Sunday, June 26, 2011


Everyone who read my last post about how perfect my little boy is and said, "Oh, shut up, Lindsay..." Okay. I'll accept it. We've entered the terrible tantrum stage of his development.

The kid won't even talk yet, but he has no trouble communicating the fact that HE IS NOT HAPPY. Why is he not happy? NO ONE KNOWS. He doesn't even know.

So let this be a warning: If you have a nice vacation and are feeling all smug about how well-behaved and well-adjusted and well-whatever your little person was, it's the night after vacation that HELL BECOMES YOU in the form of big fat guilt-inducing tears and the kind of screams that make you wonder what the neighbors are thinking. Were they laughing at the bogusly cheerful, useless, one-sided dialogue I was having as I tried to out-shout the monster? Or were they going to call the police?

I've seen a few tantrums, but never like last night, and I know why that is. I've always focused on giving him what he wants. I do not regret this because the things he wants are awesome... I have a great husband who not only helps out when we're home together, but gets a lot done when he's alone with the boy. This allows me to fulfill Fletcher's most common tantrum inducing wish: to be held. And held. And held. And not ever put down.

I'm okay with this. The time is going to come and very soon that he will not want to be held and cuddled, so I'm going to grant this wish as often as intelligently possible now, while he wants it.

I watched an episode of Frasier the other night (hooray for crappy local television) where Frasier found that by talking things through out loud (in this case, to the dog, Eddie) he was able to discover what was bothering himself. I thought of this last night as I was babbling nonsense to a child who was so beside himself that the second coming of Christ would not have put a pause in his intense declaration of the horribleness that is life. (This epic tantrum began when he woke up crying immediately after I wrote the vacation blog post. It grew in size when I attempted feeding him dinner. It became a living nightmare when I gave him a bath.)

Thinking of Frasier, I babbled aloud, telling Fletcher how I wanted to fix the problem, but there were things that needed to be done, things I wouldn't sacrifice. I told him how I would hold him as soon as I could, how much it bothers me that he isn't happy 100 percent of the time, and how I know that's silly and even unfair.

Then it occurred to me. One of the things I hate most is how people -- all people -- want and expect you to be all smiles all the time. I hate not being allowed to be in a bad mood. I hate having to "get into it" and figure out the reason for the mood with those who I wish weren't so affected by it. Can't I just be unhappy and cranky for a little while without having to dissect it?

And here I am feeling upset and needlessly guilty when my son is having a mood meltdown.

I laughed then. It had no effect on him; the cries stayed desperate, maybe got even more ridiculous. I laughed at the thought of the neighbors hearing it now, his voice was so outrageous.

And when his dinner and his bath and requisite lotion job were finally complete, I picked him up and wiped his tears and accepted the desperation and complete unhappiness on his face as a necessary part of life.

After maybe a half hour of cuddling, he was willing to get down and I was treated to a famous Fletcher smile again. More tantrums ensued throughout the evening, and more of the cuddling that I love. I'll take whatever bad I have to take, for this.

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