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The terrible twos start much earlier

February 28, 2013

It all happens so quickly. Almost in the blink of an eye, this:

turns into this:

Now in my little guy’s defense, we’ve been in northeastern PA on a snowy mountain this long, cold, gray winter. It seems as if it started snowing around the end of July and it hasn’t stopped since. When you are mostly housebound and experiencing cabin fever, garbage day is a big deal! So, when the garbage truck makes an unexpected left turn before going to your house and picking up your garbage, it can be a bitter disappointment for anyone. I nearly sat down in the middle of the street next to him and cried myself, but I wasn’t wearing waterproof ski pants. In fact, I think I had on my Hello, Kitty! fleecy pajama bottoms. Yes, outdoors. No, I don’t go to Walmart dressed like that, but only because I don’t go to Walmart, period (because Walmart is the devil). We shop at Kmart, where the dress code is slightly more upscale.

Slate had a good article yesterday describing exactly why toddlers have meltdowns.

Some people think it’s simply bad parenting. Maybe before I became a mom, I occasionally thought this too. I now know it’s not true (in most cases, there are bad parents out there). We’ve been lucky so far; His tantrums are few and the reasons for them obvious, e.g., the garbage truck turns unexpectedly, or Elmo is over now, or mommy said no you can’t stick your finger in the outlet. I think we can all agree that these are nothing short of toddler tragedies.

He is almost always good in public. He’s been going out for meals with us since he was 6-days old. In Manhattan, people don’t have dinner parties much, or at least we aren’t invited to many because no one really has that kind of room. With some of the best restaurants in the world in walking distance, why cook? So, we do eat out with friends often enough, and we wanted our little guy to get used to eating out as soon as possible. Of course, everyone has a bad night, and he picked the night we were having dinner with a childless-by-choice friend (who also happens to belong to the group No Kidding) to have a complete temper tantrum that included slapping me on both sides of my face at the same time, The 3 Stooges style, and then pulling my hair and shrieking until I could wrestle him outside and calm him down. There was no obvious reason for this particular tantrum that we could discern. Anyone with kids totally gets this, right?

In my 20s, I used to say that a trip to the laundromat was all it took to keep me childless and happy. I could never figure out why people brought kids to the laundromat in the first place, and then why they let them run around like wild animals? I swear I’d take 2 birth-control pills on laundry nights. I eventually started dropping my laundry off and having it delivered, perfectly fluffed and folded when done, but now I understand why those parents let their kids run wild. It’s called picking your battles. Kids have to sit still and behave themselves in a big adult world that they may not understand most of the time. If they occasionally get to run a little wild in the laundromat, why not. I totally get that now.

I’ll save the story of how I purposely tripped an 8-year-old boy running wild on plane for another time.

Next time: I’ll think of something, I hope

© 2013

And congratulations to Sarah, Phil, Henry, and their newest little addition, Gordon! xoxo!

  1. Nadine permalink

    My daughter has plenty of pout fests at home and it’s almost like she enjoys going to her room, the place with all her worldly possesions. But she saves the best performances outside our house for one friend in particular, who likes to say things like “oh no, maybe she needs a hug”……. Really.


  2. lperlbinder permalink

    Can you explain why my 18 year old still has these kinds of tantrums? They started when she was a month old “flailing and wailing”, I called them. Now she just stamps her foot and turns red before calling me all kinds of names. I realize girls and their mothers sometimes have problems, but sometimes tantrum behavior just lasts and lasts. So maybe it starts earlier than you think and endures longer than you might expect. Good luck with that. Love you – L.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Why does my kid freak out? The science behind toddler tantrums. – Slate Magazine | Firenze Moms 4 Moms Network Expat Group

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