Thursday, April 03, 2008

I'm so over this
I am at the very end of my rope with Logan & his temper tantrums. They are non-stop, daily & occur at almost every public place we go to throughout the day. I've counted to three, I've done multiple time-outs, we've worked on his language development & I've done the "toddler talk" trying to reason with him & let him know I understand what he's upset about.

Nothing works for any length of time & I've had enough. I can not endure another temper tantrum, especially in the middle of public. If I stay home with him & refuse to take him out because of his behavior & just wait this stage out, he will end up living in his room 24/7 because his behavior is just as bad at home. This morning took me to my breaking point where I drove home defeated & crying almost hysterically the entire way. Hell, I'm still in tears now as I type this out & I'll probably be in tears the rest of the day.

We took Bill to work & came back home to get ready for school. I put on a cartoon giving him a choice of Blues Clues or Dora. He said Blues Clues & started screaming at me when it came on. "Dora! Dora!" "Well, you told me Blues Clues..." cue the beginnings of a massive meltdown. I turn on Dora & leave the room to get ready for the morning because I don't have the time or patience to deal with this crap at 8:00 in the morning.

I get us ready to go to school. He's fine when I drop him off & an hour later when I pick him up, he's happy to see me but decides that he's going to run off after I've told him to hold my hand. We're on the sidewalk walking along a busy street. He rips his hand away from mine & before he can throw himself on the sidewalk in a fit, I grab his hand again & tell him he does not have a choice here, he holds my hand & does not run off because there are cars & he could get hurt. Like he's even listening to me. Everything I say goes in one ear & out the other. It's like I'm talking just to move my lips & nothing I say has meaning or importance. Even if I'm talking like I mean business.

We get in the car & I decide that we're not going home - we're going to the gym because after only being with him for a total of an hour, he's already driving me to the edge & we need some space. So he goes running around in the gym daycare (getting soaked by playing in the water fountain, but it's not like he's disciplined there. They just let him do whatever) all while I walk on the tread climber for 30 minutes. I go to pick him up, telling him excitedly that it's time to go to swimming lessons. He flips out. I mean, absolutely flips out. Running over to the wall, pounding, screaming, crying - the whole bit. I walk out of the Kids Club hoping he'll follow. No, he screams for cars & tries to go back to play. I go back in, get down to his level & ask him if he wants to go to swimming lessons or go home. "Cars! Cars!" he continues to scream. "We'll lets go out to our car & get your Lightning McQueen car". The temper tantrum gets even bigger & at this point, I have to pick him up kicking me, hitting me, screaming at me while the entire gym looks to see who's being abducted from the Kids Club.

I get him in the car, yelling at him about throwing temper tantrums, I smack the top of his hand for kicking me & tell him like I've never told him before that I've had enough with this behavior & he needs to stop it right now. After crying it out, he begins to calm down while I tell him that his screaming & kicking makes me very mad. "Yes" he says, like he understands but really, I don't think he has a clue. He's just saying "yes".

After a time-out in the car, we go to swimming lessons. At this point, if we had not paid for the lessons, we would have gone straight home. But because these classes are already taken care of, I don't want to waste our money. For most of the drive there, I tell him that tantrums will not be tolerated & if he acts up, we're going home. "Yes", he sniffles.

We get to the pool, get changed & he listens to me when I tell him to stay where I can see him. He holds my hand cooperatively as we walk by the deep lap pool to go the kids pool. As we get in, he begins to have another meltdown because he doesn't want to do the class, he wants to play with the stupid toys in the other pool that we do in the last half of the class. I explain to him that we have to do our jumps off the side of the pool first like his swim teacher has told us & then we will go to the other pool to play with toys. He's whining, crying & beginning to scream. I tell him that he needs to relax & pay attention to the class as we're about ready to start. He's climbing all over me like a cat getting ready for a bath.

I take him to the side of the pool, sit him out on the ledge & put him on time out. He calms down relatively quickly as I tell him that he needs to stop or we go home. After his time out, we join the class again, only to start yet another screaming fit as I try to get him involved in the "ring around the rosies" game. I immediately take him out of the pool, sit him on time out in the cold & grab our towels. After more stern lecturing about his behavior when his time-out is over, we get back in the pool after I tell him this is his last chance. We join the class for the third time to begin jumps from the edge of the pool. Logan jumps in & then starts his screaming & crying fits again. I take him out, wave good-bye to the swim instructor & carry him to the locker room while his blood curling screams echo throughout the entire indoor pool.

We rinse off in the shower with him screaming & we get dressed & ready to go. While I'm getting dressed, he's sitting on the bench as I've told him to sit there & not to move. AT ALL. He listens to me knowing that if he makes me mad again it's all over for him. But, he is whining "water, water". "No, you lost your swimming privileges & we're going home" I tell him through my clenched jaw. A couple of other ladies who are getting dressed right next to us begin to tell me, "I know he's in trouble, but he is C-U-T-E. We've all been where you are", they try to sympathize. I thank them & while I'm talking to them, Logan is smiling & trying to join in the conversation.

We walk out to the car with Logan being agreeable & holding my hand & running along side me. I get him strapped in his car seat & start crying. I drive home the whole way, sobbing - taking deeps breaths only to begin sobbing all over again. We get home & I send Logan up to his room without lunch & tell him that this is what happens when he behaves like he did.

There are no breaks. This is what it's like pretty much every single day. Every. Single. Day. Screaming, crying, kicking, refusing to listen everywhere we go. I'm horrified by his behavior at virtually every public place we go to. Grocery stores, the gym, playgroups, restaurants, parks, the pool - every place in town. The good behavior is completely overshadowed by the bad because quite frankly, there is very little good behavior. It's mostly him being an absolute terror.

I've had enough.


Kayce said...

I'm there. Right now. I don't take PJ anywhere if my hubby isn't there to help control him. He's getting into a routine of taking 4-hour naps, over two of which are him playing alone in his room because I can't deal with the tantrums anymore. Then he's a perfect little angel when his daddy gets home. He has no clue how bad things really are. But you pretty much described a typical morning around here, minus the swim lessons. I feel your pain. Let me know if you find anything that works.

Smurfett said...

Have you read Happiest Toddler on the Block? Supposedly a lot of people swear by it. I don't have a toddler yet so I'd be interested to know if try dr Karp's method and it works!

Kristin said...

I did read both Dr. Karp's infant & toddler books. The baby book totally saved us, the toddler book worked for a short period of time. When it worked, it worked great! But now when I try to use his techniques, Logan just screams at me even more & won't even listen to what I'm trying to say. This is where I usually start time-outs so he can just vent his frustration & scream it out, but he doesn't actually learn from this. He just gets it out & repeats the same behavior shortly there after.

I just picked up "How to raise a spirited child" & there's nothing new in there either.

Alicia Seevers said...

Everyone has been where you are. My 7 year old actually waited until now to start being sassy and show a complete disregard for tolerable behavior. My almost 2 year old is a temper tantrum thrower and my good friend who is a child psychologist told me that once the almost 2 year old is able to communicate better it will improve. She understands everything I say, but she can't voice what her 21 month old mind is thinking.
This will pass and remember that the little one in you is making you hormonal and emotional. I'm not excusing his behavior and I've been at the end of my rope many a time in the past 7 years. Anyone who says being a stay at home mom is easy, is lying!
I personally don't read any of those books, just go with your gut usually works :)

workout mommy said...

I'm right there with you! Just try not to let him get to you, I've had success with pretending like it doesn't bother me and then he gives up.

I also realized that we could only do one activity per morning, if I tried to do too many activities it just overloaded him and made it worse.

hang in there! :)

Liz said...

it's so hard to remember that they're only two and they can't efficiently communicate what they want or need.

i try so hard to stand my ground. to use your example on my kid...if he said "blue's" then that's what he gets. i know he can't understand the intracacies of psychology, but i find if i give in on one thing, i give in on all of them.

i am, by no means, an expert. i'm fed up, too. for us, the issue is the stairs. we're on a 3rd floor walk-up. i'm 7+ months pregnant. he's got two good legs to get himself up the why do i have to argue with him every. single. time.

also, H will just flat out decide he's going to have a tantrum IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CROSSWALK. and people walk by and tsk tsk me. i've flat out told them to F-off. my usual response is "it's hard to be 2, don't you know." every mo-fo on the planet will tell you what you should do, but only you know what's best.

me? i just let him have his fit. sure, it's embarrassing to be looked at by strangers, but what can you do. generally speaking, when h realizes i'm not giving in so easily, the fit is over. but holy hell, it's exhausting!

i feel your frustration. and it's only going to get worse for us when the baby comes, i suspect.

[[sorry if i just hijacked your comments!]]

Eriness said...

I am having that problem myself. While I do not beat my child, I am starting to see why insane people lose it because I am sane, and I am about to lose it myself. I am losing it big time, but I am thankful that my daughter naps, because that is where I regain my sanity. I feel for you.

debra said...

I don't have any advice, sorry. But {{hugs}}

I hope things look up soon!

Anonymous said...

Sigh. I totally understand.

Dawn B said...

Wait..was this about Logan or James cause I'm confused..LOL
Girlfriend...., you have described exactly what's been going on with James. His tantrums are more like whining..okay, scratch that..he has horrible tantrums with screaming AND whining. Pretty much all day long. The other day the weather was beautiful and warm and I had to close the windows because he wouldn't stop screaming. Screaming because he didn't want to eat the dinner I gave him.
And some people don't believe me when I tell them how he is! Because most of the time in front of others he's very well behaved. He makes me look like a liar. LOL
You have done exceptionally well dealing with it!!! And of course you god.. you have to have an outlet or we would seriously be shipping these toddlers off to some distant land.
I honestly think no book can help. I'm sorry..I don't mean to sound pessimistic but almost every toddler goes through this rough period and all we can do..."grits teeth* is be patient.
good luck!!!!!

Shelley said...

Oh how I can relate to everything you have written. I have two kids 18 months apart and as the youngest is just about to turn 2 I feel like things are getting harder rather than easier. It's hard, hard, hard work dealing with a toddler and trying to keep a lid on your frustration. More often than not I come home from planned activities wondering why I bother when we all seem to end up stressed and upset.

Anonymous said...

I really like what Liz said. Just let him have his tt and it will be done. I am about to have baby #4 and I have a 5, 4 and 3 year old right now. I can tell you that I have gone thru all of the same things. I have noticed that when I remain calm and not get angry or frustrated in front of them it gets better fast. But when I start to yell or get angry it lasts alot longer. Anyhow- just wanting to say we all have been there!!


Jaime said...

In this situation I found it best (for me) to stay at home and when the tantrum started to simply leave the room. When my children realized I wasn't there they would eventually stop.

I can't really offer a lot of advice (or examples of what I'd do) in public as I take the children out one at a time (rotate) as a treat so they usually don't complain.

But this will pass. I know hearing it sucks because you don't want it to simply pass, you wanted it gone yesterday.