Monday, June 02, 2008

Achy ovaries? Pssshaw!


First the bad news: Your toddler's temper is easily aroused. Now the good: His displays of anger or frustration are generally short-lived. Of course it may seem like your child picks the absolute worst times to throw fits — in the middle of the grocery store, at the airport in front of your mother-in-law — and it's up to you to experiment with ways to handle the flare-ups. One reason that children seem to fall apart in public is simply that they're overstimulated: Unfamiliar people, bright lights, and loud noises all at one time can be too much for your child to handle. When you're out and about trying to run errands, your toddler knows he doesn't have your full attention, which is what he wants more than anything else — and will do just about anything to get.

Let’s see.

Temper easily aroused. Check.

Shortlived displays of anger and frustration. Check.

Pick absolute worst times to throw fits. Check.

Overstimulated, unfamiliar people, loud noises. Check.

Doesn’t have full attention. Check

Father thinks his child is more crazy and nutty and energetic than any other child he’s been around at his child’s age. Check.

Mateo’s 15-month attitude hit us full force this past weekend. I was super tired on Saturday and had what my doctor has deemed a “menstrual migraine.” After Mateo and I took a much needed nap (he was acting up and acting tired, I was just plain tired – darn that movie night #2 making me stay up til 10pm!), Mateo and Dad went off to Little Scissors to get Mateo’s hair cut. I got ready for the day in nice, peaceful quiet.

When Mateo and Dad came home, we headed to the park so Mateo could let off some steam and run around and have fun. This trip turned out to be the worst park trip by far. Mateo for some unknown reason felt he had superpowers, and while he can’t even run that great, he thought he could walk up slides. Dad helped him the first time, and so after that, that’s all he wanted to do. He normally likes the baby swings, but this time I think he was feeling too uncertain, and wanted out after a few minutes.

Right after that, he waddled (the playground ground was sand) to a very low monkey bar. I knew what was going to happen, but I had my camera in my hand, and my husband was closer to him, so I assumed my husband would have known what was going to happen, but apparently not.

Mateo walked right up to the waist high monkey bar, bent over it, and flipped right onto his face, doing a nice face plant into the sand.

“Didn’t you see that happening?” I asked my husband, who just then started reaching over to Mateo to help him up.

“I…I…I didn’t think he would actually bend over!” he said.

I got the diaper bag, which had a sippy cup of water in it, and I poured water into Mateo’s mouth, which, of course, dribbled right out and all over his shirt. My husband, always the conscious of fashion, was concerned about me getting Mateo’s shirt all wet, so I told him I had another shirt in his bag, so not to worry. Mateo didn’t seem phased by this whole incident, although he wasn’t too pleased with the feel of sand all over if face and hands.

After this incident and the slide walking Mateo couldn’t do, we decided it might be a bit easier to just let Mateo wander around the park instead of trying to kill himself at the playground. He was flipping out way too much over everything (the biggest thing being his non-existent slide walking skills), so we thought just letting him have freedom would be good for him.

Not so. He just wanted to run back to the playground, and for every 10 steps he took forward, he took 5 steps back. Yet it doesn’t seem like we moved from the same spot for about 15 minutes. After some snacks and more water, we decided it was time for Mateo to go home. There was way too much parental abuse going on (hitting), and we were both tired of it all.

Mateo was hit and miss when we got him home, but he went to bed early, which means we got an early reprieve as well.

Sunday Mateo had a birthday party to go to. We both thought he was going to be much better because he slept well and had a two hour nap before the party.

But, as so clearly outlined, he picked this time to throw his crazy fits, to get mad over everything, and, of course, have a massive stinky poop that I had to carefully clean on the hosts’ bed without benefit of the plastic sheet thing we normally keep in the diaper bag (it found its way out of the bag, but never in – curses!).

Mateo was not on his best behavior, was waaaaay overstimulated because there was a whole mess of kids and adults and people giving him tons of attention and he didn’t know what to do with it. There was a mysterious jumpy jump he was interested in but too scared to enter, tons of toys clearly labeled “mine,” as in his, not the kids’ who lived there, and the two of us following him closely behind and trying to make sure he doesn’t destroy, annoy or hurt himself.

By the time we left, which was roughly an hour later, my husband and I were both dead tired, achy from tension, hungry and in need of libations. Even though prompted by the hostess’s mom to eat, eat, eat, eat, eat while she “watched” Mateo and it was okay because he was just “playing,” neither one of us did until we felt Mateo was hungry. Even then, our eating was just eating what he didn’t eat, from the little we gave him.

Once home, Mateo was immediately sent to bed for a late nap so we could decompress. Mateo woke up, had dinner, played a bit, and then was put to bed. About 15 minutes after bedtime, he started moaning and crying, so my husband went into his room to soothe him back to sleep. I was making dinner, and after about 20 minutes of my husband being gone, I knew something weird was going on and once dinner was okay to leave on the stove, I went in to check.

There I found my husband passed out in the rocking chair, chin sitting on his chest, and Mateo half asleep in his crib. I woke my husband up and told him to get out of his room, and he mumbled something and then adjusted himself so it looked like he wasn’t asleep, nope, not at all, the whole time he was in there. By the time I finally got him to fully wake up, Mateo was fully awake, and so I tried to get him back to sleep. He had other plans.

I let him back out into the living room where we played and watched some Yo Gabba Gabba (now I have the “I like fish” song in my head, curses to the kid shows!), and then it was back to bed.

After all this, and when we were back to peaceful quiet, my husband asked me, “Will it get easier?”

This coming from the self-professed baby and child expert.

Apparently Mateo is the only child he’s ever been around who acts the way he does, which is, in my opinion, simply a curious and highly energetic child who wants to explore and learn and test his boundaries and is very, very normal.

I told him it will get easier, and then it won’t, and then it will, and then it won’t. I explained it’s Mateo’s age, and he’s just excited to be able to do what he can do and wants to do more and more and more!

While we would both love to have that “perfect” child (wait, he is!), Mateo’s still a child and he’s going to act out and be frustrated and drive us to drink, but he’s still the best. And based on the force of his hugs (or is he just trying to choke me?), he still loves us, no matter how many times he hits us when we’re not looking. I’ve suffered a conk on the head with a hard plastic toy, many slaps and hits, and tons of hair pulls this pass weekend. Momhood is hard.

So back to achy ovaries really quick. Yeah, right now, not so much.

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