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Friday, August 09, 2013

Surviving tantrums

When Aspen suddenly dropped her naps, I thought I was going to die from exhaustion. With the move, the switch to a twin bed and then the actual loss of her binky (she threw it in the night and I couldn't find it until the next day so that's how we got rid of it), I guess it was just too much for her. All that change probably made her feel 100% out of control and she didn't like that. I have no idea where she may have gotten that from. Certainly not me. Never!

I know it's common for 2-3 year olds to stop napping regularly, but I was not prepared for the fury it unleashed in my child. She was so sleep-deprived and I couldn't even get her to take any quiet time to replace the nap. If I put her in her room she would claw at the door and throw herself around the room screaming bloody murder. This would go on for up to an hour and has only once resulted in her finally falling asleep in her room. ONCE. In four months. So, yeah.

Her rage manifested itself in the form of violent tantrums. She often scratched my face or arms and made me bleed. She would hit and kick and thrash if I tried to hug her and calm her down. I learned I had to leave her alone or else I'd get attacked and then I'd get mad and yell and make things worse.

I was crying all the time and I hated spending the day with Aspen. Yes, I hated it. Especially when she started regularly waking up at 5am. That meant I had 15 hours to spend with a raging lunatic who wouldn't give me even five seconds by myself to go to the bathroom with the door shut. And I could not for the life of me understand how she could sleep so little. She went from sleeping 12 hours a night and taking a three/four hour nap every day to instead sleeping mayyyybe 10 hours a night.

Finally, Amanda called me one morning to ask how I was holding up. I locked myself in my bathroom and cried to her about how I didn't like my kid anymore and I didn't know what to do. Amanda had found some success with the book "1-2-3, Magic" and she recommended I read it for my little... situation... with Aspen.

I got it from the library and took a week to read it. After a couple of weeks using the technique (which is basically like giving your kid three strikes) Aspen's tantrums became less frequent. Now, a couple of months later, Kev and I can often get Aspen to stop whatever inappropriate behavior she's doing by only counting to one.

On Sunday I stayed home sick while Kev and Aspen went to church together. I was laying in bed with my head under the pillow while Aspen nagged me about watching a show. I kept telling her reasons why she couldn't and I was so ready to scream. Then Kev's voice came from the bathroom, "Aspen, that's one!" and she shut the heck up immediately and went off to do something else. I felt stupid for wasting my time trying to reason with her. YOU CAN'T REASON WITH A THREE YEAR OLD, DUMMY.

So. Tantrums. If you're dealing with them you might want to check out "1-2-3, Magic." And you can also call me when you feel you don't like your toddler anymore because I get it. And I won't judge you!

Thanks, Amanda. I owe you.

Now if only there was a magic book for getting Aspen to take some quiet time in her room. Maybe a book with lollipops in it?

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6 comments:

  1. SO there right now with Makai. I'm going to try to get this book from our library too. We count to 5 but sometimes he's a smart alec and mockingly counts with us and he always waits until 4 before he does anything. Thanks for the tip.

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    1. One of the best parts of the book was being reminded that throwing a parent tantrum is just as bad. It's what I'm guilty of! So yes, this method is helpful because instead of me blah blah blahing to Aspen about what she's doing wrong, I just count and she has three chances to move on. Love it.

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  2. Tantrums. Ugh. Thanks for the reminder that trying to reason with a toddler is a crazy idea. I have been wanting a good book recommendation on this topic but there seem to be hundreds and can definitely be hit and miss. Thanks for the recommendation. We pretty much have a guaranteed tantrum at 11:00am and 4:00pm. It's called HANGRY hour. At least there's a pattern, right? Oh toddlers. Good thing they're so cute.

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    1. I hope this works for you. I tried a different book (I can't remember what it's called) that was all about giving your kid 1,000,0000,0000000 choices throughout the day to give them the feeling of control. I thought if I gave more control back to Aspen it would help her stop being such a crazy pants but it definitely didn't click with our family. So this book was such a relief!

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  3. glad you found something that works for you!!!

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  4. I will definitely have to check out that book. Logan is getting crazier and crazier by the day. I swear he has no fear, so yelling and/or spanking don't work.

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