It’s been a rough week here in the Human home. I’ve been slammed with work, and I mean SLAMMED, and so what could be a better time for my child to get sick and have an emotional breakdown than now? He had a fever all day Tuesday and some appalling diapers on Wednesday, sprinkled with a return of fever, physically better on Thursday but with the disposition of a bipolar Tyrannosaurus Rex, and today? He came home from daycare with a giant purple egg on his forehead from doing the angry headbanging thing over 1) naptime and 2) Judy leaving him alone for half a minute while she used the bathroom. SIGH.
Oh and I forgot to mention that last night he fell asleep three hours late. THREE HOURS. Not three hours of adorable snuggling and reading stories, three hours of screaming, thrashing, hitting me, etc. Three delightful hours. Finally he fell asleep at 10:30 only to wake up at 2 am to scream a little more. Sigh.
This is such a bummer, this aggressive behavior. He only hurts me or himself, not his dad, not other children. But it’s upsetting for me to be slapped and head butted, it’s even more upsetting for Mike to see that, and it’s upsetting to see Miles looking like he got in schoolyard fistfight except he was only fighting himself. I understand, in theory or whatever, the idea that toddlers have very strong emotions and very low impulse control, but I pretty much never see advice on what to DO. How to handle it. I guess you’re just supposed to suck it up and not let it get to you. Easier said than done sometimes.
Then a friend on Facebook said her son is acting this way and seems almost ready to walk, and another friend dropped the phrase “wonder week” on me. Suddenly it all clicked. I guess it’s one of those big developmental leaping thingies. Judy mentioned that at daycare today he was talking in his sleep a lot during his nap, which is something he does when he’s having these mental growth spurts. And I have noticed that he’s trying to repeat a LOT of words back to me – not always with much success but he’s super curious about how to form new words and wants to try. Just in the past week or two he’s tried to say duck, pig, bubble, spoon, beans, fan, quiet… so many words. It seems to tickle his funnybone when he tries to say something new. “Bubble” and “spoon” he finds particularly hilarious!
It’s kind of neat to look on it that way, with a little perspective, but the truth is, it’s been pretty rough around here. Sometimes it seems like it takes a Herculean effort just to rise above the emotional level of a toddler myself. Some days I feel like I just have to give myself a D- in parenting, accept it, acknowledge my almost-failure (actual failure I think would involve more serious parental infarctions than just being totally inept at handling a tantrum… right?). Try again tomorrow. Mess it up tomorrow. Maybe do better next week.