Monday, June 15, 2009

Jake and Mr. Hyde

photo taken about an hour ago

Jake, oh Jake, how sweet you can be, but then the moon comes out and I wonder what happened to thee. Where do I come up with it? I don't know. So, moving on....

Please help me understand this, the terrible twos are supposed to be over when? Because, I'm not seeing any lights at the end of any long noisy tunnels.

You see... anyone who knows Jake, knows he has two sides. Happy, sweet, thoughtful Jake and, well, Mr. Hyde. Tantrums are a very normal and frequent occurrence at our house even with all the good vibes I've been exuding lately. I know, completely unappreciated. I barely flinch these days. Jon and I are typically at a constant state of tantrum alert, ready to instate the operation extinguish tantrum routine which is still not fully perfected.

So, I just reassure myself and everyone else in his path that he's just passionate... About EVERYTHING. He can go from a normal volume to earth shattering decibels in seconds. His motto is, when in doubt, scream at a pitch that will make my mother's face melt. He can completely loose it over anything. ANYTHING. Doc says it's just the terrible twos. Uh, hello, he's three. I expected way more maturity by now. He is getting better though. Better meaning he'll only tantrum for 25 minutes instead of an hour or more.

The classic situation happened yesterday. All of us headed outside for a nice walk during a brief break in the June gloom. Jake was on his tricycle which has a push handle to help us help him steer. We have been using the push handle because he hasn't quite mastered the art of peddling and steering yet, that is, until yesterday when he insisted on peddling and steering all by himself. While we were happy to let him try, it was becoming apparent that this would be a very long walk. He'd peddle a few feet and then end up in the gutter or a flower bed & get stuck. He'd try to get unstuck, accidentally knock over the trike in the process and follow that by screaming which we thought meant he wanted help. Turns out, screaming is really code for "back off and don't you effen even think about helping me or I'll throw myself on the ground, roll around, arch my back and scream in the gutter all the while passers by gleam disapproving stares our way."

SO GLAD WE DECIDED TO DO THIS. Remind me the next time I have some crazy, hairbrained idea to go for a walk to instead rip my eyebrows off. That, of course, would be WAY more fun.

Or there is always the food issue. I'll serve a perfectly tasty meal for him and what could have been a pleasant dinner together is instead an hour filled with "I CAN'T", "I WON'T" and "NO MOMMY, NO THANK YOU." Sorry, champ, no points for being polite while screaming at me. All because I had the audacity to serve him anything other than a waffle, which in case you didn't know, is a recipe for unspeakable horrors.

Jake's pediatrician has reassured me that these outbursts are "normal" and that he'd be worried if he didn't have them. After witnessing one of Jake's "outbursts" in the waiting room, though, I really wanted to ask him if he had ever seen a more "normal" kid than Jake. The advice was also to just ignore him and let the tantrum run its course. Tried that and the unanimous conclusion is: does not work with Jake. We tried the 1-2-3 magic until we're blue in the face and that seems to be working SOMETIMES. If I were at home and was at the point of dropping him off downtown with a sign around his neck that said "best offer or FREE", I'd instead opt to pick up his twitching and shrieking body, carry him off to his bedroom, close the door and safely listen from the other side until he was done flinging himself around the room in a hysterical fit. The neighbors have actually asked if he's ok.

If that wasn't enough, Chloe is showing signs of the terribles already. When I say sign, I mean LARGE NEON BILLBOARD SIGN. The age of independence and assertiveness has offically begun and is not helped by the fact that she has 2, 4 or 15 teeth all coming in at the same time. Any inconvenience, and by inconvenience I mean not letting her eat cat food, is followed by the bottom lip quivering and then quickly escalates into throwing herself on the floor (sound familiar?), back arching and some crying and whining. Thankfully, not quite with the ferociousness of Jake, but still remarkable in it's own right. The ignoring works a bit better with her because right after starting, she'll take intermittent breaks to look up and see if anyone is watching the show. If there is, she'll continue said show. Such a drama queen. Who on earth does she get that from?

So when does this agony end? Is there ever an end or does it just manifest itself in different ways. I keep hearing that 4 is the new 2. WONDERFUL. And then there's always my well meaning mother's favorite comment,"Just wait till they're teenagers".


Krimey said...

LOL! Well of course Chloe's all over the tantrums...she's learning from the master! :))

I don't know if this'll help but whenever a tantrum erupts in our house I just get down next to them and state the obvious: "you are really upset. you wanted to play with the cat food and i wouldn't let you. you're really frustrated." i try to let the tantrum run its course because they say this helps them learn how to transition to calm themselves. (then again, i've never experienced a tantrum in public so i don't know how i'd alter my strategy when there are other people judging me...) :P

Hang in there, Momma!

Pierce-ville said...

I don't know about 4 being the new 2 but I have heard often that 3 is more terrible than 2. Personally - the 18 month mark is possibly my least favorite. With Arden right there, I'm thinking about taking a sabbatical.

Addie's Mama said...

oh yes, we are familiar. addie had a tantrum so massive in proportion that I was afraid for her personal safety.