Bright Lights, Big Sobs: Screaming and Crying in Singapore

  Change is hard on kids and it seems to be especially hard on Sky.  She thrives on routine and on knowing what's going to happen next.  At home, she'll ask us over and over, "What's next?" and "What's after that?"  We tried to prepare her for what was going to happen on vacation to satisfy this need and to reassure her that no matter what happened, we'd all be together. 
   She and Fire both did great on all the flights it took to get here but our first few days were a little rough.  Sky had a few crying jags that she couldn't shake and the smallest things, things that she wouldn't even notice at home, caused her to burst into tears.  She couldn't tell us why she was crying, just sobbed huge, heart-heavy tears.  We couldn't say anything to calm her, she just needed to be held.  I know it stems from her fears of change and of being in a new place but it's so hard not to be able to assuage them.  She's done a lot better these last two days but we fly out tonight to Malaysia, which means more change.
  Fire, my sweet and lovable baby boy, is a screamer.  He's been doing it for about a year now and we haven't found any way of stopping it.  He'll scream when he's happy, when he's sad, and for no reason at all.  And on this trip, he discovered pretty quickly that screaming will get him out of a baby chair and out of a restaurant fast, so he started doing it when we sat down to eat.  D and I were at our wit's end about it after our terrible experience at the pizza restaurant the other night so we decided to try something different.  We've tried ignoring him, turning away from him, covering his mouth, covering our ears, all of that and nothings worked.  We finally decided to take it up a notch and give him a hand spanking when he screams.  It goes like this: the first scream gets him a warning in a very serious voice, the second scream gets his hand held and he gets told again that he'll have his hand spanked if he does it again, and the third time his hand gets spanked.  We make sure not to do it when we're angry so that he only associates it as training and not as hitting.  And it's working.  At most, he only screams twice now before he stops and he's been a lot easier to handle now that we're back in charge.


  1. Way to go, mom and dad! He will thank you for the training later in life! LOVE your play-by-play of the trip! :)

  2. i'm excited about all your traveling adventures! and i bet you're even more excited that the screaming has decreased!! :)

  3. I'l like to note that I totally disagree with the die hard advocates of spankers. There are much better disciplines that have much better long term results. We never use spanking as a punishment for violence on the child's behalf. And finally, hand spanking Teshie is largely a symbolic exercise. I cannot hurt that boy. Literally. I try to crank it up by notches, but I don't seem capable of dishing out enough to cause pain. (I'm sure I COULD, but it would look and truely be a wholly excessive act of violence towards a child.) I've wondered, and dismissed, that there is something wrong with his pain tolerence.


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