Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Seeking Advice

1. I writing this hoping someone can pass on pearls of wisdom.
2. I'm writing this because it's our digital scrapbook...how I preserve memories.

Tonight was the most challenging night we've had since having Alice.

Here's how it went down:
We had a good day.
Nothing out of the norm.
5:15pm- We left the gym.
She was as happy as can be,
until I put her into her car seat.
Locked her legs, arched her back, made it VERY difficult to buckle her in.

Screamed the whole way home...approx. 5 minutes.

Screamed/cried as I tried to make dinner.
Ben comes home.
More screaming, more crying. 

I strip her down, thinking maybe something is hurting her.
Seems to be somewhat consoled, but far from happy, while I'm holding her.

5:40- Time for dinner.
Locked legs, arched back, total come-apart when I tried to put her in her high chair. 
Sits in my lap for awhile, and is less ferocious, but still a beast.
Our rule: She has to eat meals in her high chair...as she has for over a year now.
Food is Alice's love language, so we're surprised she's not willing to sit in her chair to have it.

I try to bribe her into her high chair with juice.
(Juice is a VERY special treat around here.)
She wants the juice, but still refuses to sit in her chair.

We continue eating our dinner,
staying calm,
pretending like her behavior isn't getting to us.
(But it did.)

Eventually, I ask her if she's ready to go to bed.
She says, yes.
We put her to bed without dinner.
(Kills me to write that, even though I KNOW my child will not starve from missing a meal.)
She quickly falls asleep.
I think the hour-long freak out exhausted her.


I poured myself a glass of wine,
a beer for Ben.
We talked about consistency,
expectations, etc.

I've never seen her act like she did tonight.
Is this being a toddler?
Is this normal?!?! 
(Someone, please say no.)

Is this what it's like to have a little girl?
I tend to blame everything on teething,
but tonight was unlike anything we've seen.

Oh, and have I ever mentioned I have a degree in Early Childhood Education?
And an associates degree in Child Development?
Comical, right? 
For me, being a teacher was a million times easier than being a parent.

Okay, pushing "publish post" now.
I'm not even going to proof read this.
Please excuse my typos.

Holy cow.
I'm exhausted.
My one child has completely exhausted me.
I'm feeling pretty awesome right now.

And thank you, in advance, for any advice!


Carey said...

we are not there yet...However, in Abby's class, parents talk about kids refusing to get in their car seats ALL the time...arching back, crying, etc. Not sure if that helps or not...Wish I had better advice....

Melissa said...

Thank you, Carey. I'm typing this with tears in my eyes. I've never seen her act that way. She was a different kid. I was just telling Ben that she even looked different. She was completely inconsolable...very unlike her.

Emily Golding said...

Oh my goodness, you are not the only ones, so let's blame it on their age??? Last night, it took both Justin and I together, a naked child running through the house screaming and 15 minutes, to change one diaper. Like you said, screaming and totally unlike her...???

Cathy V said...

oh man. i hate when Hudson refuses to get in his seat. he used to do it all the time. That's why we switched him to the big car seat when we did. I think it's super normal, though.

Maybe she's getting sick or something. Sounds like she was not feeling like herself and didn't know how to express it.

I think you guys did the right thing by putting her to bed early if that's what she wanted.

Hopefully it was just a one time thing and she'll be back to her usual self tomorrow.

ok random thought as i'm about to publish this, hudson seemed to fight getting in his carseat when he was teething and I always wondered if it was something with his ears hurting and the angle of the seat. super random and i never figured it out, but just a thought.

Melissa said...

Emily, I'm glad we're not the only ones. Misery loves company, right? Let's hope this is a VERY short phase!

Melissa said...

Cathy, I definitely had the "maybe's she's getting sick" thought, too. We've managed to avoid the yuck that's been going around up to this point. I feel like it'll be her turn any day now. I REALLY hope it's a one-time thing, too. We'll see!

lundsincolorado said...

Ugh. I'm so sorry that Alice had an awful night. As much as I hope it's not the case, I wonder if she isn't getting sick. With Iris's weird 1-day illness last week, she started acting strangely that morning. That said, I firmly believe that a lot of the tantrums I'm seeing with her lately are teething-related. It seems like she less capable of handling boundaries and disappointments when she's in pain, which is only logical. I hope this passes quickly- you're a great mama and you're doing a fantastic job!

Charissa said...

Hi Melissa,
I typed out a whole long comment on my phone that got deleted when I went to post it...so here goes on the PC. :)

Definitely sounds like she's either over tired or getting sick. We had a LOT of challenging times with Emma through age 3. She's 3 1/2 now and things are much more manageable, but still the occasional challenge. When Emma was Alice's age sleep and nursing seemed to be universal cure-alls for any challenging moments.
Given that it was the end of the day and you were leaving the gym, she could have just been very tired or coming down with something, or who knows what happened in the kids' room at the gym...maybe something upset her there that you don't know about? Could be a number of things.
I've noticed with Emma and other kids it's simply amazing the difference enough sleep can make. I know Emma's given her daddy some very rough times at the end of the day because she was in dire need of a nap. :)

Cathy V said...

sarah-i totally agree with the teething=bad behaviors thing. Hudson had been so pleasant for about a month with no real tantrums and then as soon as he started cutting his next teeth, it was like a different kid. i actually cried a little bit because i missed my normal little guy.

oh stupid teeth. i can't wait until we're done with them.

Becky said...

Bummer night:( Other than the sick/teething theory. Maybe a growth-spurt? I have found that everything is a stage. Both the great behaviors and the horribly naughty. As exhausting as it is, I'm sure your consistancy with her was the best thing you could have done.

songskatesang said...

Dearest Melissa, I am so sorry that it was a tough night. Yes, I've seen Nate the great do that when he was getting sick and yes, I carried Nate out of the library upside down by one ankle just because he was being a turkey. I'll be praying for you. Go easy on yourself and get some rest, ok?

Rebecca said...

Sounds a lot like how my bb girl behaves when she's either very hungry, very tired, or very sick. She's just incoherent until her need - whatever it is - is met. And (with my daughter at least) these times/moods change depending on what's going on. Meaning, she's been hungrier and more tired of late bc of a serious growth spurt. I've just tried to keep her schedule consistent and read her signs. Hope it helps, even a little, to know it's not something you and your husband are or are not doing, but just your daughter's changing needs and schedules that's probably causing this. Sounds like you both have a handle on the parenting thing. Don't be discouraged! :)

The Dupras Project said...

oh friend
just wanted to say i'm sorry you had a rough night. sounds like your wise friends have covered most things just wanted you to know i'm thinking about you. by the way, i laugh at the fact that i used to teach parenting classes and find myself dumbfounded most days :) love you.. by the way, are you guys in colorado for thanksgiving? we are going to be at the other dupras house for a week

Tamsyn said...

It's terrible when our sweet little babies act so out of character. My toddler Max is such a good boy, but occasionally has those kind of moments that leave me in tears.

I agree with everyone else. In my limited experience Max normally acts out when something out of the ordinary is upsetting and frustrating him. Either he's getting sick, or he has a tummy ache, or teeth are coming through. Sometimes it's just because he's overtired.

I hope tomorrow is better for you xx

Jeanne Locante said...

You are so blessed to have so many wonderful, supportive friends! I love all their comments and advice. Alice seems to have your personality and I remember the only time you acted like that was if you were getting sick or really tired. I hope it was just that she was tired and today is a much better day for you. You are a fabulous mom and handled it perfectly. I know it's rough, though. Love you!!

Melissa said...

Oh my goodness. THANK YOU ALL!!!
You all spoke directly to my heart.

I needed to hear that she's normal...that I don't need to rush in for a psych evaluation today. :)

I'm going to go with the teething/tired/illness/growth spurt idea, for sure.

Again, thank you!
I wish there were words bigger than "thank you" to use, but I haven't had any coffee yet. :)

TheUnSoccerMom said...

Totally and completely normal.

If you think about it, we ALL have days like that, even as adults. We just know better than to act out like that. We can also communicate with words a whole lot easier than a toddler can.

This too shall pass, but keep that bottle of wine handy. You will need it. ;o)

lindsayw4 said...

Sorry you had a rough night. We have those sometimes, and I think in Mason's case it has a lot to do with teething. He wakes up from a nap somedays when he's teething and screams and cries for up to an hour. There is nothing I can do. Unfortunately I think it is a normal toddler thing, but it certainly doesn't make it easy. You are doing a great job!

Joy Adams said...

You know my background in education is similar to yours. Parenting one child is so much more difficult than running a preschool with 26 whining, grumpy, PMS(y) women, 200 children and families. With that said, it is also more rewarding (somedays). I have felt your pain many many many days. Many days I have felt such failure. How could I have this much education in this field and I can't deal with my own children. You are not alone!

We have been struggling with our three year old. It is a constant tantrum that has seemed to last for weeks. It is defeating and frustrating. Here are some tangible things we do that "somewhat" help. Our little girl loves jewelry. We went to the store and picked out a happy heart necklace. She can wear it all day however when she throws a fit I take the necklace and tell her that she can have it back when she has a happy heart. This helps because it turns her frustration into not having the necklace not whatever else she was fighting about. Then I have some leverage because once she is happy she can have the necklace back. Generally she will then do whatever she didn't want to do originally. I also have an arsenal of bible verses that I will say. This may be a little too old for Alice but maybe not she seems like a smart little girl. These are just a few examples of what is working for me lately. If you ask next week I may tell you those were stupid ideas! :)

Take a deep breath and don't let the enemy fill you with lies. (Plus like everyone else said it could be that she is getting sick). You are an amazing Mom! We have a perfect heavenly father and yet we are far from perfect. So even if you were the perfect Mom, Alice will still do things and behave in ways that will blow your mind. Once I wrapped my mind around this fact I felt so much peace.

Blessings and Hope for a peaceful day!

Brad & Rachel said...

Ella started this behavior around 18 months. She got better with everything except for getting in to her car seat. We even tried turning her forward facing (THAT killed me) and now she's hit or miss on the car seat. She still throws fits in the house. Someone told me that they don't quite understand the words to go with their emotions and so throwing tantrums is the way the get across that they're upset. I wish I had better words of wisdom, it is exhausting, and you do just have to stay consistent. I don't know how many times I have closed the door to Ella's room and just had to sit by myself, or closed the door to the car and just stood outside so we could both calm down. Just stay consistent in how your react, that's the best advice I can give you.

Brad & Rachel said...

Oh, and for the total "Mom of the year award" I once even told Ella she's lucky she started acting this way after we got pregnant with the 2nd child or she would never get a sibling. Ha! Great job Rachel.

Casey said...

Sounds like it's mostly covered above but I will say you are not alone. My son (i swear) was an angel until he turned 3.. Now we're dealing with the tantrums, meltdowns, refusal to do things, etc. I'm trying to stay consistent and also calm but sometimes I feel like mommy needs a time out. So any more advice you get I might heed the advice as well. Good Luck!

Kelly said...

We had an awful night last night too. To be honest, I think the time change has finally caught up with C and he was a screaming miserable mess. I put him to bed without dinner and he slept 13 hours. Was she better today? I'd like to think it was a one time thing for us but these tantrums happen more and more often. I guess we're on the brink of the terrible twos? Good luck lady, hang in there and try to stay calm!

Amy said...

I'm behind on reading blogs. ;) Sorry about Alice, but I concur w/ others...sounds normal. Sophie is a PILL when she's exhausted, & very unlike the way my boys acted at that age when tired. Ahhh, girls! However, watch her ears. Two of mine have had tubes (1 has had 3 sets) so I'm a pro at ear infections. I'm sure by now if she hasn't had other symptoms she's fine, but just something to consider. :) You're a great momma!!

Mama Kat said...

So I have no qualifications after having 4 kids the last 3 only 2 1/2 years apart....seriously no qualifications.....best guess i time change, she obviously was tired, go with that. And to make you feel completely normal, this is normal, it will happen again, and it will last longer next time...sorry. I usually find my "Prozac" at the bottom of a glass (or bottle what ever works) of merlot, or at the bottom of a Starbucks cup. Good luck.

Blomgrens said...

Wow girl - you are LOVED which is so evident from all these comments! I'm sure you've gotten more than enough advice and encouragement but let me just say... parenting is like 85% (at least) guessing! People that say things about their kids with such confidence (like why they won't sleep or why they tantrum) honestly, they are good actors since we know they're guessing :) Anyway, all that to say is Alice is probably (my guess) learning that maybe some (a lot) of screaming and hysterics can get her something or maybe she hasn't realized it yet but she's just testing. I don't know her very well but most little chicks her age are pretty smart and strong willed so she's going to try things (smart) to see what comes of it. Right? I hope there hasn't been anymore melt-downs (from you or her!) and that you are able to figure out your game plan before the next one. It's hard being a strong mom. Sending love and mama strength!