A growing vocabulary and an increase in tantrums

This was probably the most difficult morning I’ve had with The Boy in recent history.

There were some cute moments, to be sure, but it was trying, nonetheless. So, let’s get the yucky stuff out of the way, first.

I know it didn’t help that I was sick all weekend and would have called out today except that it’s Month End at work. My head’s in a fog, my ears are clogged, and my nose alternates between stuffy and dripping. Overall, it’s not fun.

This morning, he was in fairly good spirits when I got him out of bed. But as soon as my husband left for work, it was a battle. He didn’t want to eat. He wanted to play. He wanted to eat, but only if Tommy Bear and Ow (a Dalmatian puppy stuffed animal I bought for my husband ages ago) were sitting at the table with him. Then he wanted nothing to do with his food and wanted to play with his puzzle. Then he wanted to eat but first had to switch seats with Tommy Bear and Ow. Then he wanted each of them to have a chair, which meant that he would stand. Then he wanted to eat while sitting on the floor. Then he didn’t want to eat and wanted to play with his Yo Gabba Gabba! toys. Then he wanted his puzzle again. I finally got him to eat until I was satisfied his belly was full (he wouldn’t eat again until 11, after all) by reading a book to him three times while he begrudgingly shoved pieces of banana and toast into his mouth.

When I changed his diaper and clothes, he was fine. He had hisThomas and Friends “catalog”, a big piece of paper that came with one of his trains that shows the different trains and sets available. He loves looking at that. But, of course, as it’s a single piece of paper, it tears. Easily. And a certain little boy in my house could not fathom why Mommy was so nonchalant about his paper tearing, so he launched into a full tantrum that subsisted until I taped the pieces back together.

Not everything was horrible or tragic, and I’ll cover those later. But even the trip to school was terrible!

Once we get into the car, it’s usually a smooth morning. I give him a book to read in the car, he “reads” aloud happily, adding inflections (“Uh-oh!”, “Oh!” and “Ay!”) when appropriate. If the sun is in his eyes, he’ll either wear his sunglasses or hold up the book to block the rays. This is what usually happens.

But not today.

No, no.

He wouldn’t leave the house without his pacifier, which he knows is only for sleeping. “Will you sleep in the car?” I asked. He nodded. Even though I was suspicious, I let him have the pacifier (for which he said both “Please” and “Thank you”) in lieu of the growing menagerie we’re collecting in his crib. (We added a cow this morning.) He trotted happily to the dining room, where I had piled the things we needed to bring today. I picked up my bags, grabbed a coat, put my phone in my pocket, then followed him to the garage. Once outside, he alerted me of the temperature (“Is cole!”), and we piled into the car. He argued with me a bit while I put him in his car seat because he didn’t have sunglasses on his head. Once I buckled him in, I handed him a book, got into my seat, turned on the Mighty Weaklings, and we were off.

I should have known as soon as we turned out of the gates of our community that those sunglasses were going to be an issue.

“Off!” he screamed, pulling his sunglasses off his head and tossing them to the side. I handed him my spare pair in hopes it would placate him. It did, for a while. While we were at a stop light (facing the sun, I might add), I reached in the back and plucked out his glasses. I offered them, he screamed, I took them back.

My spare sunglasses, far too big for his head, were now sliding down his face and annoying him. He screamed and took them off. Then he screamed because it was too bright and put them back on. He did this for a few miles. Finally, I asked him if he was going to sleep since he had the pacifier. He closed his eyes and turned his head, then put on my sunglasses and turned his head again, then ripped them off, tossed them to the side, and screamed.

By now, we were (thankfully) near school, and he was happy to be there.

Until we got to the classroom door.

Sometimes, there’s a bit of drama at the door. He’ll refuse to walk in on his own, then realize all his friends are there and Mommy isn’t leaving right away, so he’ll saunter in at his own pace on his terms. I’m okay with this. Moreover, I’m convinced that the more Iforce him to do something, the more he’ll resent whatever it is I want him to do. So, if he wants to take his time coming into the classroom, I just need to make sure I allow myself ample time for this so that I’m not late getting to work.

This morning was particularly heinous, though. And it wasn’t made any better by a mom who was obviously very nervous about dropping off her son for the first time. (Been there, so I can relate. You don’t know these people from Adam and you’re leaving in their possession your offspring, your pride and joy, the absolute light of your life. There’s no way these people will give your son the attention he needs! And there’s screaming children, too! Look, I get it. All the same, can you try to be a little helpful and either walk in before my son does or wait a little bit after I close the door? Opening it right after I get him inside, holding it open and giving him a chance to escape really doesn’t work so well.) Nor was it made any better by the fact that her offspring burst into tears immediately upon realizing she was gone. Let’s just say I was able to take some small comfort in knowing that mine wasn’t the only child in hysterics this morning. In fact, most of the kids were crying when I escaped left.

Once in my car, I took a deep breath and steeled myself for the rest of the day. Which, given the fact that we both survived the morning and I didn’t tear out my hair, really hasn’t been so bad, by comparison.

Okay, so that’s the bad stuff. I promise, lots of cute things happened this morning, too:

  • He brought me a book after I crawled back into bed this morning: Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. Very proudly, he turned the pages, and every time he saw Owl, he let me know. “Ow!” he said, proudly, pointing to Owl. “Ow! Ow!” (“Ow” means “owl”, by the way, and is not to be confused for Ow the Dog. Much frustration and a tantrum will occur should one fail to make that distinction.) “Where’s Pooh Bear?” I gently inquired. “Dis!” he said, briefly pointing to Winnie the Pooh before continuing to seek out Owl.
  • I had him try two shirts this morning. The second made it over his head, but not without a little struggle because he had part of the neck in his mouth. Once I put it on him, he pointed to his shirt, then to mine, then to his again. It turned out I had inadvertently dressed us both in red shirts! After I praised him for his observation – especially noting that both of our shirts were the same color – he promptly began tugging at his shirt to get it untucked so that he could see his belly button.
  • He took out his blocks, found the letter “H”, and brought it to me. “Ar!” he said, pointing to a picture of a heart. “Yes, that’s very good! That’s a heart!” Very pleased, he pointed again. “An!” he said, pointing to the block and holding up his hand. Sure enough, it was a hand print. I praised him again. “Ows!” he said, pointing to a picture of a house. “Yes, Baby, that’s very good! That’s a picture of a house!” Again, he showed me handprints, I praised him, and, satisfied with himself, he went back to the family room and put the block on the coffee table. Gently.
  • While I was washing dishes, he brought me a puzzle piece, this one a picture (and shape) of a bus. “Mama!” he said, tugging on my jeans. “Mama!” “Yes, Baby?” “Mama!” he repeated, pointing to a person on the bus wearing glasses. I had to smile. He’s done this before, but it’s actually quite clever of him. “Yes, Baby, that person is wearing glasses, just like Mama!” He beamed and pointed again. “Mama!” he said one last time before returning to his puzzle.
  • He picked up Tommy Bear and Ow, placed them on their backs on the kitchen floor, then ran to his room. He came back with a (clean, folded) blanket, which he unfolded (with my help) and gently placed over his toys. Then he took his Plex car and drove over their sleeping bodies.

There are a number of other cute things he did that I can’t simply explain in words, but suffice it to say that after venting about my morning as I did at the start of this post, I’m very happy I ended on a high note. We’re entering those dangerous waters known as the Terrible Twos. I think they’re kind of like the Pacific Ocean: it looks calm and placid until you actually get on it, but all those storms and tempests mean you’ll never find a better ocean to surf.

Yeah. I think Toddlerhood is going to be a lot like that.

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