My mother spent a few days with me to help with the kids, as I hadn't been feeling too well. Previously she had always been full of well-meaning advice when I told her about Aisha's tantrums.
"Just distract her with a toy," she'd say, or "Take her outside and show her the birds" or "just put her in the bath or read her a book" or "Read her a book while she plays in the bath".
Er, I think not.
On Monday afternoon Aisha awoke from her nap more grumpy than usual. I carried her to the living room to read her a book, when little missy decided that she would not allow me to sit down. I did not even consider giving her way because I was still feeling a bit weak from the tummy bug from which I was recovering. So she started screaming, stiffening her body and throwing herself around. I tried to steady her to prevent her from hurting herself, but other than that, I knew that there was pretty much little else I could do to stop her tirade.
My mother tried to sing to her, gave her sweets, joked with her; but to no avail. I just sat
there and tried to focus on the book I had in my lap. When she becomes this way, all one can
do is to wait for her to exhaust herself, which on one occasion took two hours!
"Give her chocolate," my mum suggested in desperation. Aisha was tensing her body and shaking as if she was getting an epileptic fit, while turning redder and redder. I did as mum suggested, more to appease her than the baby, since I knew that Aisha's tantrum was beyond the point at which she could be appeased by sweet treats.
Aisha grabbed the chocolate, holding one piece in each hand- and then squeezing. To her, the pieces of chocolate served more like stress balls to ease her frustration, as she squashed the rapidly-melting treat. I love chocolate (I mean, I really really love chocolate), so as my mum looked on in horror (no doubt wondering if the child was suffering from some kind of mental disorder); I looked on longingly, as the lovely creamy liquid dripped enticingly from her pudgy fingers onto my new duvet cover.
My mum panicked. "Her hands are dirty! She needs a bath!"
What! I thought to myself. And wash all that lovely chocolate down the drain?
This situation couldn't go on. " Come to Mommy. What can I do to help you, my darling?" I
asked her, while leaning in to hug her; very smoothly and subtly managing to dip my fingers into and lick the chocolate without my mother seeing. Pure ecstasy.
After about an hour, when she had been sufficiently worn down, I drew her attention to the squawking of our quaker parrot, which provided sufficient distraction to put an end to that tantrum.
The following one took place at 2:45 am yesterday morning. I don't remember how long it lasted (could have been about 30 minutes), but I was really lucky when I noticed that she had a runny nose and was thus able to offer her Rhinex medication, which she loves and which therefore instantly put her in a better mood.(Don't worry, I don't offer her medication just to shut her up- she really had a runny nose- I swear).
So my mum left for home last night, with new insight into her little granddaughter's scary personality and most likely feeling immense pity for her helpless daughter's plight. Sadly, I don't think she'll be back any time soon.