My 25 month-old always keeps me on my toes. I never quite know if I will be subjected to one of her good moods or her bad moods, if she will eat or not eat, if she will get along with her sister or fight over any and every little thing, if she will nap or fight off sleep with every fiber of her being. Her moodiness has gotten worse lately and she has also been working on perfecting the toddler staple: the temper tantrum.
Yesterday started out like any other. She awoke at 7am and crawled into bed with me to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She drank her milk and watched her friends on MMCH use Mouska-tools and go on crazy adventures (and defy the laws of gravity and physics and all the other sciences too probably). Things were going well. Then the girls went downstairs and Kiera was fawning over her new fish tank. Caitlin, in typical form, got grabby and started to touch the tank and flip the lid open and tried to turn the light on and off. This irritated Kiera who told her to back off and then the fight ensued. So by 8am, I was breaking up fights in front of the fish tank. Then we got dressed. Well, Caitlin didn’t like the outfit that I picked out so she screamed. We eventually compromised on an outfit.
We were planning a picnic in the park – a park I knew had a playground structure – so I pulled her tennis shoes out of her closet. As soon as she saw the shoes, she cried and screamed “NO!” She pointed at her pink and purple crocs. She loves the crocs and wants to wear them all the time. I tried to tell her that she needed to wear the tennis shoes to play outside. I told her that if she wanted to see grandma and grandpa at the park, she needed to wear the tennis shoes. I know, trying to rationalize with a toddler is stupid. I know. So she threw the tennis shoes at me while screaming red-faced. I realized that I was going to have to wrestle her to get the crocs off her feet so I decided to deflect… probably not the best method but the best I could do at the time. She agreed to putting the tennis shoes in her backpack and bringing them along… guaranteeing me another tantrum later when we arrived at the park.
I was able to get the tennis shoes on her when we got into my parents’ car and left for the park. It was a fight, but I did it. As she always does, she pulled the tennis shoes and socks off in the car. So I had to battle her all over again upon arriving at the park.
Yesterday was a beautiful day with perfect picnic weather. We went to a local city park that has a nice playground. There were little horses on springs for kids to ride on, swings and a monstrous climbing structure with slides and ladders. My dad brought his portable grill to make hot dogs and we also brought baked beans and potato chips. These are all things that Caitlin loves (and note to the food police: I know these aren’t healthy foods to feed my kids, thank you very much). We let the kids play while dad grilled the hot dogs. Of course, she didn’t want to leave the play area when it was time to eat so cue tantrum #1. When I finally got her to sit at the table, she refused to eat (tantrum #2). She also refused to sit still on the picnic table bench (tantrum #3) and eventually she fell off of it backwards (tantrum #4). Since she refused to eat, I wouldn’t let her return to the playground area until we had finished eating –so that someone could go with her to supervise. Enter tantrum #5. And when I say tantrum, I mean a full-on throw body on the ground, kick, scream at top of lungs tantrum. We were very close to a pavilion where a group of people were gathering for what looked like a birthday party. So these total strangers watched as I dealt with this screaming child for what seemed like forever.
So what was supposed to be a nice picnic in the great weather with my loving family, turned into me eating as much as I could as fast as I could so that I could deal with Caitlin, who seemed to scream the entire time we were there.
She did eventually get to go back to the playground, accompanied by my mom. Caitlin took off running in the other direction –toward the pavilion people, who probably considered calling CPS – and my mom called after her and tried to grab her. Caitlin yelled “don’t get me!” and as my mom got her, she threw herself to the ground to complete tantrum #6. As she went down she yelled, “Kiera help me!” I’m not sure why she thought Kiera would help her. Kiera, who was on the swings ignoring her sister’s antics, just yelled in a bored voice “Get up!” It was the funniest thing ever. Even my mom, who was watching tantrum #7 unfold at her feet, laughed.
Tantrum #8 occurred when it was time to leave, of course.
When we got back to my parent’s house, there was some of the usual whininess and fights with Kiera over toys. This is to be expected. When it was time to go home, tantrum #9 reared its ugly head. And it was a doozy. I eventually had to carry her from their house kicking and screaming and manhandle her to get her buckled into our car. She screamed the entire car ride home, which was a very long 10 minutes.
If there is any positive side to this (and believe me, I looked hard for that silver lining), she was exhausted by bedtime and fell asleep rather quickly. I relaxed for the first time all day.
I know there will be days like this. I know it’s her age and it’s to be expected. I know she can’t communicate as well as she wants to and she can’t control her emotions. I know she’s pushing boundaries and trying to assert her independence.
I try to be as patient as possible, which isn’t my forte. I try to stay calm. I’m not all that good at it, but I am trying. I love my daughter to death and while I watch her tantrum I try to think about how she feels. Heck, I’ve been known to throw a tantrum or two on really bad days. But yesterday just felt like my initiation into toddlerhood with child #2. Fun times are ahead, for sure.