Emotional Outbursts are We

Emotional Outbursts are We – A Grammatically Correct Place Where a Kid Can Throw a Fit.

Things have been sort of climactic at our house lately. Everything is high drama. Both kids are going through a bit of a manic depressive stage. Either they’re twirling pirouettes joyfully around the house or they’re bawling their brains out. Magoo is especially bad because we’re trying to wean him off naps.

If he gets a nap, then he stays up all night with eyes as big as saucers. Blink. Blink. Grin. Giggle.
If we skip the nap, then he’s an absolute, fall-on-his-face-with-his-open-mouth-wailing, can’t-see-for-the-river-of-tears-blinding-his-eyes, mess. The slightest thing will make him bawl to an extent no one should ever bawl whose life is as charmed as his or whose cheeks are as luscious. If my cheeks were that rosy and edible, I would probably never cry again.

So a couple of nights ago I asked Laylee to set the table. We keep all our kid dishes in low drawers so they can get food and drinks for themselves while Dan and I sip sodas and watch YouTube videos of dancing cats.

Laylee very obediently and somewhat maliciously went about doing this chore as quickly as humanly possible. You see, she knows that Magoo likes to pick his own dishes at meal time, especially at dinner time, a time when he has been awake well past his ticking-time-bomb-of-a-brain’s point of no return. I watched her at work and thought, “NOT THE BLUE WIRE! CLIP THE RED!” Perhaps she was still disappointed that the police broke up our little fireworks soiree on New Year’s Eve and she wanted to see some toddleric pyrotechnics instead. Sadly I doubt she was moving that fast simply to do a good job. You could tell by the look on her face and the way she glanced over at Little Buddy that she was clipping the blue wire on purpose.

And he ERUPTED! “I wanted to pick my own plate. Don’t EVER EVER EVER pick my plate Laylee. EVER!”

“Sorry bud. You’re too late,” she said matter-of-factly.


At this point I had already dished up his food and did not relish the thought of dirtying another dish. Magoo sat in front of the drawer sobbing as if his broken heart had fallen in a Humpty-Dumpty-like tragedy and the pieces would never be put together again.

The sobbing and the pleading, the sorrow and the lack of pity went on for quite some time until Dan stepped in with a brilliant idea.

“Here,” Dan said. “You wanna pick your plate? Fine. Pick your plate.”

He then carried the dish full of food over to the drawer, put it inside and closed it.

“Okay Magoo. Pick your plate.” Magoo opened the drawer, lifted the dish full of food, slid another plate from under it, sniffling all the while, and carried it pathetically to the table. His dinner remained shut in the bottom drawer.

Sometimes my greatest parenting triumphs involve not laughing at my children in their darkest hours. In their moments of greatest heartbreak, I often find my most fulfilling parental hilarity. It may be cruel but it’s the Way of Things.

As Magoo went to sit snifflingly up to the table, Dan reminded him to wash his hands and said he’d dish up for him while he was in the bathroom.

While Magoo’s hands were all a-lather, Dan quietly pulled the loaded plate from the drawer and switched it out with the nearly identical plate Magoo had so pathetilovingly chosen for himself.

And he didn’t notice. And I decided that maybe we could do just one or two more naps. Per week. For the next few years.

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27 Responses to Emotional Outbursts are We

  1. KYouell says:

    1) Dan is a genius.

    2) You conquered potty training, something I’m still only dreaming of, so I’m sure you’ll conquer naps too. Especially with a genius as your partner. It’s almost cheating.! 🙂

  2. Eirin says:

    Whoa, this sounds utterly familiar… and yes, your partner sounds like the unique genius he is. We’ve got potty training left, napping we can conquer, I think. With #2 on the way just about any second these days, we might get off on the big-boy-toilet/baby-wears-diapers-thingy. Going off to search for your potty-training post now.

  3. Angie says:

    I’ve read you for a while, but rarely (if ever) commented, and I LOVE your stuff! This is like a scene right from my home, and your hubby’s switching plates idea? Brilliant! Positively brilliant. Thanks for writing about real life…

  4. LisAway says:

    Gotta love that transitioning out of naps phase! We did one or two naps a week for a long time, too. Not on a schedule, I could just tell which days he needed it.

    That is the most darling picture. The most.

    And isn’t that the weirdest thing to be able to feel sorry for/frustrated with your child and also want to laugh hysterically at them all at the same time?

  5. Dumping naps is dicey stuff. We dumped. My mother-in-law did not. Believe me, I can see the wide-eyed saucer difference.

    There are days that are exceptions. If K- tells me that she is going to go nap, I’ll let her. I figure that she is listening to her own body, which we encourage. However, I’ve found that there is a fine line of napping and falling to far into sleep. If I miss that very small window, I have a hateful kid on my hands. So, I just encourage falling asleep in the car as we are in transit. It’s hardly ever long enough to reach the stage of ugliness.

    Good luck.

  6. When there are days like this, and there are many, wouldn’t it totally seem fair if we could say, “Okay, honey, you are not going to take a nap today, but mommy, because frankly, it’s likely we won’t survive each other all day otherwise.”? And if there were a penny for every time a parent’s had to pull a “switcheroo” on their kids….

  7. Oops, my overactive delete button took out an important word: “…you are not going to take a nap today, but mommy IS…”

  8. Sarah says:

    Totally relate! Thanks for the reminder to find humor in the outbursts. The sad thing is…when they are having their emotional outburst, they truly believe the world is going to end. And today, I am crabby, can can feel that pain. Because I want to throw down and bang my fists and cry. But I will pull myself together and smile 🙂

  9. grammyelin says:

    I’m still not sure I understand how anything that tragic can still be so hysterical. I feel his pain…and yours from stiffling the laughter. Some things that seem trivial to us are absolutely vitally important. This is a major component in why, when I taught pre-school, that I enjoyed my morning classes so much more than the afternoon ones – that and the fact that after teaching a dozen 3 or 4 year olds all morning, I spent every afternoon feeling like I was the one who needed the nap!

  10. Karen says:

    GeezLouise, Kathryn.

    Sipping soda and watching dancing cats on YouTube?


    After all these years you’re still my first love of blogging. You’re awesome.

    • You are the nicest. Whenever I think of green sweaters, I think of you. That was such a fun trip, that first time we hung out. Hopefully we’ll be coming that way again soon and we can stop by.

  11. SarahLynne says:

    How wonderful to read about someone else who has a toddler up (blink, blinking) until all hours if a nap is taken.

    If you’re interested, here’s what we’ve done to get through it. I talk like we’re through it, but really it’s still going on. Almost a year now. Whew.

    Most times my 3 year old won’t fall asleep for a nap anyway, but we keep putting her in her room for a ‘quiet rest’ so mommy can watch youtube and read the daring one. 😉 But when she does fall asleep, I watch the clock and wake her up after about 30 minutes. It’s too short of a nap to get her rested enough for an all-nighter, but long enough to recharge through bed-time.

    When she doesn’t nap, which I find myself secretly praying for, we try to have a very early bed- time. 7:00 is my goal. It’s way early, but she sleeps great and doesn’t usually wake up any earlier the next day.

    Then you have more time to spend with your Genius Husband and Smarty-pants Daughter, with no tantrums in sight. Unless your husband throws one, I mean.

  12. Azul says:

    Dan is awesome.

    I love when we can appease Chico without incurring any extra clean-up in the process.

  13. Janssen says:

    Oh my word, that’s SO funny. Poor little guy (that picture makes me have to take his side, no matter what).

  14. Rebecca says:

    Um, ‘scuse me. Are you sure you don’t have a recording device in our house? Because I’m pretty sure you’re talking about MY son.

  15. Debra says:


    Thank you. Your writing enhances my mornings to a ridiculous degree.

    Have a wonderful weekend. They’s saying snow flurries here on Sunday. Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

  16. Theresa says:

    I was the mean mom while my girls were growing up! I MADE them take a nap even after they started school! They came home from school and had to immediately lay down for a minimum of 30 minutes, but no longer than 45. I just couldn’t take the supper-time meltdowns!

    NOW, I beg my grandson to please be quiet so Nana can finish her nap!

  17. Diana says:

    When my children were that age and “sort of ” giving up their naps I would still put them down and then wake them after an hour…I know it’s hard to wake them up, but it made our afternoons/evenings so much more pleasant.

  18. Shalee says:

    That Dan… He’s sneaky, wise and a keeper! (We already knew that but I thought I would say it again.)

  19. Mrs Lemon says:

    Dan is brilliant. And I have a hard time not laughing at my kids too, they are just so pathetic sometimes.

  20. Oh the dark days of three! Mine is coming up on four and things are so much calmer around here. Most of us agree that we like her again but there is at least one undecided.

  21. FarmWife says:

    It’s always nice to know my children aren’t alone in their bi-polarness. It’s a bit freaky to watch them go from extatic to complete dispair in 2.3 seconds.

    Love the bait & switch trick. That’s fab.

  22. Lyz says:

    Completely hilarious. And genius. Also, a good reason to have plates of a similar design.

    Variety? Who needs variety?!

  23. Brandi says:

    I have a 3 yr old boy that still naps. He wakes up anytime between 5:30-6:30 so there is no way he can make it through the day. If he doesn’t nap it becomes the end of the world around 3pm. So, he naps from 1-3. I wake him up at 3 no matter what. He is in bed between 8-8:30. It seems to work, though as the naps get shorter I know it will be time to give them up–probably right around the time #2 arrives, but he will still have to have an hr of quiet time in his room (something I readin a book and several friends recommended). Also, if there is no nap he will be in bed at 7pm. ON THE DOT.

  24. Kimber says:

    We have a mandatory quiet time at our house too. All three kiddos still compy, 10 y/o, 7 y/o and 4 y/o. It is used however they like, as long as mommy can sleep in room just down the hall. A lot of reading is done by the 10 y/o and legos are a favorite of the 7 y/o and polly pockets give a good hour of alone time play for the 4 y/o.

    They each have a cd player where they can play music, again quietly enough so no one else can hear in a different room. I am always much happier to see them after the quiet time and the feeling is almost always mutual. They never fuss about it, sometimes they’ll ask do we have quiet time today? and the answer is ALWAYS the same, yet they always ask…cracks me up!!

    We all get a restart button and feel rejuvenated and ready to deal with each other again. Sometimes I think they get tired of dealing with each other and me, just as we get tired from other people too. We all need our own space and some well deserved quiet.

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