My son has never, in all his short life, been afraid to show his feelings as forcefully as he can, and we’ve been experiencing meltdowns and full on tantrums for so long I can’t remember when they didn’t happen. But when he was younger, he’d get frustrated with the world, and frustrated that he couldn’t communicate his needs and wants with us. Now, however, there is no doubt about the fact that his tantrums are classical toddler tantrums, driven by not being allowed to have, or do, something which he desires. He has become the master of the insta-tantrum, which goes from nought-to-sixty within three seconds flat of me uttering the word “no”. I can tell you now that I’m absolutely dreading what the twos, and threes, will bring if this is the ones!
Amongst our top tantrum starters at present are “bis-bit”, “cake” and “choc-luc”. Or in other words, demands for biscuits, cake or chocolate. Oh, the parenting fail, I’m sure, that my child was not only cognisant of these things, but had the language to start asking for them before the age of 18 months! And ask for them he does. About
fifty million forty times a day. I rue the day that he first ate a chocolate button, for I didn’t know then that I would never get peace again. On being told no, he screws his face up, takes a big breath, throws his head back and wails, often pausing to shout “yes” and “more”. If I deign to offer him a different snack, he’ll look at me as though I’m offering him some crud scraped from the bottom of a shoe. And I thought I was being oh-so-clever when I filled the biscuit tin (yes, he knows what and where that is!) with rice cakes and fruit. Not impressed does not even cover it – as well as the tantrum it appears he has also mastered the withering look and the “what-do-you-take-me-for-mummy?” face.
We also have a problem with Thomas the Tank Engine, in so far as my son is completely addicted to the little train that shares his name. He will find the television remote control and come running to us demanding “toot toot” and “peep peep”. The thing is, there are much worse things he could be in to (in fact, he watches no other television) and I quite like Thomas the Tank Engine for the simple fact that it is the only thing for which Thomas (the boy) will sit still for more than thirty seconds. He absolutely loves it. Unfortunately my conscience won’t let me allow him to stay parked in front of it for too long, (and I already have the theme tune on a loop in my brain) but if I don’t switch it on when demanded, we’ll have an insta-tantrum that involves falling to the floor and banging his feet and fists.
A more unusual cause of tantrums in this house over the last few days are my boobs. I was almost mentally composing a post last week about how breast feeding may be coming to an end. We brought him in to our bed last week as he wouldn’t sleep and was really unsettled. I still sleep with my top half naked (sorry, TMI) so bringing Thomas in to bed is like serving myself up on a plate. But he wasn’t interested at all. And he also didn’t feed for a run of five straight days last wek. Now, though, boobs are back with a vengeance. He wants to feed like a newborn again, and much as I like the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” strategy, I’ve had to refuse or I would never get anything done. And there are times that it just isn’t appropriate. Such as when I’m sitting on the loo. (Yes, he’s barged in on me in the bathroom with this demand!) Refusal, of course, is met with the most epic tantrums of all, with head banging, scratching and shrieking.
The difficulty is, I don’t think I’m dealing with these behavioural challenges very well. In fact, I know that I’m not as I have absolutely no clue what I am doing! I don’t want to give in, as even I can see how pointless that would be, so I’ve been relying on distraction as my main tool. The problem here comes when my method of distraction from one tantrum is the very thing I refused and which led to the prior tantrum. So I find Thomas the Tank Engine going on when I want to divert him from my boobs, and my boobs coming out in preference to chocolate buttons .
I know I’m sending the kid confusing messages, and he probably ends up having almost as much Thomas the Tank Engine/boob/biscuits this way as he would if I just gave in each time he asked!
It’s the principle though, right? He can’t have everything he wants just because he asks for it.
No, it seems he has to throw a tantrum about something else first!!