Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Toddler Theory of Relativity

"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction"

It's not just physics, apparently.  As wonderful as Joseph's morning was, I sat through 15 solid minutes of sobbing - by BOTH children - on the way home. 

Nora regularly cries a bit in the car.  It's NORMAL.  Sometimes, Joseph could care less.  Sometimes, he cries, too.  Today, he had a full-blown meltdown.  She stopped crying, he kept crying.  So then she'd cry more, and then he'd cry louder and longer - as if it were a competition.  On it went for the entire car ride, unloading, diaper changes, etc...  I sent him to his room to calm down, which sort of worked, but it took nearly the whole time I was getting Nora changed and settled.

Advice on this behavior?  In the past I try to empathize to get him to stop (mostly so it'll allow Nora a chance to calm down).  Today I opted for silence vs. screaming at him to shut the ^*#& up, since that's not the parent I want to be, and would have been unlikely to work anyway. 

He tells me that he "feels sad" and I try to suggest things that will cheer him up, but mostly I think he "feels sad" because it's likely to get an empathetic response.  I don't want to be mean and unresponsive and teach him that it's not ok to share his feelings, but I would like to help him get out of these funks more quickly.

Did I mention that I'm sick, too?  My fuse is a little on the short side today.


Lauren January 18, 2012 at 2:40 PM  

Oh man. We've been there a few times recently with Ella and Avery. And then Ella is just *sad*. She says so. I try as hard as I can to just be patient and talk to her calmly and nicely, and try to really figure out WHY. I rarely can figure it out, but every time, she gets over it at some point! LOL! Sometimes it takes 5 minutes, sometimes it takes 20. I don't think it has ever taken longer than that, though. It's hard with two littles!

Jen January 18, 2012 at 5:00 PM  

I'll bet you're right and that he's feeling sad b/c he wants your attention. If he's physically fine, my only advice would not be to empathize (as hard as that may be sometimes), but to institute a time out until he can calmly tell you what's wrong, and to ask him what it is he thinks will make him feel better. Sorry if that sounds mean, but it usually works pretty fast!

Lisa January 19, 2012 at 12:18 AM  

I remember Colin going through that for a while. Now his latest is that he tells me that he's angry. It's really hard not to smile because he balls up his fists and makes the cutest face at the same time.

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