Advice Needed: Make the Screaming Stop

So it seems that, much like walking, once W decided he was going to embrace this new phase of growing up, he decided he was going to do it full speed. And this new phase is HARD. Super hard. Mostly I can see how extremely hard it is for him. Nothing makes sense at all and 90% of his desires are crushed and plans are thwarted.

Navigating this phase is unpleasant and emotional and exhausting.

It starts almost as soon as he rises. A nonstop whining sound that carries on until he can express whatever it is that he is trying to express. And sometimes he honestly doesn’t seem to know what he wants, just that he has a want. Which involves mornings of me holding him on my hip in the kitchen as he screams and sobs and wails and we go through each food item on the shelf until we land on (for the 3rd time) YES YES YES mandarin oranges YES YES that is what he wants! And finally the world can be at peace for five minutes.

When left alone with a project he is fine, so I try to set up project areas for him to keep his mind engaged in a way that seems soothing. Taking packets of oatmeal out of a box and putting them back in, sorting books, pretty much anything related to a box and objects is satisfying.

But when he begins to test his boundaries he either totally freaks out by stomping around the house, flinging himself back onto the floor and wailing, or running up to me and pleading/signing, “eat! eat!”. I have been using time outs as a way to help him process him emotions (like if he is super flailing and could hurt himself) I move him to a safer place. Or if he has hit the dog, thrown a toy…he also gets a time out.

And this, I imagine, is fucking HARD to process. Because rules are hard. And having to follow them is hard. And I totally get, emotionally, why this process is difficult so I am sympathetic. But unrelenting.

I think it just surprises me that I have a child that is now capable of this stuff. The slapping, kicking, throwing of objects, seemingly deliberate acts of defiance. I know this is just part of what he has to learn- how to process his feelings. And that on a base level this is how we all feel when we are told not to do something. But seeing my sweet and adorable W act this way? HARD.

I would love to hear from any of you guys going through or survivors of through toddler years. Any tips of the trade you can pass on? And when does it get better???