The Terrorist Terrible Twos are here. Kendall is a full blown toddler who spends his days screaming, whining, screeching, flailing, biting and hitting (the biting and hitting have only been inflicted on me, so far). I’d seen shades of this before we left for DC last week, but it matured and bloomed, transforming my sweet child into a frustrated animal, the moment we arrived at the hotel.
I thought, perhaps, his behavior was so… animalistic because he was frustrated with our situation, he was annoyed with being in the hotel, or he was thrown off by the slight time change and disruption to his daily routine. I wondered if maybe I was just feeling his actions were so intense because we seemed to be under a microscope while traveling, afraid of burdening others with my loud and frustrated child. Whatever the reason, the catalyst for this sudden development, it was pretty awful to adjust to and deal with in the confines of a hotel and a town center that caters to business professionals.
It seemed there was no appropriate place to escape. He didn’t want to be in the room, nor did I, but he refused to listen to me when I took him outside, insisting on running into streets and parking lots and toward water features in 55 degree weather. He was minimally content in his stroller if I was pushing him around outside, but the moment I stepped into a store he began screeching, squealing and screaming, writhing in his stroller and pounding his legs.
We tried eating out a time or two, but were so embarrassed by his behavior, we felt like we had to shovel food in our mouths to get out of there before he combusted. We spent the rest of the week ordering take out. We tried to get together with a friend and her son, same age, and he showed off his super awesome new attitude by slapping me on the face in front of them. No idea where the hell he even got the idea to slap someone on the face. I assure you that’s not something he’s seen around here.
Wednesday night I took a much needed mommy timeout and left Scott and Kendall in the hotel room with takeout so I could escape for a couple hours, but that only did so much. By Friday I was a wreck. The whole week left me beaten down and lacking confidence. I had completely lost control of my son, and it felt like everything I did to redirect, distract and correct him only made the situation worse. I tried timeouts, I tried the caveman speak (toddlerease), I tried affirming his feelings, I tried not to lose my mind, I tried not to scream at him, I tried not to say NO every other minute of the day. Mostly, I tried not to cry.
We’ve been home for two days now, and the behavior hasn’t gone away. The only thing that has changed is my willingness to ignore his screams in the comfort of my home that doesn’t share a wall with anyone. He bit me yesterday, and tried to do it again today. The first words out of my mouth, before I could even censor what I would say, were “If you bite me, I will rip your brains out.” W.T.F? It was such a gut reaction.
I found out about the Love and Logic approach today and am really intrigued. Something tells me this approach would discourage empty threats of removing vital organs as a form of discipline. There is a seminar down our way in a few months, which I wish was tomorrow, but in the meantime I will try to get my hands on the book.
In fact, I’m hoping to do a lot of research and work this week on how to get through this stage. I won’t be able to do it on the internet, though. I’ll have to go back to the good old days of researching stuff in a library or the book store, or just spending time on the phone with women who know their stuff.
Starting tomorrow, I’m taking part in a little social experiment where I will give up the internet for 5-7 days (except for the work I need to do to finish fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). I can’t say much more about it, but will be sure to blog all the details when I’m allowed back into the World Wide Web. I’m actually really looking forward to this. Sometimes I wonder how much my connection to my computer and the people on the other side of it has affected my connection to the people I see, face to face, every day. Sometimes I wonder how much of an effect it has on me as a parent.
Here’s hoping, if anything, this week will at least help me figure out a more appropriate thing to say to my son as he comes at me, mouth wide open, flashing his canines.
Kendall is one week shy of 18 months old