Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Terrible Twos, A Bit Early

A patient of mine joked with me, that kids these days are doing everything earlier than the previous generation, and indeed, that has recently been my experience with Raphaela.

The good news is that she has four more teeth coming in, and for much of the time, Raphaela shows a playfulness, clear communication, and sense of humor that is an absolute pleasure for me as a parent. 

The bad news is that for the last week and a half, she has not gone to bed easily, and has not stayed asleep during the night.  Which means that for the last week and a half I have not slept properly, and today I snapped.  This morning, after Raphaela had taken off her pants for the fifth time in ten minutes, I sat on the bed and started throwing a temper tantrum, and said that Raphaela could go to Gan naked, for all I cared.  I felt so thankful that she had nursery today, because I needed time for myself, without the responsibilities of parenthood.

In the expertise of temper tantrums, I learn from the master, my daughter.  Her exhaustion, combined with the natural desire to test her own limits, have made for a potent combination;  this morning (after waking up at 4:30 am) she sat on the floor, curled up like a little porcupine, and pretended to cry for over 15 minutes, until she realized that I had crawled back into bed and was pretending not to notice.  She wants chocolate for breakfast, and can beg for quite a while, even though I continue to say "no" and offer her cereal or fruit instead.  Raphaela has even tried throwing toys, at which point I stop playing with her.

For her teeth, I have tried almost every conceivable natural and conventional medicine remedy.  For her tantrums, I accept them as a normal and healthy sign of her development as an independent human being.

But yesterday at Gymboree, Raphaela asked to nurse, and for the first time since her birth, once I opened my shirt, she looked at my breasts, climbed off my lap and went back to playing.  My little girl is growing up.


koshergourmetmart said...

I know how frustrating tantrums can be-my 8 year old still had them last year (she was going through a major medical crisis so some regression was normal)

However, it is not a good idea for you to lose control no matter how frustrated you are since it teaches RR the wrong message about dealing with anger and frustration and the correct way of calming one's self down.

Dr sears relates to a parent of a 17 month old boy

"Know your anger tolerance. If you lose patience easily when your child throws a tantrum, know when to walk away. Count to ten (or more!) so that you can gather your thoughts and react calmly. Remember, your child is simply acting his age. You aren't responsible for his tantrum, nor for stopping it. When a toddler loses control, he/she should at least be able to count on the adults to stay in control.

Know when to intervene. Some children, like your son, get themselves so worked up during a tantrum that they vomit. Others may deliberately hold their breath and, on occasion, even pass out. In these cases, "holding therapy" works best. Hold your child in a relaxed and comforting way (even if he squirms) and reassure him with the most soothing voice you can muster. The message you're trying to convey is that he's lost control and you're there to help him regain it. Later in life, when your son is past the tantrum stage, his memories of calm during the stormy behavior will prove valuable.

Temper tantrums usually end between 18 months and 2 years of age, when a child develops the language skills necessary to express his feelings with words rather than actions. So when you're at your wit's end, remember: This too shall pass"

Doc said...

It's almost funny how the cat is trying to adapt as well to this new (temporary) state of affairs: Harry will start to nudge me, sense my frustration or see me glaring at him, as if to say "You have got to be kidding..." and then walks out of the room.