I've been talking a lot about the difficulty of raising a two-year-old. The video below is a healthy reminder of the trials and tribulations ahead.
Meet Kristin, a three-year-old who really, really, REALLY doesn't want to bring her plate to the sink. Why? Well, it weighs 1000lbs, of course.
Kristin's oscar-worthy display got me thinking about totally unnecessary tantrums. Like Mazzy has developed this new thing where her milk must be at an exact preferred temperature every time.
The temperature is called "Nice & Warmy" and just a few degrees more or less than "Nice & Warmy" results in a gutteral scream heard throughout all of Manhattan ("MAKE IT NICE & WARMY!!!!") followed by a sippy cup hurled across the room and sobs so exaggerated, they should be coming from James Van Der Beek.
Another source of great distress in our home is Mazzy's miniature Sesame Street and Disney figurines. Mazzy is VERY particular about how she arranges her "guys" and becomes visibly upset if they are not all in an upright position at all times.
For most of the figurines, standing is not an issue regardless of how often Mazzy rearranges them (roughly 30-50 times a day), but Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck pose a problem.
Not only are they both wearing HEELS, but they are standing in such a way that it is almost impossible for either of them to attain balance.
Minnie has only one foot planted on the ground and her huge out-stretched hand throws her whole center of gravity out of whack.
Daisy is bending dangerously to one side so that she can stick her tailfeathers out, cock her head, and suggestively put one finger in her mouth. (It's pretty clear Daisy is not using her head to rise up the food chain in the pond, if you know what I'm saying.)
Several times a day, Mazzy is brought to tears by her inability to get Minnie or Daisy to stand. And then she is brought to further hysterics when I try to stand them up and can't do it either.
To make matters even more frustrating, we are both painfully aware that they CAN stand if you put the proper amount of time and patience into it (see photo that took me a half hour to set-up above).
But patience is hard to come by when your two-year-old is sobbing louder than Christina Yang in last week's episode of Grey's Anatomy.
If you don't watch Grey's Anatomy, Christina's hysterics were brought upon by the discovery that her husband had a one-night stand.
Adultery warrants less tears than the inability to balance a Daisy Duck figurine.
My daughter sounds totally reasonable, right?
What's the most ridiculous thing your child has thrown a tantrum over?
I’m a little relieved my toddler is not the only one who throws unreasonable tantrums. Monkey gets mad at the littlest things – like when the game he’s playing on the iPad is not doing something he wants. Or when his Thomas the Train doesn’t move in the exact direction he chooses. Or when his blanket is not right over his feet just so. And the list goes on and on and on.
I have pretty well behaved kids. But occasionally my NINE YEAR OLD BOY, yes you read that right, NINE year old BOY will throw a fit over something so small, so trivial that if it weren’t so patently annoying and sanity-sucking, it would be hilarious.
On St. Patrick’s Day, he was reduced to laying on the floor, sobbing because the green shirt I gave him wasn’t the RIGHT green shirt.
Another day he cried and cried and gave an Oscar worthy performance crawling across the house because the socks I gave him were short ankle socks. Socks he wore happily nearly every other day. But THAT day, ankle socks were OUT OF THE QUESTION.
We’ve had a few other incidents, like wearing pants that made too much noise, or being made to eat eggs when he wanted cereal…but nothing like those two incidents. 99.9% of his tantrums happen in the morning when he’s tired and not had enough sleep, so I try to be understanding. 🙂
Putting his drink in the wrong cup.
Putting his window down (in the car) when clearly he wanted it up. Then putting it up b/c in that millisecond he decided it should, indeed, be down.
If I try to put the ‘wrong’ pants on him in the morning, forget about it.
my two year old is a total tantrum machine. but it’s better lately now that i let him “control” most of the things that usually cause them. like lately he has been complaining about a bunch of food stuff, so i just took him to the grocery and let him pick out what he wants to eat. and now he is much happier… at least until the next thing comes along.
Now, I personally think water tastes the same no matter what color cup its in…my kids disagree. I video taped them having a tantrum about who wanted the red cup and who wanted the white cup. The things that rock their world are amazing!
To solve this problem I went out and bought two identical red cups. Know what they fought about then? Who wanted the one on the left and who wanted the one on the right. Honest to God.
I can’t stand them! =)
How about the melt downs over toys they haven’t seen, played with, or even thought of in weeks? Demon Toddler freaked the eff out yesterday because of her “pink puppy”. WTF is a pink puppy???? I searched the house while she screamed and brought her a 2 brown puppies and a black puppy, a pink pony and a pink bunny, none of them were right. Eventually, I found an ancient pink puppy stuffed behind the couch that she got for Christmas and stuffed back there in mid January.
Couple of things: Kristin is a hero. Second, get Minnie and Daisy to lean on each other as a metaphor for complementary weaknesses. Third, my kid called me from Utah while on a trip with my ex to call her a liar due to a matter of an undelivered Ice Pop. Blah out.
I hate that father filming his kid while she’s melting down. Making it a teachable moment. I hope she gets nose piercings when she’s a teenager.
last night my son had a tantrum because he threw his lion (which he uses for bedtime) across the room, and i told him that he had to get it, but of course he wanted me to get. i am not his dog. well after about 15 minutes of crying and screaming he got it and then proceeded to tell me that he wanted his daddy to sing him songs (which i usually do), that he was mad at me, and for me to go away.
My son threw an epic tantrum because he wanted it to stop raining. “I don’t want it to be raining!” We live in Washington, son…
My two year old has moved onto the yes means no tantrum and applies it everywhere. “Do you want milk?” “No.” “Do you want apple juice?” “No” “Do you want a drink?” “No.” “okay…” Slowly leave the kitchen…. TANTURUM!!!!!! “What’s wrong?” “Want milk………………………..” Copy and paste same scenario over what show to watch on tv, what clothes to wear each day, whether it’s snack time, what shoes to wear, what toys to play with, etc…
I think you ought to wrap some Play-Doh around dip Minnie’s and Daisy’s feet to help them out.
Awesome! This video feels like a small window into my daughter’s world. Anything from getting dressed, to picking up toys, to walking, yes, just. walking. can set her into a fit worthy of an exorcism. My favorite was the time she went in to full tantrum mode and sobbed herself to sleep because she had to wear socks.
try clear hot glue on Minnie’s and Daisy’s feet to give them a flat stand to balance on. Explain to Mazzy first what you’re doing and that you can peel it off if she doesn’t like it.
I can’t think of anything off hand. Most seem to be courtesy of not enough sleep / getting sick / hungry, and once she’s in the “mode” anything can trigger it. However, she will be three end of July; and I have stopped playing into it now that her verbal skills are quite intact. So I will not ignore her per se, but will just repeat “I don’t know what you want. Tell me in a nice voice and I will help you” then won’t help her with whatever she wants until her attitude adjusts. It is hard – VERY hard. And yes I feel mean at times. But it is far preferable to being screamed at, and I have started to see it working – she will start to tantrum, I won’t cave, she will use her words. Only major guilt moment – when she was freaking I wouldn’t carry her down the stairs, so I was holding firm until she said “help me please” rather than whiny/shriek. Then she got half-way down and suddenly said clearly “but my ear – it’s just so sore!” 🙁 Which both helped her realize the need to use words, and me realize that sometimes tantrums aren’t necessarily related to the most obvious source …
We are just beginning this stage. Yesterday it was over a hat. He wanted the hat for his ride in the wagon. Mid wagon ride screaming hysterically in front of a random strangers house and acting like the hat was eating him alive. Of course, they were outisde looking at me like i was worst mother ever. wtf…..
I say Minnie and the Duck unexplicably disappear…..
We were a fairly tantrum free house until last week when the boy turned 3. I’m not sure what happened on that magic day but something happened to my sweet baby and now he doesn’t listen and throws major fits.
This morning it was because he wanted gum, then he saw I was eating strawberries so he threw his gum out so he could have strawberries. I got him loaded in the car with his bowl of strawberries only to be met with “I want gum.” So I went back in to get the gum only to be met with “I want my strawberries” when I got back to the car. After 10 minutes of screaming on the way to daycare about gum or strawberries I just wanted to scream too.
For Landon it’s his fucking train table. Excuse the language but I’m really ready to throw it in the garbage. HE GETS SO FRUSTRATED AND ANGRY WHEN THE TRACK IS NOT EXACTLY HOW HE WANTS IT. And he insists he has to have ridiculously long train (with like 15 cars) and when he train comes apart, he throws them. Lining up his dinky cars and stacking blocks are another source of frustration for him. My mother says he’s exactly like I was at his age. Pfft, yeah right.
Thanks for writing this! Like always, you have managed to make me laugh and feel better about my little one. In the middle of a long day with my 15 month old passed out in my lap (thank god for iPhones!) because his crib has caused yet another unnecessary tantrum, I really needed this post! One idea….. How about some of that blue gummy stuff, made to stick things to the wall, on the bottom on Minnie and daisy’s shoes??? Just a thought!
I had to train myself not to respond to those kinds of tantrums as much as possible. My husband & I worked very hard to relearn our habit of asking yes/no questions and instead substituting choice questions: Do you want milk or water? If she asks for something not one of the choices, I first have to decide is this a teachable moment & how to respond. Sometimes the answer is “Juice isn’t an option, you can choose between milk or water.” If she pitches a fit, I escort her from the table to her room and tell her that when she has calmed her body down and can be sweet again, we welcome her back at the table.
While it feels “mean” briefly, it also conveys a few things: 1) She is responsible (not me!) for calming herself, and 2) She has choices. Thirdly is that as long as she is tantruming/sulking in her room, it doesn’t ruin my dinner in quite the same way. One important piece, though: I always escort her to her room, hold her hand, and walk with her (it’s tempting to shout & tell her to go to her room, but that communicates mostly anger & rejection, not the two lessons I’m trying to communicate). Over time, we’ve noticed she goes more readily to her room & returns more quickly.
Yes, it is worse when she’s tired or hungry.
As for Minnie & Daisy, how about saying “I know you’re disappointed they won’t stand up. Me too! I don’t choose to spend time trying to make them do something. If you want to do it, be my guest. Otherwise, I’ll be over here reading a book.” And make sure one of her books is nearby so that she can join you when she chooses not to focus on the figurines.
As long as we continue to expend the energy until they’re happy, we are communicating that it’s worth spending that energy on silly little things and that we, not they, are responsible for their moods.
Is it bad that I feel better after seeing that video?? Luckily, my boy doesn’t throw tantrums nearly as long, though they can be ridiculous like not wanting to change clothes for school, or washing hands for dinner, or eating dinner….or an end to the iPhone, that’s the worse.
Just be glad that your toddler did not get arrested like the latest kindergartener did. I’m not kidding. You should check it out and I promise that afterwards you will think Mazzy is an angel.
This might be my favorite post of yours simply for your James Van Der Beek reference.
My hubby says that chick on Grey’s Anatomy always cries. Sure enough, every episode, she’s crying. Poor actress. It’s getting pretty old!
I have seen MANY a tantrum in my time. I LOVE the video you posted. My biggest issue with tantrums is that I look after a little one who only speaks French… this is not by any means a language I can speak… therefore we experience lots of tantrums where by I am trying to mime something to her and she is throwing a shoe at my head! Works wonders…
Love your blog… totally a new reader…,
LOL, my brother once sat down in the grass while playing outside and yelled, “I HATE YOU, SUN!!!”
my kids are 11 and 13 now, but we had those SAME minnie and daisy figurines and the same associated tantrums!
you’ll be happy to know they are tantrum-free now :0)
One of the most recent tantrums my 4 year old had lasted nearly 20 minutes over the way her panties felt. We went throught every pair until there seemed to be no other choice. Then all of a sudden the first pair was the right pair and she left me speechless when she replied “now those are prefect.” All I could do was laugh and start working on the night gown. Life can seem so tough for a sleepy 4 year old. Lol