I'll skip over the apology and explanation for not writing much lately (that will come later) and head straight into the most recent development in Jack's little world.
And I can sum it up in one word.
This week Jack thought he'd give a tantrum or two or three a try. Ok, let's be honest. Every day this week, there's been a tantrum.
When I was little, a friend of ours had one of these, and I've never gotten over how much I loved it! And I've been WAITING for Jack to love it as much as I did! He woke up from his nap, and we headed in to the kitchen to get the party started. He LOVED watching the "pop-pop" and it was so fun for me to watch him love it! Yay!! The popcorn was finished, so we headed to the living room to start in his Elmo movie. Things were going great! He loved the popcorn, adored the movie....until, all that was left in the bowl were kernels of the choking hazard kind and I took the bowl away. Then it all hit the fan. And it totally caught me off guard! We haven't had the kicking and screaming kind of tantrums before! Besides.....not my child! Not my sweet little boy who gets rave reviews at Mother's Day Out and when I tell him it's his last fruit snack says, "All done!" and skips jovially off to play! Oh, but he did.
He chased me into the kitchen screaming, "MORE POP-POP!!!!" and collapsed into a sobbing heap on the floor. He flopped around and would not give in to my promises of Elmo in the other room, a tasty cup of juice, a fun toy to play with, or me dancing around like a fool to make him laugh. That's when teacher Mrs. Jamison pulled herself together and thought, ok. I've been here before. Maybe with a 10 year old who can reason instead of a 19 month old who's full of emotion. But I can do this. I walked into the living room, leaving the wallowing crazy child in the kitchen. He followed me....he wanted an audience!! Of course he did. The tantrum subsided, and soon, I had my normal sweet baby again.
What in the world.
Tuesday: We had a great day! I was a little weary of his new ability, but the day went just fine. Except for the moment at the zoo when he got stung by a bee....turns out he's not allergic! Good to know. Jeff came home for dinner, and I'd made Pioneer Woman's Sour Cream Pasta Bake and some french bread. Jack actually likes that casserole, so I was all set for a nice family dinner. Jack had a plate of pasta, a little piece of bread, and some strawberries. First thing in his mouth was the bread. Mistake. Once he finished that piece of bread, he spied the extra bread on the table for Jeff and me, and he wanted more bread. Like any loving mother would do, I told him he needed to eat some pasta before he could have more bread. And it all hit the fan.
"More! MORE!" was all he would say. And all I would say is, "You need to eat a bite of pasta before you eat bread," and hand him a piece of pasta. Which he would promptly throw on the ground to Vincent. PS, Vincent was loving it. Eventually, the thrashing in the booster seat started, to the point that it was unsafe for him to be in it any longer. Jeff picked him up and put him on the floor. Where the thrashing continued. Are you kidding me? Thrashing, screaming, you name it, he was doing it. When we finished eating to the chorus of toddler shrieks, Jeff thought maybe he wanted to be held and comforted. Turns out he didn't and Jeff had to practically throw him on the couch to avoid Jack wiggling out of his arms and landing on the tile floor.
I remembered my mom always said my sister had horrible tantrums and she finally learned that if she would put her in the bath, she would calm down immediately.
Bath time! Note to self, doesn't work with my possessed child. All that happens is that the thrashing and screaming happens in the bath tub. Add that to standing up and jumping. Safe bath time, right? We got done with the bath pretty quickly and wrestled him into a diaper and some pajamas and turned on the Fresh Beat Band.........and he calmed.
Lord Jesus, I can't handle this.
Wednesday: I'm nervous. I loathe these tantrums. I called a friend who has a daughter a year older than Jack to seek her wisdom, and found out that basically, it just stinks to go through this stage. She pointed me in the direction of a website she'd been reading, so I spent nap time perusing that. One thing it said that struck me was the we should aim to teach our children that tantrums are not ok, and to stop them, not just accept they go on and won't last forever. I know that we discipline our children and teach them to obey out of obedience to the Lord, that we are essentially teaching to be obedient to the Lord, so it kinda made sense! Ok! Goal for the day, don't let him have a tantrum. Tell him, "Stop it." Easy enough!
After his afternoon nap, we went outside to play, and pretty much as soon as we got outside, he needed a diaper change. He likes to poop outside. Always does it, so we always have to go in and get a change. No biggie. Well, with his new talent, it was a big deal. Tantrum ensued. I told him to stop it. It didn't work. I dragged him up the steps and into his room, where I tried to distract him by singing BaBa Black Sheep, but he was like a trapped alligator. Thankfully, we got that done, and he seemed done with the tantrum as we walked towards the backdoor.
Then he spied Vincent or "Sinse" eating. Vincent always comes outside with us, so he started saying, "Sinse, 'mon" (Vincent, come on to you novices), but Vincent was eating. So he decided to go over and push Vincent. Vincent was eating and you know eating dogs don't play! He growled and I grabbed Jack's hand and told him Vincent would come later. Tantrum #2 for the day. I told him to stop it. It didn't work.
I'll call these first two incidents mini-tantrums, because I had no idea he was capable of what came next.
I got him out the door and he wanted me to pick him up so I was about to start down the steps and as I did so, I said, "Jack, look at Mama." Ya'll he would no more look at me than eat a green bean. He would look to my left. Look to my right. But WOULD NOT look at me. Seriously kid? He wanted to go down the steps and play outside soooooo badly, but not enough to obey. Nope. We stood at the top of the steps for 15 minutes. Him sobbing and saying, "Souside!" and me saying, "Jack, look at Mamma's eyes." Nope. So we went inside, thinking maybe that would help him focus. Nope. 15 minutes inside, my child would....not....look....at.....me. And yes, he knows what, "Look at Mama" means. Screaming, thrashing in my arms, laying his head down on my shoulder, me blowing his nose, wouldn't look a me.
Another 15 minutes. I thought, well, maybe he'll just give me a kiss. So I started asking him to give me a kiss. Nope. Another 15 minutes. He loves to give high 5's more than life itself, so wondering how in the world I'm ever going to get out of this, I ask him to give me a high 5. Nope. After holding him and battling for an hour, I decided to put him down. It was obvious we weren't going outside, but honestly, I couldn't hold him anymore. He thrashed around for a bit and then wanted to be held (of course) and he was done.
And I felt like he kinda won that last round. He might have won that battle, but I'm telling you what, he will not win this war.
Things I learned this week:
1. Sneak the popcorn kernels out of the bowl so the bowl is empty and he can visually see we're done.
2. Don't put more than enough french bread on the table for dinner.
3. Give him a 2 minute warning that we have to go inside to change his diaper.
4. No idea what I learned about him trying to push Vincent outside while he's eating.....but that Vincent is more patient than I give him credit for.
5. Don't hold him while he's having a tantrum.
6. I'd love for Jesus to come back in the middle of a temper tantrum.