the terrible twos/the throw-stuff threes

This is kind of a vent post, a “please tell me others are experiencing this as well” post, and a HELP! post all rolled into one. Monkey has been sick for the last few days (nothing serious – just runny nose, slight fever) and his sleep? Has just fallen apart over the last couple of weeks. It is HELL to get him to go to bed at night lately and he is not getting enough overnight sleep (typically 8-9.5 hours). So he is way overtired and is acting out like crazy. I know part of it is normal for his age, but I think a big part of it is that he is just plain tired. He hits us, throws things at us, yells at us and is just a little terror in general for the better part of most days lately. It hurts physically and it hurts my feelings. Since I’m pregnant, I have a hard time keeping my emotions in check during these altercations and I either cry or am kind of mean back to him. I don’t want to do either of these things. I want to be the calm, rational parent who is in control of the situation. I’m so not (and DW isn’t really either, though she does better than I do these days).

We are on the AP side of the the parenting fence for the most part, so we haven’t done time outs and the like. Honestly, Monkey is such an intense kid I don’t think time outs would work with him. When he is in the midst of one of these episodes, he’s manic and upset and nothing you can say gets through – it would just be an epic battle. I find that what seems to work best is the old distraction game. Like last night, I was trying to get him to lay down and go to sleep. He was refusing, hitting me, getting all crazy. So I looked around the room in desperation and noticed the blinds making a stripey pattern on the ceiling. I pointed it out, “Look! Let’s lay down and look at the stripes.” Totally worked! We laid down together and looked and talked about the stripes and I even got hugs and kisses from the boy who two seconds earlier was beating me about the head. Of course, it didn’t work longer term – it took over an hour to get him to sleep with Mama and Mommy taking turns when it got too ridiculous. But I did learn a new strategy that I hope will work in the future. At least it seemed to help defuse the situation and calm us both down a bit.

So? Are you experiencing this type of behavior as well? If so, how do you handle it?


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5 responses to “the terrible twos/the throw-stuff threes

  1. Overall S is actually really good despite rants I’ve had of my own in the past… The one exception is when she is overtired and then she goes nuts. She doesn’t scream at us, her thing is not listening and purposely doing stuff to piss us off – we get mad and then she hits us. Bedtime is awful when she is overtired too. OVER an hour long. The key really is getting her down at a good time.
    Maybe pre-school is totally wearing him out?

  2. Oy. I’m sorry 😦 But it’s TOTALLY the age…. the frustration, the need to be in control, the massive meltdowns over something seemingly insignificant. (“I WANTED TO TURN OUT THE LIGHT!!!” WAAAAAA!!!) Oh. Dear. God.

    L was hitting for a while and we started time outs, predominantly because we needed to nip in the bud any behavior that might hurt the babies. We are pretty AP as well, but the time outs are not shaming or cruel, they serve as a reminder that there are consequences to his actions (and they save us in those moments when we want to say or do something we probably shouldn’t!). We use the 1-2-3 Magic approach and it has worked really, really, well. We do talk about what happened afterwards.

    I hope that helps… Good luck!!

  3. Agree with the above! It is THE AGE! At least I hope it is 🙂

    We also use 1-2-3 Magic (we have the book and DVD) and it works really well. Little Monster has only hit a few times but hitting is the one offense, thus far, that he goes straight to his room for (his room is for SEVERE offenses only) and so that behavior is something we stopped fairly quick. As for everything else the usual time out mat goes in the hallway where we can be near him and talk to him about what happened and why it is not acceptable behavior. We always make sure to explain why he was/is in time out (that is not safe, that is not nice, we do not throw our toys, etc.) and keep the raised voice at a minimum. Kris is currently in the stage of morning sickness and irritability so I understand where you are coming from with the reserve of tolerance and patience being low. I try to step in as often as I can and buffer the situation when I can tell they are on the brink of a massive meltdown, on both their part, haha.

    Good luck!

  4. oh mamas, I feel you!!!
    I think the others have given you good advice. I like the 123 thing but we have not had to do time outs yet. I get a lot of good advice and calmness from reading the AHA parenting blog and Janet Lansbury. Google em. Both AP type and very helpful to talk you down from a ledge. However I just bought second hand the Elizabeth Pantley book about gentle discipline of a toddler / pres schooler though I haven’t looked at it yet. Good luck, mamas! I like the distraction one too and also the “time in” where you are with the kid and hold them and talk to them and gently empathise. but I am not sure how that would help with hitting….:(((
    The short answer to your question about TTC is we are planning to induce my missing period with prometrium, do a saline sonogram and see how big the fibroids are. If they are too big I will probably get a myomectomy – you had one, right? Laparoscopic surgery. Then have to wait three months to attempt pregnancy and start with a SET. I hope that the fibroids are not bigger but if they are I really want to get them removed. After what happened to Isobel I want to give any other baby plenty of room in there and no parasites to contend with! Starting the prometrium tomorrow I think. Wish me luck!!!

  5. chunkandmommy

    Yes, definitely the age. Their job is to test limits, define boundries and try to become independent beings. I tend to be more on the strict side of discipline (maybe it is a midwestern thing) and we do 1-2-3 and timeout and he gets sent to his room for extreme behavior (hitting, spitting, kicking, etc). Timeout works well for us and it is not shaming, just shows him an order of consequences and that he cannot act out and hurt other people. Also, we have had a rollercoaster of bedtime at our house but the book, “Healthy sleep habits, Happy child” has worked really well for us and the techniques for this age group worked in a matter on days for us. HIGHLY recommend.

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