There’s a big difference in my two girls. Both lookswise and personalitywise, although they share many things in common according to taste.
But girl2 caught me unprepared yesterday, and I was very upset about it for a long time until I’d thought through why it might have been I’d done such ineffectual parenting.
I think I’ve figured it out. You see, girl1 blows up into emotional hailstorms more frequently than girl2. And I’m used to them, I know when they’re about to happen, I know how to weather the storm, so to speak, and what to do.
I’m experienced with that particular flavor of tantrum.
But I’m not used to girl2 hailstorming me. Not that she doesn’t misbehave and cry, but its soon over and doesn’t become this compounding, emotion-sucking thing with a life of its own.
Yesterday in her preschool parking lot, girl2 had a full on tantrum. And I didn’t help her calm down, I made it worse by trying out all the girl1 techniques.
And afterwards I felt terrible. And it wasn’t until I’d unpacked the experience that I found part of that terrible feeling was frustration that what I KNEW worked hadn’t worked, and also frustration that I hadn’t known what to do with my four year old daughter to help her.
And so I figured out I need to just accept the fact that as I have little experience with girl2 tantrums, that I’m just not going to be as effective as dealing with them, and move on.
And so I’m moving on. But I’m writing this here so when it happens again, I’ll remember that I haven’t figured out how to deal with girl2 tantrums yet, and not feel so bad.