Tuesday, February 24, 2009

THE TANTRUM GENE

I remember Charlotte's first ever real tantrum vividly. I was camping in the South of France the week of 9/11. I took her back to my cabin and asked if she wanted on her lime green babygro or a lilac one. She was 20 months old. She chose one, then the other, then the first again then started to cry as the decision became too tortuous in her sleepy state. She turned redder and redder, the crimson of her scalp shining through her white hair. She became hysterical, banging her head off the walls and biting the curtains. I actually laughed, it was such a ridiculous overreaction. Marcel had never had a tantrum so I was witnessing one for the first time. Of course, as the months and years passed and she continued to have the tantrums, I no longer found them amusing. I would arrive at work completely emotionally drained and moan at poor Thomas, my then office mate, about how dealing, usually single-handedly, with her strong will was killing me. I guess moaning to a man who would listen and sympathise slowly led me to fall in love with him. (What he saw in me, I have no idea!)
Pudge was a second Marcel. I don't think he's ever had a real tantrum. When you annoy him, he looks hurt and breaks your heart, rather than becoming angry.
Anna has been a very easy girl up to now but she is strong-willed. We saw that with her milk wars during January.
Today is pancake day. Thomas and the kids were making pancakes. Thomas let Anna sit on the work surface and stir the batter while Lots and Pudge made the pancakes. He turned his back and she took a ladle full of the batter and started dripping it down the front of the kitchen cupboards. He took the ladle from her and said No, Anna. She went berserk! She threw herself backwards, headbutting the floor. A full three minutes later Thomas, a six foot tall bloke, was still not strong enough to bend her enough to get her to sit in her seat to eat the pancakes because she was still doing that rigid toddler thing in disgust at her daddy. Anna is 6 months younger than Lots was in Argel├Ęs!
Oh my God... what do the next 3 years hold?!

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