Monday, March 29, 2010

Toddler: Choose Your Adventure

Husband and I are having our asses kicked by an 18 month old. He looks so innocent - with that mop of wavy hair.
Who Me: Trouble?

The tantrums are wearing us down. The day usually starts off okay - he is happy to see us come in the nursery and waits while we give Penny her medicine and unhook her from the O2. There is much shrieking with laughter until it it is time to get him in his highchair. Then we move into "Choose Your Adventure" territory. Choice #1: Happily eat breakfast. Choice #2. Throw food and cup on floor and scream.

How Do I Feel This Morning?

This Choose Your Adventure always ends with him refusing to brush his teeth or wash his hands at the sink.

Brush My Teeth? Are you Kidding?

Time to put him in the playroom. Which he hates. There is much gate shaking and struggling when we try to diaper him or dress him for the day. Interspersed are nice moments when he sits in my lap and tries to drink my coffee (which I won't give him and that will of course set him off).

The Nanny takes over around 8:30 am and he is a bit better with her but doesn't eat much for lunch. He'll go outside and have a grand old time but freak out if you try to bring him back inside. He will focus on flipping through books although he doesn't really point out items on command the way Penny does. He sleeps like a rock for 3.5 hours in the afternoon. He is pretty good with playgroup time or walks outside but getting him back inside is always a struggle.

If only I could stay outside all day

When Husband and/or I come home by 6:00 pm there is a tantrum, on the floor kicking his arms and legs. Dinner? No eating for him (maybe a bit of carbs), lots of food throwing, refusal to wash hands or brush teeth.

After dinner is playtime which can be okay if you let him watch TV or run randomly around the house. Time to go upstairs for bath and bed? Forget it - we haven't been bathing him regularly - just fighting to get him dressed and plopping him in his crib. If you put him in the tub he will stand there and scream and cry. Once in his crib he will quietly "read" a book to himself and usually will sign along to "Twinkle Twinkle" before we leave the room.

Rubber Ducky, You're The One: You Make Bathtime So Much Fun!

Nighttime sleep is good (at least 11 hours) although both kids have started having periodic nightmares that will wake them up but they are usually asleep a minute or two later.

Just this weekend Penny started getting in on the action. Man, toddlers can scream LOUDLY, can't they? The best was when we were taking them in the elevator at the mall and two women remarked how happy the kids were (also the typical questions about whether they were twins and what was on Penny's face). I asked them whether they heard the SCREAMS from both coming from the linens section not even 5 minutes earlier. Apparently not.

Toddlers are exhausting. We are patient, often letting Ned by himself to deal with his issues, sometimes comforting him or trying to distract him. Frankly there is not much discipline we feel like we can do at this stage so our philosophy has been to ride it out. I've been able to spent much more time with both kids and I don't think that Ned suffers from any sort of social disorder - he is just really easily set off if you go against what he wants.

I'm sure some other moms can relate out there but I am frustrated because I want Ned to enjoy the time he spends with his parents and not be testing us all the time.
Brief Monster Break


LauraC said...

18 month old Alex = least favorite Alex age ever. Tantrums, refusal to cooperate, into everything! I have a spectacular video of him screaming under the Christmas tree and kicking it whenever I said "Merry Christmas!" to him.

I thought 2.5 Nate was my least favorite Nate age ever but I was wrong. 3.75 Nate might be given up for adoption if things don't change quickly.

Shelley said...

18 months was HARD, crazy HARD. Like I thought I was gonna lose my mind on a daily basis, and I was pregnant which didn't help matters. I feel (felt) your pain. Hang in there. It got better at 2, but still not great. 2 1/2 seems to have been a turning point. That's not to say that we couldn't turn the other direction at any moment. :-)

Gavin would go into hour long rages at about that age. Literally an hour long. I finally just set up a video camera to document it because no one believed how bad it actually was. Just keep saying to will get better, it will get better. Everything is temporary at this age.

Jordan said...

This sounds a lot like one Alexander J. Rose. They would probably be best buds.

Anonymous said...

18 months is challenging. I wonder if he might be bored in your playroom and need/want to explore other areas.

Nicole S. said...

Boredom seems to be a big issue with my two, to varying degrees. One reason I'm grateful the warm weather is upon us. But even with playgrounds and new toys, the randomest things set them off and it's hard to get them back on track.

For example, we had our first music class today. I'm writing a post about it but let's just say it was not fun. Not getting what they want is a big issue for us, too. I'm getting the feeling this is a common phase and I just have to make it through to the other side. Whenever that will be!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

You guys are scaring me! Here I am in 8-month-old bliss thinking the worse is behind me LOL

That picture of the 3 (well, 4) of you is GORGEOUS and another reason why we need to take lots of pics to remind us of the good times!

Jessi said...

I have a 19 month old (niece, but we have temporary custody) on top of a 3 year old and 2 year old (my kids) who want to be independent with everything. The tantrums run wild here. So I feel your pain, I do! To top it off I have a 3 month old (niece, too) who still wants to stay up the entire night!

18 months is a hard stage. It only gets more trying as they get older when the independence thing comes in. I hear " I wanna do it myself!" about 99 times a day :)

Nancy said...

Have you tried giving choices? "Do you want to eat breakfast or brush your teeth? The choice is yours!" (who cares what order they do it in at this stage...)

I found with Burke if he thought HE was in charge, things went much better. In the morning, if he didn't want to eat right away ... fine. Go play for a bit - let me know when you're hungry.

Those half year marks will get ya every time!!

Good luck :)

susanne13 said...

we still have a happy 14 month old, but reading this helps so i will know what to expect! good luck!!

Katie said...

Oh, you have my sympathies. I only have ONE toddler doing this to me, and I don't work outside of the home, which I can only imagine adds to all of it. You have my admiration, too.

Momma said...

OMG - sounds like my girls. Just wait till then turn 2. Wine - lots of it, that's my advice. But then again, you're pregnant, so it's just good advice for Husband. :-P Take it easy!

Unknown said...

I hear you with the mealtime tantrums. My son refuses to eat at meals these days, but he used to be such a terrific eater. I'm not sure why; I just hope this phase ends very soon!

Unknown said...

OMG I so remember this age. Like. Ii. Was. Yesterday! I so feel for you right now. Both of mine were a conbination of these or both at the same time at this age. I hate to say it but 3 has by far been our "worse" age. It's a battle of wills now. But each age has it's struggles and happy times.

What ended up working for us on the teeth brushing thing is going to sound strange to you. Pick your child's favorite character or thing (for us it is usually trains at the moment) and tell them you are going to "brush them out of their mouth/teeth". Just find a way to phrase it that works for you. It worked like a charm for both of mine but the one who NEVER let me brush his teeth has now turned into Mr. I Want to Brush My Teeth man. I do think this method had everything to do with it.

On the clothing battles. Oh my. That is still a battle for us from time to time at age 3! My philosophy now is as soon as they get up, they get dressed. Not nearly as bad a battle when we do it that way. But if we give even just once it takes a week to recover again. At 18 months though I think I just did it no matter if they wanted me to or not. Fighting and screaming, whatever.

On the food thing...don't think I really have any suggestions on that one. That age was tough on the food front. They are stubborn. They are picky. They are also dicovering that throwing food is fun for them. I even remember very vividly cleaning food off the walls many times at that age. I think that is just one of those rights of passage for parents of 18 month olds! Hang in there. It does get better in so, so many ways!