It starts out with a quick, jerking up of the head – as if she’s still not sure she heard you correctly and wants to verify that you did, indeed, dare to utter words she does not agree with. This is almost instantaneously followed by a narrowing of the eyes and a wrinkling of the nose that clearly indicates displeasure and, if one did not know better, that lasers will soon shoot out of her eyes and pierce your skull, shattering your illusions of a sweet, innocent child.
If we are lucky, this is followed by a little “Humph!” noise of displeasure and a stomping off to sulk in the corner of some room looking pitiful and sullen and wanting attention that we refuse to give. But more often than not, we are NOT lucky and she screams a loud, “NO!”
As we calmly tell her that yelling is not allowed and that she will not be getting what she desires with an attitude like that, it is like we have done the unthinkable like spit on Dora or pulled on Cinderella’s hair and she quickly erupts into full-blown tantrum in .025 seconds.
The screaming is accompanied by last-ditch efforts to win us over. As if being loud and teary will suddenly be the final piece of evidence that proves to us her point of view is the better one. “I WANT A WHOLE BANANA!!!!” or “I DON’T WANNA WEAR THAT! IT’S NOT CUTE!!!” or “IF I CAN’T EAT THAT COOKIE, I WILL CUT YOU DADDY!!”
Okay, maybe not that last one. But no matter the words coming out of her mouth, she is a fireball of fury. She looks like an exorcist waiting to happen. Neighbors must be contemplating picking up the phone to call Child Protective Services somewhere around this point. I’m looking up adoption services in the Yellow Pages. Small dogs begin yapping throughout the neighborhood and our cat Nutmeg races to the safety of under the bed in the guest room for several hours after.
If she’s in rare form she begins flailing on the ground, kicking and hitting anything she can. This might include the floor, cabinets, toys, yours truly. She is out to punish and she does it with a vengeance.
It is about this time she either earns a timeout or more likely we just ignore her, not wanting to validate the tantrum. Which, of course, only pisses her off even more. After all, what’s the point of throwing a good tantrum if your parents don’t even pay attention?! (Of course, that’s the point we’re trying to drive home but our girl is stubborn. She’s not going down without a serious fight.)
The weirdest part of the whole entire tantrum, even if it last 45 minutes (her record), is that five minutes later, she’s smiling and acting like the ham she is. The puffiness around the eyes might betray her, but you’d never know the girl had just tried to bring down Western Civilization as we know it.
And it’s a good thing she can put it behind her so quickly because it usually takes me that long just to find the adoption agencies in the Yellow Pages. Often, she’ll come up to me, grin and smile and nuzzle me with her forehead – As if to say, “I just brought my A game and you didn’t budge. Well played, Daddy. Well played. Now aren’t I cute?”
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