It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Give that Girl her Beauty Sleep!

Upstairs, a baby cries. My quiet time is over. I can tell by the voice that it’s Zach, but when I open the bedroom door, Mia’s head pops up over the crib rail. Nuts! I’ve opened the wrong door. However, the damage is done, and Mia has had a reasonable amount of sleep, so I bring both of them downstairs.

Zach doesn’t generally like to eat directly after a nap, but Mia does, so into the high chair she goes. She complains throughout snack time. She complains even more loudly through the diaper change that follows. She complains a little when I set her on the floor to play. She is quite manifestly not adjusting well to having been woken prematurely, but I decide to give her another few minutes.

I head upstairs to wash my hands. While I’m there – this takes, what, 90 seconds? – I hear an ungodly wailing from the dining room. A pause, then a scream, a pause, then a scream. Awful screaming. Ear-piercing, bone-chilling, nightmare-inducing, fingernails-down-the-blackboard screaming. When I race downstairs, at speeds that put my life, or at least my ankles, in serious jeopardy, tiny Mia somehow towers over the much larger boys. All 27 inches of her are rigid with rage. Her face is red and tear-streaked. One might reasonably imagine that one of the boys had injured her in some way, but not once one had seen the boys’ faces: Every one of the three are wide-eyed, horrified, pictures of shock. They’re a metre away and backing slowly further from the tiny inferno in front of them. There is no doubt in any of their minds that she is about to explode, or that her head is going to swivel completely round any second. This girl is dangerous and they are getting out of her way!

Nope, no injury, just a good old-fashioned temper tantrum. I scoop her up and cart her back to bed. She wriggled into the sheets, her little bottom up in the air, her thumb securely in her mouth. A deep sigh escapes her. This is where she should have been all along.


June 22, 2005 - Posted by | aggression, sleep, socializing


  1. 🙂 I love it when my kids have tired temper tantrums, they are getting old enough to realise and when its pointed out to them they start to laugh.

    Comment by Si | June 23, 2005 | Reply

  2. And the boys learn an important life lesson about not getting anywhere near an angry member of the female of the species….

    Comment by Aginoth | June 23, 2005 | Reply

  3. Princess number two is a world class grump when she first gets up after sleeping. Princess number one is fairly chirpy, and likes to try to talk to her little sister when she sees that she’s awake. At that point, my job is to keep them apart and cuddle princess number two until she feels better about the world (and slightly less likely to beat the tar out of her big sister :-).

    Comment by Simon P. Chappell | June 23, 2005 | Reply

  4. Si: Good that yours can laugh at themselves. I remember jollying one young cousin out of a snit, and having say to me in great indignation, “Don’t make me laugh! I was being mad!!!”

    Aginoth: Yup. It was definitely entertaining to see three boys, all of whom outweigh and out-height her by a good 30%, cringing away in horror. Lesson learned!

    Simon P: I loved your description of the dynamic between your two princesses. My youngest used to delight in chirping at her morning-groggy older brother, but as she approaches adolescence (she’ll be 12 in July), she’s getting less and less chirpy in the mornings. Soon it’ll just be me being chirpy in the mornings – and all alone! Woo-hoo! This thought alone makes me feel distinctly chirpy.

    Comment by Mary P. | June 23, 2005 | Reply

  5. My thought exactly… at least the boys learned young. “If Mama ain’t happy… ain’t nobody happy” lol.

    Comment by August95 | June 23, 2005 | Reply

  6. Heh heh. You are so lucky…you didn’t break something on those stairs!

    So at what age do these tantrums normally begin?

    Comment by ieatcrayonz | June 23, 2005 | Reply

  7. My parents used to make me wake up my middle brother because I was just small enough to be under his arm when he swung it out to hit whomever it was waking him up. Also, I could run faster and hide in small places.

    In all of the pictures from when my daughter was 14 months old until she was about 3 she’s crying. No exaggeration. Now she’s just the sweetest, happiest little thing.

    Comment by misfit | June 23, 2005 | Reply

  8. August: I’ve always loved that quote! Where does it come from?

    Crayonz: when do temper tantrums start? Depends on the child: somewhere between one and two years. How long do they continue? Two weeks to two years… (The stage, not a single tantrum. Though it can feel that way!)

    Misfit: That was one seriously long tantrum! Or even tantrum phase. Poor you. So, is she destined for a career on stage, do you think?

    Comment by Mary P. | June 23, 2005 | Reply

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