August 29, 2009

Tempum Tanters

I posted a twitter update the other day that said, "I've witnessed more tantrums in the last two hours than I did in the last two weeks combined. What is the deal?"

Nicole responded with, "Jack's a smart kid...he knows there's change coming soon!"

Up until that point, I hadn't considered that the tantrums, lack of sleep and other miscellaneous trouble he's been causing for the last two or three weeks might somehow be related to him sensing the change. We've been putting things together, washing things, transitioning into and out of things . . . maybe this is his way of coping. Maybe not.

While knowing this doesn't make it less stressful, considering the fact that he might be sensitive to his environment right now has made me a little more understanding and less likely to lose my temper when he runs into our room in the middle of the night yelling "I WAKED UP" for the fifth time.

He's also going through some sort of developmental spurt in which it seems as though he's turned 6 years old overnight. His thought processes and speech have made these huge leaps that I can barely keep up with. Is it any wonder that I'm not really that rushed about potty training? Diapers are the one last part of babyhood that I can hold on to! That, and I feel like changing his diapers will be easier than having to rush him to the bathroom while I'm trying to take care of and nurse a newborn. Call me crazy . . .

Anyway . . . his temper tantrums. Last Wednesday was one of the worst days for them. At one point, I couldn't do anything to control him so I said, "Jack, I'm going to sit you on the bench until you're ready to calm down." As I lifted him onto the bench, he arched his back and wacked his head on the half-wall that the bench sits up against. It knocked the wind out of him and he panicked as he struggled for breath for a few seconds.

I felt awful that it happened and held him and rocked him for about 10 minutes before he calmed down. He looked up at me and said, "Why you hit my head on the wall?"


After the whole hammer incident, this CRUSHED me. I did my best to explain that I didn't do it . . . that it was an accident that resulted from his tantrum, but I'm not sure he really understood. I still get choked up when I think about it.

Later that day, we were getting ready to go out for Kyle's birthday (he turned the big 3-0, by the way) and Jack was throwing fits about . . . well, everything. He wanted to bring a book, but not that book, and he wanted to wear his white shoes not his blue shoes and he wanted the green diaper, not the blue one and he wanted to wear his rain coat but NOT IN THE CAR . . . it was ridiculous. By the time we were pulling out of the driveway, Kyle and I were both fried. So when Jack started screaming because we TURNED THE WRONG WAY, Kyle turned the car around and we went home. And Jack went straight to time out.

Kyle and I retreated to our bedroom to regain composure for a few minutes while Jack sat hollering in the time out chair. I finally went out to talk to him. I sat in the chair with him on my lap until he calmed down and I asked, "Why were you in time out." He said, "I frow tempum tanter and cied."

I went on to explain that we we couldn't go out for Daddy's birthday because he couldn't behave. And I said that Dad must feel pretty sad that we had to come home on his birthday. I wasn't trying to cause any sort of guilt trip, but it sort of sounds that way now, because Jack's response was, "I cam behave. I DO want Daddy to be happy on his birfday." I was choking back tears at this point and sent him to apologize and hug his Dad.

He's been so challenging over the last few weeks . . . bedtimes, naptimes (wait . . . what naptimes?), tantrums, questioning everything. He's testing us because he's two years old, but I'm sure that the changes all around him are making him anxious also. We're doing our best to stay consistent and calm, knowing that in the end, he's really still the same sweet boy he's always been.

I pray continuously throughout the day that any anxiety Jack's feeling about the coming change will be lessened by how much we're loving him and that I'll be able to see what I can do to ease him into these new things.


Crystal said...

I can feel for you...I could have written everything you just did about Moses...what has helped me among other things is a book called "It's a Boy-Understanding your son's development from birth to 18". It has been tremendously reassuring. :) We have a few other things that have worked on crazy two year old behavior that I would be glad to share if you needed them. :)

Heather S. said...

I will be praying for you - I know it is so hard when you are also tired and pregnant!!

Hopefully, 3 will be easier than 2. For us, it has been the opposite (I've heard that's the case with girls). We didn't have the 2 year old tantrums, but we have 3 year old DRAMA!! Wow, Lucy CRIES about everything. She stomps her feet and slams doors and tells me I'm mean! She may not kick and hit and have a full blown tantrum, but she sure acts like her whole world is crumbling! Geesh! Norah was exactly the same! I think with Daphne we will skip age 3 and go right to 4! Ha!
Anyway, all this to say that I understand what you are going through and will pray that things will get better when the baby comes!!!

Erin K. said...

Hmmm... Heather, Kaitlyn is turning three this week. Maybe I need to get prayed up. :-)

Sara, I don't you're crazy at all for keeping Jack in diapers for a little while. When we were a few days into potty training, it hit me that *I* was the one who wasn't ready for it. And I decided that I could be ok with that. We limped along with psuedo-potty training for a few weeks, and then when things settled down for us and Mike and I finally felt like we could devote sufficient time and energy to it, that's when we hit it at full steam. I think you'll be the most successful when *everyone* is ready for such a big change.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Heather, it's not just girls...some boys are harder at 3 than 2 also.

But Jack Henry has just started "tempum tanters" (how can you not laugh at that?) this weekend and I want to lose my mind already. Hang in there!

Wendy said...

Hey, just wanted to say hello. I have been there and it gets better. I just checked out a book called "I can't talk now but when I do..." It's a great little book for the older sibling. I have seen you in action, your doing great. Hang in there and keep up the good work. It was great getting to know you this summer.

Wendy Miller

Dawn said...

Sara, I know that it seems as if we do not have the answers. We do, if we just ponder the thought... What are you anxious about... That is what Jack is experiencing too. I have been reading some from a parenting speaker... Kirk Martin He works with alot of children/teens that have anxiety, adhd, etc. I have tried some of his methods with Cody who is 4... it is helping. The 3s are almost worst than the 2s. At least they were for us! Plus, take some time to understand what your expectations are of Jack, and your own anxieties of his acting out.

Be strong, and be human, we can only handle so much before we explode! I know you are a wonderful mom who is conscious of how her son will be in the teen years!

Sara Neufeld said...

This too shall pass. ;)