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Sometimes Only the Dog Can Hear Her

Ah, toddlerhood. The joys, the playfulness, the communication, the tantrums, the emotional chaos, the inability to truly use much reason. Fun, isn't it?

Amazingly, I find myself able to handle the tantrums. I was a very emotional and sensitive child (and still am as an adult in many ways), so I really feel sympathy and understanding for her overwhelming emotions--her personality didn't fall far from the tree. As was discussed on Ask Moxie the other day, her tantrums at this age are really due to being overwhelmed and frustrated, not trying to get control or partake in a power struggle.

I figure we are at stage one of the tantrums. To me, this is when she is not able to control her emotions and doesn't know how to deal with it, and what she needs is sympathy and safe arms waiting to hold her. The next stages will be learning other ways to handle the overwhelming emotions and learning how to feel it coming and be able to head it off, when those lessons are age appropriate. But always, I will let her know that all of her emotions are good and sometimes you really just need to have a good cry.

Until she's better able to handle the emotions, I have to find humor where I can. One of the things I find very funny (although I DO NOT laugh) is how she escalates when she wants something.

The Pumpkin starts off with a normal, maybe little whiny: "Hey Mommy (or whoever), I wan a fru bar [...I want a fruit bar]."
Londo, the nanny or I respond: "Not right now. It's time for breakfast. You can have one later*."
The Pumpkin then goes up an octave and adds more whine: "Mommy! I WAN a fru bar! I wan! I wan!
The response is still no.
The Pumpkin goes up another octave: "Bud [but] I WAN one! I WAN one!"

At this point, the dog runs from the room. We are either able to distract her with something else ("Hey, look! How about some oatmeal!" She loves oatmeal) or we have to deal with a tantrum.

I haven't yet tried to deal with the escalating octaves. Right now, I just treat it as if she's using the same tone of voice so she won't think she gets things just because she used a higher, whinier voice. Soon, I will begin to work with her to use a normal tone of voice.

Luckily, it doesn't bother my ears (although I think Londo is in a different boat), and I just find it funny. Who knew that higher octaves meant you REALLY REALLY wanted something! Maybe Mariah Carey...

*And the Later trick really doesn't work anymore. Drat!


-goofydaddy said…
ah the tantrums. usually we get them because she's hungry (just like mommy). of course the breaking of routines, or rushing her doesn't help either. lately we're starting to get the power struggle a bit.

I developed a cool solution recently (and was surprised when I thought of it the first time and tried it and it worked) - when she's yelling, crying or ignoring me, I sit down and say calmly, "come here and sit on my lap, I need to talk to you." I hug her and explain why whatever has to happen has to happen. and also i make sure to validate her feelings.

well, this morning, she didn't want to wear some pants. she started to get upset. REALLY upset, and before I got the chance to say anything, she sat down, and in mid cry said "daddy, we need to talk!" she sat on my lap, laughed, then I laughed, and she let me put her pants on.

sorry for the babbling, I guess I shoulda just made this a blog post. maybe i still will!
Burgh Baby said…
Dude, my kid has learned to forgo the tantrum and head straight for a syrupy sweet, "Please?" I think I would rather have a tantrum on my hands because how hard is it to say no to that kind of manners? UGH!
Cloud said…
My favorite funny tantrum trick is when she throws herself on the ground in what looks very much like a swoon, with her head resting dramatically on her arm. It is cute and hilarious right now- but it still doesn't get her what she wanted.
Shellie said…
Later doesn't work again till they're like 32. Too funny, the logic of but I WAN it!

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