Saturday, March 16, 2013

Taming of the Toddler

It's been a long day. Michael is still not quite over his stomach bug, and even Abby did her part to add to the ensuing laundry back-up by peeing through her pajamas overnight.

She's been sorely tantrum-prone lately; so much so today that her Auntie Lisa's refusal to put a sweater back on after overheating a bit during their group dance-off threatened to send her into hysterics. The dance-off did have its moments, though, the most memorable of which was Abby's cheerful declaration as she dropped to the floor (during a dance move) that "I fall down and hurt myself!"

Dinner prep ran a bit late, and even though I had Lisa and Mei Mei in the playroom with me to keep me company, my patience has been running desperately thin these days, and I had pretty much hit my threshold of shenanigans after struggling with a second-nap-free Michael as he whined and fussed his way through his overwhelming fatigue. The Witching Hour is hard enough when he's gotten both naps in- it's nearly intolerable when he's refused one all afternoon.

Thus, when Abby began screaming during dinner (in response to my comment to Lisa about how some days are tough, especially when you're tired at the end and have to listen to screaming while you try to eat- score one for me for forgetting that Abby listens carefully to every word that I say now), I lost it pretty quickly. I gave her three chances, and once she struck out, unceremoniously dragged her chair into the living room to spend some time alone.

That was the threat I presented her with when I asked her to stop (I've yet to figure out how to successfully apply time-outs during mealtimes), and I carried it out. However, it didn't appear to be the most ideal strategy, in retrospect. On the plus side, it got her screaming away from the proximity of my ear, and she mostly stopped doing it once she got in there, anyway. The downside? She was actually pretty thrilled to be in there, and when we brought her back, it set off a tantrum of much higher volume than the initial screaming had ever approached.

Somehow, though, I was able to approach the tantrum with more humor than I had the screaming, and looking around the table I could see that we were all struggling to disguise our amusement. Chuckling, Tom turned to Abby and asked, "Silly Monkey, what are you doing?"

"Cryyyyyiiiing!" she wailed.

I keep my sanity by recharging off of moments like those, and like these:

Storytime with Mei Mei, in which two of my favorite gals enjoy a shared favorite book. Where's Spot? is one of Abby's current favorites, and Mei Mei was a huge fan of the same book at about the same age.

They both got a kick out of Madeline, as well.

After story time, Abby had a little surprise for me. Talk about what happens when you stop watching those little mouths...

It's been awhile since I brushed Abby's teeth, since Tom has largely been taking over her bedtime routine. As I did so tonight, I took a good look in her mouth. She has not one, but two two-year molars, both along the bottom. One is 100% exposed, and the other, about 95%. It was gratifying to see that all of the mouthing and drooling that's been going on has not been for naught. Best of all, this means we've only got two teeth to go before my oldest is done with teething for good!

Gotta focus on the beauty of little things, right? Especially when toddlers are screaming in your ear...