Sometimes I wonder if The Munch was put on this planet to break me. That the universe brought to me the one person who would point out every inadequacy I have, force me to face the void in my soul, and jab violently at each button that could possibly be pressed. Although my child has brought out the best in me, and shown me a side of myself that I actually admire, she also can bring out the very worst.
This weekend was one of those moments. Granted there was a context, like we got home late Friday night, she didn’t sleep well, had the sniffles, and was probably a bit burnt out… but this was one of those scenarios with The Munch that shoved me toward near insanity.
We were playing in my bed and figuring out what to do with our day.
Toni: I got a good idea, why don’t we do some yoga, then we can go to the store and get you some clothes for school.
Munch: Can you get me a new dolly at the store?
Toni: Sure. We will get you some stuff for school, and a dolly. But lets go do yoga first.
Munch: No I want to go to the store first. I can’t wait! Please!!!!!!!!
Toni: Wellllll, okay…. But then we will do some yoga when we get back, and some stuff that Mamma wants to do okay?
Toni: So lets put on your shoes. How about these sparkly gold ones?
Munch: NO I DON’T WANT TO WEAR MY GOLD SHOES!!!!!!
Toni: Dude, these are the shoes that are here. We have to wear shoes in the store. These are the shows you are going to wear. I am not going to fight with you about shoes.
Munch: Well then I want to wear tights.
Toni: Fine, you can wear these pink tights.
Munch: NO I DON’T WANT TO WEAR THOSE PINK TIGHTS!! I WANT TO WEAR MY OTHER PINK TIGHTS! MY LIGHT PINK TIGHTS! NOT MY DARK PINK TIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAHHHHAHHHAHHHAHAHAHHHHAHAHHHAAA!!
Okay so this was how the hysteria started. Once she started crying, it clogged up her stuffy nose further, and she couldn’t breathe. Then she started crying more because she couldn’t breathe.
Munch: I CAN’T BREATHE!!! I CAN’T BREATHE!!! WAHHHHHAHHHHHHAAA!!
Toni: Dude… you can’t breathe because you are crying so much. You need to relax. Take a deep breath. Stop crying. And blow your nose.
Munch: BUT I CAN’T BREATHE!!!
Toni: I know! So you have to breathe out of your mouth!
Munch: I CAN’T!! I CAN’T!! WAAHHHAHHHHAAAAAA!!
Toni: Of course you can breathe out of your mouth. That is what you are doing right now to stay alive. Listen to me. You have to stop crying and relax for a minute then you will be able to breathe from your nose again. Remember how before you started crying you could breathe?
Munch: BUT I CAN’T STOP CRYING!!!!!! WAHHHHHAHHHAWWAHHH!
It was in an emotional cyclone, and The Munch was staring straight into the eye of the storm, almost as if to provoke it. She kept working herself into a state of frenzy while victimizing herself, and feeling sorry for herself. It was the awareness of her own suffering that was making her cry more than the actual annoyance of a stuffy nose.
Now, I know she is only 3 years old, but this behavior scares me. A lot of people are addicted to the drama of existence, and feed off it as a means of distraction. They way The Munch was acting made me feel like she was doing this to herself. That she was relishing in her self-pity.
Toni: Munch for real. You are stronger than this. You are a strong girl who is very brave, and you need to find other ways to express yourself beyond tears. Crying can’t be the go to strategy of dealing with your feelings. It is okay to cry sometimes, but you don’t want weeping to be the only way you know how to internalize your emotions.
Munch: BUT I CAN’T STOP CRYING!! WAAHHHHHAAAHHHAA! I CAN’T BREATHE!
At first I thought my strategy would be to let her feel, and work through these feelings. So I let her sit on my lap while she screamed and kicked in a frenetic frantic way. She also had to blow her nose every 12 seconds, which meant I had to be the facilitator of that process. I tried to just be an emotional support of her, but after 45 minutes of this I was so agitated I started to lose it.
You see, I am not really into excessive emoting. I am good New England girl who never complains about the cold, and only cries silently alone in the closet. Unless I have a serious problem, I don’t vocalize it, and keep most things buried deep inside – slowly giving me heart disease. It is not my style to project my negativity outwards. I would be too concerned with the other person, and how they felt about my outburst. Now maybe when I was a kid, I was just as much of a drama queen as The Munch… but as it stands right now, this relentless outpouring was propelling me to the edge.
The only thing I could think to do was rationalize with her… even if I was over intellectualizing, because at least the sound of my voice was a break from the incessant crying.
Toni: For real, I cannot keep doing this. We are going outside. You need to get some perspective on the world.
Munch: NO MAMMA NO!! I DON’T WANT TO GO OUTSIDE!!
Toni: Yes, we are going outside… you need some insight. Look. Look around you. You have everything a girl could possibly want. You have guinea hens that frolic at your feet. You have fleet of chickens that spurt out their undeveloped periods for you to scramble up and eat. You have a beautiful garden with flowers especially for your enjoyment. There is a fucking farm with organic bounty that is as pure as a virgin’s underpants. It is a beautiful day out. The clouds look like bunny rabbits. You live in a fucking paradise.
Munch: WAHHHHAAAA I WANT TO GO INSIDE!! WAHHHAHHAAA!
I seriously wanted to grab her by the foot, spin her around like a shot put, and then fling her into the woods. I tried to sit with her, but she just got more hysterical. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t take it anymore. I brought her inside, put her in her crib, and went outside to breathe. I knew she was screaming for me, but I had to get away from her. I looked at my clock and one hour and 25 minutes had gone by since this incident started.
I went back in after I had calmed down, and the second she saw me, she stopped crying.
Munch: I am ready to stop crying now Mamma.
Toni: Okay. Do you want me to rock you for a minute?
Munch: Yes please.
I rocked her, and within minutes she was passed out. She slept in my arms for two hours like a little angel. I guess she was really tired after all. Of course when she finally woke up she was in an amazing mood. She was laughing, cuddling, and wanted to talk about what had happened.
Munch: I was crying a lot huh Mamma?
Toni: Yeah, you sure were.
Munch: I kept crying and crying and crying because I couldn’t breathe. And then you would tell me to relax, and breathe through my mouth, but I wouldn’t.
Toni: I know.
Munch: And then I kept crying and crying and I wasn’t listening to you at all huh??
Toni: You sure weren’t.
Munch: Yeah. I love you Mamma so much!
In retrospect maybe I should have put her in her room earlier. Maybe she needed to alone to calm down? Maybe having me as a witness, or an audience for her drama, only enflamed her need for performance? Maybe The Munch is an actress in the making? But I swear this kid is going to break me in the process!