toddler hurricaneW is just days away from officially being 2 and a half. I am not even going to sugar coat it: this last week has been really, really brutal on him.

He has picked up a few funny phrases recently. One of them is to ask “Okay?” and then immediately answer “Okay!” So he will get an idea in his head that he needs a cookie. I keep the box of Kashi oatmeal cookies on W’s snack shelf so he will trot into the kitchen, fetch the box, and then run over to me proclaiming, “Cookie! okay? okay! okay? okay! okay? OKAY!!”

Naturally it is the end of his world as he knows it when I inform him that he may not have a cookie.

I probably don’t have to describe a toddler meltdown to you, but lately his meltdowns have been so dramatic, so poignant it’s as if Stella Adler herself whispered in his ear how to nail the “intention of a perfect tantrum on stage”. {don’t go looking for that chapter in any of her books…}

The heaviness of his drop to the rug, the timbre of his wail, the phrase that he chooses to intone, “coooooooooookieeeeeeeeeeee” – it’s really quite impressive.

Admiration aside, I absolutely hate that he gets upset and I hate that he hangs on to this upsetedness for eons. I convey that I am sorry that he is upset but that he has already reached his cookie quota for the day and that dinner is near. Of course he doesn’t hear me, nothing gets through. The only solution is to just let him express himself and cry it through.

Emotions are HARD. And it is so hard to watch these extreme emotions erupt over such seemingly tiny things. I am sure the bigger offense isn’t that I am not giving him a cookie, but that I am denying him. Period. I am saying no. “No” is the trigger word to all meltdowns.

“No” you may not have juice right now.
“No” you may not ride in an evil car buggy at the grocery store.
“No” you may not stand up and dance in a full bathtub of water.
“No you may not chase after the cat.
“No” you may not have a cookie.

I know that some of you are going to say that I shouldn’t say the word no. That I should find some creative way to thwart his plans. “Don’t say ‘No you may not have juice’ – instead say, ‘Have some milk instead!’ that will work.”

Except it doesn’t. Not always. Not nearly enough times. I do use that technique when I know that he can hear me. But when W is hanging to the handle of the refrigerator and screaming, “I WANT ORANGE JUUUUUUUUUICE!!!!!” the only thing that feels good to say is, “No.”

It’s not working out so well.

* But it should also be noted that his enunciation and articulation have really gotten heaps better these past few weeks. He still is a quiet boy in school – but my language fears are starting to fade.

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