Tuesdays are usually a tricky day for me as I have both girls at home on my own and I find that selecting activities to occupy Catrin on those days (especially while I have to attend to Bethan) is a delicate balancing act. There is a fine line between boredom, capturing her interest and causing her to become over excited. If she gets too excitable she tires quickly but refuses to snooze and then the tantrums increase in frequency and intensity and she becomes gradually less susceptible to reason. Today started promisingly, however, as Bethan had (for the first time ever) slept from 9.30pm to 5.15am…which I would count as ‘through the night’. I felt ready to take on the day and my vision was clear and crisp again.
As today was a rare warm and sunny one (we have been very lucky with the weather recently), I invited two of Catrin’s & Bethan’s friends over and set the paddling pool up. They had such a lovely time hurling themselves about in it and throwing a beach ball around the garden. Sometimes I think Catrin might be a bit lonely at home as she can’t yet really play with Bethan. It is so important for her to have friends to ransack her room with, get covered in wet grass cuttings with and scoff biscuits with. The only downside of having her friends around is that she tends to get over excited and then is very sad when her friends have to go home because she wants them to “stay forever and ever and ever in our garden”. Then the tiredness sets in and the naughtiness begins.
It is obvious that considerably more tantrums occur when small children (and big kids) are tired but there are other factors at play with Catrin…namely excitement level, disappointment level and the amount of sugar she has consumed. As I listened to Catrin’s tirade “I want Boj! I don’t want that! I’m hungry! I don’t know what I want to eat! I want Peppa Pig! Mummy come here! Mummy go away! Read this! I want Toy Story! Do it now! I want my Elsa dress! I am NOT tired!”, I considered a theory…I will call it the ‘Tuesday Tantrum Coefficient’. If I give the factors of excitement, disappointment and sugar consumption points out of 10 and tiredness points out of 20, I can use the following formula to guess when her tantrums will occur and predict their severity (a bit like storm warnings).
Tuesday Tantrum coefficient (TTC)= (tiredness(T) + excitement(E) +disappointment(D) + sugar(S)) x 2
So at the peak of this afternoon’s stropathon:
T= 18/20 (exhausted after paddling pool and fun with friends)
E= 9/10 (very excited indeed about having her friends to play)
D= 7/10 (very sad when her friends went home)
S= 3/10 (a few biscuits)
TTC= (18+9+7+3) x 2 = 74%
Based on her behaviour as she becomes increasingly tired, I estimate that the tantrum trigger point is at around 55% on the Tuesday Tantrum Coefficient scale (which I shall call the Strop Line). The diagram below indicates warning levels on the TTC scale (it is a high tech illustration, sponsored by Crayola).
As I watched the sun setting on the smoke from a giant scrap yard fire a mile away I reflected on how the day had not turned out quite as I had planned. Catrin was sleeping off her megastrop and I took a deep breath…tomorrow is another day.