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I put a greasy Bear to bed a few minutes ago.  Her chattering has grown quiet, and I know that she is tired, because she refused to leave the doctor’s office this morning.  Then, she refused to leave the car, and later, she refused to let me change her diaper.  When according to her doctor’s suggestion, I smeared hydrocortisone and then Aquaphor all over Bear’s body to help her eczema, she cried big tears and said, “No, Mommy.  No.”  However, when I turned her onto her stomach so I could coat her back, she gave in and pressed her little cheek into the changing pad and looked up at me from one side with big eyes.  The back rub seemed to subdue her, which is fortunate, because I know that she needs to sleep.

My city is packed in snow again today.  The snow started shortly after noon yesterday and fell continuously through early this morning.  Yesterday evening, stalled cars blocked every route I attempted to leave the area where I work.  I watched less-fortunate drivers being towed up a hill that my all-wheel drive vehicle was able to traverse.  Despite my heater running as high as possible, my windows kept icing over and chunks of ice quickly formed around my windshield wipers.  My twenty-minute drive from work to Bear’s daycare yesterday evening stretched to an hour and a half.  When I arrived, Bear was the only child there.  She’d been left with a high school girl, while the one remaining full-time care provider was outside shoveling the sidewalk and working on a path to my car.  Bear’s diaper was so full that large, wet rings had formed around her legs, but she seemed as oblivious to her neglect as the high school girl was.  Instead, Bear ran around the empty classroom with a look of glee on her face as though I had stopped by simply to play.  When she began rolling on the mats, I scooped her up and quickly dressed her for the blizzard outside.   The blowing snow and frigid air quickly changed Bear’s attitude from one of excitement to one of careful curiosity, and I heard little from her on the way home except the occasional “car,” “snow,” and “pretty.” 

We expect another inch of snow tomorrow and another three or four inches this weekend. I love the snow, but I think that I’ll be ready for spring after this next round. 

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of Bear’s first snow from December 2009. 

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In response to my first post of the year, Kate of Infertile Myrtle reminded me, “Don’t let this blog cause you any sort of grief, . . . don’t feel like you owe anybody anything, remember, this blog is for you, not us.” She is right. I let so much in life cause me needless grief. I spend way too many hours attempting to work myself out of some self-created debt to others; worried what they think of me and what that must say about me.

Yesterday, as I lay in attempted repose in savasana at the end of my favorite yoga class, I found myself worrying if I was doing it correctly.  Are my shoulders in the right place? Is my face peaceful? Is my lower back arched too high? After all, the teacher had adjusted me twice before in previous classes, pulling my legs so that my lower back rested on the floor.

For heaven’s sake, can’t I even relax without beating myself up?

Kate’s words came to mind.  I reminded myself that this yoga was for  me.  Not anyone else. This was my savasana.  I need to take control of my life and stop living it for others.  I think that I’ll find it a lot more sustainable, peaceful, productive and creative – not to
mention a lot more enjoyable and fulfilling – if I silence the internal critic and empower myself to live for me.

Thanks, Kate.  Feel free to remind me of this. . . and often.

POST EDIT – Sorry for all of the re-posts.  I used Word Press’s application for my mobile device, and that was a MISTAKE.  It renamed my post and removed every hard return and inserted new ones.

The New Year has ushered in a New Bear.  Although she is about four months from officially entering those “Terrible” or “Terrific Twos” (depending on your viewpoint), she’s always been an overachiever.

The disruption brought by successive holidays has caused Bear to refuse to fall asleep at night or at nap time.  She refuses to have her diaper changed.  She refuses to go to daycare in the morning, and she refuses to leave daycare at night.

On Monday evening, I arrived at daycare to pick her up, and I heard a teacher ask Bear if she was ready to go with Mommy.  I heard Bear quickly respond, “No.”  After I signed her out in her classroom, I walked next door where she was darting back and forth between a plastic swing and a slide.  She did her best to completely ignore my presence as she climbed to the top of the slide, slid quickly down, and ran to the swing.  The teacher observing all of this just shrugged her shoulders at the situation that clearly was about to unfold.

After watching Bear run the “circuit” a few times, I announced that it was time to go home and scooped her into my arms.  She stiffened, arched her back, and immediately swung her arms around to grab my hair.  A loud wail filled the room.  Carrying her back to her classroom, I held her on my lap and did my best to slip her arms into her coat.  She fought me and wound up on the floor with my hand beneath her head to cushion the impact of the carpet below.

Indignantly, I carried her to the car.  The swift chill of the air outside softened her resolve, and she pushed her body closer to mine.  Once I got her into and buckled into her car seat, she became silent.

On the way home, I called my husband to tell him about Bear’s reaction.  From the backseat, Bear began mumbling quietly – under her breath – as though she was saying something that she didn’t want me to hear.  Her grumbling continued and her words became a little louder and a little clearer, and her tone was pointed.

“No, Mommy.  No.  No, Mommy.  No.”

She would mumble something intelligible and then repeat her tirade of “No, Mommy.  No.”  She was chastising me, I think.  By the time we reached home, my transgressions had been forgotten, at least until bedtime when the battle began once more.

I am afraid that it may be a long road to three.

This increase in tantrums means Bear is asserting her newly realized individual self, I suppose.  She is leaving babyhood and becoming a little girl.  This afternoon, she discovered a soft baby doll in the bottom of her toy chest.  I showed her how to rock it, but she had no interest.  Then I retrieved one of her old receiving blankets and pulled out a nearby footstool and showed her how to put the baby to bed.  She spent half an hour folding the blanket, rearranging it, and adjusting baby, until she looked up at me and said something.  I asked her to repeat it.  “Bwinky.”  “A binky?” I asked.  “Yes.  Bwinky.”  So, I searched for a binky.  It had never been used except the handful of times Bear shot it out of her newborn mouth until we got the idea that she didn’t want a binky.   I am amused that her baby does want a binky.

We have also spent hours building towers with her new Christmas blocks and playing mail carrier with “pretend” mail.  She loves to dance with me throughout the house on silly mornings, and she picks up my purse, which is nearly as big as she is, and says, “Bye bye.”

It may be a glorious road to three, too.

Is spending too much time on eBay looking for a new pair of shoes for Bear a good excuse for not updating this blog in quite awhile?  Probably not.  I have a couple of pairs that I’m “watching” though.  I tend not to enjoy the bidding aspect of eBay, which results in a lot of watching and waiting.  In the past, whenever I’ve found something that I want – usually after a lot of research and scrutinizing – I have placed a bid only to lose to someone more eBay-savy than myself.  And then, I’ll spend a good hour or two mad about it.  Isn’t the “Buy Now” feature easier?  If only I could find good Stride Rite shoes for less than $30 somewhere else.  Bear is about to grow out the last pair that I bought her at a consignment sale in, um September, so we’re going to need a new pair very soon, and I grew weary of the monthly Target shoe purchases this summer.  I bought monthly not because she grew out of them, but because they fell apart.  The last pair Bear had from there, the ladies at daycare actually asked me not to send her back in them.  They wouldn’t stay on, and she kept tripping on them.  Hence, all of my time wasted on eBay, and I still have no shoes to show for it.

Instead of Trick-or-Treating this year, we took Bear to the zoo.  Fortunately, she is too young to really understand that she was missing the opportunity to amass a lot of candy.  Next year, candy avoidance is going to be much more difficult.  Hopefully, by that time, she will have outgrown her soy allergy.  I feel like we could work around the peanut allergy, but soy is in nearly Every Single Piece of candy that I looked at.  Finally, I purchased a package of special allergy-free Sour Worms at Whole Foods.  The package indicated that it had 20 packs of worms inside.  When I opened the package and took out a pack to give to Bear, I found that it had ONE worm inside.  Yes, one.  As did each and every other pack.  I bought 20 allergy-free sour worms for $6.00, which works out to 30 cents a worm.

Aside from the lack of candy, Bear had a great time.  She recovered from the stomach flu (yes, that came to visit us a week after Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease), and she loved dressing up for her daycare Halloween party.  She was the last to leave, and we literally had to drag her out of the building.  We treated Bear to the zoo next, and since her favorite books right now are Goodnight, Gorilla and I am a Zookeeper, she was delighted to see the animals.

We kept seeing another young couple with a sleeping baby at each exhibit.  Bear refused to ride in the stroller and for awhile, Dad carried her on his shoulders.  Before a long walk back from Africa, we decided that she needed to ride in her stroller, and we gave her no choice but to get inside.  Bear screamed and howled and trashed and kicked.  I noticed the young couple watching us.  As we walked away with a yowling Bear, I told my husband that they were thinking one of two things:  Either “That’s what we have coming next,” or “Our child will never act like that.”  I remember thinking something similar to the latter one day as a little boy followed me around a store beating on a drum.  Every time I turned around, he’d stop and walk the other way.  As soon as I started walking again, he’d follow me banging on the-most-annoying-toy-drum-ever-made.  Even now, as I recount this, I am thinking, “I can guarantee that my child will never wander around a store alone,” but I am sure that someday this thought too will come back to haunt me just as that young couple’s sweetly sleeping baby will soon enter the Frequent Public Tantrum phase.  I do have limited experience, but I am fairly certain that all toddlers try their parents in this way.  And, I have no doubt that Bear comes by it naturally.

We have been traveling lately, so updating this blog has been difficult, but I will try to be more attentive.  Last week, we flew to West Virginia to visit my husband’s extended family and so they could see Bear for the first time in the past year.  We flew last year there with Bear, which strangely was an easier process with a five month-old.  Then, I was able to breastfeed her for much of the time, and despite being a human pacifier for the better part of a day, at least, I could pacify her in some way.  We also flew to California in May, which by coincidence fell on Day 1 of her bout with Roseola, so the poor girl had a high fever and clearly didn’t feel well, but in retrospect, she was quite subdued.

Flying with Feverish Bear is nothing compared to flying with Pukish Bear.  As we parked the car at the airport just prior to checking in for our first flight, I heard Bear coughing from the backseat and then gurgling.  We turned around to find Bear covered with the milk that she consumed earlier that morning.  So, we changed Bear in the parking lot and used about a million baby wipes trying to clean up the puke-covered car seat that we were getting ready to check for the flight.

Then, we were delayed from actually boarding the plane, because despite having booked our tickets and clearly indicating that we had a lap child with us, the airline had assigned us seats in a row without the extra oxygen mask for said lap child.  Instead of simply reassigning other passengers to new seats, they asked for volunteers to switch with us.  Apparently, no one would volunteer, so they had me sit in a single seat in the very back of the plane with Bear and had my husband sit elsewhere.  I was already annoyed with the unpleasant start to our trip, but I was really unhappy at the prospect of wrangling a nauseous fifteen month-old by myself.

Naturally, Bear proceeded to scream for most of the flight, except when she was eating, which resulted in her consumption of A LOT of blueberries.  She was also exhausted since it happened to be naptime.  Fortunately, she has a very good daddy who willingly walked up and down the aisle with her until, toward the end of the flight, she fell asleep on his shoulder.  My husband decided to just sit back down in his seat with her.  As we were getting ready to land, the flight attendant told my husband that he had to move.  Clearly this flight attendant had never struggled to get an infant to sleep (or stay asleep), but instead of causing a scene, my annoyed husband eased as carefully as he could out of his seat and walked back to where I was sitting to trade me seats.  Shortly after sitting down and as the flight was landing, Bear began screaming again.  I looked back, and my husband painfully indicated that I needed to get back there as soon as I could.  So, I waited until the plane was on the ground, and even though the ubiquitous seatbelt light had not been turned off, I charged back to where Bear and her daddy were wrestling and where both of them were covered with blue puke.  I did my best to help my husband and to console my crying baby while ignoring the flight attendant who was yelling at me over the loud speaker that I was not allowed out of my seat at that point.

I’ll admit.  I’m kind of a rule-follower, but I had had it with that flight.  I yelled back at her – past every passenger on the flight – “I DO NOT CARE!”  We found out later that there is some huge fine for being out of your seat during take-off and landing, but fortunately, by the time the flight attendant was able to get out of her seat, passengers were already disembarking.  We took our puke-covered baby and happily got off that plane.

The rest of the trip was more fun, and fortunately, the flights home were not as traumatic.  I am now thinking that we should avoid flying until Bear is at least three and certainly not within twenty-four hours of her consuming any blueberries.

Baby Toes, originally uploaded by Ryan Abel, Creative Commons, Flickr.

This morning, Bear woke up in a really bad mood. Nothing seemed to quell it. She was not happy after guzzling a cup of milk. She screamed as Daddy stretched and hitched up the dog for her beloved morning walk. After the walk, she stood at the side of her high chair and shook it yelling, “Baby! Baby! Babeeeeey!” Yes, the child wanted to eat. Unfortunately, we were not ready for breakfast. Daddy and I really needed Bear to wait until at least one of us was dressed and ready to sit in the kitchen with her while she ate. Besides, it was time for “Sid the Science Kid.”
Against my better judgment, but knowing that nothing other than food – not even “Sid” would be able to satisfy her – I filled a cup of corn puffs and set her down in front of the television in our bedroom to eat and watch “Sid” until one of us was ready to feed her a proper breakfast.

Now, these things that I refer to as “corn puffs” are just corn that is puffed. My husband brought them home from the grocery store last weekend in an attempt to find some processed (i.e., convenience) food that Bear can safely eat. They are not salty or sweet. In fact, they have little taste at all and tend to stick to your teeth. For some reason, my daughter enjoys them.

She seemed happy enough, munching and watching “Sid.” After a few minutes, I looked over at her to see that she was no longer eating. Instead, she was putting corn puffs between each of her baby toes and squealing with delight. I motioned for her daddy to watch, as we caught a little glimpse into our daughter’s psyche. “I’m glad to see that she has finally come to her senses,” I mused out loud. My husband looked at me like I was crazy. “Well,” I explained, “what else do you do with food that tastes like Styrofoam? Certainly not eat it!”

At this point, the dog burst through our bedroom door that doesn’t quite latch and headed straight for Bear with his tongue wagging. Within seconds, the corn puffs between Bear’s toes were gone. “See. Someone likes them,” my husband said pointedly; proud that his purchase was appreciated. “I’m just glad that the dog ate them,” I thought. It would have been bad to watch Bear eat Styrofoam but much worse to watch Bear eat Styrofoam from between her toes, but then again, there is no telling what the child has eaten when we weren’t watching!

On my own

On my own

My one year-old may have toddled into toddlerhood today.  It happened overnight.  This weekend, she was a happy-go-lucky baby, playing and wanting to be held and read to.  Today, she just wasn’t.

The morning started off well-enough.  Bear was happy to see me when I pulled her out of her crib.  She grabbed her “babies” – a stuffed giraffe affectionately named Jo Jo and a little bunny – and happily accepted a bottle from Daddy.  The trouble began when I took her to her room to get her ready for daycare.  I stretched her out on her changing pad, which I’ll admit, is not her favorite activity.   Lately, I’ve pacified her by pulling a book off of her book shelf and letting her browse it while I change her diapers or pants.  Today, however, I made the tactical error of handing her a box of cards that she enjoys, which I found underfoot on the floor.  Unfortunately, as soon as I handed the box to her, she dumped its contents out on top of her.  Approximately 20 cards spread across the changing pad and into the dirty diaper zone.  I quickly pushed the cards away and handed her two to play with.  This action infuriated her.  She flung the two remaining cards at me and flipped over onto her stomach (all while I was attempting to maneuver a dirty diaper out of the way and hold her dirty bum off of the changing pad).  She then became rigid, by arching her back and pushing her feet out (which were still in my hands).  I felt like we were practicing pro-wrestling moves.  I’d like to say in that situation that size matters, but honestly, the little bugger was making the most of it.  Although Bear was the one being pinned to the changing pad, she was clearly in control of the situation.

I managed to clean her and wrangle her into clothes for the day, but she continued to wail and fight me through the rest of our morning routine.  Once dressed, I took her to our kitchen for breakfast.  Once I plopped her down in her high chair and poured cereal and cut blueberries onto her tray, she quieted down a bit.  After Bear chucked her sippy cup at me, which is clearly toddler-speak for “stop trying to pacify me with this blasted sippy cup,” I turned on “Sid the Science Kid”, her favorite t.v. show (even though it is the only t.v. show she watches, and I like it too).   A faint smile appeared on her lips.  I thought that maybe I was making progress, so I began dancing about with the music on “Sid.”  Nothing.  Well, nothing pleasant anyway.  She made it clear that she was not happy with me and would not indulge in any silliness.  In fact, she turned away when I got too close.

When her daddy was ready to leave, I told him that Bear was not in a good mood and that I was pretty sure that she was mad at me.  He laughed as though he didn’t believe that she could be mad at me and picked her up from her chair to take her to the car.  Wait, I told him.  I didn’t want Bear to leave on a bad note, so I gave her a hug and as I leaned in to give her a kiss, she turned her head and pushed me away.  Her daddy laughed again, but not in disbelief this time.  Bear then began chattering happily to him as he carried her out to the car, leaving a dejected mommy in the kitchen.

I felt little pangs of sadness at work today thinking about how my little girl was already asserting her independence from me and how she had apparently grown-up enough to feel wronged by the actions of others, namely me.  Despite her unhappiness with me this morning, thouh, she squealed with delight when I walked into her room this evening to pick her up.  Whatever I did this morning was forgiven by this evening, and I was her much-loved momma once again, or for a hour or so at least until our next clashing of wills.

What will tomorrow bring?