A wise woman once said to me, “Anyone who calls it the Terrible-Twos has never met a 3-year-old!”
And she was so very right.
I thought we were there already with the attitude but I was to be corrected.
Since Ari’s third birthday at the beginning of the month he has flicked the dial on the
naughty “spirited” factor. He doesn’t listen at all. He can’t be trusted to not hit his sister, kick his nana or come back after he has taken off when called.
His eyes dart looking for trouble and his fingers twitch for something to climb.
He sees all the boundaries and he attempts to take flying leaps over them.
Last week I took the kids out for a determined trip to DFO. I needed some new linen and was on a mission. Ari was full on from the start but was manageable with my own deep breathing. Throughout the morning though, things begun to slide and slide fast.
His thing at the moment is being a dog… like on all fours and barking. Anywhere. Any time. A dog.
He become his current spirit animal and climbed up on each chair in the centre and crawled along them barking. I had ticked everything off my list by this stage and was about to go home after one last shop.
But then the “dog” slipped off a chair landing chin first into the concrete.
It would have hurt and I immediately went looking for blood.
He is screaming.
Tears and snot flying everywhere.
People are watching.
Luckily there was no blood. A bruise and a little bit of skin off but that was all.
Except it wasn’t.
This fall sent Ari into a spin and his tears and screaming went on and on…
Until it was time for me to pull the plug. His screaming then turned to wails of “Pick someting out! Pick someting out!” As bribery earlier I had mentioned that if he was good we would go into Smiggle and pick something out. He had seen his opportunity to recoup his prize.
Still the tears.
Still the snot.
Still the people’s eyes.
Sure, to stop this we could go to Smiggle but this didn’t stop the now tantrum. He had lost it.
Completely lost it.
I’m now thinking the knock to his chin had caused some sort of brain issue and I am cautious as I can feel the steam rising through my body to not get too angry just incase.
There is no end.
We are kind of stuck in the tantrum limbo where the only way I could have maybe settled him down is if I magic Smiggle to appear directly in front of us as the kid wouldn’t walk anywhere.
My only option was to abort mission. I grabbed Leni in her pram, Ari by the arm and marched right out those doors towards the car.
It got louder.
It got snottier.
But it also got over! About 15 minutes down the highway.
Worst. Tantrum. EVER!
The only thing that got me through was that I was on such a high from buying $800 worth of linen for $144 at Adairs I had a long way to fall!
What do you do when faced with a tantrum from hell?
Here are my 5 take away tips for tantrums:
- Keep your cool. It is bad enough all eyes are on your child but if you lose your shit too it just ain’t pretty. I am not talking about getting soft. I am talking about getting the one eyebrow up, the clenched teeth and the low, stern voice. Deep breathing and selective hearing also help.
- If you can just get out of there do it! If you are at home leave the room. Though I have had times where the tantrum has followed me it is rare. If you are out just leave them there too, no don’t, I kid… I think. If you have done all you need to do and you are dealing with a doozy just abort mission. It will save your sanity I promise.
- Yes, do what the experts say and attempt to sooth them. Let them know they are ok. I was hugging Ari when he fell off the chair of course but 10 minutes into it and the whole thing is flipped on its head I am also giving him a bit of a calm the farm squeeze. Sometimes reassurances mean nothing, tick it off the list and try it but it may work as something for a conversation later on. Like at a point where you can actually hear yourself speaking.
- Pick your battles. I didn’t want to encourage the bribery of picking something out at Smiggle but if it snuffed out the tantrum and allowed us a little longer out then hell yeah go nuts picking out at eraser son!
- Drink wine. It helps. It really, really helps.
When have your children taken out the roof with a doozy of a tantrum?
What do you do when it is all hitting the fan?