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Nebraska, United States
A would-be stay at home mom working full-time as a teacher. I teach at my old Highschool, working side-by-side with my own teachers. I blog to keep the Texan grandparents updated and chronicle our life for future reference. (In other words, I don't have a real baby-book or diary.) Comments make my day. Thanks for stopping by! kimlepper at gmail.com

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Learning to Breathe

Someday someone is going to call the authorities and then I'm going to have to try and explain that my child is screaming like someone is beating her, not because I'm beating her, but because she can't open a box. Or she can't get the block in the organizer. Or she can't get her sock off. Or she can't get her coat on by herself.

"Ma'dam, there has been reports of constant screaming, crying and banging coming from your residence."
"Sorry, sir, but my daughter can't get her shoes on by herself as quickly as she'd like."
"I'm sorry?"

"She won't let me help her and gets frustrated."

"So she screams bloody murder...right. And the bruises on her face? I suppose that's because she 'fell'?"

"No, actually she bangs her head on the floor when she's frustrated too."

We had tried everything- taking the toy away after a warning not to scream (cue tantrum), helping her anyway (cue tantrum), letting her try again and again (cue tantrum), giving her verbal clues (cue tantrum). It's as if there is a little tantrum gremlin poised in position behind her. You can literally count down to the moment of the scream. It's been quite the headache.

Today I noticed that when she's building up to the big "blow up" her breathing becomes intense, and she holds her breath. As she struggles more and more she lets out puffs of air when she can't hold it in any more an then sucks in a new one. I walked up to her before the tension got too high and held her hands, asking her to look at me.

"No help!" she insisted.

"I'm not going to help you, Samantha. Remember, we don't scream at our shoes. When you get frustrated I want to you take a deep breath (cue demonstration) and then try again. Can you breathe with mommy?"

She practiced with me. Then she went back to putting her shoes on. Any time I could hear her frustration building I would remind her, "Take a deep breath Samantha!" I could hear a huge vocalized breath and then a calm sigh. Finally she proudly marched into the kitchen wearing her shoes, "I did it!"

"Yes, you did! And no screaming! Good girl!"

She beamed with pride, "Yeah!"

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