I thought it was older kids that threw tantrums. Ones that can talk and run around and things like that.
We’ve had cranky baby, baby that doesn’t want things taken away from her, baby that doesn’t like having her nappy changed, baby that doesn’t want to eat. But that baby is relatively easy to distract. A new form of behaviour has reared its ugly head in our household the last week or so, and the only word I can think of to describe it is TANTRUM.
It’s a real shift. A shift in our relationship, but also in my style of parenting. I really am at a loss as to what to do!
So far, I have been trying the ignore tactic. A good old favourite. I’ve been trying to remind Baby that she is ok, and letting her express herself while staying close by.
It is very difficult. With limited words at fifteen months of age (including helpful emotional descriptors like Cat, Dog, Cow, Moo, Pear, and Bird) and the use of a few signs or signals (Milk, Eat, Poo), it can be very difficult to figure out exactly what the problem is. Sometimes it’s something obvious, like Baby’s sudden hatred of being put in the highchair, or being put down when she wants to be held. But other times it’s coming out of the blue and I really don’t know who I am when it comes to parenting this type of behaviour.
We’re talking flinging her body back onto the floor, arching her back, screaming, hitting herself in the head, flailing her arms around, bashing herself from side to side in the highchair to name a few. It doesn’t last long, but during it, I feel like there is really nothing for me to do but quietly observe from the sidelines and throw in the occasional “It’s ok, you’re ok.” I try to remain calm and keep things stable. I can see how easy it would be to get worked up and hysterical, and it’s often what I am feeling on the inside.
Sometimes this behaviour makes me feel very angry. About half an hour ago we had a little episode. I’m home alone and her scream pierced through my very bones and a big shudder of anger washed over me. I just wanted her to stop screaming. When she cries all I want to do is comfort her, but sometimes it’s making it worse. So while practicing some deep breathing techniques (me!) we sang our two favourites, Wet Washing and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I put her back in the cot (screaming starts again) and I am now sitting on the bed. She continued to scream, standing up at the side of the cot, until I put Angus and Julia Stone on – if there is any artist that will put Baby to sleep, they are it! Ten minutes later she is lying down and [I hope] drifting off to sleep.
Mothering a soon-to-be-toddler is going to be a bigger challenge than I thought.
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Ten minutes later – added note: Baby is now standing up at the edge of her cot saying “Boo” and giggling…