Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hysteria in the Bathtub

I was a few minutes late getting home last night, so Amy (her daughter, Eleanor, shares our nanny) had started making dinner. After dinner, I offered to bathe the girls so Amy could grade a few papers. It's barely more work, anyway, to bathe two kids versus one, and a lot more fun for them.

The girls were playing happily, with only reminder to Calliope to only pour water on her own head, when suddenly Calliope threw a square plastic cup in Eleanor's direction. I was in the midst of admonishing her to stop when she did it again, this time squarely pegging Eleanor in the arm.

Eleanor, who is easy to provoke, immediately burst into tears. I looked at Calliope and my jaw dropped in astonishment, trying to figure out the right thing to say. Following the advice of Aha, I no longer ask her to apologize. Apparently it's better to let kids come up with their own ideas on how to repair the relationship. But in that moment of trying to figure out what to say, with my jaw hanging open, Calliope looked at me, then at Eleanor crying, and started to scream.

I started to laugh, thinking she was protesting Eleanor's upset, but quickly realized she wasn't faking. Amy hurried into the room, alarmed by the sound of both girls crying, saying "I've never heard Calliope cry this loud!"

Eleanor started to calm down, distracted by Calliope's response, but Calliope's hysteria continued. Glancing at each of our faces in turn, tears pouring down her face.

Finally I scooped her up and wrapped her in a towel in my lap and hugged her.

Lesson learned.


  1. I wanted to thank you for pointing me in the direction of the Aha Parenting blog...I have gained so much from the posts there.

  2. Awww, poor Calliope. What a hard way to learn not to throw things at friends.