Toddler Tales: Tantrums
The world is falling apart and nothing can fix it. Unless you have a snack and about 15–40 minutes, then this could pass. That’s right I said 40 minutes. A record my son holds in our house for the longest tantrum. Last night it was like the hulk was in my bathroom, throwing things around in frustration. It ended in exhaustion and wanting to take his shoes to bed with him. At that point I had no fight left in me.
This is the hardest part of parenting, the tantrums. They exhaust everyone who is there to witness it, if you're lucky its in the privacy of your own home, or not so lucky in the middle of the pumpkin patch. The beauty of the tantrum you can almost predict it like a hurricane coming up the coast. We’ve been outside for about 45 minutes, pushing an hour riding on our favorite ride on car, and throwing our favorite ball around. There is a look in a toddlers eye. (I like to call it the fresh-air exhaustion look.) You begin to brace yourself for impact. You think, okay, by the time we get inside, all hell is going to break loose and there isn't much I’m going to be able to do about it. The sun is setting, and its going to get cold so we can’t stay out here forever. Bribery gets us through the front door, with promises of dinner and a juice box. You turn the corner into the kitchen, and the calm before the storm hits. Then it goes down hill at 100 mph.
I have spent multiple lunch breaks reading about how to combat these tantrums. Get on their level, be stern and stand your ground, or let them flop on the floor like a fish. I tend to let them try and sort it out. Let him develop some sort of coping skills because I feel like he may have better skills than I do one day. I let him flop until he is red in the face and feel like I need to interfere, and other times, my man is smart. He will take himself to his room and stand next to his bed, holding on the slats of his crib and will wait for me to put him in it. Granted, not every tantrum is like that, those are usually my lucky ones. Tantrums are like that one ride at the amusement park you use to be able to ride, but now cant. It gets exhausting. This is where I plug in the fact that, this small piece of toddler life alone, is enough to earn Mom a break to herself. Whether it is a shower ALONE, or just five minutes sitting in the closet so she doesn't pull her hair out.
There is a slightly humorous tone to tantrums, and a lot of us have been there. The tantrums that you can’t really do much more than laugh at. Leo’s most recent was angrily clinging on to his smelly shoe he decided to bring to bed. I tried to get it from him and replace it with his favorite bear. He immediately fell to the ground, flopping and screaming. I gave in and just let him sleep with his shoe (whatever).
There is actually a really funny post going around on Facebook about parents and their children's absolutely hilarious tantrums. Which not only makes me feel better about my child going mildly insane for a very small and mundane reason. It helps me feel like I am not alone in this journey (which obviously you are not alone, but I think you get where I’m coming from). It brings a sense of normalcy to it, that it doesn't last forever. A brief, yet unforgettable time for a parent. Just to throw this out there, I don’t think a parent should be judged or feel embarrassed about how they let their children “fall out.” Its something that happens and everyone seems to forget that it is normal, and there is no way around it. Not every kid handles it the same either. So buckle in, its a wild, wild ride.
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