Ants and spilt milk

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterby, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Ok...figuratively and literally.

    difficult child has been...well, a difficult child. I was snarfly this morning and I guess I was breathing through my mouth some. difficult child is getting snotting and looking at me and asking, "WHAT??? What did I do???" Ummmm...I'm just *breathing*. Geeeeeeeezzzzzzzzz. One minute she'd be fine and the next she was jumping down my throat.

    Whatever. Nothing new. been there done that. You know the drill.

    As she was getting the gallon of chocolate milk out of the fridge tonight, the lid popped off and some of it spilled. She's yelling at me about who left the lid off. :dont_know: Apparently it was my fault even though I don't drink it. But, I kept my calm.

    But, then.....

    She grabbed a towel to clean it up. Not a paper towel; a *kitchen towel*. That's the ant. That's what just pushed me completely over the edge. I didn't say anything because....well, just because. But, I wanted to explode. Because now I have to wash that stupid towel or it's going to stink; whereas a paper towel would have just been thrown out and done with. And it just annoyed me to no freaking end. Does she not think? No, because she was annoyed that *someone* didn't put the lid on the milk right so then she doesn't have to think about anyone else. And then, when she was done cleaning it up, she just threw the towel on the floor in front of the laundry room. :919Mad:

    I know. Such a silly thing to lose your mind over, but it took all of my self control to not explode. Instead, I went outside. And I breathed. And no one accused me of breathing wrong. :hammer:
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh Heath, poor you. Hang in there. You did good.

    I used to work for a man who always was suspicious of women, he felt we as a 'race' were manipulative and sneaky. I got on well with him just about all the time, but when my psychopathic co-worker discovered that the boss couldn't cope with female tears, he would get me to crying point then drag me before the boss to mediate my dispute - and I would always lose.

    One day (after I had learned this and resolved never to let my psychopathic colleague have me in tears again) we were all in the boss's office getting a talking-to about a complaint (some senior person wanted the impossible - a staff member permanently on duty at every post when there were more posts than staff members). I happened to have laryngitis and was also sitting behind the boss. I asked, "So how do we manage to be in multiple places at once?" but my voice came out very croaky. My boss instantly snarled at me. "Don't you start! You're the worst of the lot!" (in fact, I was not - I was the one most likely to be found in the right place and he knew it). So I imedately said, "It's OK, boss, I'm not crying. I have laryngitis. I just want to know for future reference - how do we manage this, in practical terms?"
    He responded gruffly, answered my point, stopped being aggressive. Never apologised, of course.
    I had for a while suspected his over-reaction to tears but this confirmed it. I've never seen anything like it since.

    The thing is, some people become accustomed (a sort of conditioned response) to reacting with hostility, to something they perceive as an early warning system, a hint thta thigns are about to get ugly. And even if you explain and they know intellectually that it's not what their instincts are telling them, they will still be on edge about it and liable to explode.

    Your daughter is apparently 'conditioned' to heading someone sighing in exasperation at her and then letting her have it verbally, both barrels. It could be you, it could be a teacher, it could be anyone. It might have only happend a few times in the past (difficult child 3 develops 'conditioned response' like this after only one or two repetitions) or it could be a common occurrence. But the only way out of it (for future reference) is with humour. Even after she explodes (as my boss did) - you stand there and say, "Can we start again? Sometimes I sigh with exasperation, but sometimes I'm just breathing heavily. A girl's gotta breathe, you know."
    (If she can take it, you could even hint at possible other reaos for you to be breathing heavily - a sure-fire way to change the subject, but also likely to have her storming out of the room in total disgust with the new topic).

    As for the milk - hey, it happens sometimes. If she's already stirred up I wouldn't waste breath fussing over paper towel vs cloth one. But the used towel (paper or cloth) has to be immediately dealt with, and the cloth towel needed to be rinsed out then put in the laundry ready for the wash. Cold water wash because it's got a protein load. If you need to, you can allow the wash temp to be wamer, but never warm enough to 'cook' the protein. Instead, the detergent should get the fat out even in cold water. Enzyme soak can help. And to prevent the sour smell - spray it with vinegar.

    difficult children will explode when provoked. But provocation does not equal blame. I've often had difficult child 3 get upset about something, he will yell about how unfair it all is, how it's not his fault. But he is not saying it's my fault either. Mind you, our kids hve gone through a phase of trying to lay blame wherever they could for absolutely everything. I finally had to stop them and say, "This is not about blame. Sometimes these things just happen. Get over it."

    Today - the key to the tennis court was missing. difficult child 3's reaction - "Someone has taken the key and not put it back. That person is a bad person for not meeting their responsibilities."
    It turned out that the previous tennis court user was still down there, so we just collected the key form them. No blame. Some minor inconvenience for us but really, the problem sorted. Andbecause I was able to stop difficult child 3 (and his friends) from getting rude and aggressive about who was being irresponsible, it all ended well and politely.

    When it goes the other way, I ignore the reaction when it's due to anxiety and frustration, but when the kid is calmer I workshop it with him to make sure that next time, there is the chance of a more appropriate response.

  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Sounds like we had a similar evening....

    In the evenings, I like to sit on the sofa with a drink and read a book or watch television. Yesterday, difficult child and DS decided to sit on the sofa and play cards. After a couple of hours, I asked them to please finish up their game and move because I wanted to watch TV. Silly me, I set my drink on the table and went to clean up the kitchen while I waited for them to clear out.

    After about 20 minutes, DS comes slinking in to the kitchen to grab a new fluffy towel from the drawer...

    Yup. Spilled my drink (soda) all over the table with its in-set glass top and was planning on just soaking it up with a brand new towel.

    AND to top it off, difficult child was still sitting there, playing cards AROUND the spill.

    I grabbed the paper towels and had to lift up the glass pieces to clean the soda that had gotten all underneath, I discovered new scratches in the wood of the table (naturally, nobody knows anything about the scratches) of course, I'm upset

    and difficult child is angry at me because I interrupted her card game!!!


    The Mom can never win.