him all the way home and he screamed. It was 15 minutes of torture listening to him breathlessly scream. It was funny it was so awful.
I finally got him home and tried to herd him into his room and he was still freaking out, screaming and jumping around. By then, Meg woke up and started crying that she was hungry so I tried to placate Andy as best I could while I tended to her. I banished him to his room, where he refused to stay, screaming and closing and opening the door. When I said he couldn't leave his room, he flopped around on the threshold for a while. The whole episode probably lasted about an hour. It was pretty ugly and, at moments, pretty funny. He finally calmed down, we talked about how it wasn't okay to act like that and then had a nice dinner together. He then took a bath and went to bed, exhausted, and was asleep by about 7:30. He woke up about 1 a.m. and wanted to get in bed with me. I told him no and left him. He then woke up about 6:30, called for me. When I didn't come, he put himself back to sleep. He's been waking up a lot in the night, partially looking for attention, and I really need to put an end to that, too.
I swear, this motherhood stuff is tough sometimes. Really tough. On the one hand, I think he's acting out. He's got a lot of new stuff going on and he's competing with a new baby. I've tried to be sympathetic, but my tactics so far haven't made much of a difference so I'm trying tough love. If he starts whining at home (and by whining, I mean pretty obnoxious stuff that ends up with him yelling at me), I send him to his room or to time out. I'm done negotiating with the terrorist.
What was great though was after all that drama, he woke up a refreshed and happy kid. We talked again about how it's not okay to act like the way he did and then he peacefully went to school -- no drama about not going, no screaming about not wanting this or that for breakfast. I hope this is making a difference because, damn, this discipline stuff is hard.
On another note, his school has started posting the kids' "art" online. Check out Andy's here. Talk about a gifted artist.