Saturday morning was probably one of the worst (non-sick) days we’ve ever had with our pair. Specifically, it was the worst, and most persistent, bad mood and rotten behavior I have seen to date from my almost-2.5-year-old son.
Believe me, we’re no strangers to temper tantrums and general two-year-old funks in my house. The moods shift with the winds, as toddlers do. They get set off for no reason and proceed to wail for 15 or 20 minutes. That’s kind of the accepted day-to-day. But they snap out of it. We get out of the house, we go for a ride in the car, and the upset is at least broken up, if not completely forgotten.
Not this time.
Holy moly, I’ve never seen one this bad. Literally everything, every thing was wrong. And not just wrong, but clearly going to bring about the end of days. Or, at least, that’s what his tone and response would have you believe. He didn’t want to put on his shoes (jacket, hat, etc.). He didn’t want to eat breakfast (the one he had just demanded). His snack cup didn’t have any raisins in it. Oh, the horror.
We get in the car, thinking we just need an outing to snap him out of it. NO get in the car! I don’t WANT to go on the highway (the kid usually loves highways.) I don’t WANT to get off the highway! The killer was that he would just keep saying no, even if you gave him what he claimed to want, or vice versa. I want some juice! NO! I don’t want any juice! That cup is wrong! I don’t want a top! I don’t want a straw! GIVE ME MY STRAW! The only word to describe him was “contrary.” He wasn’t in favor of anything. He was simply anti whatever was going on at that moment.
And while the moms of two-year-olds are nodding along in commiseration, you have to know that this went on (with intermittent hysterical crying) for no less than three hours. He was in such a foul mood that he completely skipped lunch and I sat in a quiet room with him for 20 minutes, just to get him calm enough that I could put him in is crib for nap. It was so off-the-charts, my husband and I literally had to laugh so that we wouldn’t cry.
So, here’s my question: what in the hell do you do when they’re like this? For most behavioral issues, I’ve been trying to use the 123 Magic/time out approach. But can you exactly “count” this type of behavior? I’m sort of inclined to ignore it as best I can, but three hours?! Come on, we have to move on with our day somehow.
Thankfully, I know this time will pass, just like all the others before and to come. But man alive, that was one hell of a day.