Monday 31 October 2011


I knew the day would arrive, that day all parents fear…[no not the day the King brings home a girl, or the day he learns to drive, or the day he breaks his first bone falling off the jungle gym. Holy COW there are a lot of days to fear]. You stumble across descriptions of the phase (ha, there’s a euphemism for you) in books; other parents give you that glimpse into what’s to come in their conversations about their own children; not to mention you see parents dealing with it out in public and you think dear god, may our kid not be like that. Yes, I’m talking about the tantrum, and the King is just beginning to discover them in all their cacophonous glory.

To be honest it was a quick transition from sweet cuddly agreeable child that does whatever mommy and daddy say to suddenly a child with profound will and want that if he does not get his way, needs to show you how annoying you truly are. Add in a handful of obstinacy (make that two handfuls) and a whole bowl of frustration and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a proper funfest. His fun, not mine.

Often the tantrums start small. They don’t want their diaper changed, or their idea of dinner and yours don’t exactly match. Perhaps it’s a piece of food flung in your face, or an inadvertent kick in the gut (totally on purpose, who are we kidding) as you change their diaper. Then of course they morph into larger, more challenging affairs. The tantrum begins to last longer, and other elements join the party: screaming, whining, or throwing themselves dramatically on the ground like Scarlett O’Hara playing against Spain in the World Cup Final (how good would she be at faking an injury?). It’s a sight to watch.

Then of course there is the power move, the coup de grace on the tantrum rung: the body goes limp, the back arches, the head is thrown back, and they writhe on the floor like a slippery fish. You wouldn’t believe how heavy a small child can become when they let their entire body go limp, especially the King. God love all 30 pounds of him. Of course their favorite time to do this is in the least desirable place – and the most germ ridden. “Oh god please don’t go limp on the floor of the subway train! Please, please, anywhere but here!”

What’s even more alarming and amazing is how something that starts this young continues throughout our lives (yet another pattern to observe whilst childrearing – I’m telling you, it’s the best front row seat into human behavior you can imagine). Cause as we all know, the tantrum is not relegated to the toddler years. Just hang out in the post office awhile, or see a grown man watch his sports team lose, or even flick on the television…there are tantrums happening all over the world in many different forms…in fact, many take place in our very own living room J. We just learn to perfect the art and make it seem more socially acceptable…or NOT, in the cases when people go into shopping malls with loaded guns. It’s just pissed off humans not getting their way thinking they are entitled to do what they want, when they want.

In the case of the King, for now, we shall try to teach him reason, communication and appropriate channels for his frustration. Either that, or we’ll give him a large pillow and let him beat the wall with it until he feels better, whilst we make very strong cocktails. Whatever works really and keeps him off the floor of the subway.
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