Note: I reference a lot of mental disorders in this blog post. I want you to know that I take mental illness very seriously and I'm not poking fun at anyone who suffers from any sort of mental disease. I'm merely pointing out that a two-year-old very much takes on the symptoms of certain disorders, especially demonic possession Think about it, you could find any symptom out of the DSM-IV and apply it to a toddler. That would make a pretty great psychology thesis!
I thought we'd avoided the Terrible Twos. I thought maybe my daughter would be different. She's a pretty fun kid to be around. Always smiling and laughing. She's already a great jokester. But then suddenly, Bi-Polar Toddler makes her appearance. Whatever she wants, she wants NOWNOWNOWNOWNOWNOWNOW!!!!!! Hot milk, another story, a nap, Mommy to get out of bed, to get into the bathtub, to get out of the bathtub, to go outside, to go inside...if there's any hesitation on my part, the hysterics begin. And. They. Don't. Stop.
I thought I was smarter than this. I thought I could out-wit her. I'm a pretty intelligent person, capable of convincing an audience that they absolutely need to buy what I'm selling. But not even Marketing 101 can get L.E. to forget about wanting ice cream and wanting to watch a movie instead. It's like she's my own little bundle of obsessive-compulsive-disorder, especially when she talks like Rain Main. "I want to watch Cars. I want to watch Cars. I want to watch Cars. I want to watch Cars...."I can't change her mind no matter how hard I try. I offer some fresh air, a toy to play with, a trip to the park, her favorite book, but there is no bending her will once she decides she wants a certain thing. (When the favorite book IS the thing she's "Rain Man-ing" about, you're stuck reading Harry the Dirty Dog eight times in a row.)
If you deny her, the wheels come off the train.
I know I'm pretty lucky as far as the breadth of her tantrums, but that doesn't make them any easier. I hate watching the full body plank, the sharp howl and the tears, the TEARS! REAL TEARS! It's heartbreaking.
I should probably read up on this a little more but truth be told, I have less time than usual to do anything. We're packing up our house for the big move and any spare alone-time I get I spend blogging, which is why my posts have been so sporadic. So I try to be logical and remove her or myself from the situation. Usually that helps, she'll calm down once she realizes her audience is gone. But the worst is when she follows me while still crying. That's when my own vulnerability takes over and I put my arms around her and tell her everything is ok. I try to get her to remember something fun we did like when we went to the beach or the zoo. Surprisingly, this works. It changes her train of thought and usually gets her right back to her sweet self.
But sometimes, it's as though she is possessed by a demon who would terrify the Devil himself.
There is no way that kind of screaming and howling can come from a 28-lb little human who has never experienced anything remotely as terrifying as what she's conveying. And it's over the silliest things. Like when I tried to put her pink sparkly shoes on instead of her blue sparkly shoes. I'm positive I saw red flames in her eyes, as her head spun around on its own. I swear if she had a weapon handy, you would have found her later standing over my body wearing a triumphant grin. And her blue sparkly shoes, of course.
It's good those types of tantrums are rare. On that particular day, I handed her off to Dr. T for daycare drop off and I sobbed the whole way to work.
Tantrums happen. They're a part of our lives now. We're lucky that they don't happen in public. Knock on wood, we can still enjoy a lovely dinner out and L.E. will be the most pleasant person in the world until she gets antsy and wants to explore. We even survived a weekend at the beach with some friends of ours who were really impressed by how good she is. So maybe we are luckier than some parents.
But when Demon-L.E. makes her return, I'm going to need an old priest and a new priest.
More from parenting