Yo. We Can Skip the Tantrum Phase, Yah?
I love being a mommy. Like, it fulfills a piece of me that I knew not existed until I was in my later twenties. I get to be a kid again, with my kid. But I’ve realized that there is one teensy little thing that I am dreading, and it’s these little things called tantrums. Looking back, I’m 1000% sure there’s been one rough time in each growth thang with E, but of course I have forgotten all about everything… Yet we’re going to start this all over one day and have to figure it all out again?! The humanity, I say.
E is usually a super chill and laidback kiddo, playing by herself and with us- eating, pooping, laughing and sleeping.
Insert: Dreaded Tantrum
BUT YESTERDAY SOMETHING HAPPENED THAT I CANNOT EXPLAIN (actually, I can. That’s literally what I’m about to do). We were eating dinner, when all of a sudden she started doing this little faker cry.Insert 5 minutes and she REALLY got going. I think she pulled a psychological one over on me. AND I SWEAR SHE DOESN’T ACT LIKE A SILLY WHEN DADDY IS HOME. Except now, as I edit this, she did, indeed, have a meltdown with both of us home.
But alas. I took her out, told her she was okay and that I was going to let her have a moment with her feelings, and then went to clean up. I ignored the behavior, consistently telling her that I love her and that I’d be there for her when she felt like playing. She went away and cooled off, then IT HAPPENED AGAIN. She was just playing, and all of a sudden started melting down. WHAT IS HAPPENING?!
I was getting ready to vacuum, and she wouldn’t let me. I feel terrible when she cry cries, and the pretend cries were definitely turning into the reals. I had to sit down with her, validate her feelings with a hug, and then let her know that I loved her. [hindsight, WRONG]
Once this odd thing passed, I quickly messaged my mom group friends, and asked what in the H was happening. I got some great tips, validating their feelings with space was the biggest takeaway. It’s okay to not console them when they have a sweet (zero sarcasm here) little big emotion moment. They NEED it. Their little brains are growing at the speed of light, and all these electrodes and whatever other brainy lingo I can throw at you are firing off like ping pong balls.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed as a mom too. That’s where the space helps. I feel like I have my words together 95% of the time with E, but of course, when she melts down, it’s like I’m in a job interview and I melt into a puddle of blahhhh and can only remember “I love you”.
In the future, I plan to have a “talk” with her after the fact, so that she can understand the big emotion she was feeling, and maybe communicate in the future just how she is feeling, and express how it’s not okay to throw a tantrum when we’re feeling that way. OI vey. This is going to be a doosie.
I will be frank with you. During a recent meltdown tantrum moment, I was at my wits end, and I screamed. Not at E, but with E. I was sitting on the kitchen floor trying to speak to her calmly through her feelings, when I just screamed. I had nothing else to give. I then had to walk away, and let the meltdown take its course, and she eventually got out of it. I then rewarded the calm behavior with a big hug, and we chatted about how she was feeling. BIG FEELINGS Y’ALL. Woah.
Takeaways that I’m learning as we go through this ‘adventure’ together… Try not to console the tantrum physically. Continue doing whatever it is you were doing. Calmly talk through the tantrum, saying things like ‘i love you, and I can’t wait to play with you when you show me you can play nicely’ or ‘I love you and mommy will be ready to talk to you when you show me that you are ready’ . Then, have a discussion post tantrum, validating their feelings OF COURSE, and saying things like ‘ i noticed you started crying after [insert situation]… You must have been feeling [insert emotion]’ Then just chat about emotions.
My biggest fears are: a. creating a monster who expects to be picked up at every tantrum, and b. creating a little human who doesn’t understand emotions, and that’s what this phase is. Them figuring out their emotions at a whirlwind. It must be hard, I can’t even imagine.
Until we get through this, you’ll find me hiding in a corner with a bottle of… . milk