April 26, 2012

What happened to my toddler?!

the truck is, apparently, much more fun to ride,
than to let sit around storing toys...
If you are reading this because your sweet toddler angel has suddenly started behaving 'badly', you are not alone.

Over the tail end of this weekend and into my Monday and Tuesday with him 1:1 we had a terrible time. I felt like I was losing many battles and possibly the war. Until now (at least in retrospect), I have been pretty happy of most of my decisions in parenting and the behaviors and habits I see coming out in my kid. But the past few days have been brutal. I emailed one friend in a panic "Help! M is testing me to the limits! How do I get my head back in the game?!"

Step one, it seems, is reach out to your mommy friends for support and advice. Honestly, I was utterly embarassed about the behavior going on in our house. It was taking two full grown adults every ounce of energy we had not to explode over trying to quell throwing utensils and refusal to help pick up toys (that he repeatedly dumps out) and melt downs over changing poopy diapers. And my former genius sweetheart was now a 'bad kid'. I was almost too embarassed to bring this up to my friends. But I am SO glad I did. The first email to my pal with a toddler about 3 months younger than ours yeilded much empathy and wisdom. I sipped my coffee while I read:

      "Knowing that it won't last forever and that what he is doing is to learn and grow and explore his world helps, too. And that you are not a bad parent nor are you alone."

I was starting to feel less stressed...

My status, "I think I need to re-watch the 'Don't Shake the Baby' video, now that we have reached toddler-hood" attracted the attention of another friend with a toddler the same age as ours, and she replied, "I laughed out loud... the same thing is happening at our house!" I felt 50 lbs lighter.

After one whole day of self-therapy, and the hubby returning from out of town, the gremlin turned back into our (mostly) angel. And I didn't even have to drink a bottle of wine... but I did treat myself to chocolate. Interestingly, another suggested therapy was to scream! In the shower, garage, or walk-in freezer. I am squirreling this one away for later.

Here are some links to some resources - even if they tell you stuff you already know (but keep trying to remember in the heat of the moment), it may make you feel better to know that this does happen to everyone, and that people got rich off selling books on the topic!

Aggression, hiting, and biting (BabyCenter)

When Push Comes to Shove (Parents.com)

The Reasons Behind Bad Behavior in Children (whattoexpect.com)

How Kids Develop

What buttons is your toddler pushing? How are you handling it?

1 comment:

  1. I think it's a lot like Cesar milans rules for dogs.....don't wage a battle unless you are willing to see the rule through. At 3 we are in the negotiating phase...just a few more minutes, not right now, etc....it is funny because you do realize when you same the same thing. We all have an inner toddler ;)
    Lastly, it is all a phase. We went through a month where we thought we wouldn't be able to go to restaurants due to the terrible twos, but ride it out and we are back in action.