There are certain days my patience runs thin. My son is approaching his second birthday. He is in the beginning of the throws of what I am calling toddler madness. This might prove to be the hardest period for us, as his communication skills are still sparse. He says words, yes. But his ability to actually convey specific wants is unhoned, especially the more frustrated he gets. My failure to understand him just adds to his frustration and before I know it, he is in full on the floor tantrum mode. There is no reason or logic to this. It is absolute madness. Hence, my categorical name for this period we are forging into full speed ahead.
Rationally, I know there is usually some reason for these outbursts. He most likely isn’t even aware himself what it might be. And the speculation is vast. It could be that he is hungry. Thirsty. Perhaps his two year molars are giving him a hard time that day. Maybe his shirt is uncomfortable. Maybe….the list goes on. Or, where the real madness comes in, the outburst has no cause. It is not the reaction to anything at all, except the moment hits him and he decides to throw himself on the floor, kick and scream a little, and then, perhaps, get on with his day. Come to think of it…I feel like doing that sometimes. Maybe it’s not so crazy, after all. Hmm.
My pediatrician suggests no parental reaction. She always says, “Don’t encourage any behavior you don’t like by reacting to it.” I’m actually pretty good at being calm in the midst of his storms. Most of the time. It’s the days when the outbursts are mixed with incessant whining, that tax me the most. It’s hard not to react to the whining, though I give it my best shot. At home, I actually walk into another room. I also redirect his attention when he is calm enough. It becomes the hardest to deal with in the car. Both of us trapped in a small space. I can only turn the Hamilton soundtrack up so much.
Mothers who’ve been there…mommys on the same battlefield, I ask you. What do YOU do? And if you had a child who never threw tantrums or whined, keep it to yourself. I don’t even want to know that children like that exist. There isn’t enough Skinny Pop or Two Buck Chuck to get me over that. Thanks. I know every kid is different, but there must be some common thread for how to proactively deal with this “stage of development.” My saving grace at this point is that I am, in fact, an older mom and I have a degree of patience I never would have had 20 years ago. I’m not saying younger Moms can’t have patience. I just know I didn’t have it when I was younger.
The most ironic thing about this stage of “toddler madness,” is how fleeting the madness can be. I can have a morning like today, where the crabby-ness, whining and foot stomping outbursts seemed to have such succession it almost became rhythmic. And then 20 minutes before his nap, my child decides to lovingly stop time. He sits next to me on the couch, lays his head on my shoulder and lets me stroke his hair. For a whole 20 minutes! He may have actually purred. Just when I was ready to give up for the day, he indulges me in his sweet side. Sneaky. Unpredictable. All part of the glorious wonderful madness that is only just beginning.
Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and remember, behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Thanks so much for reading! Xo