...and when will it be switched back?
My darling daughter is no longer darling. That's right people, the switch has been flipped and not for the better. At two and a half years old, she has gone over the deep end.
I've heard about this "terrible two" thing but never really understood it, until now. And boy, I hate it. So here is what happens when that switch flips, out of the blue, when your child goes from a sweet, good girl to a crazy, over-the-top, tantrum professional, whining extraordinaire, lunatic. (Yes I just called my beautiful girl a lunatic but you don't live with her...).
Recently, I've experienced the following issues with my girl and some tips as to how to and how not to handle it.
Situation 1: Shopping of any kind.
I took Lyla to a kids consignment shop recently. A few months ago we went, she held my hand, we shopped, and then went home. A few days ago, we went in, she found a Big Bird chair she refused to walk away from and ended up on the floor under the racks screaming for the chair. Fun stuff!
As my girl was kicking and screaming on the floor to sit on the chair all day, I had a few options as to what I'd do - all of which made my cheeks turn red.
Option 1: Let her sit in the Big Bird chair all day. Then when the store closes, buy it to take home. You have nothing better to do all day and need another plastic, landfill filling toy in her overcrowded room of landfill ready toys. Then while you're at it, have her pick out a few more things she wants to avoid temper tantrums all together. If she wants to drive home, let her. Screaming child in the car? Why bother when she can just be in control of it, right?
Option 2: Let her tantrum play out. Force her to stand up and explain to her that that behavior is not appropriate in the store. Talk to her firmly rather than yelling and then try to engage her in something else. For example, "Lyla, let's see what kind of Halloween costumes they have! Maybe they have a pretty princess one we can see."
Option 3: Run like hell insisting it's not your child.
Obviously I went with Option 2. Granted the conversation took a few minutes and she didn't calm down right away. But I got her away from the chair and she held my hand the rest of the shopping trip.
Situation 2: Bounce Houses.
For the record, if you ever see a bounce house for kids... Run. The. Other. Way. They are bound to create temper tantrums.
We were at a friend's birthday party and there was a huge bounce house for the kids. Lyla was immediately drawn to it so we let her go in. Here is the problem... Lyla has a weak stomach. Something we only learned recently when she was on a swing for 10 minutes and ended up puking. What can I say, she got something wonderful from her father. He can't be on a boat of any kind. So I'd rather her not have her bounce for a long time because what kid wants to bounce with puke? And then a lot of big kids went in and it wasn't safe for her.
Literally pulling her out of the bounce house was a chore and then keeping her away from it, good stuff!
I could see her ears with steam and the tantrum ready to begin!
Option 1: Let her go back in the bounce house, get trampled by kids, get brought to the ER and have DCF called on you and then have some nice quiet time in prison. Tempting...
Option 2: Distract her with everything around you. Other toys, other kids, other people. Show her the bounce house full of big kids and tell her if she went in, she'd get a big boo boo (cause saying "big boo boo" works every time!). Tell her she has to wait her turn. Then listen to her repeat it back to you a ton of times; "I don't jump cause I get a big boo boo. I have to wait my turn."
Option 3: Run like hell insisting it's not your child.
Yes, option 2 worked and she understood she had to wait and be patient.
Situation 3: Potty time.
Telling a toddler they have to go pee is like telling a devout Christian that there is no God. They refuse. The key for potty training is making the toddler tell you when they have to pee. It's all about these key words: "I want to do it all by myself".
We have rules: As soon as you wake up from sleeping; we try to go potty. Before we get in the car, we try to go potty. Before we leave for home, we try to go potty. But sometimes, that just doesn't work.
A few weeks ago at the library, after story time, we went in the bathroom where my child decided to refuse to pee and make such a fit over it she was on the floor of the bathroom screaming - awesome. I was so embarrassed!
Option 1: Don't force her to pee. In fact, that whole potty thing is so stressful, so just put her back in diapers and screw it. So much less stress in your life.
Option 2: Don't force her to pee but let her know firmly that it is not appropriate to act like that in the library and the rules are we have to "try" before we get in the car. Remind her the whole way home, we don't go pee in the car and you have to hold it until we get home.
Option 3: Run like hell insisting it's not your child (some day)...
Again, I went with option 2. It was stressful thinking she'd pee in the car. Especially when we got in the car and the first thing she did was tell me she had to go pee. Oh I wanted to...
These are just a few situations I've encountered but really, it's like night and day the way she used to act and the way she does now. She's still a good kid overall but Jared and I just drop our jaws at how the littlest thing turns into a full-blown fit. It's kind of scary. I keep waiting for her to turn into the Hulk or a werewolf.
When does the switch flip again? When will my sweet, good listening, non temper-tantrum throwing child return? Is there an end in sight? Pray for me. And send me lots more patience!