Return of the Wolverine

It’s a miracle we survived the weekend. RR is pretty even-tempered for a wolverine. In fact, we haven’t even seen much wolverining in the last several months. There are fits, occasionally, but nothing a little distraction can’t fix.

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This weekend brought us the return of our early twos RR. The child that screamed without ceasing at the top of her lungs for 30 minutes at a time. The child that could not be consoled or distracted. The child that made us say, with utter certainty, that we would not be having a second child, no thank you. I can almost mark the day those tantrums stopped. All of a sudden two kids seemed totally manageable. It’s a good thing I didn’t get pregnant because yesterday I’d have cried myself to sleep at the thought of another.

I don’t know if there’s a why. We removed the Frosty and Rudolf dvds that we had absentmindedly allowed free access to. We gave her water to interrupt the sobs. We tried putting her in her room (which I don’t dig, given the years I spent shut in my room as a tantrumer). We tried hugs. We tried compassion. We tried food. We tried ignoring her. There was no constant solution.

She cried for 30 minutes in the morning (inexplicably). She sobbed at gymnastics (out-of-character). She threw a colossal fit at suppertime that prompted me to leave the house and Debra to cave in to her demands. I don’t like that. I don’t like any of it. I feel completely helpless and I’d like our reasonable child back. Or, barring that, at least someone who screams AND is potty-trained.

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13 Responses

  1. You said she did this when she was newly two – is this happening now about the same point in the year? I ask because Edie did this – only it was at the end of the day, when she would have colossal bedtime meltdowns. It started when she was two & 3/4, lasted about 6 weeks, then stopped just as quickly as it started. We revisited the behavior at exactly the same point of the year a year later and I’ve noticed, she still has tendencies to have major bedtime meltdowns at that point of the year. There is no solution, she just has to grow out of it every year.

    • Our pediatrician told us at one point that the meltdowns usually precipitate or follow a major developmental milestone. I’m not sure that has always been the case but for the first two years it was definitely around every six months. That may be what this is, too! As for developmental milestones, we saw her spelling at school last week so as much as I wish toilet training were the cause, I suspect it’s words instead. DRAT.

      • Have I shared with you I *just* got my now 12 year old to throw up in the toilet? This is our last bit of potty training. No one ever tells you how hard or how long it takes.

  2. Try something out for me. When she gets upset, especially if it’s the sad stuff so there’s not screaming, just crying, ask her who that ‘stuff’ belongs to. Kids are little psychic sponges and haven’t learned to manage it (not that adults are actually that good at it all the time either). So they take on things and don’t realize they have the choice to keep it. If she settles down at all, tell her that she can send that ‘stuff’ away from her. She won’t be as upset, and the person who is actually upset won’t be any more upset by it either. It’s a win win.

    • I cared for a child who had tantrums like this on a regular basis. What worked for her was changing her sensory input. I might put a cool, wet paper towel on her face, have her punch a pillow, or take a warm rice-bag and give it to her to squeeze. Sometimes sipping water or using light touches to stroke her arms or hair would help. Anything to refocus her attention from her out of control emotions to a physical sensation that she could control.
      It’s not easy to deal with this — wish you both luck dealing with it! When it gets to be too much take a few moments to yourselves to breathe and collect yourself. She won’t hurt herself from crying, and it’ll help you to be strong and get through it!

      • Thank you for the suggestions. The drink of water often helps but perhaps some of the others will help when she’s too far gone to even consider water. It’s so frustrating in the moment because it’s so clearly a power struggle – as in, she doesn’t have any and so she’s doing what ever she can to get it. We’re the struggle side obviously but giving in feels like the wrong thing to do. though to balance!

    • Debra and I often ask “whose problem is this really?” about all kinds of things in order to let go and/or drain out the emotion. In the case of the weekend, it was clearly all RR’s stuff and both she AND I would have been delighted for her to realize she doesn’t have to keep it. As I am finding out though, in the moment, usually rational RR cannot even listen to words let alone answer questions. It’s definitely a strategy we’ll continue employing whenever we can because you’re right – it’s totally a win win!

  3. With my oldest (C1, the tantrummer), developmental changes were definitely hard. Did you know children can grow nearly half an inch in one night? Learning to spell would fall under a “developmental change” as well. Hmm, the addition of grandparents to the household is a big change, too. Good luck, I hope the tantrums pass quickly.

  4. You have all my sympathies (my moving-induced badger is just coming out of his den).

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