Lydia had an especially difficult day yesterday. She seemed to be struggling with an inner demon that was constantly making her burst into angry tears and do the exact opposite of what her mother and I were telling her to do. I’m a firm believe that the external actions of children are a direct reflection of what they are feeling internally. So, I pulled her aside as soon as we had a free moment, so we could discuss what she was feeling and maybe come up with some ideas for how to deal with those feelings properly.
I brushed her scattered hair off her forehead and said, “Lydia, you have not been a very good girl today, and I’m disappointed. Do you feel okay? Is there something bothering you?”
She shrugged grumpily.
“How about your tummy,” I suggested. “What does your tummy feel like?”
She pulled up her shirt and rubbed her belly with her hand and then smiled. “My tummy…” she thought for the right words. “My tummy feels like it has a great big watermelon in it.”
I raised my eyebrows. Maybe I was onto something.
“How about your head. What does your head feel like?”
Her eyes rolled back and she looked at the ceiling. “My head feels like my brain goes all the way to my toes.”
“Uhh… okay.” I pointed at her legs. “And your knees, what do they feel like?”
She leaned towards me with a look of mock surprise and whispered conspiratorially, “My knees feel like I’ve been eating paper.”
I furrowed my eyebrows in confused alarm. This interview was not going the way I had expected it to.
When I didn’t continue right away she prompted me to ask about her arms.
“Okay. What do your arms feel like?”
Before I was done with the question she was already jumping up and down yelling, “My arms feel like flowers!” She held her outstretched fingers above her head and waved them back and forth slowly in a breezy interpretive dance.
With a final sigh I resigned myself to the facts and pulled my three year old in for a tight hug. I had not discovered exactly what I was hoping to discover, but what I had found was just as useful for diagnosing her behavior. As it turns out, my daughter is absolutely bonkers insane.