This past Hajj break was a trying time for J and I. She had a few bad days in which she behaved so terribly it had her in tears constantly and nearly had me in tears as well.
It all started when J woke up in a foul mood and continued to be a terror for the rest of the day. She just cried from when she woke till she slept. It was unreal. She would go from crying to shouting to crying to shouting again. The next day she was a bit emotional but better.
Then it happened again on another day. Half way through the day. She just flipped! It was terrible. It was like watching someone possessed. She just could not control herself it was horrible to watch.
On the evening of the second episode we had been at my brother in laws house and the nanny took the children home after dinner so they could sleep. I got a phone call from her a little later telling me J had kicked her, full force, with both her feet. I couldn’t believe it! J has been known to have a tantrum, to shout, to cry, but she has never been known to hit someone on purpose.
I felt like crying at that point! I was upset that she had hit someone obviously but I was devastated that she had lost control of herself so much that it led to that. I really felt like we were failing her.
I felt like that because it is my belief that children who have extreme behavior have only the adults around them to blame. They are children and are not in full control of their emotions so it’s up to us to not let them get that out of control.
I went home and spent two hours with the nanny going over what could have gone wrong. The children had enough sleep… they were eating well… what was it?!
I thought maybe all the change… (new place, new nanny, new baby on the way) but why now? Why not before? Maybe it’s a phase? Maybe it was because S was behaving SO WELL the last few weeks and we were all praising him for it she may have felt that he was the ‘good’ one and she was the ‘bad’ one. J is very self-critical (Very much like her father) and likes to do everything correctly. So it was like digging herself into a hole. She would do something wrong then get angry that she had done something wrong and freak out.
2 and a half hours into the conversation it hit me. In the last week she had consumed more sugar than she had in the last 2 months. On the day of the second episode she had sweets (the yucky gummy kind) a slushy drink, 7UP, and chocolates at my grandmother’s house.
That was the only significantly different thing that had gone on in the last week. Sugar turns J into miss Hyde! It was such a relief to figure it out. Add to that the fact that they were watching more TV and playing more electronic games and my kids were hopped up.
It didn’t affect S the same way though. The TV watching made him not concentrate but the sugar honestly didn’t do anything to him. And B wasn’t too bad either but he is hitting the terrible twos so the mini tantrums are coming along nicely and have been for the last month (tantrums which end by either distracting him from them or ignoring them).
So, conclusion. Sugar and J don’t mix. Does this mean J won’t ever have sweets? No. We will stick to the no junk or sweets during the week (even on vacations). We will go back to the strict no soda rule (except on special occasions and even then not a full can) and if they are going to have sweets it will be a limited amount and early in the day. I say ‘they’ because the rule goes for all of them.
Finally, the new mantra is ‘J is allergic to sugar so please don’t give her any’. More than one doctor told me it does aggravate her allergic cough and, come to think of it now, so is B! It is not good for his eczema. God help me stop people giving my kids chocolates!
When mine becomes suddenly out of control, we look for medical and environmental reasons, as well. One son has a sensitivity to red dye. People don’t believe it. I don’t care. He literally can’t sleep for days, taking his rest in 15 minute, fitful intervals. Telling people that your child is “allergic” is genius. No one will mess with an allergy.
It’s so strange that people think they know our kids better than we do or decide we’re being too anxious or imagining it all. Technically the “allergy” is not a lie. But yes, no one messes with an allergy lol. I even told her she was allergic to sugar.
I think you are doing the right thing. It could spare them a lot of health problems later.