Have I mentioned recently how many tears one deals with when raising a toddler? I mean, I know I gush about how easy Gavin is. And I truly feel that way in a big picture kind of way, but this kid knows how to throw down with the best of the toddler bunch. Like the photo above, where we tried to take some fun family photos with a local photographer. Instead, we dealt with a grumpy toddler who wouldn’t smile for the camera and spent most of the the time in tears. A glimpse into a typical day raising our toddler:
Morning: Lying down on his changing table, happily engrossed in his Elmo counting and colors toy, Gavin squeezes shut his knees, making it impossible for me to change his diaper. He giggles, thinking it’s funny. But, the minute I get serious, he fights back. Kicking. Squirming. Screaming. Sometimes even hitting and scratching, too. He hates getting his diaper changed and will forgo a few moments with his beloved Elmo in order to ensure my job is not completed with ease.
Afternoon: The minute we enter his classroom at daycare, he screams a happy scream and runs across the room to us. That’s just about the only highlight of afternoon pick-ups. He then demands to be picked up. Fights putting on his coat. Screams and squirms as we try to put him in his car seat; goes stiff as a board, refusing to sit back or to let us get his arms through the seat belt. Demands his boppy (i.e., pacifier, which we no longer have in the car) and then demands donuts as if that’s what comes next if the boppy isn’t available (the kid loves his donuts, but we only give them to him as sweet treats on the weekends). He screams and cries the whole way home (thankfully, it’s a whopping total of 4 blocks) and then, realizing we’re almost home, whines for “more ride, MORE RIDE.”
Night: Bath time is always a joyous time around our house, that is, unless Gavin has to be washed (i.e., every bath) or Sweets is giving the bath (i.e., 95% of the time) … then, it’s high-pitched screaming “no no no, mommy, mommy, mommy.” And it only gets worse when it’s time to be dried off (something Gavin hates no matter which caretaker is doing it). He then proceeds to fight having lotion put on him or having to get into his pajamas. He is a master at being contrary.
Award-winning tantrum: The other night, I was solo parenting and Gavin proceeded to have a MELTDOWN in the common stairwell in our building. There was no reasoning with him whatsoever. He was on the ground, face down, spread eagle, kicking and screaming. All he wanted was to be picked up, so was screaming “Uppy, uppy, uppy,” which is his version of “up, please.” All I wanted was for him to stand up to make it easier for me to pick him up (not an unreasonable request, as far as I’m concerned). No dice, so the tantrum ensued. After 10 minutes, I decided to grant him temporary immunity (so our neighbors wouldn’t forever hate us) and picked him up to walk upstairs. But, once we were inside our unit, I put him right back down on the ground, took off his coat (no, mommy, no), put it away (me, mommy, me) and walked into the kitchen (uppy, mommy, uppy). Gavin proceeded to kick, flail, cry, scream, squirm, wiggle, pout, bat his arms at nothing in the air and so on for another 10-15 minutes. I asked Gavin if he was ready to calm down and talk/use his words. His answer: NOOOOOOOOOO. So, I went back to getting dinner ready and putting out food for him while he wailed and flailed. And then, something clicked. He got tired of crying or tired or me ignoring him or hungry or something … he stopped his tantrum, pulled up to our island and sat like a good boy to eat dinner.
And while the award-winning tantrum is fairly rare, the other examples I gave are things we deal with on a day-to-day basis. Why on earth do I put up with it, maybe even gloss over it in favor of all the super sweet moments? Because the super sweet moments are worth waiting for.
Like the time when Sweets was leaving for work and out of nowhere, Gavin said, “Bye, babe.” (Ahem, guilty!)
Or the night we were all lounging in bed, teaching Gavin how to say our first names and watching him overflow with goofy pride when he’d say our names correctly.
Or the random dinner, when Gavin was standing on a step-stool, eating at the counter (very common in our house) and firmly stating, “Rock and Roll!” when neither Sweets nor I had said anything of the sort.
And the times when we’re ready to leave daycare and ask Gavin to say goodbye to his teachers and he marches up to them one by one, giving hugs and saying “tank tou” and “goodbye” and charming the pants off of them with his coy smile.
And the evenings when Gavin says, “c’mon mommy” and when asked where we’re going, he says “hand, hallway” and then, when passing the dog, he gives this inclusive wave and says “c’mon SoMi,” as if the family parade down the hallway is something everyone would want to do.
And the days when we do roll through the Dunkin Donuts drive-through and Gavin lights up with a huge smile on his face and yells, “DONUTS” and when I ask him what kind, he responds with “caulklit” and reminds us that Sweets will be ordering “coffee” too.
It’s almost impossible to capture every moment with a toddler, but trust me when I say it’s amazing. Sure, it’s a roller coaster and we parents and caretakers deal with some crazy mood swings. But, toddlers are a passionate bunch. And that means dealing with super annoying lows in order to experience the elation that comes with the highs and all the hilarious moments in-between.
What are some memorable toddler meltdown moments that you’ve witnessed with your own children, relatives or strangers on the street?