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February 28, 2006

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Mike

Uhm...you think this might be one of those nature v. nurture things? I mean...she is Korean. Korean, esp. us menfolk are familiar with the equation, Korean female = demanding.

lisa

Now is the time to learn the art of distraction. If she's screaming about your choice of book, distract her with a toy instead. Or with a goofy dance (I'm sure you know plenty of those!) or a popsicle or something like that. Works for me and my littlest one. Of course, his teeth are rotting from all the lime popsicles he sucks down. Yeah, we go through a lot of tantrums, here. Or, if you're like my husband, threaten with his all-time favorite, "boy, if you were in Korea, you'd be in an orphanage by now." Like that works.

Phat Daddy

Been there. Done that. It is one of those times in parenthood when you love them one minute, and the next you are tempted to sell then to the next roving band of gypsies you encounter. I'd like to tell you that this is a temporary phase in development, but I would be a liar of Bush size proportions. My son is 3 years 6 months old, and he has these fits where I end up feeling like I want to put on icepick into my ear. Will they communicate what they want when they throw a fit? Yes, but it will be a string of well articulated nonsense rather than a soul-shattering scream.

LeeMarv...

MD,

Welcome to the Terrible Twos...yea she's early, but she's a girl and they mature quicker. And, dare I say it, some of this stuff is inherent to the female gender (gee, what a stereotype...)

Screaming won't work. Listening will. Coddling them will only work sometimes. Riding the tantrum out is also an option.

In all seriousness, at this stage, consequences must be set and adhered to. The Peanut must know that there is punishment for bad behavior.

If you & the bosslady continue to be pushovers, she will control you for the rest of your life. At some point, you'll try almost anything that is sugggested just to see if it'll work.

I know it's tough, 'cause she's so damn cute!

kara

"How long will this last?"
15- 16 years. max.
good luck guys!

Brent

Don't worry, MD. You're right. It's just a developmental stage. Just make sure you don't coddle her too much and let her get EVERYTHING she wants. Then, you'll be in big trouble. Good luck!

Leora

I know I've said it before but the Peanut is absolutely scrumptious! Love the outfit!

L.

My oldest son came out of the womb acting like that and hasn`t stopped yet, so I have no advice except to say that sooner or later you get so numb you hardly notice it anymore.

Oh, I just read that back and it sounds pretty bad. The sad thing is, I wasn`t trying to be funny!

Rita

I completely understand where you're coming from, MD. Our daughter is 18 months old and she's in this terrible phase where she screams and hits people all the time! It's like Jekyll and Hyde in our house right now. If she weren't so damn cute, I'd toss her out the window!

landismom

If I say, 'welcome to the real parenthood (finally!),' would you be tempted to hit me?

brianna

my son just entered this stage too... at almost the same age (17 mos)... i tried waiting it out but it comes down to some good ol' fashioned discipline. even if it doesn't stop the screaming right that second, at least you're letting her know it's not OK. i'm no pro but here's how i am trying to handle it: if it's a screaming fit, i tell him no firmly then ignore him (even negative attention is good to them). if he's hitting i take it up a notch (which is different for everybody but i give him a small swat on the butt). if he's throwing food/toys at people, i take it away. he'll get hungry enough to eat nicely eventually. again, just my two cents. everyone has their own comfort level. :)

eliaday

while the Peanut goes "waaah," Tae goes "EEEEEE." yesterday morning, she was EEEEE-ing, and kicking her dad in the face. he woke up, looked at her and said, "Tae, stop kicking. Your EEEEing is annoying. I need one more hour to sleep." he said it soooo sternly that it almost scared me. he got his point across though because Tae immediately shut up and stopped kicking him. and started climbing all over me instead. =)

i'm sad that putting underwear on your head doesn't work for the distraction factor anymore. =(

lesbonstemps

We're right there with you. I think it's just a normal developmental stage. My strategy is just not to give in, because that rewards the behavior. If she gets really out of control I put her in her crib for a minute or two, until she calms down.

mo-wo

Where's MIM when we need 'er, eh? As I reported to CroutonBoy a couple days ago... All children seemed to have a go bad episode of late! For evidence of a head spinning version of our Girl Friday I posted on our case last week. Whine-ing 'round here.. eww, yucks-ville.

It was temporary. I think it's amplification of a maybe 20% valid teething complaint joined up with a whole lotta 'tude.

In MIM's absence I will stretch myself to add the following. Children are entitled to a full range of emotions. Just make it clear that you would rather not be affiliated with those that suck as bad as what you describe, above. I doubt she's spoiled. You haven't taken her to The Hempel, yet? right?

Oh, and another thing. Of course you do remain, unchallenged in your class, Bad Daddy!

Chocolate Makes it Better

Ignore her mate. That's what we have tried and it works a treat. Wont work for everyone, granted but works for us.

We figure if we don't feed the fire then it will burn out.

margalit

Lets see. My daughter is 13.5 and she's still in this stage. So I'd say it lasts at least 14 years, maybe longer.

My way of dealing with the tantrumming was to have a spot at the bottom of our front stairs right in front of the front door, and when she went off on me, I'd park her down there, march upstairs, and close the door. There were gates on the bottom and top of the stairs, and a french door at the top, so it dulled the sound. She would sit on the bottom step and rage until she was done, and then everything would be back to normal until the next tantrum.

jen n.

okay, I can't give parenting advice since I don't have kids. But can I say, the Peanut is dressed so fab, so very spring (see this month's vogue). She could take her diva attitude and shake it down 5th Ave.

KristieD

My son entered the tantrum age at 16 months as well. it was so sudden, it shocked us all. his daddy was sure it was cuz i spoiled him, but after spending a week at home with us he realized it is just a natural thing kids go thru. My son has since relaxed a bit on the tantrums and doesnt throw them very often at all. Those 1st few weeks tho..My suggestion is to get a handle on them asap and figure out together what are the battle plans and what is a tolerable tantrum? We would ignore the milder ones. The more intense ones, we would take him away from whatever he was doing and explain that everythings ok, chill out. And then usually point his attention to something totally different. if he still went nuclear, it was into the crib for a minute or two. If it was in public, we just left wherever we were and either went home or calmed down in the parking lot. Worked for us, but we stick to the same rules and tactics everytime. Good luck

David

Well, in my case it lasted right up to the day I got married.

MoMMY

She is really too cute. And yes, she will outgrow this phase. Quickly? Probably not. The thing that worked best with my boys was to just walk away. Ignore them. That is if they weren't going to listen. Yes, I was the parent in the grocery store ignoring my screaming child sitting right in front of me in the cart. The result? Only one kept doing the tantrum thing. He's what we like to call persistant... or - the most trying child EVER. Good luck!

kara

okay, in all seriousness (i submitted a wise-ass comment a while ago). she's at a tough age because she has all of the speed and none of the reason. this age terrified me when i went through it with my kiddo. she was able to do so much physically, but she couldn't express herself well (she was speaking in short sentences, but she was a freak baby who started speaking at 8 months of age) and she also adopted the not-so-endearing habit of biting everyone who came near her. later, we realized that she was saying 'yo!back off--- why you getting all up in my grill'. but it usually came out like ROOAAARRR *CHOMP*. she really is cute, though. and i'm not just saying that.
and i truly think all cold weather babies start to get restless at this time of year. they're sick of being inside all the time. aren't you?

Sarah

1) She is a girl.

2) They all do that.

3) I'm sorry.

kristie

I ignored my rugrats when they acted like that. They would throw themselves face down on the floor and I would step over them and continiue to do whatever it was that I had been doing. Once they figure out that tantrums don't work they'll stop throwing them. I've never had either one of my kids throw a tantrum in public, thank God.

Cathy

Two words...ear plugs. And unless she is in dire distress, ignore it. I've found the more I gave it attention, the more it kept up. Maybe if she sees that being a brat doesn't get her what she wants she will stop. It won't be easy tho.

Just Linda

hahah I blogged about this very issue a few months ago when my baby turned 18 months old. Too funny. I guess we all have to go through it... a parental rite of passage.

My post is HERE

Anne Glamore

I can't remember what age I started doing it, but at some point I just told my boys that if they wanted to scream they needed to go to their room and do it. I'd designate a place so at least she knows that if she's gonna scream, it has to be in the place you say. It also works with boogers: Another rule is that you only pick your nose in the bathroom.

Just Linda

As for advice, I think a big part of it is just living through it - she will learn to communicate better and that will lessen her frustrations. My daughter, now 22 months, can understand and answer Y/N questions. So when she gets frustrated because I don't understand what she WANTS (a pony? world peace? no, no - animal crackers, yes, I can do that) I just ask her very simple yes/no questions and we try to figure it out.

Either that or I chain her to the furnace in the basement so she can't disturb my blogging.

Whatever works.

Ryan

Too funny, MD. You didn't think she was going to stay perfectly cute and adorable forever, did you? This is just the start of a "developmental stage" that will probably only last 18-21 years. Good luck!

amy

I think it's a phase too--she's frustrated because she can't communicate what she wants effectively, unless she screams. Sounds like you are doing the right things--although ignoring the tantrum sometimes works. Or if she gets really worked up, you could put her in a time-out. Of course what works for one kid doesn't work for another (which you'll find if you have a second) so what do I know?
She's adorable anyway, but you know that!

Andi

This was so funny I practically spit out my bagel from laughing so hard!

misfithausfrau

Well Metro, there is nothing more shocking than that initial tantrum, is there? Depending on the demeanor of Peanut, it could be short lived, but I wouldn't count on it. What makes it really difficult right now is that she can't use words to express herself. It will be much worse and infinitely more annoying when she CAN use words in the near future, and uses those words in conjunction with a tantrum. The favorite part of my older daughter's tantrum was when she would first start off doing "the river dance" before her top really blew. Good times.

Matthew

Why the hell are you asking me? I come to you for all my parenting advice!

Renee

Not only is the Peanut totally cute but she's also an incredibly stylish little girl. I LOVE her outfit. Do they make that jacket and dress in women's sizes? It's the perfect Spring ensemble! (What can I say? I'm shallow like that!)

Xdm

Ohmygod is that a GRACO? I'm totally telling Greg over at DaddyTypes.

Kemp

Been there... done that... with two at once.

As Bluto himself said: "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily."

Seriously though, she is a female, and this behavior is hard-wired into their DNA. There is no escaping it.

Alison

she's hit the "terrible twos" my friend. My son started at her same age and it just gets more entertaining. We just walk away and he gets over it. the miracle of parenthood, we're geniuses!

p-man

The trouble with boxes is they are not airtight.

Brittney

Going through the EXACT same thing with my 14 month old son. Cute when he's cute, not so much when screaming and throwing already chewed food at me. Check out Dr. Karp's DVD 'Happiest Toddler on the Block'. He's a bit kooky, but totally helps you understand the toddler's perspective and gives some tips on reducing the number of tantrums dramatically. We used his 'Happiest Baby on the Block' tips and they worked great, so hopefully his toddler tips are good ones as well!

Philip

Luckily . . . it's a phase. Stay sharp, all the good stuff is yet to come.

GIRLS GONE CHILD

Simply put, she has developed into a full-fledged female. Sigh...

knq

I'll be number #210 to say - thus starts your journey until she is, well, old enough to have kids of her own.

But honestly, my daughter just started this - and my sweet, mild tempered daughter is now throwing puzzle pieces at me and refusing to put a diaper on.

So, I have a half-naked 20 month old running around the house. I might have to try that myself and see if it cheers me up.


Melissa

Dude, welcome to having a toddler. Did you think we were all making shit up? I promise you though, your sweet little Peanut is still in there. She's just well.. kind of harder to find. And one more thing, you might not have known it, althought I'm sure you did, but the day she was born marked the end of you being the only high-maintenance prima donna that the BossLady would have in her life.

Yumi

How is it that you even manage to make a post about the terrible twos this funny? I don't even have kids but I enjoyed reading this! Good luck with the tantrums!

Susan

Whiskey. Lots of whiskey. For you, not her (do I really have to say that? Yes, for the don't-put-the-baby-in-a-box people).

And what's with the italics down here? Make it stop!

Sheryl

The good news is, it's just a phase, and not because you're spoiling her. The bad news is it lasts for about 20 more months. This is where you may want to cut some corners and invest in some good ear plugs, and more beer.

Veronica

As maddening as the whining and tantrum-ing and quicksilver mood swings can be, try to remain compassionate. This isn't about a spoiled child: this is about a VERY frustrating phase for both parents and child, when she has wants and needs and thoughts she can't articulate, and when she has become aware that YOU have wants and needs and thoughts that she may or may not be able to comply with.

The best (as in, most helpful to me in remaining patient and reasonably compassionate) little child development factoid I learned about this age was the following: young toddlers understand that there are things they should or shouldn't do, but they're developmentally lacking the necessary impulse control to behave appropriately most of the time.

So enforcing boundaries firmly is good, as it helps them do what they can't do on their own, and supports them as they gradually develop internal discipline, but punishment & shaming are useless and hurtful.

Distraction & redirection are your friends, even if you will get good & sick of them over the next year or so :)

Linda B

I'm sure the molars have something to do with it because E was a whiny, clingy TERROR when hers were coming in, but I am also experiencing that it is the age where they start expressing themselves more, um.. aggressively.

Leta

That is exactly the age my daughter (now 20 months) started the tantrums also. It can be somewhat embarrassing and completely annoying. My daughter was really bad for a few weeks, then it gradually got better. She still has a fit now and then, but nothing like it was a few months ago. Sounds like the Peanut is right on schedule. It gets better when they can talk and communicate what they want. But it doesn't completely go away, unfortunately.

Deanna

Ditto on what Sarah said earlier. The Munchkin is 26 months old and this started about... oh, 10 months ago. The interesting thing is, their verbal skills improve with time, so that's when they actually come out with demands you can understand, you can now say "no" to something that was comprehensible.

dansroka

We are also going through this with our 20 month old. My thought: it is not the child testing your limits, or misbehaving, or any of that. It is simply brain-overload. Their cognitive abilities are blooming while their communication skills are lagging far behind. They are learning how to control their emotions, their brain-power, etc. Suddenly, they have these things called "opinions", but they don't know what they are! They just feel like uncontrollable NEEDS -- would make anyone scream, feeling that the first time.

We do what a lot of people suggest. We don't give him anything to quiet him or distract him. Basically, you just ride it out. One thing that works is that we quietly ask him what he wants, using words he knows. Our thought is that he needs to learn how to handle his new needs, wants, and emotions -- by learning how to ask for things. So if he stops screaming and says "please" or "pretzel" (not scream it, not yell it, but speak it), then we are all smiles and (if appropriate) we give him what he asked for. This communication-epiphany usually snaps him out of the tantrum. It's been working well, but WHEW! it is exhausting.

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