. With Love, From The Mother 'Hood: Grand Mal Tantrums and Life on Mars

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Grand Mal Tantrums and Life on Mars

Marley was the sweetest baby - chubby cheeked and happy with a thick crop of auburn hair. She slept through the night at about 7 weeks (before you hate me here, let me say I have paid my dues in spades with regards to lost sleep with my three boys) and she smiled and laughed more than she cried. Marley (as in Bob, not the dog) seemed like such a happy, laid back choice for a name. Marley at 2.5 years old still has tons of auburn hair, but now her sole mission in life seems to be world domination, at least of our world and her nickname "Mars"(as in the Roman God of War) is so much more fitting to her strong personality. Yep, "Mars" completely fits the bill, and let me tell you there are days with this girl I wish I could escape to Mars, just for some peace and quiet from her tantrums (never mind the fact that life isn't supported there - I am just imagining quiet!). I have warned Marc, "If you come home and I am gone, you know I couldn't take it anymore". Humor is what gets us through a lot of days with this crew.

In the seven years since Max was born, I have seen some whopper tantrums, especially when he was younger and experiencing a lot of sensory processing difficulties (very common in kids with autism; so thankful he has very few tantrums these days and the sensory processing is a lot easier to figure out). I have carried that child out of many a place kicking and screaming "I want my mom!" I am your mom! I was often worried someone would think I was kidnapping him, but people probably thought "why would anyone other than his mother try so hard to take a kid that is pulling her hair out and clawing at her face?!", and that was before I tried to put him in the car - sometimes that took up to half an hour, ending with me battered and sweaty and Max screaming all the way home from wherever I was leaving. Unfortunately, the same was true of getting in the car at home, and he would scream from home to wherever I was crazy enough to attempt going to. Max's tantrums make typical two year old tantrums look like a party, but what doesn't kill us, right?

Marley's tantrums are thankfully not sensory induced, but they are still frustrating and challenging, although at times definitely humorous. I am calling the big ones - the meltdowns when she looks like she is attempting to break dance and do "the worm" across the kitchen floor (she does a mean version) - her "Grand Mal Tantrums" (told you I'm not always PC, but it's my own kid I'm making fun of, so....). She has seen more time-outs in the last couple of months than her oldest sister saw during her entire childhood, and if what someone told me about toddler behavior being a predictor for adolescence is true, then we are in for a wild ride with this one. She looked right at Marc one recent morning and said "You shut up right now Daddy!" - at 2.5!! I think her butt landed in the time out chair at mach speed that day. She also has the ability to scream at a pitch that I am convinced could be harnessed into a weapon of mass destruction should the sound fall into the wrong hands. Very challenging, indeed.

Maybe it's Karma - I was also a tough kid (although maybe not quite this tough!) and my Dad finds endless pleasure in the tales of our adventures with Mars, which we often refer to as "little Missy". One of my mantras is "she will be a strong woman someday", knowing that my strong personality has served me well, and has carried me through a lot of challenges, especially when it comes to parenting kids who are "more" everything. So, you go ahead Marley Grace - make your presence known in our world - Your mom is one tough cookie, and I can take it. These shoulders have carried far more weight than your 80's dance moves bring, but the world at large better look out - I have no doubt your already big voice will be huge someday, and if I do my job right, you will learn to harness all of that power and make a positive difference, loud and clear. I love you Mars - my little warrior.


  1. Awe!!! She sounds like a handful!! So cute too!

    Missy, can you explain more about sensory processing difficulties and what that means/looks like?

  2. Here is a link to a great website:
    Depending on the child and the sensory processing issue it can be many things - their bodies don't process sensory info in a typical way, often resulting in underreacting or overreacting to external stimuli. Some kids are sensory seeking, some avoiding, some both. I would be happy to talk about it with you if you have specific questions.

  3. Even though I only had four kids, I can totally relate. My oldest would have tantrums where she would pull tables over with everything on them! After one of her tantrums the house would look like a wild herd of elaphants stampeded through the place and all because she didn't want to wear the hat I picked out for her. Sometimes I would get so frustrated myself I would just stand at the top of the stairs and let out a 3 minute primal scream!

  4. Kathy - it makes me laugh when you say "I only had four kids" as if four is so much easier than five! The latest meltdown occurred when I *gasp* cut the pb&j sandwich without her. She is so independent , and when I forget that and step in I suffer the wrath of things like mind warping screams and dance moves better left back in their time - thankfully it gives me something to write about!

  5. Missy your writing is beautiful. It left me feeling like I know Mars...and I like her. I can't wait to hear more about this beautiful strong girl. XOXO


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