I’m not sure what holidays other people were celebrating tonight, but in my house we celebrated Tuesday Night Scream Fest. It’s a simple holiday, though it always arrives unexpectedly, so you can’t really plan for it. You just have to live in the moment, and do your best to survive.
Tuesday Night Scream Fest began as it usually did, with something not going according to Wildling’s secret plan. I know what you’re thinking: maybe if she shared her plans instead of keeping them secret, then we could all follow them and there would be no need for a full on four-year-old mental breakdown. How silly of you!
Scream Fest, Part 1: Dinner Time, Part I. Wildling begins cleaning up her watercolor paints from the table. Will brings over a towel and wipes up a spill. Cue breakdown. She wanted to clean it up herself! Five minutes of screaming.
Scream Fest, Part 2: Dinner time, Part II. One minute later. Will comments that Wildling must not be living in the same universe as the rest of us. Wildling screams that she doesn’t like him, and that he said a bad word. Then she screams ‘Mama!’ over and over again for five minutes. Total scream time so far: 10 minutes
Scream Fest, Part 3: The Straw, Part I. Will got Wildling a cup of milk. As an added treat, he splashed a bit of chocolate almond milk in it. Here’s Will’s big mistake: when Wildling has cow milk mixed with chocolate almond milk, she likes to drink it from a particular straw. He failed to bring the straw to the table. Cue three minutes of screaming.
Scream Fest, Part 4: The Straw, Part II. Will tells Wildling she must ask nicely for a straw if she wants one. She believes that nodding when she is told to ask nicely is sufficient. We calmly inform her that it is not. Two more minutes of screaming. Total scream time so far: 15 minutes.
Scream Fest, Part 5: The Straw, Part III. After Wildling has calmed down and politely asked for the straw in a falsely sweet voice, Will gets it for her. BUT SHE WANTED MAMA TO GET IT! Five more minutes of screaming. Total scream time so far: 20 minutes.
Scream Fest, Part 6: The Straw, Part IV. Wildling is playing with her straw and knocks her cup over, spilling milk everywhere. Will tells her she should have been more careful. She thinks she was being careful. Hysterical breakdown leading to Will lifting Wildling (and her chair that she had a death grip on) and carrying her into the playroom. She screamed ‘Mama!’ at the top of her lungs for four minutes. Total scream time so far: 24 minutes.
Scream Fest, Part 7: Return from Banishment. Wildling has calmed down and returned from the playroom. She lasts through about three minutes of conversation, but then gets mad at Will for some unknown reason. Three more minutes of screaming. Total scream time so far: 27 minutes.
Scream Fest, Part 8: Return from the Second Banishment. Mama has gone into the playroom, hugged Wildling and calmed her down. Wildling agrees that she will finish her meal without crying and in doing so she will earn a gingerbread cookie. Wildling promises she won’t cry anymore. Less than thirty seconds later, she is screaming again, because she notices her milk cup is mostly empty. “PAPA DRANK MY MILK!” We remind her that she spilled it. She is carried back to the playroom during the ensuing fit. Three more minutes. Total scream time so far: 30 minutes.
Scream Fest, Part 9: Parents Give Up. Will and I decide we can’t take it anymore, and it is bath time. Wildling doesn’t want a bath (two minutes screaming), then she wants to play in the bath (two more minutes screaming), then Will leaves her in the tub while he dries off Mellow (four minutes screaming). Total scream time: 38 minutes.
Scream Fest, Part 10: The Pajama Incident. Wildling cannot find the pajamas she wants. She screams for four minutes. This fit means she did not finish getting ready for bed before the timer went off, so she did not earn extra play time (this is how we get her to brush her teeth at night). She only screams for two minutes, because Will tells her if she doesn’t stop, she won’t get a bedtime story.
ELAPSED TIME: 64 MINUTES; TOTAL SCREAM TIME: 44 MINUTES
Percent of time spent screaming: 68.75%.
Not a bad performance overall, but I’m sure she’ll be able to get those numbers up for the next Scream Fest. I can’t wait.
P.S. Yes, this is a family event, but Mellow is too young and stable to participate. She spent Parts 1-8 of Scream Fest in her high chair, happily eating; Part 9 in the bath ignoring her sister, and Part 10 playing quietly in her own bed.