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Has anyone seen the almonds?

I have no idea what is going on in Norah’s head. 

She will be 5 in a few months. 

She has humongous break-downs when things change.  And I’m not talking about big things.  I’m talking about when her poop is flushed down the toilet.  Or when a bite is taken out of the cookie.  Or when Cedar’s hair is combed. 

She melts down.  Wailing.  Gnashing of teeth. 

Tonight.  After carefully counting that there were 17 cubes of cantaloupe on the table, she ate one.  Then immediately began crying and saying, “No!  No!  I didn’t want to do that!!  Waaaaah!  Make it come back!!” 

And a few weeks ago, I magnanimously bought her a 2.50 cookie.  It was a fancy moose.  She took one bite and then started screaming because she wanted the antler to come back.  The cookie sits untouched.

What is this?  What is this??  Anybody?

I have a bazillion pictures on my phone of bizarre things she insists on cataloguing.  Yes, I even have a picture of her poop.  Here is one she asked me to take of her spaghetti twirled on a fork which she refused to eat because it was so pretty.  She wanted me to keep it forever.  I agreed to keep it until the end of the day. 

And she hides food rather than eating it so she can “keep it forever.”  We’ve found cereal in her bed, almonds in her play kitchen fridge, a pancake in the car, a slice of pizza hidden in the fridge. 

Noelle, who works as a counselor to children, came up with the best tool.  She taught Norah to use a mental camera so she can remember things forever.  Sometimes, it prevents a meltdown. 

Ah, this 4 yr old stage has been full of challenges.  I don’t know whether to weather this one because “this too shall pass” or more actively engage in it before it becomes some bizarre eating disorder.  I’m leaning toward the weathering. 

It is coinciding with many statements like “I’m the boss of my swingset/room/toy/fill-in-the-blank and I can do whatever I want with it” and “one day I’ll be a mommy and I won’t have to listen to you.”  So I imagine it is about control.  Seems logical.

Anyone else experienced something like this?  And aren’t you relieved I didn’t post the poop pic?

4 responses »

  1. Lindsey Stone Eich

    Julie! I’m so thankful you posted this. I have been banging my head against the wall for 2 months trying to figure out why 4 is the new 2?? Sorry, I don’t have advice but can sympathize. Sophie is my “easy” child, yet she is doing some of the strangest things lately at 4 1/2. She seems really insecure all of a sudden, very clingy, and overly sensitive. It’s making me a terrible mom, and I wake up saying “His mercies are new every day”…because I know it’s true, and because I have screwed up with her so much the day before due to my frustration. I’m thinking weathering this storm is the best option, as hard it may be.


  2. Lindsey–yes it helps so much to know I’m not alone! This year has been so challenging. She’s been pretty reasonable until now. We breezed through the 2’s and 3’s.

    And, I’m feeling much anger that I didn’t know I had. I’ve said things I swore I would never say. Yes, I’d like a side of guilt with that tantrum. 😦

    Hang in there, too!

  3. This sounds slightly familiar.

    A couple months ago we decided to get rid of an old mattress that was kept in our guest room downstairs. It was hardly ever used, pretty grungy and saggy and unwanted. My husband and I hauled it out to the street and turned to find my 5 year old in tears. He didn’t want to get rid of it, it was our mattress, etc. He continued to cry intermittently throughout the evening until sleep took him at last.

    Now, it’s almost time to compost our pumpkins since they’re starting to breakdown on our front porch. This breaks his heart. I remind him that living things die and break down at some point. We’ll just put it in the backyard and let it fertilize next year’s garden, maybe even next year’s pumpkin crop. But he wants to know if it will be the same pumpkin.

    And this gives me a clue as to what might be going on in his head. A glimpse of the concept of loss, loss forever. The idea that something (or someone) can be here one minute, and gone forever in the next. It’s overwhelming (even for me).

    p.s. For my little guy, this has not yet affected him to the point where he would spare a cookie. 🙂

    • Shannon–last week, she showed me food she’d stashed in her room. A rotting peach and half-eaten chocolate muffin from months ago. She said she was replicating “Sid the Science Kid’s” mystery lunch episode. She has shoved it into her play kitchen fridge where it gooped down the sides. So disgusting!

      I’m so glad to hear from other mamas going thru the same thing. But poor little guy crying to sleep over an old mattress! Norah has been fretting over the possibility that we *might* sell our house. Oh I hope she grows out of it before then!!


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