I can’t remember if I was blogging yet when Gabriel had the historic tantrum after I told him he could not put raisins and a half-eaten PB&J in the VCR (he was about 14 months old, so it was a while ago), but today we had a tantrum that may replace this one in the record books.
This week was G’s first week back at preschool after an unprecedented 3 weeks of undivided Mommy attention (I was off work), two weeks of undivided Daddy & Grandparent attention, all the craziness of the holidays, and a string of bitter cold & winds that kept us inside for most of that time. Anyhow, Monday he did great. Matt took him to school, and he ran off with nary a glance back in Matt’s direction.
Tuesday, I took him and he lost his freaking mind. For the first time since his very first month of preschool he screamed and cried and begged me to take him back home with me. It took me about 15 minutes to get him calmed down, but when I came to pick him up, he was a wreck again. Wednesday’s drop-off was similar, so I came to pick him up a bit early (even though Ginger, bless her heart, had called to let me know that he was totally fine and happy 2 seconds after I left!), and spent the next 2 hours trying unsuccessfully to get the child to nap.
He was really happy yesterday & today because he was back with dedicated Mommy time (with the exception of one time when he pretended to pull his “listening ears” off and smash them with his hammer), but still avoided a nap this afternoon, appearing downstairs after 30 minutes of quiet time instead and running circles around me, giggling at full volume, until I was forced to admit that a nap wasn’t going to happen.
The afternoon passed without incident despite the lack of nap. Then it was bedtime. All four of us had been playing upstairs after dinner and we gave Gabriel the five minute warning. He’d already peed, brushed his teeth, and gathered his favorite lovies into his bed, so I thought we were set. Then he started demanding to play with Lily’s doll stroller, but she was absolutely ready for lights out and so was he, so we let him play for a couple of minutes and then I escorted him out so Lily could have her stories with Matt.
At this point, Gabriel lost his sanity. I mean, he screamed, raged, beat on the floor, growled, howled, and clawed for over 30 minutes while I just sat there in his room with him and made sure he didn’t hurt himself (he was throwing things around and I was worried he was going to bash himself with something heavy or barf from all the screaming and crying!). It was frightening, actually. I was in front of his door so he couldn’t get out and “wake Lily up” (as if she could sleep through his screaming!), so he’d run up like he was going to hit me, stop short, and scream something like, “You’re a bad, mean, Mommy!” and run away howling again.
He finally ran out of gas and climbed into bed and it was like somebody flipped a switch. He giggled because in all his tantruming, one of his socks came most of the way off. Then he said, “I love you Mommy, but I wanted to go play with Baby’s stroller.” So I asked if I could come snuggle him in bed and he said, “No, you stay in front of the door or I might try to escape again.” Jeez.
A few minutes later, he got up, picked a story and asked me very politely to read it to him. I did, then I turned the lights out and he went to sleep. So he’s sleeping away, probably dreaming of digging big holes tomorrow (since that’s what I told him we were going to do tomorrow since we have some yard projects we’d like to accomplish) and I’m sitting here blogging, drinking, and trying to calm down.
There are two upsides to this: 1. He didn’t hit me. We’ve been having some hitting issues with him and are working hard on getting him to use his words with us, his sister, and his friends instead of acting out physically. I’m glad to see progress because it just reassures me that taking the gentle approach was better than approaches advocated by a few other people in the past few weeks, and 2. He’ll probably sleep late tomorrow because the tantrum obviously exhausted him.
Wasn’t it just last week that I was commented to someone that I got lucky and avoided the “Terrible Twos”? I guess he’s saving most of it up for age 3…