They are so tired. Leanna is grousing that she has to take a shower and wash her hair. Abby is bursting into tears at the slightest provocation. And Lizzy... Lizzy had a meltdown of epic proportions today.
It started innocently enough. We brought in the new TV Hubs' parents sent money for, and the kids were all very excited. A new TV - and combo DVD/VCR, courtesy of Abby's dad - just for them (don't worry, Anti-TV Folks - we keep a lid on content and frequency, though it's loose during school holidays). With working remotes and everything. They settled down to watch a movie... and Lizzy lost it entirely. Leanna was in her seat, Abby wasn't helping, she wants to sit on Leanna's bed rather than her own, she hates the new TV and whhhhhhyyyyyyyyyy can't we keep the old one (it's broken) or fix it (we don't know how) or get a fix-it man (uh... because it's too old. Yeah, that's it). And during all this she's having a full-on tantrum, shrieking and kicking and arching her back, the works, and you can hardly understand her for all the sobbing and wailing.
My first thought it to put her in the time-out corner. There are two problems with this: 1) the time-out corner is full of Exciting Christmas Tree and 2) this quickly escalated from fussiness to total hysteria; she was not just being disobedient and by this point she was physically unable to stop. So we went for the other option we use when she's lost it; we "hold her tight like a baby". This is a cradle hold, with arms and legs tucked in so she's not flailing and injuring people (including herself), and while she hates it, it does calm her down (and my biceps are steel now. Ow). Today it took about half an hour, which almost never happens. I mean, we have to do this, oh, about quarterly, and usually it only takes a few minutes for her to chill to the point where we can talk about it. Not today; she was too wound up.
But she finally calmed down, and it transpired that she already misses the old TV, although she can't express why. Hubs pointed out that really, the kids have had that TV pretty much since she was born, so to her it's sort of part of the general background, and is something stable. Good point, given that we've also been using its screen saver function as a nightlight for months now. Poor baby.
But now she's happily curled up next to me on the couch, all three girls are showered and brushed, and all is right with their world. Now, if they'll just sleep at a decent hour - I could turn out the light now, at 6:30 and they still wouldn't sleep until after midnight - maybe we can avoid this sort of thing tomorrow.