As all my die-hard fans know, my DD is 2.5 years old and I believe the most recent word a random stranger used to describe her was “spitfire.”
Like her mommy, she doesn’t go down without a fight. And well, given her age, on most days, I like that about her. She’s no one’s doormat to step on on their way into the house. But sometimes, as anyone who is parenting a toddler knows, sometimes it’s just really draining. There are no words.
We all know every child is different, so I only know my own. Her extreme tantrums really started to peak shortly after she turned two last November and by January, there were many days when she brought me to tears and I couldn’t understand the fury that had been unleashed on the house. But, we powered through, we were as consistent as you can be with discipline, rules, standing firm and she’s gotten better, slowly. Along the way I learned how to judge other parents a whole lot less..and I also came to appreciate why people have total brats – it’s just easier. Don’t get me wrong – we wouldn’t tolerate that in our house – but again – I can see how it happens. It’s a lot of work to stay on top of a toddler.
So after fighting the good fight with her, I’m not sure I’d use the word “civilized” to describe her now vs. the winter because again, she’s just two, but she is more respectful and aware of boundaries. How’s that for diplomatic?
So my point is – things have been better for us lately. We’re not averaging 6 tantrums in the morning before I even get out the door to work anymore. There are still days when she looks at me filled with hatred and disgust that I would offer her Mac’n’Cheese, typically the only thing she eats on any given day, but again – isn’t that why life with a toddler is so…well…exciting? Who can predict anything?
But enter last night. For whatever reason, DD hadn’t napped well all weekend and this is a kid who goes a million miles a minute when awake but damn does she love and appreciate her beauty sleep. So she hadn’t napped well and it was time for bath and bed…and it began….the tantrum of epic proportions.
It went on for a solid 25 minutes. Think it was hard to hear your sweet baby crying for even 5 minutes back in the day? Just imagine, unless you know it first hand, a completely irrational toddler kicking viciously and screaming for a full 25 minutes. It felt like an eternity. But unlike with a newborn, my heart wasn’t breaking with a deep need to solace their her…trust me…..this is a completely different feeling.
There were a few times I looked around the room, feeling sure that there were hidden cameras in my house and Supernanny was going to come busting in the door. Could my child be a future Oscar winner? Is it possible someone put her up to this and she was able to understand the rules, time it so well, and carry it out so forcefully and dramatically, I began to hope, trying to make sense out of the nonsensical.
Now, a savvier parent might have been able to anticipate this tantrum an hour or so earlier when I was urging her to come to the table for dinner and after a long explanation of how she wasn’t hungry and didn’t want dinner, she eventually was able to force herself into the kitchen, completely hunched over, walking slowly, with her hand dramatically draped across her eyes as if she was a hunch back and was being guided to her death – a public hanging, nonetheless.
Anyhow – DD kept up the good fight to the bitter end. We didn’t end up pursuing bath time last night as it took both my DH and myself and our full strength to get her clothes off and just put her PJs on. I almost gave up on that and just put her to bed in what she was wearing. But it was her ability to keep it going to the bitter end that amazed me.
I took her upstairs and put her in bed. I pointed out that while we love her very much, she was so bad tonight that she wouldn’t get any stories or songs before bed – and if she wants stories and songs again, she has to follow the rules and go have a bath when we say it’s bath time. Would you believe that the entire time, DD had the steely glaze of hatred pasted on her face, with her eyes slanted and just wishing death upon me? I mean, if looks could kill, I am dead on her bedroom floor and was as of 7:30pm last night.
In the end, not only was it exhausting, but I couldn’t believe how much I felt like we were “that” family- the one we all watch on those dumb reality shows and mock because they are such idiots with no control over their lives.
Ahh…the joys of parenting a toddler. So very humbling.