“MOM, SAY WHAT I SAID!” (the psychology of Nicole)
It has happened a few times recently where Nicole has been in a complete meltdown over me not being able to fulfill her request to “say what I said.” It’s an impossible dilemma to solve because she will give me no clues and she will not answer questions about the subject matter of what she apparently said.
I always start off trying to be really patient with her because I know that she sometimes just has a hard time communicating. Nothing I say can solve her problem and she just starts crying and yelling louder. Then she starts the threats: “IF YOU DON’T SAY WHAT I SAID, I’LL KNOCK THIS TOY OVER!” and then she knocks over a toy. “IF YOU DON’T SAY WHAT I SAID, I’LL PEE!”. (This is often what she tries to do to make me really mad, so usually when she starts a tantrum, I just pull her pants down and put her on the potty and she always goes in the potty when I do this. She sometimes tries to pee in anger later, but fails.) I put her on the potty and she peed. Then she continued to yell and cry “MOM, SAY WHAT I SAID!!” At this point I have two choices, start to punish her for her behavior. Usually this consists of sending her to her room until she can be happy and nice. She doesn’t stay in her room and has to be sent back repeatedly and sometimes spanked. Or I can continue to try to communicate with her or distract her.
The other day I was at my whit’s end with this particular tantrum, so I left her crying on the floor and consulted with Zach. He suggested asking her to draw what she said since she couldn’t seem to tell me. She accepted this alternative and calmed down while I got paper and crayons. She drew the following picture with the following comments as she drew:
(I numbered them so you’d know which picture goes with each comment)
1. This person is sad because they don’t know where to put their library books at school.
2. This one is saying “SAY WHAT I SAID!”
3. This one is saying what Nicole said.
After showing me the picture, she asked me again to “say what she said.” I still didn’t know. I told her that my brain didn’t know and asked if she wanted to try drawing it again. She drew some purple scribbles and said, among other things:
“This is making your brain know?”
“It will come off the paper and go in your brain.” and
“Say what I said because I don’t know what I said.”
Fortunately, her anger had been diffused and I was able to distract her by making a paper crown out of one of her drawings.