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Language Log

Tuesday, Apr. 03, 2018 - 10:42 a.m.

Morning. We wake and I get ready to feed people. I and E want eggs. E likes scrambled, U likes fried. They start arguing about who will get their egg first. This is the sort of intractable situation that I haven’t learned how to handle. Any other mother would be able to declare whose egg she was going to make and the kids would accept it and shut up, but not my kids. Never my kids. I walk away to calm down and think and hope they’ll come to an agreement.

Uly starts hitting and pushing E. J goes to take over in the kitchen and declares that because U pushed E, U was definitely not getting his egg first. Seems fair; we can’t raise him to think he always gets what he wants first, just because. Or that he can be mean and still get what he wants. BUT none of these lessons have sunk in yet, and he had a meltdown. Tried to knock E’s plate of eggs on the floor. J hauls him off to bedroom to restrain him. J overdoes restraining him; sometimes we need to because he’s trying to hurt someone, but in general it makes him feel helpless and disrespected, which compounds everything. So I put on my ear protectors and step in. I sit in the doorway and block him from coming out as long as he’s saying he’s planning on knocking the eggs to the floor.

Eventually he went out, because E finished his eggs. Move on to Phase 2. I don’t restrain him but when he comes to me I hug him and tell him I love him and that I’m here. This only works if he’s not directly mad at me. But it was the right thing today. Still, he went through iterations of telling me to blow up E’s eggs, that he needed to kill E, he needed to blow him up, that J needed to move out and never come back to our house again, that Q needs to die, and that I should blow him up so he could die. That because E finished his eggs, he (U) would not be able to eat all day. And we’re not talking about saying these things once, it was several minutes each of repeating them over and over. I held him and hugged him. If I wrap my arms around him too tightly he feels restrained and pulls away. When I loosen my grip he climbs back into my lap. If I scratch his back and he feels I am trying to soothe him, he pulls away. He asked for a cup of water, then dumped it on the floor.

He worked through this cycle and finally asked for a burned egg. I got him to help me with the eggs, and now he’s fine.

During all this E was having his own issues, which J was able to help with. And Q kept coming close to yell at U to calm down, which sent him into paroxysms of anger.

He’s just in so much pain. That’s the thing to remember in these situations.
My ear protectors were crucial to my being able to stay calm.

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