Sunday, March 9, 2008

Terrible Two's. . .well, occassional sweetness

Okay, my sweet, lovable, cuddly, and cute little boy has turned into a Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde! He turned two last November. What began as run of the mill temper tantrums (ya know, crazy, out of control kid flailing himself on the floor and kicking and screaming--frustrating, but sometimes still kind of cute/funny) to pure insanity! Don't get me wrong, he still has his cute, cuddly, smiley, giggly moments, but man, he can be quite a little toot!

For instance, when it's time for a prayer (family, blessing on food, etc.) and he's not in the mood, he starts yelling "Jesus Christ, Amen" over and over. When he's in the right mood, though, he actually does really well saying prayers with or without help. It's very cute, though, when Chloe pipes in and helps him with prayers by telling him what to say.

Another cute moment, I caught Chloe in his crib with him this afternoon reading books to him. She's quite the little reader and he's finally starting to actually pay attention and sit still for a bit to read/look at books. I think Simon had put him in his crib for a time out and then Chloe climbed in to read books to him. Cute kids--should've taken a picture, but didn't want to disturb the peace!

Okay, but Aaron has really become a bit overly aggressive when he gets upset. Sometimes he hits his head against whatever he can find (wall, floor, my head, etc.). The other day he totally freaked out (ya know, the type where he wants me to pick him up, then arches his back to get down, then wants to be picked up. . .doesn't have a clue what he wants) and I knew he was exhausted and needed a nap. So, I put him in his crib so he could calm down in a safe environment. After he fell asleep, I went in to cover him with a blanket and he had pulled the fitted sheet and the fitted mattress pad off and thrown them out of the crib. He was sound asleep on the cold, vinyl crib mattress. Poor kid. He was REALLY frustrated!

I generally am able to stay calm when he freaks out, but I just feel bad because there's nothing that seems to help. I end up just letting him freak out until he finally calms down because he rejects my attempts to hold and comfort him until that point. This has especially been happening right after he wakes up from naps. I keep thinking his naps just aren't long enough (he normally sleeps about 1 1/2 hours), but when I let him cry for a bit, he doesn't go back to sleep and I figure he's slept too long to let him cry for too long cause he's probably rested enough not to fall back asleep, but not enough to be calm. . .)

Any suggestions? I'm getting a bit worried and may even make an appointment with his pediatrician just to talk about this issue. He use to be such a calm little boy, and still is, sometimes. . .


  1. Natalie,
    I probably don't have any advice you haven't already heard. Most likely he will grow out of it. Here's what I use on my kids, at least when I'm being "good mom" and not "bad mom" :-).

    1. Stay calm
    2. Be in charge, but nicely. (If you do x then Y will be the consequence) and follow through.
    3. Sit down with them when they are calm and discuss the behavior. (The sooner after they calm down, the better) Explain what is acceptable and what is not. Be very basic and explain the consequences of the behavior. Hug and hold them as you talk so they know you do love them. Pick consequences that they absolutely hate. The more they hate them, the better. Mine change on a regular basis depending on what's important to them at the time.
    4. Don't try to reason with the kids when they are out of control. Say this is not acceptable, you are going to time out or whatever until you can calm down. Be calm, calm calm. If you get upset, it doesn't work at all. (Trust me, I know from experience!)
    5. And last, but not least, try to understand where your kid is coming from. He's obviously frustrated about something. When they can't communicate real well, it's hard to figure out what the real cause is. Maybe he just doesn't like you telling him what to do. Maybe it's something else. Who knows, but watch him and see what triggers the reactions. Think about what was happening before he freaked out. Then try and figure out if there's anything you can change that will prevent him having his tantrum. Sometimes, there's nothing you can do.

    Wow, that was way more advice than I was intending to give. Ignore whatever you want to ignore. :-)

    ps - Josh still isn't #2 potty trained! I think he's trying to beat Chloe's record! Oh, well.

  2. Sorry Josh is trying to beat Chloe's record. That stinks for you!

    Thanks for the advice. That's pretty much what I do. It's just that these particular tantrums come right after his naps for no apparent reason. But, I talked with his doctor and she said it all just sounds like normal temper tantrums and to keep doing what I'm doing (which is putting him in a safe environment to calm himself down--normally his crib). Just like all other temper tantrums, he'll eventually figure out that they don't get him the desired results and they will decrease. I'm sure Chloe probably got this extreme at one point too, I just have a bad memory :-)

  3. I think DeeAnn gave great advice. Also, when they're 2 it seems like anything goes emotionally! They have such a hard time communicating what they want, so tantrums happen more often. Liv was the worst, but AShley did it, too. Liv was particularly grumpy right after her naps and right when she woke up in the morning. One thing I did was let her have about 15-20 minutes in her crib to "wake up" before I went to get her. This allowed her to get her grumpies out, and she was a much more pleasant person. (If I got her too quickly, it literally ruined the whole day.)

    I think staying in control is the best idea. Try to just remove yourself mentally from the tantrums. Sometimes it's easier said than done. But if you can keep a "I'm not a part of this fit" way of thinking, it's definitely easier to deal with the situation.

    FYI: Crib Tents are miracles for about $70. I got one for Liv b/c she'd climb out of her crib and I was afraid she'd hurt herself (she started at 12 mos!). I have it on Ethan's crib and I know he's in a safe place if he needs to spend some time in there. Plus they can't throw out their bedding! Anyway, if need be, you might want to look into it.

  4. Jacqui--Thanks! I think waiting before I get him after his naps helps! Fortunately, he has yet to climb out of his crib (he turned 2 last November!). It's crazy cause he's climbs on everything else in the house!

    We did have a crib tent when Aaron was born to keep Chloe out of his crib (we had borrowed it from Alan and Erika) so I do know how great they are! I never really thought about using them to keep the child (and his bedding) in, just keeping the sibling out.