Bug is two. Let’s just start there. The last couple of weeks, he has definitely been acting like a two year old. It’s awesome. It is amazing to me how quickly a two-year old can go from being perfectly happy to OHMYGODTHEWORLDISENDINGNOTHINGCANSAVEUS. Seriously, dude… all I did is ask if you wanted to eat breakfast.
We had a few days last week where Bug pretty much just wailed “nnnnoooo” all day long. He would start wailing because he didn’t want to do something I asked him to do. Something really difficult, like putting shorts on. Then he’d get stuck in this super upset cycle of not wanting to do anything, even things he loves, and then wanting to do that thing and then freaking out because we tried to do it. Example:
- Eli, let’s play for one more minute and then we have to go to school
- NNOOOO (wail sob wail sob)
- Okay, buddy, time to put our shoes on for school
- NNNOOOO (wail sob wail sob, kicking, Mom holding him down with her foot to get the shoes on)
- Alright, buddy, shoes are on, time to go. Would you like to pick out a toy to bring in the car?
- NNNNOOOO! NO PICK OUT A TOY!
- Okay. Well, we’re just going to get in the car then.
- NNNOOO!! I WANNA PICK A TOY!
- Great, go ahead and pick one out.
- NNNOOO!! NO PICK OUT A TOY!
- Okay, then. We’re going to get in the car. (Pick up the kicking, sobbing child and head out the door.
- NNNOOO!! I WANNA PICK A TOY!
- Sorry, buddy, it’s too late. You already made up your mind.
- NNNOOOO! I WANNA PICK A TOY! (This exact phrase continues all the way to school.)
I figured out on day two of this nonsense that he has molars coming in and I figured that was the cause. Nothing that a little Advil and ice chips can’t work out. Except for now he has figured out that wailing grates on Mommy’s (and Daddy’s) nerves. He thinks that wailing and whining will get him what he wants. Let me tell you, my little buddy, you are wrong. Really, all of this kind of relates to that whole decision making thing. And, when he’s that upset, decisions become even harder to make. It also makes it harder for Mom & Dad to be steadfast in not letting him change his mind, because who really wants their child to be so upset that they can’t think straight? In your heart, you just want to find something that will make him happy and calm.
We’re sticking to our guns, though. Once he makes a decision, we stick with it. If he is having a moment where he gets upset and stays upset, then we just leave him alone until he calms down. And, we have yet to have a day where just giving him time doesn’t work. He might cry for 20 minutes, sitting alone on the living room floor (or wherever the breakdown started), but once he’s done, he’s back to his happy, goofy, sweet self.
Something else to note… I don’t think these tantrums/breakdowns/freak outs are necessarily a disobedience issue. He’s not always downright disobeying us. They aren’t always situations where time out as a punishment makes sense. Even when it is a disobedience issue and time out would be appropriate, he gets so worked up that time out as a consequence doesn’t even work. I guess this is where the true notion of time out comes into play, though. Because all he really needs is time out from whatever is going on to calm down and reflect on the situation.
Ahhh, two year olds.