Years ago, when it first occurred to me to ask for help with the amazingly violent snit fits that sometimes possess my otherwise beautiful daughter, I asked my pediatrician for help. He’s a happy doc, the kind of guy who uses the word “perfect” about 20 times each time my children see him. He has at least five kids, so he's allowed.
His recommendation: Get a Walkman, or an iPod, or whatever. I had one. Yes, but put headphones on, he said, and not those little ear buds, but the big ones that cover your whole ear. Let her see you grooving. Then he proceeded to dance, to show me how it should be done.
I should have listened. Instead, I sought therapy for myself. Which was probably a good thing, but after several sessions, my therapist suddenly started talking about her own family and then told me I didn’t really need her. I did try drugs, one of which was so wonderful that I wanted to immediately start selling it on the street, but it stopped working and subsequent ones would work for a few weeks and then wear off.
So now, years later, I am without prescribed drugs and without therapy, but my family and my fellow mothers on the brink- near and far - keep me sane ... and Lee is as wonderful and fitful as ever. A few months ago, when my friends and I were planning our podcasts for my blog, I bought some headphones – the kind that cover your whole ear. I have used them for podcasting. But a few weeks later, when Lee started another fit – yes, because of low blood sugar, and no, nothing I could say would encourage her to fix that problem, and yes, it is our fault for letting her enter a low-blood sugar state in the first place, but in my defense, I had abandoned my children to the care of my in-laws, so I wasn't actually there when she skipped breakfast - I dug out the headphones and put them on, as my happy doc advised years ago.
While Lee raged in her room, moving through the whole arc of anger and demands, followed by loud declarations of how unloved she is, and how nobody wants her, our day-after Thanksgiving gathering continued to gather downstairs, and I fled into a bedroom with said earphones. Plugged them in to my computer, turned on my Latin list, and presto! Lee's rage faded from my ears, and soon, from my brain. I must say that in the pause between songs, I could hear Lee raging, knocking something huge like her chair, possibly, against her door and I almost unplugged so I could fly into her room and rage. But no, the next song kicked in, and 10 songs later, I was blissfully in my own brain when my husband knocked and signaled me to turn down the tunes.