It’s been a pretty rough week in our house. Ever since my getaway to The Big Apple (Do people still call it that, or am I showing my nerdiness?), Jax has made me pay for it by refusing to take baths at night (these were our favorite part of the day for as long as I can remember), refusing to get dressed, not eating well (as if he ever really ate well, but now he eats less well), fighting teeth-brushing, not sleeping great, nursing around the clock (especially at night), and being generally ridiculously clingy (to mom-mom [me] only). Yesterday on the boardwalk, he had a tantrum after we said we had to go home. I’m talking a full-on sit-in-the-middle-of-the-boardwalk kind of tantrum that made passersby laugh. It actually made his daddy & me laugh a little, too, although we tried not to show him.
In typical mommy fashion, I googled tantrums with the desperate hope of helping my previously happy boy find his way back to good before I leave for New Orleans this weekend. There seems to be two types of tantrums: manipulative and frustration. Frustration tantrums, which seem to be the kind we’re dealing with now, come from a toddler’s inability to communicate what he’d like to do—he can’t express his desire verbally just yet, so he throws a tantrum. Frustration tantrums, according to Dr. Sears, require parental empathy. This can come in the form of a simple “It’s OK, I understand.” Dr. Sears says:
Sit down with him at eye level and caringly say, “Tell mommy what you want.” That encourages him to use words or body language to communicate his feelings and needs so that he doesn’t have to act them out in displays of anger…. Once your toddler develops the language skills to express her needs in words, you’ll be able to close the book on the tantrum stage. This usually happens between two and two- and-a-half-years-of-age, depending on your child’s language development.
Jax will be two in August. Momma is gonna celebrate the beginning of the end of the tantrum stage. And until then? There will be wine.
I should start looking at this as an exercise in helping me develop better patience. Anyone who knows me knows how impatient I am. I thought having a child would help with that struggle. Not so much. But maybe I’ll come out of this stage with a little more patience. Probably a few additional gray hairs, too.
If you’re the parent of a toddler, what has your experience been regarding tantrums and clinginess? Send some tips this way!!!
And if you have no tips, I’ll take wine.