Lessons Learned: Temper Tantrums

Do you have a strong willed toddler like we do? Up until Sydney was seven months old, she would fuss briefly when she didn’t get her way, but was easily distracted. Then suddenly we experienced her first real temper tantrum – over wanting a popsicle. She was tired, and probably hungry, and started to fuss while we were fixing dinner. It escalated from fussing to a screaming fit when we tried to get her to sit down and have dinner. We let her know that once she ate with us, she could have a popsicle and go outside, but instead she decided to hold onto the freezer door, jump up and down and cry hysterically.

We learned many lessons in that 15 minutes:

  1. Ignoring the tantrum didn’t help at all, but sitting down beside her didn’t seem to help either, nor did carrying her back over to the table to try to get her to eat.
  2. Letting her know that we understood exactly what she wanted did not make her feel any better about the situation.
  3. She can work herself up so much that she throws up (though it appeared to be mostly phlegm).
  4. I wish we’d never let her try a popsicle, or a piece of candy, or a cashew for that matter (she always wants one, but then spits chunks of it out all over the floor), or anything else she pitched a fit over, even though I know that’s only a temporary solution.
  5. And most importantly, she needs to be taken far away from whatever she’s coveting.

As soon as we finished with dinner, Chris took her outside (without a popsicle needless to say), and although she fussed a bit when she came back in, she did not touch the freezer again and was happy as can be by bath time. 

Funny how much easier it is for kids to forget the tirades than it is for their parents.

Lessons Learned Recap: Tantrums will happen. All you can do is ride out the storm and figure out the best approach to shorten their duration.

Lessons Learned: Never Use a Light Pole as Home Base

We were having the best morning at the Texas Capital today. We enjoyed a picnic with breakfast tacos and pastries, in absolutely gorgeous spring weather. We found a bird's nest above us and listened as the momma bird fed her tweeting babies (the eggs from our breakfast tacos). We chased the squirrels. Sydney and I laid side by side and soaked in the sun. We read a WWII memorial dedicated to the Texans who served and those who lost their lives fighting for freedom. We looked up at the mini Statue of Liberty and explained to the kids how we were going to New York City soon, where there was the same statue, but as tall as the Capital building. Chris explained to the girls how it greeted millions of immigrants and embodied freedom and hope and opportunity for those seeking a better life in America. We taught Luke how to play Duck, Duck, Goose and laughed hysterically that he didn't get it, and kept walking around the circle patting everyone's head saying either Duck or Goose, but not understanding he needed to run if he said Goose.

It was one of the best mornings of my life.

And then it wasn't.

Did you notice the "were" in the first sentence? Well, that's because it all went terribly wrong in a matter of seconds. We were playing tag, with a light pole as home base. I was IT. We were all running and laughing. Sydney and Luke were trying to hold me so that Daddy could get to the pole safely. Then Luke tripped (on the grass, on his shoe?) and dove head first, hitting the base of the light pole with his chin. 

Chaos ensued. Blood came pouring out of Luke's mouth (he'd bitten his tongue) and from a large wound on his chin. His t-shirt, applicably labeled "Dirt Expert," was soaked dark red.

Sydney was screaming and crying, worried about her little brother. Daddy was screaming for everyone to collect their things so we could take Luke to the emergency room. Luke was screaming from the pain. I was rocking Luke back and forth trying to calm him down. And Sabrina was still hiding from the game we'd been playing.

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Here's Luke after three shots (don't get me started on why he needed three!) and three stitches. He screamed and fought every single stitch. But otherwise, he was a trooper like usual.

This was not exactly how I envisioned my perfect Mother's Day Weekend going.

Lessons Learned Recap: Never use a light pole or any other hard object as home base for a game of tag. Or, never play tag with a two-year-old? Or, never let your children out of the house? But if your young one does need stitches, especially on the face, take them to a children's ER where they give them a nose spray that makes them loopy and not care that they're getting stitched up!