THE ACCUSED: Gracie “The Shrieker” Brown
AGE: Almost 16 months
CRIME: The Shrieker is hereby accused of shrieking relentlessly when she does not get her way. Shrieking may occur over a large issue, such as bedtime, but may just as likely occur (at the same volume and with the same intensity) over a blueberry rolling off her plate. From what evidence has been collected, shrieking generally occurs at the same blood-curdling volume in any location, for an extended period of time. Also, shrieking is not limited to high-pitched traditional outbursts. These fits may also be accompanied by crying, whining, foot stomping, and full-on temper tantrums.
EXHIBIT A: This week The Shrieker’s mother was folding laundry on the living room coffee table. The Shrieker appeared suddenly and pulled one pair of Lightning McQueen underwear off of the folded pile.
The mother firmly said, “Not for Gracie,” and put the underwear back on the pile. The Shrieker wasted no time in picking up the same pair of underwear from the pile again. The mother once again stated, “No, not for Gracie,” and then redirected the accused to an appropriate toy she could play with. The Shrieker wandered back over to the laundry table, stood there for a minute contemplating her actions before looking straight at the mother figure and then pushing the entire pile of underwear onto the floor. The mother firmly stated for the third time, “Not for Gracie,” but before she could even lean over to take The Shrieker by her hand and lead her away, The Shrieker let out her high pitched, infamous shriek and with one swipe of her hand, she threw all the piles of folded laundry on the floor.
EXHIBIT B: The Shrieker’s brother handed the accused one of his toys to play with. The Shrieker was dissatisfied with this toy. Shrieking at ear splitting volume commenced for the following ONE HOUR PERIOD without ceasing.
THE VICTIM(S): The Shrieker’s parents, brother, dogs, restaurant patrons, grocery store shoppers, playground visitors, and church nursery attendants.
ACTIONS TAKEN BY VICTIM(S):
a) Victims have tried ignoring the shrieking and The Shrieker until the behavior stops. Problems arouse, however, when The Shrieker chose NOT to stop for hours (seriously – HOURS). Also, this behavior became difficult to ignore in public facilities and The Shrieker’s family began to stop going out places altogether, which is an unacceptable solution given their active lifestyle.
b) Victims read, “The Happiest Toddler on the Block,” which promoted a theory called “toddler-ese.” Essentially, this book proposed that the victims pitch a louder fit than The Shrieker to get her attention, and then use a certain toddler language to communicate with the accused. This theory sounds wonderful and the victims were all on board, until they actually had to pitch the temper tantrum, whereby both primary victims fell into fits of giggles and the male victim announced, “Nope! Not doing that again!”
c) Victims have drafted an advertisement on Craigslist to give away The Shrieker. However, The Shrieker’s grandparents intervened and said advertisement has since been terminated.
There you have it, friends. The case has been laid before you. Now tell me, what do I do!??! Are there books I should be reading? Websites I should be visiting? Techniques I should be trying? Support groups I should be attending? Is this a girl thing? A second child thing? A parenting issue? A personality trait (…Lord help us)? Bean Man was a pretty easy baby and toddler to raise, so we just don’t know how to handle our shrieker. She is causing the whole family a lot of stress and we’re missing out on some fun things because she can’t get her act together.
WHAT DO WE DO, IMAGINARY FRIENDS?!?! HOW DO WE PARENT OUR STRONG-WILLED TODDLER????