Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I am not going to survive the Terrible 3's.

Recently I've been noticing more resistance from Cameron when I want or need him to do things.  It's usually over things like holding my hand when walking in the parking lot, or putting him in his high chair for meals, or for wanting something that is not safe or appropriate for him to have in his mischievous little hands.  They are short little outbursts with lots of pulling or tugging or pushing by Cameron and a fair bit of maniacal giggling because he knows what he's doing is not right.  But it's always quickly resolved or he's easily distracted by something and forgets what he was trying to accomplish. 

Tonight however was probably his very first full fledged tantrum.  We were sitting in the kitchen, my husband and me sitting on opposite sides of the kitchen table with a boy in a high chair in front of us, trying to feed them dinner.  Cameron had been sucking on a Pepperidge Farm Goldfish pretzel.  He had been using the pretzel as a diversionary tactic to avoid taking the spoons of food that I was feeding him, a common trick the boys both use often. I took the pretzel away and put it on the table next to me.  Instantly Cameron screamed "Want goldfish! My goldfish! More goldfish! No! No! No!" at the top of his lungs while kicking his chair and banging on the tray. 

Yes, I caved.  Instantly.  Like a house of cards in a strong breeze.  I immediately handed back that goldfish.  And he bit a piece off and chewed it up and swallowed.  And then he did it again.  Very tiny bites, chewed 36 times each before swallowing.  Until that pretzel was gone.  Luckily between every two bites he let me feed him a spoonful of his puree and he managed to eat all 3oz of it before our 30minutes was up.  *sigh*

It's not like that was the end of the world for me to let him just finish the pretzel, but if I let him just focus on the pretzel then it takes away from the very limited amount of time I have to keep him in the chair (no more than 30 to 40 minutes max) to get him to consume measurable sustainable calories including his milk. The whole meltdown only took maybe 6 seconds?  With a lot of hands down holding and coercion and Blues Clues on the television it took all 30 minutes to eat one goldfish pretzel and 3 oz of puree.

I could have just said "Take three bites and then you can have it back" as part of the reward for eating but I didn't.  The thought didn't even cross my mind until the moment had already happened and I'd already caved and handed back the pretzel.  Typing this now I'm thinking of a dozen ways to have changed the outcome of that scenario. I must really be off my game, but the new begging and whinging behavior, the suddenness of the outburst, the conviction, the screaming with near tears really caught me off guard.

If that's a temper tantrum indicative of my future, and I'm guessing that was super mild, I am so, so, so very screwed. 


Valerie said...

Wow, you made it 2 1/2 years without a real tantrum?? I'm jealous. At 13 mos D has already mastered throwing himself on the ground, turning red, and producing very large tears all while screaming like he's been mortally wounded. And all because he wanted his toy remote.