My little boy had a bad day the other day. And it made me so sad. I am not sure why this day was any different to others, but I just have a feeling my boy needs something and I’m not sure what it is or how to help.
To give this some perspective Pudding has a history of really severe tantrums. She started early (around 10 months) and goes through phases where her tantrums are so bad and so clearly out of her control that I find myself reading books like how to discipline your child, or how to handle your spirited child or how to talk so kids will listen etc etc etc. She once had a tantrum in the middle of the night (literally woke up out of sleep into it) that left Chris and I wondering if possession was real and she might have a devil in her, that night it took us 2 hours to calm her down. For a little while it got so bad I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office one morning crying because it really honestly felt like something was wrong with her. The doc obviously took me seriously as she suggested we could send her for assessment (this was probably about a year ago). We didn’t do anything about it, Chris and I discussed our strategy for handling her and the phase passed. She goes through the phases (we had another one a few months back), but they do pass and I think possibly the severity of her reactions are levelling off a little. Now I know plenty of people are going to tell me about tantrums and their kids, but let me assure you that when Pudding is in a phase there is nothing ‘normal two year old’ about it. Her anger is so intense it is terrifying. But I have learnt that this is a part of my little girl’s make up and we are getting better at helping her to cope.
Sausage by comparison is a ‘normal’ two year old. He has his tantrum, they are in the normal range. They look like what I have seen in other kids. In fact by comparison to Pudding they are so mild that sometimes they are comical. But the last couple of weeks he seems to really be struggling with his emotions. I can really see that when he gets into that space he actually doesn’t know how to stop himself and I can see the fear in his eyes as his emotions run away with him. Luckily he will always come for a hug and it really seems to work for him. He just wants to be held while he figures it out, so a quiet time out with Mom or Dad in his room always helps align him again.
He was not in a good space when we left home to head for school, he seemed a bit sad and withdrawn, then at school he insisted that I carry him up the hill to the school and then cried and cried and cried when we got to the classroom. He didn’t seem to be crying because I was leaving him, he didn’t seem to not want to be at school, just something was bothering him and he couldn’t express what it was. Anyway he kissed me goodbye and off I went to work, but one of the other mom’s sent me a message later to let me know that after I left he became inconsolable for a while. He did eventually settle down and had a good day until the late afternoon. When I got to the school to fetch the kids Sausage was on the one teacher’s lap having a total meltdown. Turns out he and his sister were fighting (sometimes I am so grateful that it is only each other they fight with and attack, other kids are almost never in the firing line as they are both very feisty) and he just could not be distracted from wanting to attack her. He saw me and came up to me and just collapsed into my arms sobbing and sobbing all the emotion out. He settled a bit, but was just not himself. At dinner he threw his carrots off his plate and when told off lost it completely and eventually went for a time out with Daddy, which seemed to help a bit. He just seemed so out of control.
A good night’s sleep and he started the next day with lots of hugs and cuddles with both Mom and Dad and seemed in a much better space. I guess this is the ‘normal’ hey? Is this what a ‘normal’ pre-schooler goes through as they figure out their emotions and how to handle them. His tantrums seem so sad whereas Pudding’s seem so angry, I think I just find anger easier to understand and relate to. His sadness breaks my heart.