Bella has always been a fairly compliant child. When she’d find a fuzzy she’d bring it to us. Pieces of paper, small bits of carpet fibers, a poof of lint from the dryer. All placed lovingly in our hands and she’d happily toddle off for more.
I felt very blessed to have such a sweet child. So thoughtful. So kind. So generous. So peaceful.
Then one day? I took a pencil away from her. “No, no Bella, this is sharp. Give it to Mommy.”
For a split second, her hand reached out, but as I went to take it, she closed her little fist back up around it.
Surprised, I thought maybe she didn’t understand. “It’s blah honey, blah. Let me have it.” Blah stands for anything we don’t want her to play with – toilet seats, the kitty food, an old bean on the carpet…
No response. I could see her contemplating the value of the pencil. Then she looked up and in her eyes was total and complete defiance. A look of,
“Screw you Mommy. It’s mine.”
She started to back away from me, so I grabbed it out of her hand to keep her from walking off with it. I figured she might whine about it for a second and then find something else to play with.
What I got was a full scale, out of proportion, epic temper tantrum. She instantly collapsed on the floor, almost as if she had no bones, and screamed at the top of her lungs while tears ran down her cheeks. Howling and choking on sobs, she rolled back and forth in despair, getting up only to somehow lose her balance and dramatically crash to the floor again and again.
I was shocked. What on earth?
After she calmed down I told myself it was just a fluke. She must have been tired.
3,274,569 temper tantrums later I’m pretty sure this might be her new phase.
And as sad as this might sound? I actually giggle through most of them. Because Bella looks so funny, and I don’t know any other way to deal with the evil glares from people when she throws herself backwards in the shopping cart at Target because she can’t crunch up the Goldfish and toss them all over the floor – then bangs her head in her anger and acts as if she was shot while flailing around as the seat belt keeps her from falling out of the cart but prevents her from really being able to be as physically dramatic as she would like so she decides to amp up the vocals a few more notches until people are looking at me with suspicion in their eyes like, “Did you just beat your kid because no child acts like that over Goldfish?”
That’s when I have to nervously giggle. From sheer terror of, “OMG make it stop.”