Tantrums are for Toddlers?

So remember the little meltdown of SJ’s that I mentioned in my blog post last week?  Apparently that wasn’t a one time deal. For those of you just now checking in, SJ is the adorable 17 month old I nanny for part-time.  Thankfully most of the time he is in a great mood, and is a lot of fun to be with.  He just had a couple of little meltdowns this morning, and according to his parents it’s been happening a bit more in general.  Today SJ’s amazing mom sent me this link: http://www.babycenter.com/0_tantrums_11569.bc?scid=mbtw_post17m_3w:1208&pe=MlV5ZUwzNXwyMDExMDgxNQ..  explaining that this is about the time that toddlers start having temper tantrums.  I was thankful for some advice on what to do when these little episodes erupt, but also thankful that with SJ (at least so far), they are less like temper tantrums and more like mini little meltdowns that don’t last very long.  He doesn’t really seem angry, just super frustrated or upset.

But as I was reading the article I started thinking that these tantrums or “mini meltdowns” are not just for toddlers.  As a matter of fact, I’m not sure we ever really outgrow them, they just start to look different.  Like the day in college when I had just had it with some stuff going on in my life and all I wanted to do was come home to a quiet room in the Sigma Kappa house and be by myself.  When I walked in to both of my roommates (who I love to death and are dear friends) listening to music and laughing, I just lost it and threw my books across the room.  They were pretty stunned for a minute, but were full of grace and picked up my books for me as I burst into tears…  When they asked what was wrong I couldn’t help but yell, “I just need some space to myself!” Or the time a couple of years ago when I had the worst day, following the worst week, in the worst month of ministry. I ended up (picture this) sitting outside in the freezing cold by myself in a camping chair, with a huge hooded sweatshirt, glass of wine in one hand, cigar in the other, ipod headphones in, singing (out loud for all to hear) “Dreams Last For So Long” by Jewel… true story.  Add in all the other random times where I’ve thrown something and shouted an overly dramatic statement (like “I HATE everything about this stupid apartment!”), slam the refrigerator door because dinner is not turning out as I had planned, or sob in bed yelling at my husband because he just doesn’t understand how frustrating it is that I don’t know how I want to decorate the baby nursery (come on, I can blame pregnancy hormones on that one), and you start to see that maybe we all have tantrums?  Or maybe it’s just me and toddlers…  but I’m pretty sure it’s not (I see your facebook status!) Even my husband (sorry to out you babe) has been known to get frustrated and make an overly dramatic statement, but don’t tell anyone ;-).

The article above says that for toddlers part of the problem is that they are starting to understand more but cannot communicate verbally and it’s frustrating to them, so they act out.  Perhaps it is true for all of us in certain situations that we feel we cannot express what is going on inside of us and therefore act out similarly.  Or maybe it just shows that we’re all selfish 0r have limits and capacities that should not be exceeded.  Either way, it gives me more compassion for SJ and when he yells and cries when I try to get him dressed or put on his sleep sack I can just say, “I hear ya buddy!”  Maybe I’ll teach him the Jewel Lyrics one day… we’ll wait until he’s 21 to introduce the wine and cigar 😉

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jenny Benson says:

    Crystal! Love your blog! And, I loved this post, since my girls are 3 1/2 and 17 months, there are LOTS of tantrums around here. I totally agree with you- no one ever grows of of tantrums, we just learn how to disguise them better. Mothering has taught me so much about my own heart and how I am just like my 3 1/2 year old- I want what I want when I want it, how I want it! Having the reality of my own heart and struggles in front of me all the time like this has really helped me grow in patience, grace, and understanding towards my girls. Just another way that being a parent is so wonderful and transformative!! I love your insight!

  2. mk says:

    Whenever the little boy I sat for would throw a tantrum, and we’re talking face down on the ground, crying, arms and legs flailing…I used to think, god…I wish I could do that whenever I had a bad day.

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