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Posts Tagged ‘tantrums’

Let me begin by saying that in my attempts to do some quick research to support my personal info on the “terrible twos” that apparently the established medical community doesn’t like this term and considers this abhorrent toddler behavior to be…normal.

Little C has fully entered into his terrible twos at just 18 months.  Our average day now includes such behavior as pulling all the books from a particular shelve, throwing toys at the dogs, and perfecting the charming “screaming while running” tantrum.

Now I’m all for C exploring his universe and learning about things like gravity and force, but not at the expense of my sanity and the dogs’ well-being.  As to the running tantrum, it’s all I can do not to fall down laughing (C gets really mad and literally starts running as fast as he can until he can’t go any farther and then turns around and runs the other direction at full speed.  All the while he is screaming and crying.  It would be sad were it not for the fact that his little wobbly run is adorable and the behavior is just so bizarre.).

To make matters worse, I’m getting a tantrum nearly every time I tell him “no”.  Not fun.  If C isn’t allowed to do one of the three things he always wants to do (dig in the dirt, watch Sesame Street on the computer, or pull things off shelves/out of cabinets)  I am the immediate recipient of ear-piercing screams and foot stomping.

It makes me so glad that I decided to devote my life to raising him.

The few somewhat legitimate websites about the terrible twos really emphasized how important it was to remember that the toddler is not being willfully rebellious or defiant, but is frustrated with the lack of control over their own life and their inability to communicate.

So I try to remind myself the my son isn’t purposefully trying to drive me insane, take a few deep breaths, and chase after him.

Until he outgrows this stage (in what? two to three years?) I’m going to try to redirect some of his energies into something more productive.

As of today, I’ve ordered a “rollercoaster” table (you know the tables with long wires twisted into shapes and curves, loaded with beads?) and I’m looking into some MyGym classes.

Any other ideas? I’m all ears!  I’m looking for classes, outdoor activities and entertaining toys if anyone out there has some suggestions.

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While C was sick, he was extremely unhappy.  So much so, that C upgraded his normal fussy tantrum to the ULTIMATE tantrum.

It was crazy, over-the-top toddler behavior.  It was so bizarre that I had to completely focus my face so as not to laugh.

Let me paint a picture for you:

C would get worked up because, well, he felt terrible.  But he was so sick and tired and frustrated that his fussiness just kept escalating into tantrums that got worse and worse.

He would begin by whining.  Then he would move on to crying.  Then C would graduate to wailing, complete with big open mouthed howls and giant crocodile tears running down his cheeks.  He would toss his head back and forth, shaking it furiously as if to deny some fact I was forcing him to accept.  NO! NO! He seemed to be saying.  I won’t accept evolution! I am a creationist! You are making me so upset by forcing this “science” on me!  (Or at least that’s how I re-imagined his reaction to make sense of it since his denials and tantrums made not logical sense, much like creationism.)

I (or some other loved one) would attempt to soothe him.  I would pick C up, rub his back, gently hushing him as I rocked him to and fro. It was a true example of mothering patience and comfort.

For this I was rewarded with kicks to the stomach and thighs, accompanied by piercing shrieks in my ears, as C violently threw himself around, trying to break free from the prison of my arms; though minutes before he had begged to be held, rushing at me with open, upraised, pleading arms.

In response to his violence, I would put C back on the ground, to which C’s immediate response was to amp up the screaming.  C would stamp his feet, usually making himself turn in a small circle.  So mad!!  He would then turn and run the opposite direction from me, finding some boxes or pile of blankets to hide behind, throwing himself on the ground, crying and crying and crying.  He would sit there and furiously kick his little legs up and down on the carpet, screaming in frustration (It was extremely difficult not to laugh at this since it was just so ridiculous!).  Finally, C would look up, see me, and get up and run away from me again, repeating the whole thing all over again.

When C had sufficiently bruised his heels from kicking at the ground or was simply tired of being alone in his box forts, he would seek me out, arms upraised, face wet and red from crying.

If I was lucky, C would simply rub his snotty, tear-stained face into my shirt, snuggle into my shoulder, sigh and eventually sleep.  If I was not so lucky, well, then….let’s just not think about that again.

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or what I like to call “just an average Saturday”.

Like oh, so many things, the day started off relatively well.  (We’re still waiting for that final molar to push through, so C is pretty grumpy, as well as covered in drool.)

Every so often I get inspired to do things with my son.  Today, I thought, would be filled with fun activities as we zipped from place to place, running errands, shopping, enjoying the cool SoCal weather. I could see it all! We would be so happy!

And we were, for about an hour (out of four).

We started out with the Tent Sale at Borders.  $3.99 books! Too good to pass up.  Plus I had a 25% off coupon (for my whole order), so I splurged on a few other non-sale items while we were there.  We got a few children’s books, a couple puzzles, some YA novels.  All in all, a good haul.

C enjoyed playing with the toys in the kids section.  Well, he did at least until a little girl came up to join him and C was suddenly possessive of the toys.  Every time she moved something, C would try to move it back.  If she moved to get a better angle, C moved to get a better angle.

I tried to explain he didn’t understand how to share since he’s only 16 months old, but the girl looked confused and annoyed.

Things started going downhill fast when a group of kids, all under 5, joined C and his arch-enemy at the toys.  C suddenly had several children to contend with, instead of just the one.  He decided to stake out a certain territory since trying to guard against all the toys being touched was futile.  If another child moved into C’s space, he saw this as an attack and moved to take back whatever toy they had touched or moved.

I kept saying “share, C, share” and telling him “no!” whenever he grabbed a toy or pushed a child out of the way.  But with each syllable that passed my lips, C’s frustration level ratcheted up another level.  He would look at me like “it is so unfair! these kids are touching the toys and I was here first!”

When finally, he started stamping his little feet after I stopped him from pushing a little girl out of the way, it was time to go.

We checked out, got a free bouncy ball (which delighted C) and made our way to the car.

After loading us all up, I decided to push my luck a little bit and check out the “Block Party” the mall was throwing.  Retailers were giving away prizes with purchase or offering coupons.  Several stores had refreshments or crafts and demonstrations. Pinkberry was giving away frozen yogurt! We headed over to where the main festivities were.

C was excited about his cocunut yogurt topped with kiwi.  Yum!  We walked around a little.  Checked everything out.  C kept up a steady stream of conversation the whole time.

And then I decided to check out one of the sales.  Once inside the store, C’s mood began to deteriorate.  If we stopped the stroller, he began throwing his pelvis out against the safety belt, trying to break loose.  If I handed him a toy, he reached out to take it and then flipped it onto the floor.  If I asked a salesperson a question, C began whining.  We left quickly.

I wondered if maybe his grumpiness was due to hunger.  We then headed over to a little bakery that was celebrating its anniversary.

“Oh,” I thought, “I’ll be an indulgent mommy today! I’ll get us each a cupcake in case he doesn’t like one of the flavors.  I’ll even get a chocolate chip cookie for later!  I’m so nice.”

Well, C hated the bakery.  He hated the cupcakes.  He literally spat them out.  The cookie he crushed in his hands and then smeared on his face, clothes, stroller.  He drank his juice and then threw it on the ground.

The only thing he liked from the bakery was the balloon they gave him for being such a naughty…I mean, darling boy.

He entertained passer-bys with high pitched squealing accompanied by waving the balloon around wildly.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.  Tomorrow I’ll entertain you with the completion of this story which includes a meltdown, a blow-out, and some public urination.

I know you just can’t wait!

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And possibly the last one.

Seriously, the haircut could not have gone worse.

Here is my adorable son (treasure this picture as I don’t like to put pictures of him out on the internet):

16 month surfer boy

Notice his long shaggy hairstyle.  It’s pretty cute, but strands were dangling in his eyes while the back was beginning to resemble a mullet.  Overall, not the best look.

Today my mom and I decided C should have his first haircut.

My mom was hopeful that the process would be painless, while I was pretty sure we were in for a serious tantrum.  Guess who was right.

From the first second the stylist touched C’s hair with a comb, he began to squirm.

Squirming led to crying.  Crying led to flailing. Flailing led to full body tantrum, including head thrown back screaming in agony.

In order to just get an inch off of his hair, I literally had to pin his body to my own, holding his arms down with mine, with one hand on his head, while my mom held down his free arm. Really a lot of fun.

Even then, even with all of this adult restraint being placed on his 16 month old body, my freakishly strong son was able to occasionally free a hand to pull my hair or toss his head.

All the while he was screaming, crying out “Mooooooooommy Mooooooooommy MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYYYY!”.  When the crying and the pleading didn’t work, C’s sounds devolved into grunts and growls, low guttural sounds that were primal in nature.  The stylist at one point compared him to Linda Blaire in Exorcist (which is really what every mom wants to hear said about her child).

When at last we were done, or as done as we could be, C clung to me sobbing, drained of energy, as if he was the true Samson relieved of his long locks and rendered powerless.  I almost want to write a legend about the struggle he put up to keep his hair and how important it was to him.

But then, unlike Samson, C actually kept most of his hair.  We barely cut anything off due to his astonishingly strong reaction.  He looks more emo than surfer now, but at least the emerging mullet is gone.

After this crazy experience I am going to by C’s stylist.  He may end up with bowl cuts or a slightly uneven fringe, but until C enters the age of reasons in a couple years, we’re all just going to have to grin and bear it.  I think he’ll still be pretty cute.

Wiped out after his haircut!

(On a final note, I tried desperately to remain calm and stoic throughout the whole experience, while my mother fell apart.  Thinking back over the experience, though, I kind of want to cry a little.  My poor baby!!!)

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Wow, last night’s tantrum was one for the record books.  There should be a little section of the baby book to record such amazing behavior, a little place to catalog the kicking, the screaming, the body-throwing.

If it wasn’t such a desperate, disturbing sight I’d be tempted to tape it.

Instead, I get to watch him, alone, in the dark, counting to myself to remain calm and detached as he winds himself up and down and back up again.

Here’s how it went down (it’s probably partly my fault):

Yesterday was Baby C’s 1 year check up.  It was a big day.  Hurrah!  1 Year’s Old!  In response to this big day, I thought we’d try some big boy changes: more grown up food, no formula, and moving to just one nap a day.

I’d like to report that every one of those decisions was a mistake.

The one nap worked well until C was too tired to get through dinner.  He spit out most of his milk and wouldn’t eat the sautéed zucchini and chicken piccata for dinner.

C also got his MMR shot at the doctor’s that day, in his poor little arm, perhaps complicating the situation.  He was not happy after that, nor during.  He calmed down pretty quickly, but the tiredness began to show almost immediately and it wasn’t even 5pm.

We rushed through dinner, since C kept rubbing food into his face, popping him into the bath as soon as we were done.  And just as his head hit the pillow, C was out.

Hurrah! (I thought). Success!  It’s just after 7 and he’s out for the night! Best plan EVER! (I assumed, somewhat smugly).

Oh so wrong, so very very very wrong.

C woke up at 8:30pm, just as my husband was returning to work (I don’t want to talk about his hellish schedule, so just don’t. don’t. seriously, don’t bring it up again).  Apparently Baby C thought that his 7 o’clock bedtime was actually his second nap.  Sigh…

I then spent the next half an hour or so trying to get him to just lie down.  I didn’t care where he lay down, next to me, in his play pen, in his crib, I didn’t care!!  Anywhere would have been fine, but, true to form, C had other ideas.

Finally, refusing to tangle with this fussy 1 year old any longer, I laid him down in his crib and just left him there.  I placed my hands on him, trying to soothe him.  I spoke in hushed tones, which were drowned out by screaming.  I rubbed his back, or tried to when he wasn’t pushing me away or kicking at me.  I then retreated to the rocking chair across from the crib and let him just go nuts.

And nuts he went.  For hours!  He screamed and cried.  He lay on his back and kicked his legs on the mattress.   He sat up and banged his arms on the side of the crib.  He stood up, gripping the edge of the crib, shaking it, before finally throwing himself down in anger. Every so often I would try to do something to get him to calm down, but nothing worked.  In fact, if I was anywhere near him, his tantrum usually ticked up a notch.

After a while he finally calmed down, merely whimpering rather than screaming, standing at the crib’s edge holding out his arms for me, pitifully.  And like a fool, I fell for it.  I picked him up, only to have him begin screaming and thrashing in my arms, starting the tantrum all over again.  Back into the crib he went.  Back into full tantrum mode.

By 11:30 pm, he seemed to have calmed down enough to hold, since I knew it would be another couple of hours before either of us would get any sleep if I left him in the crib.

Into my arms, though he fought me, and back to the big bed.  C squirmed, fighting my hold, beginning to cry again.  I flipped on Kung Fu Panda (which may as well be permanently positioned into DVD player), knowing that if I could just get C to calm down for five minutes, just five minutes, he would fall asleep.

And for the first time that day, I was right.

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