Friday, June 1, 2012

I Thought Terrible Started At Two

Alternate Titles for this post:

Payback, 28 Years Later: An Early Birthday Gift to my Mom

Is Swinging Really that Amazing?

Why I am Happy I'm not a Stay-at-Home-Mom

Red Wine: The Drink of Choice by Moms of Toddlers Everywhere

Help me.  No seriously, help me.

Ok, so can you guess now what this post is about?  Two words: Temper Tantrums.

In a week the little man will be 19 months old.  And he is making his presence known around these parts.  My mom will surely read this post and laugh outloud and know that the karma police have struck again.  See, the thing is, I was the queen of temper tantrums.  (Shocking, right?)  It didn't matter where we were or who was around, if I was upset anyone within ear shot was going to know about it.  I'm not sure how my mom managed to keep her cool with me growing up.  But she did.  At least I don't remember her ever losing her shit on me.  And I'm hoping that I can somehow learn to do this with Lukas.  Because I fear he is following in his momma's footsteps.  (Damn those genes.)

It has surely begun.

A few nights ago was the worst to date.  I was inside the house making dinner while Mr. Cob pushed Lukas in our new swing out back.  Lukas LOVES to swing.  I'm convinced you could plop him in the swing and push him for hours before he'd bore of it.  I suppose this was our mistake for putting him in the swing knowing dinner would be ready within 15 minutes.  We won't make that mistake again, I assure you.

So once dinner was ready I yelled out back to my boys.  Once I realized Mr. Cob was on a phone call, I skipped down our steps to push my little dude in the swing for a few minutes before bringing him in for dinner.  Now I should mention that Lukas starts crying and screaming "MORE, MORE" when you aren't swinging him high enough or pushing the swing often enough.  And he usually protests when it is time to stop swinging.  This swinging thing is serious business.  But this time was different.  He lost his mind.  He had clamped on to that swing and I had to pry his little fingers off the ropes.  Then he began flailing his arms and legs as I carried him up the steps.  At one point his little fist hit me in the mouth!  I don't think it was on purpose, but admittedly, I'm not sure. 

Through his screams and sobs and flailing I try to "redirect" by talking about food - mentioning all his favorite things.  "Buddy, let's eat some olives, and cheese."  Nothing.  More yelling.  I tried to put him in his highchair, which I'm sure was a comical sight.  He just arched his back and pushed off with his feet, screaming the entire time.  Mr. Cob tried to call him down, to no avail.  So we put him on the ground and said we loved him and that we understood he was upset and wanted to swing, but that it was time to eat dinner.  Yea, you can't rationalize with a toddler.  He just looked at me like I was some crazy lady and screamed even louder.  He ran to our back door and cried "OUT" and "SWING" repeatedly in between his sobbing.

At that point I had no idea what to do.  So we just ignored him while Mr. Cob and I ate our dinner in silence.  Well, not in silence.  We ate to a chorus of screams, yelps and sobbing.  And the little dude did not let up.  He went on for a good 15 minutes.  But I was holding strong and there was no way in hell we were letting him back outside to swing.  I kept telling myself that we were the parents.  We were the ones in control.  Riiiight, we had complete control of the situation.  Totally.  Clearly.

He eventually calmed down once Mr. Cob offered him olives.  But it wasn't the olives that calmed him down.  No, he started screaming "MOMMA" when Mr. Cob approached him.  Apparently he was mad at dadda. (Score one for momma?)  So he ran over to me and finally sat down on my lap to eat dinner.  Phew, one temper tantrum down, countless more to come.

Please, someone tell me that this stage will be short lived.  Or give me some tips to deal with it. (Other than red wine.) What are you supposed to do when your wee one is in the middle of a colossal meltdown?  And worse, what do I do when it happens in a public place for the first time?  I can't ignore him in the middle of Publix, can I?

So help me.  What are your tips?  What do you do?  What books should I be reading?  Where can I find a toddler whisperer?


  1. Came here from Reddit, r/parenting. Thanks for the morning laugh! I love your writing style and am excited to spend some time reading through your blog archive. We have a daughter who's 20 months and she has just started the tantrum phase. So far I have only sustained one black eye from her flailing, shoe wearing feet. Fun times!


    1. Welcome John! Glad I could start your day with a laugh. So with a 20 month old, it sounds like you're right there with me! Let me know if you find the magic cure!

  2. Hi Ryan,
    I'm a childhood friend of Aunt Al's and currently have a 16 month old and a 3 year old. Your blog cracks me up.
    Let me assure you, the tantrums are not short lived and will test every ounce of patience you have. The first tantrum from our oldest almost sent us to the ER. We couldn't believe he was so upset and figured he had to be on death's door. Nope. Turns out he's awesome at throwing tantrums. I'm glad we figured out it was just a tantrum before the ER doc made us feel totally inadequate!

    1. Hi Kari! So glad you're enjoying the blog and I'm glad Auntie Al sent you over! I feared the tantrums would last longer than I you're telling me I have at least another year and a half of this?! Say it ain't so!

      Glad to know others are out there dealing with the same stuff.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Agree with least at age 3 the temper tantrums still flair up. :) With E we have a strict, no screaming around all the happy people rule. If he freaks out while everyone is having a good time, he goes to his room until he can get a "happy heart". The dude will sometimes stay in there screaming for 10 minutes. CRAZY. Sweet B also likes to throw super dramatic tantrums and we usually just ignore/walk away from her since she wouldn't understand the room concept. I try to remind myself not to care about what other people are thinking when we're in public....which rarely works. Parenting is a tough gig. :) Love this post!

    1. When did you start the room/"happy heart" timeout? Sounds like a fantastic idea! I read about one mom who had a special rug for her little dude to sit on while he was tantruming and wasn't allowed to get off the rug until he chilled out - very similar to your concept, I'd say. I'll have to keep that in mind for when he's a bit older!

      Glad to know you're handling sweet B's trantrums like we are with Luke.

      Call me for a virtual glass of wine the next time a tantrum unfolds!!