Happy 4th of July!
I had hoped to have adorable smiley pictures of my little red, white and blue baby for you all to see, but unfortunately our day so far has been filled with nebulizer breathing treatments and a lot of whining. I’m not sure if it’s the bug Owen has (his usual… nasal/chest congestion, asthmatic breathing, stopped up nose, cough and general sickies, possible ear infection), teething (we’re up to 6 teeth and I think he’s working on 7 and 8 right now, though they are taking awhile to pop through completely), or frustration with not being able to walk on his own very far (he can go about 5 feet and then he plops down and is getting increasingly unhappy with that progress), but he is one out of sorts kid today. Thankfully naps have been normal, and he was fine when we went on a walk to see the 4th of July parade in our town, but the playtimes in between have forced me to gather all of the patience I have within me to ignore his whining and not explode.
I HATE WHINING.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Whining is far worse to me than crying or singing offkey or even fighting. It grates on my nerves. It makes me snap. Fast.
I have a feeling I’m going to have to get used to it, given Owen’s age and the fact that the “terrible 2′s” (or 3′s, as my mom always said that was way worse) are right around the corner. We’ve already entered the realm of baby temper tantrums. If Owen is holding my hand while walking and I stop to do something or steer us a certain direction, he throws himself on the floor, folds himself in half smooshing his face on the floor and wails. It’s not usually crying, it’s more of a scream. An angry scream. Thankfully at this age he is easily distracted and placated with something else. But still, it bewilders me.
There is a big part of me that wants to leave him there, crying, until he gets ahold of himself. To teach him that tantrums don’t get him anything. I have very little patience for whining and while I would love to say I “don’t tolerate it”, I’m not really sure what the best thing is to do in that situation. Especially with a child so young that they might not really understand the purpose of such a exercise.
That said, I’m sure he ‘gets’ cause and effect. And if crying and smooshing his red little face on the floor get him what he wants, he’s going to continue doing it.
So how do you avoid these tantrums when they are over something as small as walking the wrong direction? I’m currently reading “Happiest Toddler on the Block” (sequel to “Happiest Baby on the Block“, which absolutely transformed how I comforted Owen in the early months and, I believe, REALLY DID turn him into the happiest baby on the block), and Dr. Karp’s theories about empathizing (really, truly mirroring their frustration or anger or sadness) in a toddler-friendly way and then stating your rationale about why they can’t do whatever they want to do makes a ton of sense. It’s about meeting them at their level, and then steering them in the right direction. If that’s not a metaphor for good parenting, I’m not sure what is. Leave it to Dr. Karp to make it sound that simple! I’m just having a hard time putting it into practice when these little tantrums erupt. Ahem, often, on a day like today.
When it comes down to it I think the frustrated behavior I’m seeing now is a result of being on the verge of being a steady walker. He WANTS to walk somewhere, and gets halfway there and then just CAN’T. YET. GET. THERE. Imagine how frustrating that would be.
So I’m trying to keep that in mind while I listen to his
nails on the chalkboard whining. Empathy = the key, right, Dr. Karp? I’m hoping once he wakes up from this nap he’ll be a bit less whiny. Please pretty please. How do you react to these little outbursts? At what age can you start to really make these teachable moments?
I hope your holidays are filled with less whining than mine!