I've discussed my meltdowns before. Meltdown sounds so awful but really for me it's just an episode of yelling at the kids, and generally occurs once or twice a month. They tend to be triggered by low blood sugar, crazy (but normal) kid antics piled one on top of the other, sleep deprivation, and/or PMS. The ones who live here full time might tear up a bit, but mostly they grok that it's just me venting. Leanna gets upset by them; she's sensitive to people yelling whether it's directed at her or not. So I decided that I would spend a couple hours Saturday afternoon having some Time Away From Kids, to see if I could avoid it entirely. I went and helped my mom build some Ikea furniture, and then I got my nails done (I have a job interview Monday and my nails were awful. Now they're Melon of Troy).
And it worked. For me, anyway.
Laston let me sleep in, bless him. I woke up to him putting their breakfast on the table and explaining through gritted teeth that they all needed to eat now and that no, of course Kiki had not taken Abby's Nintendo DS home with her. Once he saw I was up he got his own breakfast and disappeared behind his computer. His version of melting down is much quieter than mine; it involves retreat rather than attack. But they sure finished their breakfast quietly. Abby asked for seconds after scarfing her food and I told her to start cleaning her room and if she was still hungry after twenty minutes she could come back for seconds.
They've been in their room for an hour, cleaning for the most part (between mutterings about how mean and unfair their parents are and shooing Lizzy out). Still haven't found the DS (I suspect it's in Abby's bed, although she claims to have looked everywhere). I think we're going to have to enforce a variation on our old rule of only-one-toy-out-at-a-time. When they were little that made a certain amount of sense; they only needed one out at a time. But they're now pre-adolescents (and adolescents) and they do a lot of watching-dvds-while-one-plays-with-a-DS-and-the-others-do-mixed-media-art (I'm including Kiki in this). So I think we'll have to enforce the old no-electronics-on-the-floor-or-in-bed rule, and a put-it-all-away-before-bed rule. No more letting them bargain their way into procrastination. Everyone's lack of sleep doesn't help at all; Lizzy in particular is being a twerp simply by trying to keep herself awake. She's hopping around like a maniac (she even sang a song about it) and counting/dancing/singing/yelling rather desperately.
Of course, school starts in three-and-a-half weeks, so it may be moot in a bit anyway; we can just not allow sleepovers during the school year.