The T word

These powerful children are intense, complex and wonderful.

The dreaded “T” word – TANTRUM! I thought the terrible 2’s started at 2… no one warned me I would be getting these a whole lot earlier than 2. The newborn phase was a breeze compared to this. Some days I have a sweet little baby hugging my leg, other days I am trying to wrestle a bear while changing a nappy. And then they wonder why moms drink!

I am not here to give advice, or my opinion this time. I am just here to express my own thoughts and feelings. I cannot fathom how a little baby knows exactly what she wants and is able to let you know how she feels about it. But then when doing some research to see if all this is normal, I came across this quote:

“These powerful children are intense, complex and wonderful.”

That is so true. It’s difficult to explain. Little M is not naughty in the sense that she doesn’t listen. If she is doing something she shouldn’t and I tell her to stop, she immediately stops. But then, she will get upset because I have said no. In my years of working with these little beings, I am grateful that she at least listens when being told no, as I have come across many who just refuse and carry on. I also think what makes it difficult, is that it mostly happens when we are out in public, be it the mall or a restaurant. At home she is quite fine – yes she will get upset if I let her know she cannot do something, but when we go out, THAT is a whole different ball game.

I know I shouldn’t give a damn what others think, but the looks I have seen from McJudgy moms gets to me. That ‘raised eyebrow’ look as if to say “wow, she has her hands full”. I was at a birthday party at the Spur yesterday and Mianke did not want anyone to talk to her or touch her. Before many kids arrived, we discovered the slide and she loved it. But as soon as we picked her up to go inside she was kicking and screaming, while certain moms gave each other that “look”. I even had a mom come and look at her sleeping on her way out, only to hear “you should give her something to calm down”. Um what did you just say? Should I medicate my child because she has feelings and chooses to act on them? What do you propose? Ritalin? Xanax? I know she is strong-willed and I am learning to deal with it. I am trying to figure out what is going on in her little mind and what she is feeling. Because it is mostly while we are out, I am leaning towards it being that it is overwhelming and maybe overstimulation. Last weekend we were also out and she didn’t want to run around on the grass on the restaurant side, but when we went to the bathroom, she was running around there. I took her hand and walked with her. As soon as we got outside amongst all the other people, she started screaming and wanted me to hold her.

We had a small stage with hitting, but that didn’t last long. I tried to teach her that it is wrong and she shouldn’t deal with her frustrations that way. I think that is all it is – frustrations and feelings. I read “for a young child, tantrums happen when toddlers struggle with ‘big’ feelings”. I don’t know what I am doing right, but I also don’t know what I am doing wrong. I know it is important to let her feel what she feels. I know one should never tell a child they shouldn’t feel a certain way. Well that’s what I personally think. A child should not hide their anger or frustration. No one should. It is important for emotional development. I just need to help her deal with it in the right way – that is our struggle.

I just struggle to deal when we are out. It’s as if she knows. She is obviously out of her comfort zone and finding a way to process all the people and happenings around her. She is a happy, friendly baba when we are home and she loves running around and playing, but when we are out – totally different story! And because she is still so young, I cannot sit her down and have a conversation with her. She will have NO idea what I am saying.

This is by far the most challenging stage I have been through in this 17 month journey of parenthood so far. It 100% solidifies my decision to stay a one-and-done mom. I cannot even imagine another little one running around when I can barely figure this little M out. I think I need to make a trip to the bookstore and visit the “parenting guides” shelf, haha! Toddlers for dummies could work right about now, as some days I am stumped and clueless.

I guess this is just another phase that will pass. I am sure it must be overwhelming living as a tiny human in a big world, not knowing why they feel the way they do, why they are told they cannot do certain things, why all these strangers are looking at them and talking to them. We just have to be their safe space where they are loved and understood, well mostly understood.

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