Monday, February 10, 2014

Tea Party

Growing up, I had a Holly Hobby tea set. Oh how I loved that little, ceramic tea set. I can still remember the feeling of those tiny, little miniature cups in my hand as I pretended away. Drinking tea and being a little lady with my sister. 

Tea parties are one of the quintessential parts of being a little girl. So, when Finleigh was three, I decided it was high time that she had a tea set. I bought it in the hopes that it would help her learn to pretend. 

Of course, the set I bought her was made of recycled plastic since I was at least aware enough that she wouldn't handle something breakable very well. What I didn't realize was that it would be almost four years until she would show any real interest in it.

But you see, Peppa Pig has a tea party episode that Finleigh has fallen in love with. So much so that she began asking about her tea set, which was stored in the basement in the crawl space.

She asked about it several times until one day, we happened to be down there and she found the tea pot. We sorted through all her kitchen toys and brought the tea set upstairs, to have a tea party.

But first, we had to clean the cups and the sugar bowl and the tea pot, because they were kind of grungy and mommy said so. Finleigh grabbed the tea towel and started drying the cups as they came out of the hot, sudsy water. She didn't last drying the whole tea set, but she was very excited.


Now, you can imagine that 11 and 8 year old boys were not particularly interested in having a tea party, but all it took was one look from mom and they knew to sit down and play along. And so we sat there, drinking "tea" and posing for a couple pictures of this momentous occasion. 

And we had fun. For about 5 minutes. And then Finleigh was done. And by done, I mean, she spilled (or perhaps, more accurately, purposefully knocked over) her water from her tea cup and then ran away crying.

And crying.

And yelling.

And crying.

"Are we done then?" asked Willem, anxious to get away.

"Yes, I think so." I said as I wiped up the water and gathered up the plastic dishes. 

It can be such a frustrating thing… one minute having fun in a moment that I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to have - a tea party with my daughter. The next minute, wiping up a mess and listening to crying and things being flung across the room.

This behaviour puzzles me.

When we talked to our behavioural therapist last week about this. And WHY she would do this, he wondered if it was because she'd run out of script. Was it possible that she just didn't know what to do next and in order to keep up this fun interaction that she wanted, she reverted to something that she knew would get her attention? A tantrum.

It's food for thought. That we will have to munch on. And try to have another tea party, this time with a script. This time with something for her to do once she doesn't know what to do anymore. 

Untangling our Finleigh. It's a difficult thing. A frustrating road. And confusing. 

But, we just might get there. Wouldn't it be wonderful to understand why she does what she does? 

I'll answer that question for you.

Yes. It. Would. It would be heaven. A dream come true. 

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