Posts Tagged ‘tantrum’

Two, Spew and the 2-hour Tantrum

photo (6)He’s really a good kid. His teachers tell me, unprompted, that he’s an entertaining and mostly obedient child in their class. And he makes friends much more easily these few months. But I tell you what. He’s definitely TWO.

Because Halloween evening’s weather was the pits, the city moved treat-or-treating to the following night, which was yesterday. Our office closed early both days, so I was excited to spend the afternoon with my buddy. Steven left early yesterday morning for a weekend-long business trip, and I was thinking how fun it’d be to get a Papa Murphy’s pumpkin pizza and pass out candy to the neighbor kids.

I finished some errands before heading to Wes’ preschool. His class was still sleeping, so I waited a few minutes until he woke up to make sure he was good and rested for the evening. “Hi, Mama!” Seriously, he kills me with his over-excitedness to see me out of his ordinary schedule. On the way home we talked about pumpkins and what to eat for dinner. (Usually chicken nuggets is suggested from the back seat.)

Since it was too early to eat when we got home, I thought it would be fun to watch some annoying, kid-friendly Halloween shorts on Netflix. Wes wasn’t interested in any of the crackers or snacks I brought out for him, which I thought was weird. We watched a few minutes of Thomas the Train Spooky Stories, and then, out of the blew, Wes vomited all over the couch. It’s the first time I ever saw him throw up. Ever.

The poor kid was so distraught and confused. I took him to the bathroom to hose him off a little and console him. I cleaned up the couch, and he seemed normal enough, so we watched a few more minutes of Thomas. Mistakenly, I gave him a package of fruit snacks that he quickly gobbled up. Within minutes, there was another watery mess on the floor to clean up. The weird thing was the consistency of the vomit – mostly water. I figured he would soon get dehydrated if this continued, so we packed up to get some Pedialyte, and guess what? I was the mom with a spewing kid in a store isle!

Weirdly enough, we made it through the majority of the evening pretty well. I didn’t know what this kid HAD, so not only was I responsible for a public vomit-mess, I was also the person with lots of candy and no porch lights on. I felt so guilty every time a group of kids came on our porch. I felt like I was hiding from salesmen or Mormon missionaries. And now what do I do with all this chocolate?! Now I realize the enormity of the Halloween candy haul problem. IT WILL GET EATEN.

We hunkered down and watched Dumbo – mainly to distract Wes enough during the 15 minute intervals between small Pedialyte dosages. He was sooooo thirsty and whined for “MORE WATER.” I knew he would guzzle down too much and spew it back up if I let him, so it seemed like a very long movie. All was pretty well until he got up to go to bed… and you can guess. Ugh. #4.

Now here comes the part where I say he’s “definitely two.” See, typcially, Wes is super easy to put down for bed. And he was again last night. He brushed his teeth happily and laid down and repeated all the words of my prayer, as usual. I went back into the living room to eat some candy and actually have dinner (since I felt bad he couldn’t), and enjoyed a little “me” time. But around 10:30, he whined enough for me to check in on him. Instead of going back down, as he usually does, he sat straight up and refused to go back to bed. Maybe it was because Steven wasn’t home, or maybe he just felt awful – or both, really – that for the next TWO HOURS STRAIGHT he screamed, cried, wriggled, and nearly lost his voice in defiance.

I’ve been offering choices to Wes over the last few months to help him feel like he has a little more control – though he is actually doing something under mine. So for what seemed an hour, I calmly explained that I could see he was upset, but that it was time for bed and why it was important, blah blah and gave him the choice to go to bed 1) in his room or 2) in my bed, with me. I really thought this would be a no-brainer, even though I really didn’t want to give him the option to sleep with me. Instead, this only prolonged his full-blown tantrum. I tried everything. Putting him back into his bed and letting him cry with fingers crossed he would eventually fall asleep (nope, only worsening screams), holding him in bed with me as he tossed and wrangled, letting him throw a fit on my bedroom floor, thinking it would be ok if he fell asleep there (nope), offering more “water,” putting him in time out…

I mean seriously. It was almost 1 a.m., and I considered strapping him into his carseat and driving to my parents’ house. I almost expected to hear a knock on my door from how loud and how LONG he screamed bloody murder. I’ve never seen anything like this from him. Of course I wondered if maybe delirium was possible from dehydration and if I should take him to the ER… everything crossed my mind.

Finally I broke. I looked at Wes and started sobbing. Through tears, I told him I didn’t know how to solve his problem, but that I loved him. And that I was sad and tired. I set him down and walked to my bedroom. He stopped screaming, followed me down the hallway, raised his arms up and snuggled into bed with me.

From toddler kicks and jolts throughout the night, I obviously didn’t sleep well. I cried silently at various times and found myself wishing Steven was home. I wasn’t mad at Wes, but I was upset with myself that I couldn’t resolve the tantrum. But maybe that’s the point?

For as bad as a night it was, I woke up to little pudgy hands tracing the shape of my cheek and touching my nose to a whispered, “beep, beep.” The smile on his face this morning was priceless.

Here’s hoping tonight is a little smoother, but thankfully we had a successful naptime today. You know, I’m learning so much as a parent. It truly is the most challenging thing I’ve ever attempted. I may not be getting straight A’s, but I don’t think I’m failing. At least, based on his loving gestures and our breathy in-bed chats from this morning, Wes doesn’t think so!

Posted: November 2nd, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Note to Self: On Discipline

1.47.27I’ve never really been much of a kid person. I do like kids, but I’m usually awkward around them. I rarely babysat, and I was usually the youngest or surrounded by other kids my age growing up, so I didn’t get much experience. No secret that I didn’t want to be a teacher or lead Sunday school at church. But now that I have a kid of my own, this “new mom” thing is changing into mom-of-a-toddler, and I feel like I’m so unorganized in my thoughts on how to raise one. Yes, most of my friends and people we are around have families with 2 or more kids, so I know there are plenty of helpers out there with loads of advice. This doesn’t quite ease my concern of entering the dreaded “Terrible Twos” or worst yet, the “Terrifying Threes,” however.

Wes is usually a great kid. He’s happy when we’re at home, especially in the morning, and can give our undivided attention. He naps well, he sleeps through the night. He’s eating much better (less throwing of food) and even starting to explore utensils. But we’re starting to see glimpses of near-future tantrums, and I’m already sick and tired of his constant whining and tears. He loves to say “no” back to us, and he grins and giggles when I try to steer him away from danger or stop misbehavior.

He’s not quite 18 months old yet, and I believe he’s much too young to discipline by way of time outs or the like. Yet, I have been pouring over books on what-to-do-when’s for some things to keep in my back pocket. And truly, there are quite a few things I can do in the interim.

  1. Determine if he’s in “Changeling Mode”* or getting sick. It might help make me less upset about said behavior.
  2. When the kid is grounded, I am grounded, too. I should stay close when Wes is in time out to make sure he a) doesn’t sneak away and 2) is assured he isn’t abandoned completely. “You will never be effective disciplining your child if you don’t stop what you’re doing and give the discipline your undivided attention.” So, whether I’m outside the door or sitting directly beside him, I need to put aside time to attend him.
  3. Like the above, when tantrums happen, it’s likely because he’s upset or frustrated and loses control, unable to get a grip (maybe like my mood swings when I was pregnant?!). It’s important for him to realize that I’m his source of security and comfort because, frankly, losing control can be scary. I should remove him from the tantrum location to a private area, and ride it out with him. Hold him close (if he wants) and be silent or gently speak. Then we can resume whatever we were doing when he’s settled.
  4. Let him know that I understand and see that he is upset. Most importantly, let him know that it’s okay to feel whatever he does, and normal, but that we can’t act out on our anger or frustration.
  5. Avoid situations and places that he simply can’t handle. Long days, visits and outings just may have to come another time.
  6. Forget “Mommyspeak.” I think talking to him in the third person is just confusing.
  7. I shouldn’t feel guilty for his misbehavior or guilty for denying him something he wants. Why should I feel bad for trying to be a good parent?
  8. ENCOURAGE him! We already do this because it’s truly the only way to get Wes to repeat good behavior. But I want to remind myself that this is also to show him that we respect and admire him.

In several months, I will probably start implementing the 1-2-3 Magic principles. My fear is that I will need to be more firm that I am comfortable with because he is quite good at testing his boundaries. Sweet, innocent Wesley has a firey, ornery spirit, but he does love encouragement and recognition.

Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Ugghhh, I know this is true, but I’m so easily affected by what others feel from my actions, that I will have to really remind myself of this. After all, I’m not the first parent to ever live, right? You all have made it, so surely I can, too.

*Changeling is an affectionate term used to describe a toddler who is always learning something new. They’re not quite children, but they’re certainly not babies and the world is just frustrating to them. The Wonder Weeks refers to these times as phases.

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Curious to know what books I’m reading? I asked my social media friends, and here’s a list thus far:

1-2-3 Magic by Thomas Phelan (I’m reading the “for Christian Parents” edition)
1, 2, 3… the Toddler Years by Irene Van der Zande
The Girlfriends’ Guide to Toddlers by Vicki Iovine
Parenting with Love & Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay

Posted: January 6th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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