Monday, January 14, 2008

Smile...You're On Candid Camera!

Kailey has recently cycled back into her clothing tirades, and it's really irritating. She had been doing so well in the past few months, but all of a sudden she's gotten very picky as to what she will and won't wear. I have no idea where she gets this from (shut up, Mom...any comments from you on this subject will result in banishment from seeing your grandchildren). A couple of weeks ago it all came to a head.

She picked a pair of jeans out that she has worn a million times before and decided she didn't like them any more. Why? In Kailey's words, "It teases me!" I have come to hate these three words more than any other three word combo in the English language. The two things that it communicates is that 1.) Kailey is somehow uncomfortable in that particular garment and 2.) if you don't remove it from her body RIGHT FRICKIN' NOW, you're going to have a meltdown of Biblical proportions on your hands, and no amount of patient reasoning or attempts to talk her down is going to stop it.

Well, I still tried. "How is it teasing you?" I asked, using every last ounce of patience available to keep my cool.

"They're too tight around here," she said as she pointed to her waist.

Just as I thought. She's growing. Kid's jeans have those little elastic bands that run through the waistbands. Each end of the elastic band has a series of button holes that can be used to tighten or loosen the waistband depending on where you secure the buttons sewn on the inside of the jeans. Kailey's a skinny kid. We have to button the elastic band on roughly the seventh button hole on each side just to keep her pants from sliding off. I figured it was time to readjust her jeans so she could once again enjoy circulation to the lower half of her body.

I tried to explain this to her but she would have none of it. She wanted them off. NOW. So she threw herself onto the floor and started kicking her legs like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. And that's seriously what it's like, because I'm standing there thinking this is not my daughter, and I'm frustrated and pissed because she's acting like a two year old. So in my frustration I blurted, "Kailey, if you could only see how ridiculous you look right now..."

Light bulb.

I turned and walked into our bedroom, grabbed the video camera off of the dresser, and popped out the viewfinder. I then calmly walked back to Kailey's position on the floor. The camera caught her attention. "What are you going to do with that?"

"I'm going to show you how ridiculous you look throwing a fit over a pair of jeans."

"Is it on?"

"Not right now, but if you don't straighten up right now, I'm gonna roll."

Problem. Solved.

The threat of the camera worked several times since then, until Saturday. Kailey had two meltdowns, one over putting on her own socks, and she finally called my bluff. I had two choices: I could either record one of her tantrums or put those threats to bed forever. The thought that recording one of her tantrums could make things worse actually had crossed my mind, but since she called my bluff I felt I had no other option. So I rolled.

I so wanted to post the ensuing footage, but thought that Kailey would never forgive me. Her performance made Linda Blair in the Exorcist look like Pee Wee's Playhouse (scary in its own right). Her voice changed, she threw stuffed animals and feces (kidding), slammed her door, and proceeded to inform me of the various ways she was going to bring me bodily harm. I guess I asked for it.

Later, after she had calmed down, put on her socks, and returned to her normal, sweet self, she asked me what I was going to do with the tape. My gut response was "You Tube", but thought that she had been through the wringer enough for one day. "We're going to sit down and watch it, just you and me, because I want you to see how crazy you got over a pair of socks. Then I'll record over it and it will be gone forever."


Yeah, well, we haven't gotten around to watching that quality footage just yet. I'll forget it's there, only to discover it twenty years from now, when it will become an instrumental breakthrough in Kailey's therapy sessions as it sheds light onto just how badly I screwed her up. May as well send me the bill now.


Muddleman said...

My oldest daughter used to have these ridiculous tantrums all the time until she was about 8. Anything could cause a meltdown, but mostly it was the result of being overwhelmed by a situation, or not being in control of a situation, or of not being able to explain herself. She even had an episode during one of her own birthday parties where she fell to the floor in a heap and flailed. Her friends just looked at her, shrugged, and we all just stepped over her to get some cake.

the battered ham said...

Sometimes that's all you can do.