The Terrible Two’s Early Debut Performance

It happened.

I knew it was only a matter of time.

Lil Diva has always known what she wanted, never afraid to voice her opinion from the placement of a toy, to what I dared feed her for dinner.

She’s possessed the Banshee wail – especially during evil bouts of teething.

She’s called “Lil Diva” for a reason – the drama, whether good or bad, has always been strong in her.

But Wednesday it finally happened. A moment more than any other milestone showing me how little precious time remains before she jumps from 23 months old to The Big Two.

She had a full blown temper tantrum.

My poor mother unwisely trekked downstairs minutes before, trying in vain to be social with her grandchildren (and eat) as she fought off a sinus and ear infection and the early stage of bronchitis (more on that tomorrow…).

I’m certain my mother’s head resembled the dude from Scanners, just before exploding – before Lil Diva let it loose.

It was for something simple, too.

She whined, wanting me to pick her up and carry her.

“Mommy has to make sandwiches, sweetie, so we can go somewhere.”

She whined louder.

“If you want something, use your words. Tell Mommy what it is you want.”

More insistent whining.

I’m already sitting on the floor, as she tries to climb my stomach to my shoulder, angry I haven’t stood with her.

“I’m not picking you up and carrying you around. You’re a big girl. Tell me what you want or we can just snuggle right here.”

She screeched at me.

I stood, walking to the kitchen to make the aforementioned sandwiches. Leaving her behind.

She screeched.

And whined.

She rolled into full tantrum – more constant screeching and squawking than actual crying.

I put her in time-out, which she hates, after multiple warnings I would do so.

She refused to sit, laying on the floor.

Screeching. Whining. Screaming.

It was Oscar worthy.

Kicking her feet occasionally for emphasis.

My poor mother held her head in her hands, her nonverbal cues yelling as loud as my daughter to, “Please, make her stop.”

But I couldn’t.

I knew giving in would unleash the fury of the Lil Diva a hundred fold in the future.

Time stretched.

Ten minutes.

Twenty.

She threw herself into the “toddler tantrum” role, her debut performance a sight and sound to behold.*

Finally, silence crept into the screeching.

A hint at first. Then more.

I used the opportunity for distraction.

She calmed.

Minutes later, she remembered she was supposed to be mad, and released the warning squawk.

“No ma’am. We don’t screech. Do you want to sit in time-out again?”

“Unh-uh.” She shook her head.

“Then let’s snuggle and read our book.”

Tantrum #2 averted.

For now.

* * *

*It should be noted her other Oscar winning role is that of The Charming One, where with a single smile or giggle, she can enchant anyone instantly.

Resistance of the smile is futile. You will be charmed.

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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16 Responses to The Terrible Two’s Early Debut Performance

  1. John says:

    We call the girl Drama Queen . . . I fear the first true tantrum, because the minor tantrums that a 14-month-old is capable of have been pretty epic.

  2. Katie says:

    She and my little man sound very similar — can charm the pants off of anyone until the temper lets loose. At least she waited till 23 months for a full-blow temper tantrum, that’s pretty good. I think Jake had his first one somewhere around 15 or 16 months. He has a bad habit of crying so hard that he forgets to breathe and almost passes out. He’s only actually passed out once — after that we started rubbing his chest as soon as one of THOSE tantrums came on.

    Ah, the joys of two. Have fun!

    • Yes, this was the first “full blown” outright tantrum. She has been very angry before, but usually it was more justified (such as her brother snatching a toy or pushing her down), thus I don’t think of it as a tantrum.

      I was most worried about it making her throat raw and sparking her cough again from the harsh screeching. Luckily, she’s had so many warm up screech sessions, her throat appears to be used to it.

      I have wondered if it was possible for a child to pass out. Thanks for letting me know it is feasible. Yet another thing to keep an eye on.

  3. Annie says:

    Her and Taz would make quite the pair! He was about 20 months when he let loose with a screech so severe I thought he had broken a bone or two. I bolted towards his cries, scared to death. As it turned out, he was mad his brother wouldn’t play the game HE wanted to play. Now he’s 3.5 and still screeching like a vampire in a caldron of garlic stew, but at least now he can sometimes be talked into reason. I keep telling myself his determination is going to come in handy some day.

    • I swear, Taz could be an honorary child in the House of Chaos….

      I love the comparison of “screeching like a vampire in a caldron of garlic stew” – so appropriate.

      I have hopes she’ll be able to carry a tune, given how she hated my singing as a baby (she only like Bobbi to sing – who is the only one who can sing on key). At least then those pipes could be put to good use.

      And the determination.. Hers puts even her brother’s to shame. It’s scary.

      She’ll be a grudge holder, I can tell.

  4. Li’l D has just started throwing his own temper tantrums over things like the fact evil mommy won’t let him “wa-er plants” to his heart’s content. (“You’ll drown them” is not persuasive to an almost 2yo.)

    Please, none more?

    • What I love is the “No Way to Win Situation”.

      Take this morning. She was on a swing. Happy.

      Suddenly she squawked. I stopped her, figuring she wanted out. She screeched when I tried to remove her. I pushed her again, she voice discontent.

      All I can assume is I didn’t have the proper velocity/pushing ratio – because she certainly didn’t want out.

      The biggest change is sometimes I can explain what is going on and circumvent the temper. I often forget because she doesn’t talk as much, that she understands most things just fine.

      So I’m working on talking more. Counting down to ending or beginning activities. Explaining things.

      But yeah.. I’m still screwed, if her temper these first two years is an accurate measure.

      Welcome to the club, my dear! 🙂

      • CG says:

        As the official child swing pusher of the family, my professional opinion of the situation is that you were not doing the “hold me up as high as you can, smile at and bounce me, then let me drop for a big swing” technique.

        Yes, I got all of that through your description of a grunt over the Internet.

  5. My friend Wendy had a rule that I thought was AWFUL when she first said it, but I totally bought into it when Monkey turned 2-Ish. The rule was: “You may be mad and scream in your own room, but you may not be mad and scream anywhere else in the house. It’s impolite.”

    Initially, I resisted this — but then I realized when was right. By putting her son & daughter in their rooms when they were having “bad manners,” it returned the power to them as parents. We used this “rule” with Monkey, too. Obviously, we would go visit Monkey in his room to discuss the tantrum –afterwards. And he always apologized. And the behavior disappeared quickly as he did not want to be separated from other people.

    Hubby & I have learned a lot from our friends with 3 & 4 kids. They know, like, everything. 😉

    • We do that for The Tackler to calm down. Obviously in public it is a bit more complicated.

      The problem is we don’t have a room to really sequester Lil Diva in – not without her having access to things that require supervision. The only exception is the crib, and I don’t want her to view her bed as a place of punishment.

      So it’s a bit sticky, until they get old enough to understand.

      I don’t think the would punish an introverted child near as much, either, as they like time alone.

      But yes, I do learn a lot from my friends with multiple kids. Or older ones.

      • Annie says:

        I had to chime in here – because this method works so well with my youngest two. Once you put the tantrum in THEIR court and take away it’s power, they are bored with it. I’m always calm and sweet when I put them in their room, telling them I look forward to talking to them when they are calm. But you are right Kelly, it’s tricky in public AND when they are as young as Lil Diva. Plus, every kid is different. It makes parenting a constant learning situation!

  6. Elena Aitken says:

    Ah…the tantrum stage.
    In our house, the girl hit tantrum stage early and hung onto it for years. Strange, never gave into her. I think she liked hearing her own voice at top level…a lot!
    She was persistent too…
    I like to think it’s a trait that will serve her well in life.
    May your tantrum stage pass quickly.
    Also…wine helps. 😉

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