Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tantrum Central.... We Have Arrived

Tantrums are so unbelievably tough.  Every parent (maybe just me) justifies it immediately with he must be tired or he must be hungry but not one person I know well... enter, my husband.  Nope, never will you hear him say that.  Or at least not often.  He might have said it once or twice on vacation.. but it really is rare of him.  Instead, he seems to focus on what we should do.. and calmly reassures me that we just have to explain things to Jordan and help him understand.

How I wish I had that patience and clarity whilst dealing with a screaming, kicking, and very violent almost 2 year old who doesn't seem to understand anything I say except that his "no" response will tick me off more.  I try so desperately to stay calm but I hear the volume in my voice rising, peripherally see the smoke coming out of my ears and feel the intense redness rise in my cheeks, and I really just want to give my boy a good old fashioned spanking.  What ever happened to those?!  Where's my belt when I need it!!!

I hold back.  I resist the inherent urge to slap him silly.  I explain to him why he is in trouble.  He laughs.  OUTLOUD at me.  AGAIN and AGAIN.  He NEVER laughs when Andy is talking sternly to him or telling him what he's done wrong.  He thinks I'm funny.  He tries to hit my face.  He tries to bite me.  He is only making me madder and madder.  And the madder I get, the funnier he thinks it is.  He is squealing with laughter now.  How terrifically hilarious is this Mother dearest?!

I think to retrieve the bumbo, thinking it will help me by somehow holding him down while he's in "time-out."  With one arm strapped around his stomach, his face facing outwards, his legs kicking like crazy and his head repeatedly banging back as I lunge back to avoid getting whacked by his surprisingly strong and sturdy little head, I use my left hand to grab the bumbo that is high above the shelves in the tiny awkwardly angled closet (good thing I'm tall) in his room.  It comes down easily but because it is so stinking large, on the way out of the narrow closet door opening (made narrow by all the toys we have on the floor surrounding the door), I accidentally knock over the space heater which I try to catch and somehow lunge towards the wall with the bumbo, my clumsy and rearranged pregnant weight self of a fool unable to control the shift of weight, knocks down a frame on the wall and almost trip over the box of toys next to my feet.  It's a good thing I'm always making Jordan pick up his toys, because the room is neat though full, and I am still tripping over stuff!  I somehow catch myself and make it out the room with Jordan still screaming (though he stopped for a second to say "uh-oh" when the frame fell) and crying real tears of absolute horror and sadness as he continues to arch his back and kick his legs in an attempt to free himself.  No such luck dude.  

I want to hug him and comfort him against this witch of a mother trying to punish him for something he probably didn't mean to do.  Except he's done it OVER and OVER again and we've told him NOT to, or to STOP, words we KNOW he understands because he always hesitates and for that inkling of a hesitation, you know he is thinking.. pondering if he should test the limits, just see what we'll do.  And when he does something wrong with Andy around, he won't look him in the eye, as if mortified by his own inexcusable actions.  He looks away and then peeks at Andy to see if he's looking, and Andy always demands that he "look!" at him, which makes Jordan whimper or cry.  On the other hand, he knows Mommy is a sucker for him.  He knows Mommy will always come into his room at night.  When Daddy comes though... he knows it's over.  It's time to wave his white flag of defeat and go to sleep.  Oh if only Mommy would come instead of Daddy.  Except Daddy's not home now and he knows it.  So he'll do whatever he can do keep Mommy aggravated or appeal to her softer side so she'll cave.

I put him in the bumbo and he says owee.  I'm unsure if he's really hurt or just saying that so I'll kiss him instead.  I ask him where he has an owee and like clockwork, I kiss where he's pointed to on his leg, and he smiles a bit, but his eyes are still glimmering with the tears welled up.  What do I do?!  How do I be a good parent who teaches him responsibility and follows through when his cute lil face is looking back at me with such sadness?!  How much I just want to HUG him instead of DISCIPLINING him.  Ugh.  UGHHHHH!!!

I make him sit down even as he's arching his back and trying to escape the Bumbo.  "Jordan!  Do you know why you're in time-out?" I ask.  "Yea," he replies.  "We do NOT bite people and we do NOT hit people, do you understand?"  "Yea," he replies again.  "Will you do it again?" I ask.  "Yea," he says again.  Does he even get it or is he just saying yea until I ask for a kiss and a hug and excuse him?  Change of plan.  Let's go with good "yea" questions then.  "Jordan, we do NOT hit or bite, okay?"  "Yea," he says again.  "Do you promise Jordan?"  "Yea."  Ugh.  If only I could bite him to show him how much it hurts or slap his face as he does to me so much lately, but that would just show him that Mommy does it so he should too.  Oh the confusion.  The frustration.  The difficulty of being a parent.

And I only have one. ...!  Yes I KNOW!!  Don't warn me about how much harder it will be with two.  I'm not an idiot.  I get it.  It'll be harder.  Tougher.  You'll care less.  You'll let your kids run around with snot on their noses and the limited TV time will become archaic.  Well.. I beg to differ and when I don't, then we can all laugh and say remember when you thought?.....

But this tantrum thing does suck.  He finally calms down.  I ask for a hug and a kiss and then, just like that, we're good.  No more tantrums for the rest of the day.  Just one big one today.  I'll take it over two or more, but I'd really prefer none.  We are all happy.. until he's playing independently in the living room and in the moment of silent tranquility, I calmly notice blood on my foot.  I came out with the owee.  I must have tripped on something because there's a cut and a lot of blood on one of my toes.  I hate blood.  I am so scared of the day when I have to clean up blood off of my sons who are being boys.  It doesn't hurt though, not yet at least.  I go to clean it up with water only (I'm too scared to put an antibacterial whatever to really clean it...) and then I put on some pain numbing Neosporin (a special kind I bought to help myself), and decide I'll wear flip flops and not go to any parks with sand - just wood chips - for today.  "You ready to go out Jordan?"  "Yea," he tells me.  So maybe our communication skills aren't that great yet.  Maybe we just know "yea" gets us everything and "no" means no more of something.  Oh well, we'll work on it.

We get downstairs together (it's harder and harder as I'm still holding him, my stomach is getting larger and why did we want to live on the third floor again?  oh yea, cuz of the vaulted ceilings.. overrated).  The pain in my foot starts to set in.  Ouch.  Motherhood can be so painful sometimes.  I strap Jordan into his seat, make my way around to mine, buckle my seatbelt, adjust the mirrors, shift us into reverse, and turn on some music.  I look back at Jordan who is just smiling ear to ear and he says, "Mommy?" and I reply, "yes baby?" and he just smiles and knocks his head back against the carseat as if to say, "I am so happy you're with me today."

I'm happy too Jordan.  I'm happy too.

No pain.. no gain.  No tantrums?... no way.

 regressing to a baby because his buddy Eliot had a pacifier during vacation and he wanted one too!
 we got the free golf club from Georgia in the mail... first official sponsor?....
 opening it up...
 this is nice Mom!
 this is how motherhood feels sometimes... a weird daze of huh? what next?!
 my big 23 month old
 our morning routine now: 1 hour of work while Jordan watches Einsteins and Mater's Tall Tales
 how much longer can I put him in a onesie and pretend he's still a baby? ....
as long as you want Mom.  as long as you want.  


Gena Hopper said...

What a phase we're in! Hannah doesn't laugh at me, but she barks back. Have you tried the happiest toddler? I'm not good at it, but when Ian does it, it works and Hannah calms down so she can "receive" our words. I can't imagine Andy being the "scary" one. You look cute btw!

Lauren said...

I feel you on this one! It's always the weirdest things that set them off sometimes! I put some sandals on London yesterday and for some reason she just started FREAKING out. Even after I had taken them off and hid them from her sight, she was still thrashing like a maniac on the floor. Oh well, none of us are perfect at it, and it's hard when they're so little and part of you wonders if they REALLY understand what you're saying or even what's going on. And plus they're so cute, it's almost impossible to stay mad at them. These kids...