Thursday, January 15, 2009

Temper, temper

I might be raising a brat. 

We already know he is a biter, and lately, The Boy has taken to throwing tantrums. My grandparents came over last weekend to see Mom and took us all out to a lovely dinner at this Italian place where The Boy charmed everyone. The waitresses marveled at his fat cheeks, and the ladies behind us said how cute and well-behaved he was. On our way out, the lady in the next booth grabbed my hand and said the same before adding, "You're such a glamorous young mother." I couldn't stop grinning. I wanted the night to go on forever -- and apparently so did The Boy. Just as I got his arms through the carseat straps, he let out a wail and arched his back, sliding down the seat and pinning his arms. Good parent that I am, my reaction was to laugh. I mean, c'mon! Wailing kid, back arched like a pissed off cat, stuck in the seat. It's funny. Despite my completely inappropriate laughter that made me even clumsier than normal, I got The Boy corralled and chalked the tantrum up to his being overtired. He was asleep before we got a mile down the road. 

The Boy apparently has been overtired all week. 

These tantrums come out of nowhere. Tonight, he woke up screaming from a late nap, finally stopped long enough to drink his milk and eat two bites of dinner and began wailing again when I had the audacity to try to push up his sleeve. The tantrums start as a whine, but build up into sobs and screeching. The Boy gets red-faced and tears roll down his cheeks. If I ignore him, as I know I should and do, he pulls at my legs or crawls after me and screams harder. When he starts to calm down and I say to him, "Are you done? Are you OK?" his sobs grow louder. He'll settle down and be his happy self for awhile, as he did tonight at dinner, only to be set off again by something new, like the end of dinner. 

Maybe it's just the willful ones (credit for that phrase to Oz over at Knocked Up). But Miss C. at daycare said today, "He's a little bully." She was laughing and I didn't have another incident sheet to sign, yet it still isn't something you want to hear about your son, especially when he already has a history of biting. (Slightly good news: No new biting altercations in the last week.) I was worried The Boy had learned how to work the system, and for once, I think my worry is valid. If I pick him up, the screaming stops. If we take him where he's pointing, he's quiet. If he can't get me to do it, he goes for his daddy. 

Mom's advice was to laugh at him and talk to him like a big kid and ignore him, in that order. Those things work, to a point. Ignoring tears and chest-heaving sobs makes me feel like a negligent parent. Giving in makes me feel like a pushover. Either way, this blog's name appears to be false advertising. 

Suggestions? At this point, I'm seriously considering the Schrute method of childrearing: "Learn your rules. Learn your rules. You better learn your rules or you'll be eaten in your sleep. Argh!"

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