Wednesday, January 13, 2010

new naughtiness

Um, I think the ear doctor messed up my order. Every mom I've talked to whose kid had tubes put in said something along the lines of how their child was a "new kid" when they went home, how the tubes made their little munchkin happier and placid and soooo much better behaved. If that's all true, I'm pretty sure the ear doctor gave us the wrong kind of tubes. A's happier now that the pain seems to be gone, which is the only benefit that really matters, but this ear tubed A is not some new and improved version of the non ear tubed A. The Mister is increasingly willful and stubborn of late. (Not that I know anyone from whom he may have inherited willful, stubborn tendencies. Nope.) And if I dare let him become bored with his surroundings, he transforms into a one-boy tornado, dumping and tossing anything in his reach and flat out refusing to participate in the subsequent clean up efforts.

Obviously, I don't really blame the tubes. My suspicion lies in another toddlerhood phenomenon that many a mommy friend has warned me of, but that I dumbly thought A's usually laid back persona might allow us to escape: the Terrible One and a Halfs, the precursor to those notorious Terrible Twos. I cringe at using the word terrible, seriously, it pains me to type that. Mister A is anything but terrible- he's funny and smiley and curious and smart and adorable and there's nobody I'd rather kick around with all day long. But lately, he's also a bit of a handful. There have been tantrums, there have been clumps of hair pulled from the increasingly PO'd cats, there's more foot stomping than I'd like to admit, and worst of all, there's been a whole lot of hitting. Hitting mom, hitting dad, hitting pets, hitting poor unsuspecting playmates right over the head. Ooh, and throwing. Not the messy-but-valuable "learning cause and effect" type food tossing, but throwing things in frustration. Take this morning at storytime. So disgruntled was A that I wouldn't allow him to run to the front of the room and check out smack up the librarian's puppets that he grabbed a handful of Goldfish and threw them at the kid beside us. (Who didn't skip a beat, just plucked a Fishy from his lap and had himself a snack as he listened to the book. I guess he got the right tubes.)

The odd part is, these moments are quick fiery flashes in the midst of otherwise calm and peaceful days. Ten seconds after the Goldfish assault, he settled back into my lap to clap along to the goodbye songs, babbling and grinning. He'll take a whack at my face, then pat my back gently. The screaming will last for 15 seconds, then he's laughing. He's still a joy 90% of his waking hours .... but these challenging moments in between are catching me off guard and triggering some of that compulsory mommy guilt. Is he sensing upcoming changes and unhappy about that? Is he needing more socialization that he's getting? Is it the non-organic fish sticks I feed him? Is it just a normal part of being a 16 month old boy learning the ways of the world? Or is he doomed for a naughty life of orange ensembles (and not the burnt orange football uniform kind that star UT QBs wear, mind you, I'm talking the jumpsuit kind with NUMBERS on the back)??

Advise me, oh wise moms who have walked the toddler road before me. Reassure me, if you will, that this isn't abnormal. I'm open to any tips or book recommendations or even just some commiseration and encouragement that your kid does this too and I haven't somehow failed as his primary caregiver. Or hell, just recommend your favorite bottle of wine as a post-bedtime coping mechanism. (I'll wait until AFTER February 12, obvi.)


Anne said...

It's probably the fish sticks.

Sara said...

I flip-flop between Sutter Home and Beringer moscatos: They're cheap and come in the big bottles. That way, it takes me longer to finish a bottle and my husband doesn't notice them piling up in the recycling bin so quickly.

TYou always hear people talk about 'terrible twos' - but they do, in fact, last from 1-4. Drew started his 'terribles' at 13 months. Thankfully, Livi is still mostly oblivious, but I'm starting to see little peeks at it here and there.

So the good news is that you're not crazy. The bad news is that you probably have a longer journey with it than you thought you would. One thing I've learned is that the toddler years are always a paradox. They're always old enough to [get in trouble somehow] but too young to [understand/obey/be punished]. You just gotta hang in there and survive them.

It will get better, it will get easier, and/or you'll get stronger. And you have lots of moms surrounding you who are going through the same thing that will jump at the chance to commiserate and/or wash away their sorrows :)

{katrina} said...

Honey, it's the age. When Addie hit 18 mos I thought I was gonna lose my cool. This too, shall pass. He's testing boundaries, etc. It's like a rollercoaster ride...there are highs and lows. =o)

The Barron's said...

Nothing I haven't been through already. Seriously, Austin was absolutely terrible from 17 months all of the way to 20 months. I swore I was NEVER having another child. It was really rough. I thought, what am I doing wrong? Why is my child like this? It is just a phase they all go through.

Amy said...

It is most definitely the age. Without a doubt. But one thing we found that helped Luca (he was also a bad hitter of other kids and us) was getting him into a part time "school" program at around 16 months. It helped immensely with the socialization and gave me a nice little break and some one on one time with Avery who was only 2 months old at the time.

Oh and I typically skip the wine. I find I get to unconscious much quicker on straight vodka.

I am finished said...

Well, the story sounds familiar!I think he just wanted to add some action to the quiet story time...boys like action!

Crystal said...

Welcome to my world, my friend. Joseph tends to be strong-willed on a daily basis but we have phases where he is really out of control. We are currently going through one right now. Example from me taking into his nap the other day:

Me: We are going night-night

Joseph: (screaming) No No No. Cookie?

Me: No

Joseph: Juice?

Me: No

Joseph: Screaming, kicking me, hitting me in the face.

Me: No hitting

Joseph: Bites me.

Put him in his crib.

Joseph: Laughs hysterically. Bye Bye Mama. Night Night.

Jill said...

I'm usually a lurker, but I have to chime in on this one. Aside from the ear tubes, I could have written this post myself about my own little boy. He is fifteen months old and seems to suffer from split personality disorder. One minute he's playing happily by himself in his little play kitchen; the next, he's demanding that I stop working on dinner and pick him up RIGHT NOW. If I say no, the wrath of Wyatt ensues. I have no advice. I just keep telling myself that after the crazy boy goes away, the happy boy will reappear. And now I know I'm not alone. Thank you!

Sara said...

I SWEAR I didn't pay Amy to put in a plug for "preschool!" ;)

ana said...

I have to ditto everything that Jill says... it's actually refreshing (in a really odd way) to hear from other moms who are in the same situation.

I will say, however, that the thought of the terrible 2's scare the shizz out of me given my 17.5 month old's behavior of late.

Sara said...

Love your blog.

Half years are tough. Transition times in development or something. Read a very informative article about it in Parents magazine and Jameson has since proven this theory to us. Really quite interesting to see...especially since I know it will go away soon :)!

A is super adorable and I am looking forward to seeing pics of the new little one! Congrats!!!

Simply Complex said...

Obviously I am no expert, seeing as how our boys are one day apart and all, but G started throwing fits out of no where about 4 to 6 weeks ago and I was dumbfounded. I mean, where did this come from? One day I spent 45 minutes placing him in time-out, hoping he would just sit there for sixty gosh darn seconds. Finally, it worked. He does get it. And now if he does "bad" things, I warn him once, he repeats and I place him in time out Supernanny style. This past week, all I have to say is, "If you do 'x' once more, you have to go to time out" and usually he stops and moves on. Not that I think this is the end of his button pushing or anything, it's just that I didn't think he would understand what I was saying at this age. But he does. His tantrums have gone from 30 seconds down to less than 5 seconds. The best of it is that I don't get flustered anymore.
Bear with me as I give another boring example: Yesterday I was changing his diaper and he started kicking. Since I haven't needed to put him in time out for over a week, it didn't even register to me and so instead I held his legs and told him no. (over and over again) and he became more insistent on his bad behavior. Finally I found my sanity and put him in the corner for 1 minute- got him out, and then he sat there for his diaper change without moving a muscle, crying, or laughing at me.