Post-Toddler Stress Disorder

Don’t you just love toddlers? Those adorable first words. That hilarious drunken-sailor gait. Their newfound independence. The endless tantrums…

I was telling somebody about how my second-born is so much more difficult than my first-born when it occurred to me that I am absolutely wrong. I blame Post-Toddler Stress Disorder for blocking it out, but Miles was just as much of a hellion as Riley is at age 2, if not more. The proof is in my archives.

First, there was the infamous “Carseat Kerfuffle,” also known as “The Subaru Showdown,” when my son and I were locked in combat in the backseat of our car and I had to call his dad to come intervene before I left him by the side of the road. Ah, memories…

And you know when toddlers contradict themselves and tell you what they want and then have a tantrum when you give it to them? Good times. Hope you enjoy this little gem from my archives:

Yes I Do, No I Don’t

Miles: “Peanut butter! Peanut butter!”
Me: “You want a peanut butter sandwich?”
Miles: “OK.”
Me (after making sandwich): “Here you go, sweetie.”
Miles: “No peanut butter! Yogurt! YO-GURRRT!!”

Good thing there was an article in this month’s Parenting magazine about why toddlers contradict themselves, or I would’ve thought Miles was just being a huge pain in the butt. Well, he is, but at least it’s developmental.

These days, EVERYTHING is a battle with him. He’ll say he wants to go for a walk in the stroller. Then he has a fit when I try to strap him in. Then when I let him out, he goes sprinting for the street. When I say, “You can either get in the stroller or hold my hand” he sits down on the sidewalk and cries. Can you see why we haven’t been leaving the house much?

Even at home, though, the struggles continue. Some days he won’t sit in his highchair or let me put his socks on, or he insists on having two spoons at mealtime. Some things, I let go. Fine. Go nuts with the plastic cutlery! But in other cases it’s not so easy.

Take his dairy addiction, for example. Miles loves nothing more than cheese, yogurt, and above all, milk. He starts asking for milk the moment he wakes up. If I dare, say, go to the bathroom before heading downstairs to get his milk, he pitches a fit. If I forget his milk at meals, he wails, “Milk! Miiiilk!” like someone who’s being torn from their lover’s arms.

And too much milk is not a good thing. First, it fills him up so he doesn’t eat any actual food. Second, it causes him, um, “gastrointestinal distress,” which leads to nasty diapers for Mom and nasty diaper rash for him. I have explained all this to him calmly and rationally. And yet he persists in demanding dairy products around the clock.

I once let him whine and cry for 30 straight minutes before I gave in. I’m not made of stone, people!! (His dad, on the other hand, has no problems tuning out his son. And what do you know, Miles stops whining around him. Why doesn’t that approach work for moms?!)

Miles isn’t the only walking contradiction around here lately, though. I also go back and forth daily, even hourly. On the one hand, I’m having a harder time than ever with my beloved offspring. (Not helped by the fact that C. is gone most of the week now. 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. is too damn long a day for one parent!) On the other hand, when he’s not having milk meltdowns, Miles is cuter and more fun than ever.

I try to remind myself of the cute stuff he does, such as: calling oatmeal “eat-meal”; saying “I love Mama, I love Dada, I love baths”; hugging the dog; pretending his pasta is a rocket ship; and laughing hysterically when someone jumps out from behind a door and startles him.

Yes, he’s a funny kid. No, he’s not easy. Yes, I love him dearly. No, I do not miss him when his dad takes him out on weekends. I just hope they’re not going to Dairy Queen.

LAUGH O’ THE WEEK: My SIL sent me a funny e-mail about a 15-step program to see if you’re ready to have kids. An excerpt: “Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems. 1) Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh. 2) Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out. Repeat all morning.”


Samantha Gluck said…

Too much milk is definitely NOT a good thing! When mine were toddlers (youngest is 7 now), I wanted to encourage milk drinking and thought it was great when they kept wanting more more more. How can calcium be bad? ….enter the projectile milk throw-up! Not pretty. Hang in there.

MamaTales said…

I was laughing silly through this post. I'm right where you are, dealing with a toddler. You're right watching her discover the world around her, learn to communicate and become more independent are joys to see. The times that she "let's it loose" I wish I could skip that part. It still "irks" me sometimes that my hubby can just ignore bloody murder screaming and her turning purple in the face. And yet, the majority of the time she doesn't pull crap with him. He doesn't get whacked in the head or deal with full blow tantrums often. Deep breath mama, we can do this. HAH!

Adrienne Gomer said…

this is the conversation my 2 year old daughter and I have, um, about 1,000,000 times per day…

Belle: mommy, I tired.
Me: Ok, then go take a nap.
Me: Ok, then don't take a nap.
(5 minutes later)
Belle: Mommy I tired…

She also tries to get me to get things for her and I always tell her she can get it herself, but her dad always does it for her. So if we're both home, who does she go to if she wants something? Her dad of course, she never bothers to ask me because I never give in.

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said…

Having a toddler is like living with someone with extreme ADD and bipolar disorder. Thank goodness for the funny stuff they do – makes all the madness worth it!

Oh, and I think I got that same email once. Hilarious!

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