Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cracking the Toddler Code

We've been having some major issues with our toddler.
I'll call it the terrible two's because I'm pretty sure that's what it is. One minute he wants something and the next he is screaming because he doesn't. One minute he's happy the next he's sad. Take for instance gymnastics. He alternates between loving it and running around like a crazy boy to stopping and lying on the floor and saying he's "way too tired, Mommy" and then 2 seconds later bounces right back.
It's driving Mike and I insane.
And the biting. Every so often he bites. It's not so bad, certainly not as bad as when he was younger, but the sudden random bites are PAINFUL. I have the bruises to prove it.
But in addition to all of this he screams.
Last night was fun. I gave him a bath before I went to the gym. As I was trying to convince him to get out of the bath he screamed
"I DON'T WANT OUT. NO OUT. LEAVE ME ALONE MOMMMY. I WILL SLEEP IN THE BATHTUB TONIGHT. GO AWAY. NO. DON'T GO AWAY. STAY. WITH ME. IN THE BATHROOOOOOOM."
I couldn't help it. I laughed. And, I didn't laugh a little. I laughed a lot. It was funny. And if I've learned nothing else about being a parent I've learned that when you have to choose between screaming back or laughing - unless it's life or death laughing is the better option.
The thing is - Matt laughed back.
And we were killing ourselves laughing for a good five minutes.
Till I said "time to get out now."
And he screamed back "NO. NOT GETTING OUT."
What did I do? I laughed and picked him up.
And, instead of his usual kicking and screaming he started to giggle. And then shout and then I'd laugh and then he'd giggle.
This worked all evening.
I was pretty impressed. Perhaps I'm breaking through.
So I went to the gym and when I got back he was asleep. (I know - it's my master plan - lose weight and avoid the bedtime battles). Therefore I did not get to try the laughing thing again last night.
But I tried it this morning.
Whatever he screamed at me I laughed back. Before he was out the door (this is about a 40 minute time span) he had started screaming and then laughing at himself.
It's fantastic. I'm loving this new theory.
I plan to keep trying it.
Frankly, I don't care if it looks bizarre that I laugh when my toddler has a temper tantrum. You know why? Because I have already tried the tactic where you get down to the child's level and speak in the toddler tone. It's way way way more ridiculous. So for now I'm sticking with laughing.
And, as they say: "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone"

4 comments:

Meg! said...

My "cousin in law" had the same idea. We have a little one in our family and every time he fell down and looked like he was going to cry she would laugh and say how funny it was. (She's not the mother) But it worked most of the time! She said she read somewhere that it reduces anxiety as a response mechanism. So if we don't panic - they won't panic. I even tested that theory in my own life. If I trip on the street by myself, or trip up the stairs (or fall off my bike into a newspaper stand in downtown rush hour traffic) I try to laugh it off. It makes the situation so much shorter and so much less....earth shattering. Plus: Adults don't laugh nearly enough.

Amanda said...

Laughing is sometimes the best therapy!
Oh, those terrible twos, we are dealing with little miss indecisive too! One minute she says something is favourite and the next we are in full blown tantrum mode! Watch out everyone.
There are so many different theories as to how to deal with these tantrums, you find what works for you and stick to it, until the toddler changes and then you have to change with them :)
What gets me through is repeating the phrase "This is just a phase, just a phsase" over and over again in my head.

Heather said...

I always laugh at Miles when he gets a bit ridicilious. I don't think he appreciates it. But really, it's just too funny....oh and check out the blog...big news over there!

Haley-O said...

LD (you know I'm calling you LD, now -- mentioned it at Cheaty's...) -- you're not alone. I laugh hysterically when the monkey throws tantrums. Mostly because her crying face is so damn hilarious! Also because the tantrums are always so unfounded! Today, she threw a tantrum because she wanted CHEEEEEE! (cheese). She just threw up cheese -- 3 times! There was no way I was giving her cheese.... It was hysterical.

I feel for you with the biting. The monkey's a scratcher. We're all getting scratched...scarred....brutal!

Keep laughing!