Nora's really amped it up in the past few weeks. Amped what up? Well, the screaming for one thing. The contrariness. I know this is par for the course as far as her age is concerned, but seriously, after about a week of the thousand decibel cries of despair I pretty much knew that I was simply going to lose my mind. That this was it. This was as far as I could go in the realm of stay-at-home parenting and I Was. Going. To. Lose. It. But I bucked up and did something I barely ever do, and that's break out the parenting books we received when Nora was born. I mostly trust instinct and advice from friends and family, but I knew I had to bring out the big guns as far as this terrible twos behavior was concerned, and I'm so glad I did. After calmly reading a couple chapters on "challenging behaviors" ("challenging" my ass, I can think of some stronger words) I was reminded of really simple, age-old coping methods.
For instance, instead of throwing myself on the sofa near tears when Nora is yelling - at the top of her lungs - "Milk Mommy, I WANT MILK MOMMY I WANT MILK I WANT IT" - you can try a response like, "I can't hear you when you whine. Why don't you use your nice voice?" So easy! So obvious! And so totally helpful! I mean, I realize Nora's going to be a bit of a tyrant for a little while, but as soon as I started using these methods I felt instantly more in control and happier. I remembered I was the parent who can say no and set boundaries. I remembered that distraction is an incredibly powerful tool.
Of course, sometimes the solution to a problem presents another. The other morning Nora was hanging out in bed with me reading when she, for no apparent reason, slammed the book shut and went into a mini rage. I patiently waited a beat before saying, "Nora, what's wrong? Can you use your words to tell me what you want?"
And she instantly snapped out of it, sat up straight and said, so politely and clear as day, "I want cake."