For about five years we lived with the instance I called Katie Kaboom. This is when my otherwise lovable child would explode, scream, kick, and yell for 60-90 minutes a day unable to calm down or remember what set her off.
It started when she was a little baby – sometime around 7pm every night she would start into a tantrum. We never could pin down any one cause of this, and put it off as something we saw referred to as “The Witching Hour”.
I have a suspicion that this was related to her not sleeping for more than about two hours for the first 8 months 17 days of her life. This 7pm tantrum eventually was moved to earlier when she went to daycare, and by the time she hit preschool it was any time from 8am-8pm and probably every other day.
When she was breaking down there was a fear in her eyes as well as anger. She couldn’t stop. No method we tried did much more than just move this around. Any trigger would cause her to explode, sometimes she’d just click and you’d see this angry unreasonable character try and come up with a reason to explode.
We tried a lot of things, from punishment (which just lead to her being grounded from everything all the fucking time,) to rewards (which sort of worked but not completely,) to extreme scheduling (which worked for nine days, it helped but her knowing what was coming up was evidently not the issue.)
It stopped a little after she turned five. We were talking about that on the way to camp this morning. For her she thinks it’s that she learned control. Looking at her I think it’s that Katie Kaboom was an overactive amygdala that finally settled down.
I grew up during the drug your kids years. I watched (mostly on TV,) the zombification of creativity. It scared me as a kid and I really didn’t want to go that route although trust me, I considered it after Maggie had gotten kicked out of school somewhere in the neighborhood of 19 times in two semesters.
It really became a predicament. What do you do for a kid who spends up to 10% of their waking hours screaming for no reason, and 90% as a really good kid who doesn’t have any idea what’s causing that 10%?
Meh, just musing. We’ve had a couple of perfectly normal 5yo events in the past couple of months, but each time I’ve looked and it’s not the tempest of Katie Kaboom and I know she’ll calm down.
Maggie’s 2yo sister I’ve watched through a couple of baby tantrums in her life. Literally 3% at most of the force of a Katie Kaboom. Maggie had the extra edge of being significantly louder than anyone we’ve ever met so not only was she miserable, everyone in the house was.