Saturday, October 06, 2007

That was all I needed.
You know those times in your life where you know you're acting like a jerk & you need a total attitude adjustment? You know those days when you look at yourself in the mirror & think, what in the hell am I doing? Those moments in your life where you hate the person you've become? That's been me the last few weeks if not the last month.

It's been no secret that Logan's temper tantrums have been quickly pushing me to the edge of insanity. Day after day, hour after hour, the constant screaming & tantrums, the endless frustration. I've hated it. I've actually told myself in my head that at this point, I hate motherhood. I can't handle it. It's been emotionally draining, physically exhausting & demoralizing. I've noticed that my attitude has been increasingly volatile with a complete lack of patience. My worst character flaw-impatience. And when it rears it's ugly head, it's well, ugly.

It's been bad. I've felt like I've been constantly screaming. "Get back in you bed!", "Oh my God! Why did you dig the diapers out of the diaper pail!", "Stop screaming!", "Stop throwing your food!", "Stop, stop stop!". It gets to this point because I start with a request that lands on deaf ears. I repeat myself at least five times (or more) & then I'm so frustrated I just start screaming to get Logan's attention. It works, but it's a crappy way to go about it. It doesn't make him feel good & it certainly doesn't make me feel good. It actually makes me feel like my mother.

My God. I've turned into my mother. One of the people I despise the most in this world. This was one of my biggest parenting fears. This is what made me shake uncontrollably when I saw the positive pregnancy test. This is not what I wanted to do & it wasn't who I wanted to be.

I guess to my credit, I saw the type of mother I was turning in to & realized that I needed to get my act together & now. So, I tried. I tried really, really hard yesterday. While it wasn't a completely scream-free day because Logan did get into the diaper pail (again), throwing dirty diapers all over his room during nap time & I lost my temper-that was it. The rest of the day was relatively tantrum-free.

I tried my best to let Logan know that I understood what he wanted (drink, raisins, books, etc). When he tries to communicate his wants, he almost immediately goes into a tantrum. Rather than telling him that I will get what he wants, I really worked on helping him to understand that I knew what he was trying to say. So, I'm still repeating myself a million times but instead of saying, don't do this or don't do that, it's:

"You want (insert whatever he's signing for or trying to say)? OK. I know you want (___)." He might start to whine a bit here . "OK, listen. Mommy knows what you want. You want (___), right?" He nods his head yes & smiles. "OK, you want (___) & we'll go get it."

I've known I needed some help & was beginning to think about picking up some parenting books. A long while back, The Club watched Dr. Karp's Happiest Toddler on the Block video for one of our monthly meetings. I wasn't able to pay much attention to it since the kids were running around like wild hooligans, but I was able to remember that confirming your toddler's communication attempts was important. When Logan was a newborn (actually, before he was born) I read the Happiest Baby on the Block & had great success with following those suggestions.

I can't count how many tantrums I've been able to stop before it gets out of control. With yesterday being such a good day without many tantrums & a very successful grocery shopping trip that we did on our own since Bill is out of town (the first time we've ever done the weekly shopping alone), I feel so much better. That was all I needed. Just one day. One good day to help me get my head straight & turn my attitude around. That one day helped me change my perspective & rather than feeling like the crappiest mom in the world, it gave me hope that not only can I change, but I can handle toddlerhood.

With another great day under my belt where I don't think Logan's even had one tantrum- outside of the nap time battle, of course (which was much better than other days), I'm going to the library tomorrow to pick up the toddler book for some more in depth reading & a bit of a refresher course.

I can't even begin to explain the difference in these last two days. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.


debra said...

Way to go, Kristin! You're a strong woman and an amazing mother -- you'll triumph over these tantrums like everything in life, I just know it. :)


Anonymous said...

I'm happy for you. Glad that you're finding something that works. I have those days ALL THE TIME. Often I'll hear myself and think "why are you doing this?" but I still can't stop. Perhaps I need to check out those they make them for older kids, too?

scoop! said...

just wanted to let you know you are not alone. There are many days when I sit and cry and think "I cannot do this". But then my little guy does something absolutely adorable and I remember that "yes, I can do this".

Keep your chin up and know that you are doing a great job!!! :)

Ami said...

Move the diaper pail. The points of conflict that you can get rid of, do.

And know that things get better. They do.

My own kids are 20 and 14 now.

You CAN do this. (And we've all had doubts, it's just that some can't admit it. )

Kristin said...

Thanks for the suggestion Ami.

I've already stripped his room of everything except furniture. I moved the diaper pail when he first got into it from the side of the changing table to now, his closet. I moved the rocking chair so that the leg is wedged between the door of the closet (it's a sliding door) & his dresser. He's apparently strong enough to unwedge the rocking chair & move it so he can get into the closet. Our next step is to secure a latch on the closet door.

Jezer said...

Oooh, girl. I was EXACTLY right there about 3 weeks ago. And the commenter who said it gets better? Is Right! I use a strategy much like yours, and once they get the message that you get THEIR message, everything gets better. I'm glad it's starting to work out. Hang in there!

Dawn B said...

Yeah, what is with the interest in the diapers?? LOL James is doing that now too! Could have cared less a few weeks ago..but now, he keeps emptying the can.
The biggest thing people have told me about tantrums, is to pick your battles wisely. Every kid is different (so I and what may work for one kid may or may not work for another. But they all want the same thing- to be understood. Sounds like you've learned to understand him. And it's so hard to do! Congrats!!! =)

Erin said...

I'm glad you've found something that works. Hopefully each day will keep getting better and better! We all lose our cool at times, you're not alone. It's hard, when they want something RIGHT NOW and a tantrum ensues...I've been teaching Hailey "one minute, give mommy one minute and then I will get you ..." sometimes it works, but lately she's started this whole fake crying bit w/ pleading...right now it's cute...but I'm sure it's going to get old fast, esp. the worse it gets.

Jaime said...

I'm glad things are getting easier. The one thing I'd suggest is this.

Please remember, especially during those times when you lose your cool. You are not just a Mom, you are a person too. It's completely normal to become overwhelmed or cranky.

A Girl, A Boy, and Me said...

It gets easier I promise!

Okay, I lied.

It changes and it's good.
Thanks for sharing your blog!