July 5, 2007

Anatomy of a Tantrum

7:10 a.m. – Swee’Pea asks for two of three pears that are sitting in our fruit bowl on the counter. Seeing little harm in letting her look at them, Daddy complies.

7:27 a.m. – After playing with the pears for a while, one becomes damaged. Swee’Pea points this out to Daddy and wants another pear. Daddy misunderstands Swee’Pea and switches the damaged pear for the remaining good one rather than giving her the new one while also allowing her to keep the damaged one. Daddy apologizes but refuses to give back the damaged pear. Apparently, Daddy’s mistake is not forgiveable and Swee’Pea breaks into tears and starts to scream while collapsing into a heap on the kitchen floor.

7:28 a.m. – Daddy steps over Swee’Pea and continues to get ready to leave. Swee’Pea, undeterred by Daddy’s indifference, continues to scream and flail about.

7:33 a.m. – Daddy has finished cleaning the kitchen. TheMonk has come over to see what’s going on with his sister. Apparently he does not have the patience of Daddy and asks Daddy to put Swee’Pea on a timeout. “Swee’Pea, timeout? Swee’Pea crying? Swee’Pea timeout?” asks TheMonk. “No, Monk” Daddy replies, “Swee’Pea’s just having a bad morning.”

7:35 a.m. – Daddy needs to go upstairs to brush his teeth. He tells TheMonk to go watch Clifford while he runs upstairs. TheMonk complies. Swee’Pea, continues to scream and kick. Her face is red and snot has started to smear across her face.

7:38 a.m. – Daddy finishes brushing teeth and can still hear Swee’Pea screaming in the kitchen down below. He goes back downstairs to find TheMonk sitting cross-legged in front of the television. Swee’Pea is still flailing about and screaming. Daddy asks Swee’Pea if she’s all done crying. This is a mistake. It’s like putting a fresh log on a smouldering fire. Swee’Pea erupts to show Daddy that, indeed, she is not done crying.

7:45 a.m. – Daddy continues to get ready to go to work. He makes several passes by a still-screaming, still-rolling, still-kicking Swee’Pea. Every now and then he stops to admire the stamina and theatrics of this determined two-year-old.

7:50 a.m. – Swee’Pea appears to be winding down her tantrum. Unfortunately, Daddy makes his third mistake of the day as he grows impatient as he glances at the clock. Most days, they are out of the house by now. They are behind schedule so Daddy picks up the pace. He picks up the now abandoned pears on the floor and puts them back into the fruit bowl. Swee’Pea howls at the injustice and begins her antics all over again.

7:51 a.m. – First, Daddy tries to get Swee’Pea to calm down by picking her up off the floor. He puts her in a chair and tells her he is going to put her shoes on so they can go “bye-bye”. Swee’Pea is not ready to comply with such a request and begins to kick her legs as Daddy attempts to slip a shoe on the rapidly moving feet. Giving up, Daddy quickly turns his attention to TheMonk. He pulls out TheMonk’s shoes and TheMonk quickly complies with Daddy’s request to don his shoes.

7:55 a.m. – Daddy is done putting on TheMonk’s shoes and gathers him up to take him out to car in the garage. He turns to Swee’Pea, still in her chair, and says, “Bye-Bye, Swee’Pea. We’ll see you later!” He and TheMonk exit to the garage.

7:57 a.m. – Daddy returns to the house to find a quiet Swee’Pea who, it appears by the look on her face, was not entirely sure if Daddy was coming back. Daddy scoops her up into his arm and gives her a hug. He tells her he was sorry that she was so angry but that it was time to go. This tactic seems to work as Swee’Pea allows Daddy to put on her shoes.

7:58 a.m. – Shoes now on, Daddy wipes Swee’Pea’s face with a baby wipe to clean up her mucus and tear-stained face. He picks her up and starts towards the door. Swee’Pea, apparently thinking that Daddy should go towards the kitchen to get the pears, begins screaming, “NO! WANT PEARS! WANT PEARS!” Daddy continues to the garage and Swee’Pea begins her tantrum anew by flailing away in Daddy’s arms.

8:02 a.m. – Daddy is done wrestling Swee’Pea into her car seat. In the process she has managed to kick off her shoes. She is left screaming in her seat as Daddy runs back in to gather some last second items.

8:08 a.m. – Swee’Pea continues to scream but calms down as they near the Daycare Provider’s house. Swee’Pea, it seems, has finally reached her limit. All tired out and ready to give in, she allows Daddy to, once again, clean off her face and then unbuckle her seatbelt. As she is being extracted from her seat she suddenly remembers a toy that she was interested in earlier in the morning. “Duck? Duck!? WANT DUCK!!” As Daddy explains that Duck is still at home, Swee’Pea finds enough strength to scream and flail once more. “I WANT DUCK!!! DUCK!! I WANT DUCK!!!”

8:09 a.m. – Daddy delivers a screaming Swee’Pea to the Daycare Provider. Swee’Pea calms down just enough to give Daddy a loving hug and holds tightly to Daddy’s neck, not wanting to let go and be delivered to Daycare Provider. She whimpers and clings to Daddy and buries her tear-soaked face into Daddy’s neck.

8:10 a.m. – Daddy gently pries Swee’Pea away from his neck and hands her over to a smiling but sympathetic Daycare Provider. Swee’Pea begins to cry again and as the door closes, Daddy can hear her screaming as he returns to his car at the street.

8:11 a.m. – Daddy drives away.

For all we know, Swee’Pea could still be screaming at this very moment.


  1. At least it wasn’t BOTH of them…

    Comment by Kemp — July 5, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

  2. Poor baby..sometimes we just have a bad morning. Our hungary 7 year old realized he made a bad decision the other day chosing an indoor activity over swimming. There was a half hour of screaming!

    Comment by mp — July 5, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  3. Oh.



    OHMYGOD! I’m in awe. Really and truly. Now that is impressive. And my favorite was when TheMonk wanted her in a time-out, but then quickly did his own thing like, “Oh her? Yeah. I hardly ever notice it anymore.”

    Freakin’ hilarious. And you’re a Saint.

    Comment by samantha jo campen — July 5, 2007 @ 5:45 pm

  4. That was awesome.
    Not only did you not give into the tantrum, BUT, you didn’t give into her demands either. That takes a hell of a backbone.


    Comment by Tastes Like Crazy — July 6, 2007 @ 7:06 am

  5. Breath deep breath deep- either laugh at them or join in is my motto!
    DUCK! is up there with UP! and OUT! in our house…and when DUCK/UP/OUT isn’t forthcoming it is the ever so dramatic head bang on the floor-executed with such deliberatness so as to get the attention desired without injurying the injured party too much…of course sometimes they misjudge the floor surface and add pain and insult to their imagined injury.

    OSCAR nomination to Sweet Pea, and obviously the “calm- and- rational- in- the- face of- a crazy-woman-Monk” takes after his level headed dad!

    have a fun weekend!

    Comment by Twinshere — July 6, 2007 @ 7:46 am

  6. Wait until they are three…it gets worse…I swear.

    And, how comes it’s the girls who are always so theatrical?

    Comment by Stacy — July 6, 2007 @ 9:17 am

  7. Man, you have got nerves of steel and the patience of a saint! I can only pray that my little “hurricane” does not have the stamina that Swee’Pea has. I don’t know if I could endure it. I’d probably have to evacuate :)

    Comment by Pam — July 7, 2007 @ 8:58 pm

  8. We have started the day two days in a row with fights over books. Which culminated in one twin trying to tear the head off of the other twin to obtain said book.

    Twins, good times.

    Comment by Gidge — July 8, 2007 @ 8:39 am

  9. Poor Swee’Pea, she is so misunderstood. She needs to visit Grandmother.

    Comment by Grandmother — July 8, 2007 @ 10:12 am

  10. WOW!!! That’s is all I have to say…WOW!!! I was in Taiwan in the peace and serenity of sweltering 101 heat and humidity and pollution when daddy was at home dealing with the terrible two’s…but I have a new one to contend with and she’s already a back archer (she stiffens her back into an arch and screams on top of her lungs when upset)! I have to admit…by fit #2…mommy would’ve lost her patience and ghetto parenting 101 would have emerged! WOW!! I BOW to your patience!

    Comment by Chinanow — July 10, 2007 @ 12:10 pm

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