These days we are most definitely finding ourselves as established citizens of Toddlerville. The signs are very clear and popping up every day. Are we ready though??
New words are oncoming at a rate of knots (he’s a genius, naturally), he runs around like he owns the place – which, let’s face it, he almost does – and best of all, tantrums are becoming a regular thing.
Perhaps naively, I thought we still had a few months of tantrum free lives before he hit 2 which was when I assumed the tantrums usually started seeing as people call it the Terrible Two’s. Seemingly not.
I used to be that person, in a restaurant for example getting irritated at someone else’s inability to control their tantrumy child. Well Karma is definitely a thing because who’s tutting now?? Not me. Instead I am hastily trying to calm the storm with shushes and kisses and ‘Dear God Gavin just give him whatever he demands for the love of Christ!!’ type statements.
The thing is, like everything else I ‘knew’ before I became someone’s mother, I ‘knew’ that this wouldn’t happen to me. I would make sure to install manners and good behaviour at an early age. I’m not so naïve to think we’d avoid tantrums altogether of course, I do understand it’s not necessarily really a behaviour issue, more frustration at their lack of being able to communicate as they’d like, but once again, I’m getting a kick up the arse in my expertise in Motherhood knowledge.
While some of these tantrums can be stressful – mainly the ones in public – they can also be fairly amusing and also very confusing. Simple things will cause a major meltdown as if the world is ending. Take for example, your standard banana. My son has an obsession with bananas – so much so that we can’t say the word around him or the poor kid almost explodes with excitement because he thinks he’s getting one. I tend to limit them to one a day – I think I read somewhere about the possibility of too much potassium or something – but anyway I like giving them to him in the evening because I also read something about them helping them get a better night sleep. Even better.
He loves bananas so much, sometimes he can’t even wait for you to peel it for him and tries to eat it skin and all. The thing is, His Lordship may prefer it peeled a certain way one day, and be perfectly happy with the situation, and when you repeat the process the next day, you clearly missed the memo because it turns out he wanted the whole skin removed and therefore the world has ended if you had it to him half peeled.
The funny part is watching him wanting the banana, despite the peeling process, but not wanting to end his tantrum in order to eat it. I’m sure there’s a method to his madness somewhere in there!
Of course, despite all the new words he can attempt to say now, tantrums are a pretty major way of him communicating. It would be fairly frustrating if you had something to say but no way to say it. With that in mind, tantrums don’t bother me too much. Yes, I get a bit eager to calm them down if it’s happening in public and I’m getting the tutty rolling eyes that I used to throw around myself, but definitely at home, he’s free to tantrum however he wants. Sometimes I intervene by trying to distract him which is a great way of calming him down, sometimes I let him off so he can get it out of his system and let him tell me whatever it is he’s trying to say.
The thing I wonder, like many before me I imagine, is this the right way to do it? I feel very strongly about Rian learning manners and good behaviour as early as possible – what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. And I think overall he really is a good natured, well behaved kid. Of course I’m biased, but I would hope I’m not as biased as to let it blind me to seeing when he’s not being a perfect little angel.
And now that Bump2 is about to make an entrance it’s really starting to dawn on me that I’ll have two of them to try and manage. At the same time. Two kids! How do people do it? Get two kids packed and ready to go out somewhere? Two of them wanting me to do Mammy type things for each of them all at the same time? I thought I’d never make it trying to manage one of them. And now there’ll be another newborn with a toddler on top?!
It’ll be grand. That’s what I tell myself. People do this multiple times so it must be do-able. This time round I know what’s ahead of me, I don’t think I’ll be as permanently scared of killing the baby as I was the first time around. And you never know, maybe this one will like napping in the cot, and sleeping all night from really early on……… of course it will…(I can hear you laughing).
In the meantime I continue on my quest to figure out The Toddler. Why it’s necessary to have a meltdown if you get your drink handed to you in a red cup instead of a blue one…or you’re not allowed to play with the knife. Or if I can’t take one more episode of Peppa -which reminds me, I feel I need to write a strongly worded letter to someone about that stupid pig. Who makes episodes of kids shows that last a total of about 3 minutes?? How the hell is that supposed to buy you time to get stuff done while they’re not tantruming over bananas not being peeled correctly? It’s just mean. Just as the kettle is boiled you get ‘Mama! Pig!’ ‘Yes dearest child, the Pig is on already!’ Only to walk in and discover the end credits about 30 seconds after it has started.
Another scary thing is the realisation that I know more songs from the likes of Thomas than I do from the actual music charts. Or even the names of the people singing the songs in the music charts. I’m just short of saying things like ‘What on earth is that one wearing?’ and ‘What kind of name is that for a band??’ Next stop – wanting to listen to politic segments and things on RTE1. It’s a slippery slope.
Of course it’s not all tantrums and meltdowns and annoying pigs. I actually think this is my favourite stage so far! He’s so funny, the stuff he comes out with! I won’t bore you with a million cute stories of all the things he does, but guaranteed, he makes us laugh every single day. He’s a really affectionate little dude and nothing melts your heart quicker than his little arms around your neck and hearing him say, ‘Mama, uv ooo’ followed by a slobbery kiss. I’ll take a thousand tantrums for one of them, any day of the week.
Now that I reckon I have it all figured out up to this point, no doubt Bump2 will arrive and give me a very swift kick up the arse and bring me right down to earth, and the learning curve starts all over again. God help us all!