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April 11, 2009

My Daughter's Constant Freak-Outs

At some point I have to believe my daughter will stop having constant freak-outs. The only reason I maintain this hope is because none of the adults I know have them, which gives me hope that there must be a point in a child’s life where freak-outs lose their appeal. Of course, I have heard about high-powered executives who launch regular tirades at underlings, but I don’t consider that the same thing. To me, that’s a judicious display of power. That’s just showing the little people what’s what. When the little people do it, however, that’s grounds for termination. Unfortunately, according to the state laws of Connecticut, you cannot terminate your child.

Today’s incident occurred when my five-year-old daughter, whom I will call Her Shittiness, broke the propeller off a cheap paper airplane with which she was playing. This lit the fuse which soon exploded the bomb, when five minutes later the wings became detached. Now, I have certainly experienced my own frustrations with shoddy Third World workmanship. (The plane was manufactured in a country which shall remain nameless, but which is best known for their billions of people, their tasty cuisine, and for their poisonous baby formula.) But even when I am upset with poor craftsmanship, my reaction is never to start screaming at the top of my lungs, tell my father I hate him, and run away shrieking, making sure to slam every door en route to my destination, which in this case, was her bedroom.

As far as freak-outs go, it could have been worse. She might have stabbed me, for example. But the point isn’t that it might have been worse; the point is simply that it happened at all, and that these behavioral transgressions occur so often, that in my house such antics are considered de rigeur. They are as regular as the toilet clogging. I do know not the proper way to deal with either my Her Shittiness or the shittiness.

Moreover, I am not soliciting parenting advice from anybody who might be reading this post. If you offer such advice, I will not respond to you, but I will read your helpful insights and have the following thought: “Go fuck yourself.” No, I do not want your help. Because I am not the one with the problem. The problem is with my daughter, who I am beginning to think is out of her mind. Maybe that’s not a productive attitude to take towards one’s offspring, but at this point I see no alternative explanation. I have looked on WebMD to see if there is possibly a known medical condition that would explain these outbursts, and there was one: being batshit crazy.

There will be certainly be those among you who will blame her parents for her acts of domestic terrorism. But these are the same people who blame America for 9/11. Like America, I am benevolent and good. I am forthright and just. On the other hand, my daughter at some point undoubtedly lived in a cave and trained with the Mujahideen. Perhaps that’s what she was doing when I thought she was at day camp. I do not know.

What I do know is that I am quickly running out of options for dealing with her. Time-outs are ineffective. The Naughty Corner has also lost its deterrence value. Taking away toys does not work. Taking away food works, but it takes days. We do not spank our children, which is increasingly starting to feel like a foolish decision. I have so many wooden spoons, and increasingly I have found that they are talking to me. They whisper to me when I am feeling particularly frustrated. They say, “Nobody will ever know. Just one good paddling.” But I will know, and I could not live with myself if I hit a child. Strangle, perhaps. But not hit.

Only moments ago Her Shittiness came dancing downstairs from her bedroom wearing her sparkly red shoes and asking if she could have a marshmallow. I told her no, and she did not freak-out. Instead she gave me a hug and ran off singing a song about puppies. Her deviousness knows no bounds.

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Leesa

I was a shitty child as well. And then one day when I was 7 or so my family decided to watch some home videos where my shittyness was displayed to the world and to myself for the first time. I'm 20 now and haven't had a temper tantrum since. So basically I was shamed into goodness. Don't worry MIB, at the very least it will be subdued.

LeAnna

This entry is hilarious. "Being batshit crazy" especially made my sides hurt. I'm sorry about your daughter. I don't have kids, so I can't relate.

Can't wait to see you in Buffalo in November!

LeAnna

These comments are hilarious to read. Thanks guys.

Ronda

If you're lucky, she's a smart, empowered kid testing boundaries. If you're not, she has oppositional defiance disorder and will land in juvie by the time she's 11.

rae

Sell her on eBay.

cristina.

My little cousin Alisha does that almost three times a week to her father, and it turns out she has ADHD or ADD, one or the other.

She also goes to a therapist.

:O so. you know. keep that in mind.

Devon

The girl that lived next door to me as a child had horrible temper tantrums a lot like the ones you're describing with doors slamming and screaming and berating of parent figures. Continued til the day she moved out (age 20). I never, EVER had them. Ever.

She is now happily married and making a shit-ton of money doing ...something for an investment management firm. I don't exactly know what. I am in the education field (i.e. not a shit-ton of money) and am seeing a clinical psychologist for OCD and what I like to call "rage attacks," wherein I become so angry that I feel I have psycho strength and could destroy small nations with my hands. And I take Zoloft.

Enjoy her tantrums. If my old neighbor is any indicator, her childhood ire will provide you with a solid retirement.

Muppet Soul

the idea of your daughter studying terrorism in a cave made me pee myself a little bit.

jbj

Oh Devon, the rage was there...you were just a good enough person to repress it. Education is a terrible field to be in, because you are surrounded by terrible people you can't control. For the most part, I was a model child well-liked by adults. However, to the best of my knowledge, my childhood rage period started with me going "all toy airplane" on a stapler and ended (around 11 yo) with me threating to beat a 14 yo bully with a large chair. After that I realized I didn't want to go to prison, so the violent outbursts stopped. At least until started teaching 10 yrs later, when I found myself throwing erasers and stabbing ill-behaved students with my pencil. I suggest you get out of education and become dispassionate about everything.

Heather

Just 4 words:
You. Are. Not. Alone.

:p

Rachel

I, too, have a five-year-old daughter, and as she screams at me, throws things and stomps around, I console myself with the reminder that she's not yet a teenager.

It's not much, especially since that means there's worse to come, but it keeps me from putting my head through the wall for now.

My other child is a boy, and I hold hope that the drama will be cranked way down when he's five (he's currently two). That's probably misguided, but it gets me through the day.

The Naked Redhead

Maybe she has a brain worm? I have seen cases of those on the TV, and they are fucking nightmares. Some cases even include murdering, throwing up mucus, and sleeping with people you wouldn't normally find attractive. Also, face eating.

The good news is with brain worms, it's never the affected person's fault, just a bad "we'll chuckle about this later" case of evil parasite. I think I saw on X-Files once where they used some sort of hollow tube gun to suck it out. Worth a try, in my opinion.

Carrie Ann

"No, I do not want your help. Because I am not the one with the problem. The problem is with my daughter, who I am beginning to think is out of her mind."

Classic.

I don't have children, but seem to understand them.. They usually don't make much sense, and their intentions revolve around food and toys. The best way to deal with kids? Not have them. Hah. I have no advice for parents. Praise, if anything.

Bailey

Why didn't you let her have a marshmallow? Was it because of her behavior earlier in the day? That's the kind of crap my parents always pulled. Guess what? Didn't work! I'm a muderess now.

lawwn

i freaking out RIGHT NOW.

Randi

Oooh goodness. My sister is the same way and she's 24. Your daughter sounds adorable/terrifying.
You, my good man, on the other hand are simply adorable.

Camille

I don't know,but when you find out how to stop the bat shittiness,let me know! My girl is 6 and I believe she's never told me "yes" to any request I've given her.

war_torn

I believe your daughter has a rare case of "Satanic Mood Swing Apparatus"

It explains everything. There is no hope of recovery unless and exorcism is performed and a repair man has a look at her.

hey

bipolar.

Courtney

Wow, she sounds just like my youngest sister from age 3-...well, actually, she's still acting like that at age 25. I guess sometimes they don't grow out of it. Never mind.

Rebecca Pettigrew

Thanks for this! I read it immediately after my own 5 year old had one of her bi-hourly meltdowns... Which oddly was almost identical to your daughters... only our meltdown was over Barbie's hair having static electricity. She no longer has this problem, as Barbie no longer has a head...

Lacey

hahaha, i seriously hope you save these writings for her to read when she's old enough to appreciate them.

strangeronfire

it wasn't the tale that startled me, it was the fact that someone in the comments is "borrowing children".

Josh

I can hear the lead-in now:

"Michael Ian Black guest stars tonight on a very special episode of Supernanny!"

ceeeELLE

I don't mind the freaking out as much as I do the tight-jawed yelling they do when they get really frustrated with not having things their way.

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