You know how two year old’s have a bad rap for being assholes? Yeah, turns out that can start at like 16 months. I love my son. He is funny and cool and smart (holy hell this kid is smart, it’s a little scary) and beautiful. Most of the time he’s a smiley little snuggle ball. Accept, you know if someone else touches his farm (he is addicted to his Little People Farm) or his Sesame Street guys (which must be breeding, because he somehow has like 12) or if he wants to read and I need to do anything other than read to him or if he wants another banana and we’re out or if he gets told to stop doing something. I think you see the pattern, pretty much anytime he doesn’t get his way, or is forced to share he goes from happy, smiley, lovey baby to screeching, red-faced, kicking monster’ish asshole. Oh, and it’s fast. It’s one of those 0-60 in 2 seconds situations.
Which, I think is pretty normal for toddlers. All toddlers go through that “I’ll scream until I get what I want” phase, and they either learn that it doesn’t work and self adjust, or they learn that it does and grow up into the mega-assholes we all know and hate. That’s normal, right? Guys? Someone please tell me my kid isn’t destined to be a serial killer or something. Just kidding.
Well, I’m just kidding, but Daddy, you see. Daddy doesn’t have a whole lot of experience with the littles. Sure, we had Big C ALL THE TIME when he was this age, but… he was my buddy, then. And, also? He was a remarkably good toddler. He didn’t become an asshole until much later (I shouldn’t say that, it’s not entirely his fault that he behaves asshole’ish’ly, ADHD/ODD will do that to a kid). So, like I said, G not so experienced with the littles, but has very strong opinions on “acceptable behavior.” Good luck with that!
Yeah, so we’ve had our first of “those” battles last night. Baby G was walking around spitting in the house. Because, hello, do you remember when you first learned about spitting? It’s fun! Not cool to do in the house, but fun. So, I told him spitting in the hose is gross. This, naturally, had no effect whatsoever, and I didn’t really expect it to. I wasn’t trying to stop him (he wasn’t hurting anything), just provide some information. Because, I am not going to start a battle I can’t win with a toddler. This one = unwinnable. There is no physical way to stop him spitting. I could give him a consequence and deal with screaming, but… frankly, I’m not so sure the correct message (no spitting in the house) would be what got through. So, I went with “Please don’t spit in the house, that’s gross” and dropped it.
Not.Good.Enough. You know why? Because the baby wasn’t taking me seriously. OK… So the answer? Take toys away from the playing baby, who has stopped spitting BTW, to “have a conversation.” Oh, yeah, that’ll work. Of course, baby begins SCREAMING!!!!! Really, can you blame him? If you were sitting there on your laptop and someone came in and turned it off and took it away and told you where to sit so they could lecture you about something you didn’t really understand anyway? You’d be pissed. So, the logical action? Continue to restrain him, while saying in a very condescending voice “I know it’s terrible… OK, settle down so we can talk” and when that doesn’t work (big surprise) let’s try blaming Mom for spoiling him and then let’s threaten to “get rid” a bunch of these toys (obviously, overstimulation is the reason he’s screaming, not the fact that you just pissed him off and are now not listening to him at all). Let’s let this go on until the baby is almost purple faced and coughing from crying so hard.
Did I want to put an end to it sooner? Oh, yes. Oh, hell yes. But… I have this thing about Mom & Dad being on the same team and though Daddy was attacking me, I wasn’t gonna stoop to that level. But, when my asthmatic baby is laying on the floor utterly confused at what’s going on, coughing and barely able to breathe from crying so hard? I’m going to pick him and comfort him. I don’t really care what you think about it, nor do I give a shit what message you think it sends. If my kid is that upset, I will pick him up and comfort him. Will you telling me that I’m spoiling him and turning him against you have any effect at all on my actions? No. None. So, you might as well shut up. Maybe you should try talking about how toddlers having temper tantrums isn’t normal, and isn’t acceptable “on your side.” Oh, wait, nope, no effect. (Also, let me just interject… I’ve seen precious few toddlers on G’s side of the family, but I’ll tell ya… H was a MONSTER as a toddler, Bro C was the same if not worse, the other 3 toddlers I’ve seen have all been bossy, mean, screaming hooligans.)
So, that’s how my night went last night. Granted, this was less than thirty minutes of our night and I don’t think Baby G has suffered any serious trauma as a result. He was giving his Daddy the sugars again within minutes. So, was it the end of the world? No. But, I do think it was a learning experience. Not for the baby. He learned nothing of value. Not a half an hour later he was back to spitting in the house (which I completely ignored). No, what we learned was that we have to get our shit together on this whole discipline thing. I’m afraid it’s going to be a big deal as Baby G gets older…