This is an impromptu blog post that has come to me as I lay in my sick bed. I seem to have acquired tonsillitis without owning any tonsils… so it’s more just an “itis” or “mum flu”. Anyway, as I was laying here snuggled in my warm bed listening to the freezing rain pounding against the window my peace was shattered by the unmistakable, piercing scream that is my 2 year olds’ latest weapon.
This is a new skill that she has recently perfected and is now deploying on an almost hourly basis to ensure that her every whim is met! This particular scream was released because her big brother moved one of the Lego soldiers she was playing with (of course!)
The supersonic scream of my daughter is a superhuman power that brings our world (and the thoughts in my head) to a complete standstill. It has the strength to freeze you in your tracks, break glass and make sure that you deal with her ‘need’ urgently and correctly. And yes, my toddler has well and truly mastered the art of “The Scream”.
Let me elaborate further. This scream is not the sort of noise that you make when you are watching a horror film or when you’ve found a huge hairy spider in your bed; it doesn’t come from a place of fear. It comes from a dark and tempestuous place deep within the toddler. It is completely egocentric and is fuelled by frustration and the complete and utter belief that that she is right and she WILL have whatever she wants immediately!
I never knew that this was an actual thing. I didn’t know that the words of Violet Elizabeth in the Just William stories were true; and yet now I have my very own Violet Elizabeth who will indeed “scream and scream until she is sick”!
My eldest child has always been so placid. I don’t think he’s ever screamed in his life. He’s slammed the odd door and stamped his feet a bit, but nothing on this level. This is something else! And number 2 has truly perfected it.
I can see her building up to it. There’s a big intake of breath, her little fists clench, her face wrinkles up her mouth opens wide and the scream is let loose. It is the pitch of a car alarm but a million times louder. I can hear the dogs in the local neighbourhood howling. My ears start ringing, my vision becomes blurred and suddenly I can hear nothing but “The Scream!” I can’t move, I’m frozen in time until she eventually breathes and there is a momentary lapse in the sound which allows me to place my hands over my ears and, with a bit of luck, identify the problem!
I am not a novice parent and my entire career has been within the Early Years sphere. I have a degree in dealing with children for goodness sake! I’ve taught parenting courses, I’ve got files of advice and information, but NOWHERE is there any mention of how to deal with “The Scream!”
It could happen at any minute. Any situation is a potential trigger and here are just a few from recent days.
- Any sentence I say that contains the words “NO!” “Wait a minute” “I’m having a wee” or “later”! This is just not good enough and obviously is enough to enrage “The Scream”.
- Putting her in the car when she wanted to walk.
- Making her walk when she wanted to go in the car.
- Making her go back to bed at 4.45am when it’s clearly time to get up! (This is horrendous, especially when I’ve just managed to get the baby back to sleep.)
- Refusing to watch Peppa Pig or any TV for that matter at 4.45am.
- When daddy gives her the wrong colour dummy or when daddy does something that she has specifically requested that MUMMY should do!
- Putting her in the wrong princess dress. Yes she did want this one on, but that was two minutes ago, keep up! NOW she wants that one.
- Her big brother talking to her, looking at her or breathing near her!
- Holding her hand in a shop, street, car park or even worse picking her up to keep her from running into the traffic! How DARE you! I’m sure people think she’s being abducted. Especially when she just calls out “MUMMY!!! MUMMY!!!” interspersed with long bursts of “The Scream!”
- Bringing the wrong tea monkey downstairs in the morning. Yes they all look identical, yes there are three of them, but YOU matey have picked the wrong one and must therefore suffer the wrath of “The Scream!”
There is no cure for “The Scream” and I chant the mantra “this is a phase and this too will pass” in my brain freeze on a daily basis. As much as possible I do not give in to the power of the scream and like Elsa (who is also frozen) I have decided to just “Let it go”. I will not fear the scream… but I do fear the smallest of my children who is now also learning this sacred art of the toddler from a true master! Uh Oh!…