Brace yourself, folks, we have entered the world of tantrums. Oh sure, some kids have certainly started well before the 19 month mark, but holy fucking shit, is this some kind of awful roller coaster I’d like to get off.
I guess I always thought tantrums were spawned from “I want this, I can’t have it/you won’t give it to me, now I’m mad.” with a side of “I don’t know how to tell you all of this!” But RR’s fits are, oftentimes, not related to anything other than just spontaneous melting down. She also has a lot of words, so it’s usually not a communication gap; although I will say that it’s so much easier to deal with tantrums spawned from “I don’t want to hold your hand, actually, I want to let go and run across the street into oncoming traffic, and you won’t let me and YOU ARE THE WORST MOTHER!” Those tantrums, they suck, but they’re understandable.
We also have ones that involve her grabbing my hand, and trying to lead me somewhere. Weird, but OK. I always play along, though – “OK, Let’s go! Where are we going?” And she’ll yank on my hand, and then start to emotionally break down as we inch in one direction. Similarly, this happens when we’re sitting, and she wants to get down, then back up, then down, then back up, no wait, now down, then no, back up then NEITHER ARE OK.
Then, you know, you work the checklist – hungry? wet/stinky? tired? bored? sick? hateful? But when the only answer is hateful? yes! Well, we just haven’t found a fix for hateful. Music helps 80% of the time, but then sometimes that’s even more frustrating because she suddenly hates all of the songs, and none of them are the one she wants to hear.
The books, the people, the internet tell me to talk to her in a loving voice (as if she could hear me over the screaming and crying), and maybe try to rock and soothe her, or
lie to her explain to her that I understand why she’s frustrated and upset, which seems all well and good, but the books/people don’t realize that it’s 8am and the time for rocking and soothing is actually time for coat-putting-on, and walking-out-the-door. Or that it’s 5:15pm, and strapping her in a car seat while she does the Toddler Patented(TM) Straight Back Slippery, there is no time or place to rock and soothe. Then I’m reduced to using my best WWF moves to get her strapped into her car seat.
My therapist (who does a lot of family therapy) loves to tell me how now is the time to figure out ways to cope with RR’s emotions, since apparently a 19 month old is nothing compared to a 14 year old girl who starts to hate her mother. Now, give her two to hate. We’re doomed.
Tips for tantrums? Or, rather, still loving your child during a tantrum?