When Your Toddler is a Toddler and You Lose It
This feels like a confessional diary entry: Dear Diary, I lost it with my toddler today. Here’s to hoping tomorrow’s better!
My little SuperBoy is as perfect as they come: he’s patient, sweet, listens well, plays well, and has never been nasty to his 8 week old baby sister. But even the perfect do fail, right? Or rather, behave like normal 23 month olds.
I am far from a perfect mother. And having two children seems to have exacerbated my imperfections. Whereas with one child you can kind of always keep your cool, and respond to their needs in a calm and rational fashion, even when the needs involve irrational behavior, with two this task becomes impossible on occasion and difficult on a regular basis.
1) Case study.
I’ve just gotten the babe to sleep happily in the sling while doing housework, and SuperBoy awakens from his nap full-bore and letting the world (and neighborhood) know that he’s AWAKE and wants out of his bedroom NOW. I traipse upstairs with SweetPea on my chest and approach SuperBoy’s room.
I let him know I hear him, but that I need to put his sister down before getting him up and changing his diaper. He doesn’t like this and cries even harder. So I take her out of the wrap, lay her on the floor bed we have in his room, and go to his crib (yes, he’s still imprisoned in a crib) and talk to him. Reasoning doesn’t abate the tears, so I eventually haul him up to his changing table where he’s containable as I remove the world’s largest poopie diaper.
She’s sleeping. He’s crying. She starts crying. He cries harder. He has poo everywhere on his cover, pants, and now the changing pad as he is super squirmy. I’m crying. I’m trying to stay calm, removed, and calming. Instead I’m on the verge of shaking him to get him to stop crying. As if that would have even helped. I threaten him that he won’t get to play with his cards (a favorite toy), that he’ll be in time-out forever. Then I soften and explain I love him, but that love doesn’t mean no diaper changes. He is completely beyond words, so I just hold him down with my hand on his chest, finish the diaper change, and then rock him in the chair for a while until he calms down.
2) Handling it better and more consistently.
How do I not join in the chaos? How do I keep it together and not get angry with my toddler when he acts like, well, a toddler? I don’t know. I pray for patience and grace. How do I be rational, consistent, firm, and kind. How do I give him the boundaries he’s asking for without going nuts?
We’ve all talked here about where toddlers should sleep, toddler night sleep trouble, how they should potty train (or elimination communication train), and all sorts of other helpful topics. Your input is desired and needed! Help a mama out!
When he’s happy, he’s oh-so-happy. When he’s mad, he’s horrid!