I knew this was coming

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

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  1. I bought that Toddlerease book (Harvey Karp’s Happiest Toddler on the Block, for those just tuning in) when Jonas was about 16 months old. The way he described these kids acting, I thought “no way… my sweet little angel would NEVER act like that!” Karp goes on to say that the Terrible Two’s start at 18 months, and at that time your once-sweet-little angel turns into a demon spawn. I swear I did not believe it until I saw the invasion for myself. At 18 months on the dot, it was like somebody snuck in and replaced my perfect child with something other-worldly.

    I wish I could tell you that I found a book to stop it, but I did not. And man, I read everything. Actually, the Super Nanny stuff seems to end the tantrums the quickest. The boy has seen his fair share of Time-Outs in his day, and he’s heard Mommy yell a lot.

    I’d also love to tell you it gets easier, but it hasn’t (not so far.) No, it’s not all-out scream fests anymore like when he was a toddler, but now he’s matured into an argue-until-I-exhaust-Mommy-and-she-can-do-nothing-but-try-to-stick-her-head-in-the-oven approach.

    I hear it gets easier at 5. Sorry 😀

  2. Noah and Kendall are exactly the same age and I’m starting to see that animalistic nature emerge too 🙁 I picked up Toddler 411 from the library last week (before we had to leave story time early for fear of being banned). haven’t gotten too far but it looks pretty interesting.
    good luck!

  3. The face slapping baffles me, too. We’ve never laid a hand on Aidan and my husband and I don’t participate in slap fights. Where he picked this behavior up is a mystery to me.

  4. Yeah – not looking forward to this. My little angel daughter has started the slapping. It’s not aimed really and I can tell it’s a frustration move more than a “I’m going to hurt you” move. I’ve been telling her that hitting is not okay, sitting her down and walking away. She usually screams and I usually feel terrible for not helping her through her frustration but within a minute or two, she usually calms down and comes to me to show me “gentle touches”. I like to fool myself into thinking it will always be that easy but I know that’s not the case…thanks for the post – I’m sure I’ll appreciate it more in a few months…and good luck with your “vaca”. I did the same a few months back and it was great! I need to do it again! : )

  5. I don’t know what to say other than that I feel for you, and also, you’ve put the fear of god in me!! Sersiously, if Jasper takes a dramatic turn for the worse in 3.5 months I think I may just give up.

  6. That age terrifies me. Thankfully we have a while to go – he is only 6 months. But I’m sure I’ll be in that position one day very soon. Hopefully you get some answers! And then share them with me when I need them LOL!

  7. I have a 4 1/2 year old with Down syndrome who is cognitively entering the terrible two stage so I am living it right now. As long as we can get to the park and out of the house, it’s all good (check out the weather in Denver today 🙁 Otherwise, I am hoping this won’t go on for too much longer. Ugh!

  8. Surprisingly it gets betters shortly after they turn two. It really is the terrible 18ish month age. Hang in there!!

  9. Pingback: Blogger gives up internet for a week and her life changes | BABY RABIES

  10. Did you find out more about Love & Logic? Our preschool teacher gave us a handout one yr. Very helpful. Would be even more helpful if I had continued to implement it. Am interested too in reading more about your internet hiatus. I need one. But I’m addicted. I’d have an easier time giving up food. And I’m addicted to that too. ugh.

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