What’s that sound? Why is the house shaking? Is it a freight train? A low flying jet? An earthquake? Oh wait, it’s just my two year old throwing a tantrum. A common occurrence these days, and I guess I’m starting to learn just how unpredictable they are. My mother told me that neither I nor my brothers were big tantrum throwers. We all had them every once in a while, but she’s noticed that my baby is a little more scrappy…
It’s really not too bad as long as I don’t let it get to me. My first instinct was to go to him and try to distract him with a book or toy, but that only got him more fired up. I think they (whoever “they” are) say that tantrums are just a toddler’s way of communicating since they don’t really have the vocabulary to express themselves like older kids. Or maybe I’m making that up… Who knows. What I do know is that when he goes on a tirade it’s best if I let him be and go do something else. He’ll get over it when he’s ready; sometimes it takes 30 seconds and sometimes it takes 30 minutes.
This morning for example, he was as chipper as a chipmunk when I greeted him in his bedroom. He had a great night’s sleep after spending a few days with his grandparents while my husband and I were out of town. He got up, eager to go downstairs and eat his pancakes, but in his mind that meant not taking off his Thomas the Train pajamas. Well it’s Monday morning and clearly there’s no time for a leisurely breakfast in our jammies. So I delicately navigated around the issue, letting him pull off his diaper himself, get acquainted with the outfit I picked out, and help put on his socks. But then came the shoes… Oh the shoes. He’s ready to move up a half size, which means his old sneakers have been replaced with a couple of new pairs. It was my first day pulling them out and I tried to do as much prep work as possible. “Look at these NEW, COOL, BIG BOY shoes Junior! Aren’t they fun??” “No mommy. Green shoes. No mommy. NO!!”
Well he was going to have to get used to the new shoes eventually, so why delay the inevitable? On they went and the tantrum ensued. I shut the baby gate and let him stomp his feet and collapse to the floor in utter despair, red-faced, blonde head lying sadly on the floor while he moaned and cried at varying decibel levels. I went to my bathroom and continued getting ready for work, and about 10 minutes later when I saw an opening I calmly asked him if he wanted juice or milk with his pancakes. He stopped, swiped his sleeve across his runny nose and said “juice mommy” as a big crocodile tear trickled down his cheek. And that’s how the tantrum ended. My sweet boy returned in a flash and hopped down the stairs a few minutes later to enjoy his pancakes with a side of Cheerios and a cup of OJ.
Will it get worse? How long do the terrible twos actually last? Every kid is different, but I’m hoping we’re one of the lucky families who breezes through this stage quickly. If not, I’ll just keep working on my “I’m not paying attention to you” skills. I’m sure my husband will gladly let me practice on him, especially when he’s trying to watch Monday Night Football…
On a completely separate but important note, I hope everyone who is able has taken a few minutes to donate to one of the Sandy relief funds. There are many to choose from and every dollar helps. One of my favorite organizations, BonfireFunds.com, actually has several active t-shirt funds whose proceeds go to different relief organizations (Red Cross, AmeriCares, ASPCA, etc.). Feel free to check them out by clicking the link on the right, or go directly to one of the organizations’ websites to donate that way. My thoughts are with everyone affected by the storm, and I hope any Mommy Banter readers in the hard hit areas are doing well and getting back on their feet.