25 October 2008

worth it

we've made it through most of the "terrible twos" without much of the terrible part. carl and i have often remarked on the fact that cosmo does not throw tantrums. well, tonight, he did.

(self portrait)

it had to do with climbing on me during dinner, batting at my salad bowl etc. and developed into crying and screaming in his room, which is something that cosmo does very little of (screaming, in particular). i can look back on the day, and see what kinds of things might have led to this: lack of one-on-one attention from each of us, lack of adequate exercise, not eating enough "real food," any number of things. add to that, mixed messages about what constitutes proper behavior at the dinner table. the fact that we don't have a dinner table might have something to do with it. when it's nice out, we eat on the back porch, and we have a proper table and chairs. when it is too cold for that, we eat inside, sitting on the living room floor, at the pew, which is a long coffee-table sort of thing that i made from what was once a church pew. we just recently started eating at the pew again, and haven't really established the ground rules, i guess. it is also possible that these incidents can't entirely be avoided. sometimes he's just got some pent up energy, and it needs to be released, somehow.

i started by making a big effort to communicate with him, getting him to slow down, look at me, speak to me, and listen. that sort of worked at first, and i was quite pleased. then, it stopped working, and he melted into the fitful mess that is a full blown tantrum, and communication of any kind was impossible. i never got angry, i remained steady, gentle, but firm in my approach, and recognized that he just needed to find a way to calm down. eventually, he did. and we hugged, and managed to move on with the evening. he asked for some water, and then, to listen to a BBC radio program CD that we borrowed from a friend, which seemed like the right thing to do. as he was drinking the water, he looked at me and said, "you're a good mama for me." at first, i wasn't sure what he'd said, so i asked him to repeat it. that is what he said. i can't imagine he knows exactly what that means, but it sure was just what i needed to hear at that moment. what a sweetheart.

[and to that, cosmo would say, "i'm not sweetheart, i'm COSMO!"]


Abby said...

cosmo sounds like such a great kid, and you seem like such a patient mom.

the thing people never tell you....threes are often more "terrible" than twos. wonderful, but difficult in many ways. avery didn't really go through the terrible twos either, and he is a super three year old, but we've had our moments. :)

i really enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog(s) too!

And may I ask that you share some of your patience with me because I'm probably the least patient parent I know.

I'm happy to noted that I can't remember my kids' 2 and 3 yr old phases very well now. My younger had sensory integration problems leading to many tantrums, and I prefer not to remember them, I guess. :}

cake said...

i should mention that i am not always as patient as i was that night. i happened to be tuned into him, and to what was going on, and was able to just wait it out with him. but, other times, when i am trying to get something done, for instance, i get extremely frustrated, and it certainly doesn't help matters.

thanks for your insights.

Actchy said...

This is a beautiful post. It filled my eyes with tears. I hope we can remember the thousands of examples of great parenting we've collected over the years when it's our turn in a few months.

Sarah and Jack said...

Three was really, really, really bad for the Jack attack. We had tantrums and stuff during two, but they were relatively short and easy to control.

But three? Forget about it. Total nightmare for my kid. Turning four has not been some sort of magical pill (at least not 2 weeks into it!) but he has definitely started to regain some control of himself of late.

And I absolutely know that no food or no sleep = screaming crying mess.