That's about how I've felt for the past week and a half, and likely how I will feel for the next year — at 18 months old, Evan is now firmly entrenched in the Terrible Twos.
We went on a family trip to California a few weeks ago and he brought back a little souvenir from Disneyland: Hand-foot-and-mouth disease. My heart broke for little Evan as he stood and screamed to exhaustion. There wasn't a lot we could do, and it was agonizing to know he was so tormented. But luckily the illness passed relatively quickly, and life soon returned to normal.
... or so we thought.
Apparently he found his voice, and the shrieks are here to stay. So are the fits, the kicking, the wailing, the dropping limply in protest.
Needless to say, it's been a rough time for all of us. Not only is it hard just getting through each tantrum, but the knowledge that this is going to be our lives for an indeterminable amount of time is agony. Most days now I wake up just dreading the hours ahead.
While some days are easier than others, and I know we will gradually learn to navigate through this awful stage, I still am at such a loss.
We have a unique child on our hands. As our pediatrician put it, he has the intellect of a 3-year-old but the emotions of an 18-month-old. So when it comes to dealing with meltdowns, the tactics you would use to work with a 3-year-old are beyond his emotional abilities, but the tactics for an 18-month-old are ineffective.
At this point, we are literally going down the list of advice and ideas for getting through his four-a-day (at least) tantrums. We have gotten excellent advice and there are wonderful theories out there, but one thing still baffles me:
It's an emotion that is highly frowned upon, and when you express it you are judged and/or feared — and yet we all feel it, and those who repress it are no better off than those who blow their stacks. Do we have him let loose on a punching bag, or do we do the count-to-10 thing and try to dissolve the anger? Is the duke-it-out method encouraging anger, or is the other sweeping his concerns under the rug? Or neither?How do you teach a child the "appropriate way" to express anger when, in the grown-up world, there really is no socially-acceptable, appropriate way to express anger?
Am I just over-thinking it? Are there any of you who have pondered this same issue? How have you dealt with it? What advice do you have?