Friday, January 8

Variations on a theme

When one quits one's job to stay home with a child, one might become incredibly frightened when that child's normally cheerful, laid-back temperament goes missing for a few days.

I sat at the kitchen table with What to Expect the Toddler Years, a book that isn't quite as necessary as its predecessors for many reasons, some of them being: mucus plugs are none of your concern anymore; you've actually birthed the baby, so if you ate soft cheeses during gestation and your child grew a third arm because of it, you know by now; and finally, the size, color and frequency of your child's bowel movements are no longer a nutritional barometer, since at this point it's obvious he can survive on Cheetos, M&Ms and the occasional mandarin orange slice.  

What to Expect the Toddler Years is more of an empathetic friend than a personal physician or hovering know-it-all. It's one of those go-to books you reach for in moments of desperation, just to be sure that other people's toddlers prefer to go pantsless as well.

For the uninitiated, every chapter features Q&A between parents and experts under various subheadings. As I paged through Month 24, I felt as though the room was closing in around me. If my life were a movie, this scene would feature a number of quick-zoom shots and perhaps some ominous Watch This Revelation Unfold music. My heart sank reading each subheading for Month 24:
Tantrums in Public
Laughable Tantrums
Taming Tantrums
What's Behind Your Toddler's Tantrums
Heading Off Tantrums
Tantrums Aren't Just for Kids
Dealing With Tantrums

That list is not even a joke.

And now for a moment of confession: I may have hoped that Ethan had an ear infection, so at least there was a definitive reason for his devilish behavior, other than the onset of Terrible Twodom. In the end it turns out that he didn't have an ear infection (thank goodness), but neither had he morphed permanently into a Naughty Child. The impishness was merely viral.

Now that the nose has finally stopped running, his persistent demands for candy are again honeyed with hugs and kisses. All is right with the world.

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Elsewhere, I am now the Friday contributor to the inimitable Sarah Von's Secret Society of List Addicts.  Mosey on over to read my first post, "Risks I took that yielded much Awesome." While you're there, why not divulge some of your own risky business?


Dawn said...

Ah, the virus-induced tantrum. . . strep is technically a bacteria, but on this, the fourth day of Ben's epic illness, I can empathize.

Just think of all the anecdotes you'll get from the coming year! Your patient observations of young Master Ethan will strengthen the funny bone and tone the tummy of many a friend/family member/reader (not to mention future girlfriends, which I won't, because my little sister tells me that can be a risky topic with you mums of adorable little men).

Just keep all watches out of reach. I've never experienced it meself, but it seems to be the most frequently featured jewelry when storytellers relate a "flushing" event.

The Bug said...

Another blogger I follow had a post the other day about her two year old. It won't encourage you - but at least you'll know that you're not alone:

Loved the list of risks - I think decided to go to Zambia was my biggest risk - & it turned out pretty well.

Natalie said...

Good to know about the book. I skimmed through the While You're Expecting one while at Barnes & Noble while pregnant with my first, never got into it, then just rolled my eyes at all the other stages of the series. Now I may need to take another looksy.

Does it have a chapter in dealing with two toddlers (not twins) at once during the tantrum stage? Just curious. Not that I've ever had to deal with that...

Slamdunk said...

Our twins hit three and have carted the terrible two behaviors with them. Enjoy your weekend.

Rachel H said...

My son threw a huge tantrum at the mall one day. Just as he had finally calmed down, I was getting him out the door and across the parking lot only to hear an old lady say to me, "You sure are making him walk mighty fast!"
If looks could kill ...

B said...

A big tip they'll fail to mention: Super-duper, extra-strength deodorant tucked into the diaper bag. First time alone with two little ones under the age of two, the eldest in the throes of terrible-two-dom, was shopping at the mall. (WHAT was I thinking?) Within thirty minutes I was drenched in sweat. Baby wipes can cut poo smell but not BO when regular deodorant fails. Nothing like enormous sweat stains acquired while said two-year-old had a powerhouse fit in the middle of the food court. LOL

Ameena said...

With a 4-year-old I can absolutely relate to your post...the terrible 2's weren't really THAT bad. Better than I expected actually! So don't worry too much!

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