Thanks to everyone who commented with reassurance and insights about Victoria’s recent bad attitude.
As I’ve watched her pitch fit after fit this week, I’ve decided a few things are going on:
1. For some reason, she cannot fall asleep most nights and is up fairly late, so that she is fairly exhausted. (I let her sleep as long as she could today, which was about 9:30 am!)
2. Something developmental is happening — she’s been having a growth spurt (or at least eating a ton), and I recall Violet at this age going through a period of crankiness so severe that we took her to the pediatrician. (The diagnosis: new sibling blues, which apparently intensify after about 4 mos.) While Victoria is obviously not dealing with a new baby, I think I need to consider that she is working through some new developmental milestone.
For now, my thoughts are to continue developing and emphasizing routine — we do this at this time, and that’s all there is to it — and generally having a pleasant demeanor (her and me!). I don’t like to demand that children act happy when they are sad, but I do ask of both children that they don’t take out their bad moods on others. (As I said to Violet one morning, “I am your mother, not the garbage can where you dump all your bad feelings.” Trust me, this came across fairly well and lightly in context.) Victoria being the “baby” I suppose we do let her get away with more, so I will need to be more consistent in asking that surly children go upstairs until they are ready to cooperate.
Sigh . . . just last night she screamed so much about having to take a shower, and then about losing story privileges because she wouldn’t stop screaming, I thought the neighbors might call the police. I remember Violet at 4, sometimes getting so tired and upset that she could not calm down — I guess we’ll be revisiting some of that now. I like to recall that someday I’ll be glad my girls are so strong-willed, when they are using their strong wills elsewhere.