Adam felt badly, and I... got furious. He coddled her, and I was not able to. Her statement that she "didn't want it to be her birthday", is very telling of clinical anxiety. It was a huge sign just screaming out at us. It kind of stabs at me, fifteen years later. She felt that her third birthday party was going to be too much for her to handle. And I didn't get that.
I asked myself how a three year old could not want it to be her birthday. A party, gifts, family, friends, fun. It didn't make sense to me. And I'm very uncomfortable being the center of attention, so you'd think that I would have had a better understanding.
My instinct was to punish her for her behavior, i.e. not going to bed. She was out of hand, right? Playing us, so that she didn't need to go to sleep. I wasn't sure what we should have done. What would have been the right thing to do? Here were a couple of our choices, at least the way I saw it:
-Let her throw a fit before bed, wait it out, potentially having her stay up for many more hours.
-Stay in her room with her. which potentially would also lead to having her stay up for many hours.
Jordan would never have fallen asleep if we were in the room. I can honestly tell you that she never fell asleep anywhere. Not in a car, not at midnight on a plane ~~ this is beginning to sound like a Doctor Seuss book. Not at 2:00 am, after a crazy sleep-deprived weekend. Not ever. She did one of two things. She went to bed, or she was awake.
Some of you may be wondering why we didn't just lie down with Jordan until she fell asleep, and try to comfort and sooth her. Perhaps we should have let her know how much we loved and supported her. Well, that is exactly what Adam was doing the night before her birthday. Are you beginning to see (and feel) our dilemma here? Each time he walked out of her room, no matter how calm she was, the tantrum continued right where it had left off.
It felt endless, and thankless. It seemed as if she would take and take, and what were doing was never enough. So, yes I was frustrated, and I was angry.
It's funny because most of the time she was so pleasant. She was inquisitive, thoughtful, playful. independent, serious, sweet... But when something didn't go her way, it was like a switch was flipped. My sweet baby girl was, during these times, blatantly suffering. Consequently, so were we.
At least I knew I had that. Even through the rough times, I always loved Jordan deeply.