Tag Archives: tantrums


My son is squarely in the twos. He desperately wants to control the world around him and clearly voices his displeasure when that does not happen. He also loves using his language skills to ask for things in an ever increasing volume and pitch. We are working on giving him more constructive ways of communicating his frustrations or asking for things he wants. Patience is a new concept, or it is one being revisited in such a new way as be foreign once more.

Recently, he has started flipping out when my wife leaves. My daughter did this, too, and it does break my heart a little. When I walk out the door, he just says, “Bye Daddy.” When she walks out the door, it takes me a few minutes to get him out of his screaming fit. With all the nights I have held him, with all of the solo parenting days, with all of the adventures we have gone on, I feel a bit short changed. I actually don’t want him screaming when either of us leave, but I feel I put the time in to be screamed for. Ah well, logically I can understand, but emotionally I feel second place.

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Overclocked Neurons

Overclocking a CPU leads to heat and sometimes a fried component. Children’s brains go through periodic overclocking. The neurons grow and create the potential, and then that potential is filled with new understanding. The result is pathways in the brain being formed and lots of neurological activity that was not there before. This can, evidently, be quite overwhelming.

My son has made amazing leaps in his language acquisition. Words are making sense, new ones enter his vocabulary sometimes with only one modeling, and they are beginning to string together into phrases. Sentences are right around the corner. With all of this growth comes periods of time that he becomes overwhelmed with what he wants to say but doesn’t, in that moment, have the ability to say. The result is a tantrum. He goes full out, on his back on the floor and screaming or moaning. He even bangs his head sometimes. This has only been happening for a few days, and we are responding with ways to try to help him get back under control and feeling secure. This involves lots of holding him or giving him space as needed as well as having time outs and setting boundaries to help create healthy limits on the tantrums. He is already beginning to respond to our parenting, but this period is such a moving target.

On the plus side, he can really ask for some of the things he wants much more clearly than before. Even better, he is starting to make jokes.

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Daily Dose of Jekyll and Hyde

When I get my son up when he starts to make noise, he is a sweet, cooing toddler whose smile and own-language commentary on the world is the definition of cute. The bonus is that my daughter keeps sleeping, because she is not so cute right when she gets up.

Mr. Hyde shows up often at the first diaper change of the morning or at the sight of a sippy cup of milk being prepared. I sometimes get the diaper change right, but most often it is a case of thrashing feet and loud, piercing screams. I sometimes get the bottle prepared beforehand, and that, too, can circumvent the strange and wondrous transformation.

As suddenly as it comes, it goes, and Dr. Jekyll is back. Food and clean diapers are good things, after all. However, offer the wrong food, the right food at the wrong moment, or the right food in the wrong way, and Hyde appears in a sideways thrashing and screaming. If there is a hard object like a table in the way, bonk and more screaming.

Then there is a long period of Jekyll. The mornings are best for that–until close to nap time.

Today, I handed off little Jekyll though my daughter was Hyding all over the place as I got myself out the door and to work.

In the evening, both tired children can channel Hyde easily. Any provocation, imagined or real, can bring out the less patient and reactive responses from both children. Tonight as I put them through bath and bed, it was my daughter who really took on the role of Hyde. At last they were in bed, I came downstairs, and after a few frustrated screams from my son it is now quiet.

On the days when I am home I have a better chance to avoid these episodes when I move at their pace and interest. Those times are wonderful. On other days, I remind myself that I may not be Mr. Hyde.

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