Friday, March 4, 2011

I Kicked Tantrum's Ass

I need more time with my son, plain and simple. More importantly, my son needs more time with me. I know this because he’s being very clear and vocal about it. I’ve been complaining about his tantrum throwing lately and, looking back, I’m feeling really bad about that because, after doing a lot of Internet research and consulting The Mommy Network, I realized Monster’s tantrums were his way of testing me. Yes, of course, there are other factors, but I decided this was the big one.

Recently I had been relinquishing my role as boss because I have been so exhausted by the time we got home after wrestling Monster into the car and his car seat. I think that caused him to panic and push me even further.

Yesterday I tried a new approach.

This is what I know:
·         He is going to throw a fit because he has to get in the car.
·         He is going to throw a fit because he has to get into his car seat.
·         He is going to throw a fit because there’s some toy or book or implement he absolutely must have but can’t reach and I’m driving so I can’t get it for him at exactly that second.

In order to deal with these inevitable events, I decided to give him a little more control.
·         I let him run down the driveway (holding my hand!). But he kept running, past the car and down the road. Diverting him back caused a bit of a problem but still not a major meltdown.

·         I let him crawl around the backseat of the car. I figured he would get in his seat when he was ready. I actually crawled back there with him and shut the door. I told him that he had to sit in his seat if he wanted to go home. Dada was at home, Dog Dog was at home, num num was at home. There were times he would get frustrated and I would tell him, “Look at mama,” (and he totally would!) and then I would explain what had to happen. Eventually (maybe after 10 minutes) he got up into his seat. However, when I went to buckle him in, he got upset, but not full-on meltdown upset.
·         After he was strapped in, I gave him his snack cup filled with Goldfish vanilla graham crackers and dried cranberries. He was happy. Seriously, the whole drive home, he didn’t scream or fuss or cry. It was awesome!

And his good mood and behavior lasted. There was a setback when we went to the neighbor’s to borrow her can opener but all I did was take him back into the house while I ran the errand.

A little after 7, he said, “Night night,” grabbed my hand, walked me over to the steps, climbed up, let me pick him up and walk him to his crib. Once there, he asked for Elmo and lay down in his bed to go to sleep.

In his bed he stayed until after 6 this morning when the steam from my shower set off the smoke alarm.

He is psyched to be in that car seat!

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