Sunday, August 9, 2009

Who is this child?

From the time Brenden could walk he's been testing his boundaries. What child doesn't? Touching outlets while looking me right in the face and listening to me tell him "no", grabbing the dog's feet, ears, or nose, screaming for milk/poptarts/ice cream when he knows there is no way we are going to give it to him. But lately, his behavior has gone from normal to straight up demon child.

There are days that, when he doesn't get his way, he refuses to listen for hours at a time. His selective hearing drives Tim and I crazy. (I don't feel so bad for Tim, which sounds awful, but he's been doing that to me since Brenden was born, which seems to be when that trait kicked in.) When we stop him or refuse what he wants he'll screech, kick, flail, fall down and just be totally awful until he finds something else to obsess over. Then, if we refuse him that, the cycle starts over. Crying, snotty, possessed child takes over his body. We try to ignore it, or put him in time out if he gets violent. We don't give in and just hand him whatever, or feed him ice cream for breakfast, or let him slap Pete's water until it's all over the walls, carpet and table. When he does it in public I try to look him in the eye and tell him that I have no problem letting him scream but that it will not get him the ball/milk/whatever else he wants. I have no idea if that is the right way to handle it.

Bed time has turned into a battle of the wills. He usually has a great time during our pre-bedtime ritual of milk and a book/flash cards. He's learning a lot, like how to pick out the numbers 1 through 10, so I know he doesn't hate it. He'll give his dad a kiss good night, tell him "bye bye" and "love you" and then grab onto my neck like a crazed monkey. Usually he'll let me put him in bed, tell me "night night", and lay down. Almost as soon as I shut the door I hear his feet pounding on the floor, headed towards the door. Then the banging begins, and the screaming. The other night he yelled for so long that his voice got hoarse. When this first started happening I would go in, put him back in bed, and walk back out. An hour later we would be trading off turns putting him back down and trying to figure out what we were doing wrong, and it turned out going in to his room at all was the problem. After a few days of just letting him get it out of his system he'll yell for a few minutes and then get back in bed, pull up the covers, and go to sleep. I'm hoping we can call keep this up.

I know part of it is the lovely terrible twos. I know another factor is his awful 2nd molars that have been driving us all crazy for months. He's also getting sick, either with allergies or a late summer cold, which is never fun. Plus, I'm pretty sure he's getting frustrated because we cannot understand what he's telling us. His vocabulary has increased so much in the past few weeks but that doesn't mean we understand him when he goes into detail about whatever is on his mind. Several times during the day I have to ask him to repeat himself, which he will do, saying exactly the same random sentence, over and over, until he gets frustrated or bored. I'm sure that's not fun, but he's missing some pretty important consonants which make him impossible to understand. Mainly "s" and "t", which we're working on.

I know sometime soon he'll be chattering at me about everything under the sun. I know there will be days when I want to shove cotton in my ears for a break. I'm just hoping that it will bring a little relief for all of us from some of the tantrums. Plus I'm very curious to know exactly what he's thinking. Maybe he'll be able to watch the videos I have of him now and tell me what he was talking about.

For now I'm considering calling an exorcist when he gets into a mood. If his head starts spinning you may find me running and screaming down Yale. I'm positive that would make the nightly news. Or maybe, if Tim is home, I'll just fix a strong drink. I may even consider combining the running/screaming/drinking, but that could get messy and I already have enough laundry to do. Sigh...

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