The other day, Calliope kept swatting at Eleanor as they sat on their respective potties together. I was watching both girls so I couldn't take Calliope aside very easily nor give her a time out (which I've been avoiding recently anyway.)
So instead I said, "No hitting. You are having trouble keeping your hands to yourself. Do you need Mommy to chase you?"
And she shrieked "yes!" with delight and took off running. I did lots of slow deliberate menacing monster walking, allowing her to slither between my legs so i could sputter, "how did you get away AGAIN!"
Eleanor squealed, "Don't get me Abby!" so I promised I wouldn't and then she decided to help me pursue Calliope. She ran alongside me and then attempted to tickle Calliope when we caught her. (I don't like to tickle her because it can feel torturous to be tickled so I just sweep her up into my arms for a momentary hug and then release her again.)
Calliope laughed for what seemed like ten minutes straight.
Her behavior didn't get 100% better, but later on when she wasn't listening and I snapped at her, she jumped about a foot in the air. Whereas normally she would've tuned me out. So that made me feel like we made progress in reconnecting, at least. It also made me feel like a monster, to see her jump like that.
My next goal is to figure out how to incorporate throwing games into the repertoire when her behavior gets out of control. This was a recent suggestion from my Aha Parenting email but I can't quite figure out how it would work in my apartment. The author suggests throwing stuffed animals down the stairs to release tension -- that seems like an obvious win but won't work in my home -- or throwing bean bags into a bucket. The latter seems like less of a tension reliever but I will try it.