Toddler Tantrums

My son was late to walk and talk but he was definitely early to embracing the terrible twos. We are now well into the threes and there seems to be no let-up when it comes to tantrums. He has started preemptively shouting “No” before we even ask him to do something or deny him of what he so badly needs.

While these occurrences are exhausting and frustrating as a mom, I’m trying to find humor in some of them. For example, when my son was angry that I wouldn’t allow him to play outside at 7.30am recently he looked for something to throw, choosing a very soft, quilted baby book. I found the disappointment on his face too cute to resist smiling. He was not as amused, however. When he realized his effort was innocuous, he started going for the hardcover books. Before I allowed him to hurl any at my daughter or me, I removed the remaining ones from the shelf.

More frequent occasions on which my son protests ostentatiously include: coming indoors from playing outside, offering something he doesn’t want to eat at mealtime and telling him he must wait to have something that he really wants. When I say something he doesn’t want to hear, my words are often met with “Stop it!” and “Shut up!”

These outbursts once were reserved solely for the enjoyment of me and my husband; however, recently my son’s been a little more comfortable with manifesting his emotions while on playdates, at the park or in stores. It’s embarrassing at times, but it’s also something of a rite of passage and I am trying to embrace it calmly. It’s teaching me a lot about myself and how to handle situations that are beyond my control. Let’s face it — there is no controlling a toddler mid-tantrum.

Other moms have warned me that three could be worse than two, but have assured me that four is fantastic. While I know we aren’t supposed to rush these years, I am hoping for an expeditious end to these terrible twos.

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