So what the heck happened, Kate?
Well, to start with, chickie woke up at 6:45am, two full hours before her normal wake-up time.
But, when does anything ever go to plan?
Of course, she had a list of demands ready for me.
A fresh baba and the iPad and me to leave her TF alone.
Okies, Peej – I can accommodate that. Parenting is about picking your battles.
Went back to work. About 30 minutes later she started wailing. There was no apparent reason, she still didn’t want to get out of the crib. As far as I can tell she just wanted to scream.
I’ve stated before on this blog that I think that Peej entered the “terrible 2s” about four months early.
Y’all, she’s advanced.
The past month has been exceptionally hard. If this is what she is like at 2 yo, what’s she going to be like as a teenager?
So I let her scream. The pediatrician said that as long as she is in a place where she cannot hurt herself, that ignoring a tantrum is the best choice. (Incidentally, ignoring night terrors and letting them wake themselves up is also the best choice. But, damn is it freaky to watch.)
The three areas of chaos
I’m not ashamed to say that my child has figured out how to manipulate me into doing pretty much anything she wants. She’s smart. And, most of the time I don’t mind. I do keep it within reason… or so I thought.
Work has picked up, and I have had to divert attention to that. This has caused some hissy fits. I’d like to attribute it all to those cognitive synapses…. but, also she’s not liking the change in her routine. I wonder when/if she’ll ever adjust. (Which also makes me wonder how she’ll react when we hire a part-time nanny.)
This has caused chaos. In three main areas.
- She won’t eat
- She won’t nap
- She throws herself down on the ground and screams for hours at a time (sometimes this is night terror related, sometimes it’s just a fucking tantrum)
Today was full of all three.
The darker side of the iPad
When you give a kid an iPad once, they expect an iPad always. We’re a little lax with screen time over here. British Ex and I are both working parents. Neither of us gets much sleep. I deal with mental health issues. It’s often a whirlwind of cranky people over here.
So when she spirals out, we give her the ‘Pad.
Peej has learned to ask for the iPad. She’ll run into the kitchen, motion to where we keep the iPad, shout “Ni ni ni” (translation: Me, me, me,) and then run to her bedroom and motions to her crib and shout “Uh uh UH!” (Translation: Up, up, UP MOM DAMNIT NOW!)
Sometimes I give in, sometimes I don’t.
What happens when you don’t?
Well at first, nothing happened. She’d just lose interest and start playing independently in her room. But, over the last few weeks?
Penelope screams until she is purple in the face, her body is stiff, and her arms and legs are flailing all over the floor.
It’s a tantrum, yo.
Around 9am I decided it was time for her to get her lazy butt out of bed and play with me. So I changed her bum (another point of contention, but this time she took it rather well) and got her out. We played peacefully for a bit, then she ran right back to the kitchen and her bedroom and did her little routine.
Momma said no.
Tantrum #1 lasted for about an hour
Then she calmed down. A switch flipped. She was her normal cheerful, bubbly self. So we played and watched Doc McStuffins.
And, then she pooed.
The poo smelled. At first I thought it was my 15-year old dog that was farting up the room. Nope, Peej pooped.
This is always difficult. Peej HATES having her diaper changed. You basically either have to trick her or bribe her to get the job done.
So I got my phone and FaceTimed my Mom. Usually, Penelope likes video chatting with my Mom. We usually call her during breakfast when I prop my phone up on a coffee can. But… in the last few weeks she hasn’t been eating breakfast.
She hasn’t really been eating much of anything.
(Again, the response of the pediatrician is “she’ll eat when she’s hungry, just offer her choices. And, again… okay, but it’s freaky to watch your kid not eat anything but a gummy vitamin all day.)
I guess that having bottles does give her nutrition. And, it has been hot as hades in Chicago for the past week. Plus she’s teething. So yeah no breakfast.
As calling my Mom coincided with changing her poopy diaper, Penelope took exception to this. Not only did she manage to rub poo all over herself and me, but she smeared poo across my Mom’s face on the phone.
And, then what?
I changed her diaper, set her free, and immediately she made a bee line for the iPad and her crib.
And, THEN what?
I caved. It was 11am. Naptime was just around the corner. I boosted her up into her crib and let her have ‘Pad. (I did put it on a 60 minute timer, thought. Give me some credit! I’m not completely inept at parenting.)
Oh shut up, already. When the timer went off she had a cow.
So I got her out. I decided to try to get her to eat something.
You know what?
She ate a yogurt.
(But, I had to feed it to her in her big girl bed. And, she got it all over me.)
Momma says go the f-to sleep!
Then it was really naptime. So I popped her back in the crib with a bottle and the iPad on a timer. (Don’t judge, parenting is hard.)
And, cue the tantrum.
So I got her out and asked her (in an exasperated, exhausted voice) “Penelope, WHAT do you want?”
She grabbed the iPad, her uni, and binkie. She climbed into the “big girl” bed and settled in.
Ah, okay – you want to take a nap in the big girl bed.
We’ve done this before. No problem. I cracked the door so I could hear if something was amiss, and went back to work.
And, then she fell off the bed and split her lip.
UGHHHHHHH THIS FUCKING DAY.
After checking that she had not put a tooth through her lip, or knocked a tooth out of her mouth, I applied pressure with a cold, wet washcloth. Parenting 101, pressure and a cold, wet washcloth fix most boo boos.
Guess what? That’s right, tantrum number 1 million
(And, it wasn’t even noon.)
Finally, after the bleeding stopped and she ceased trying to punch me in the face, I decided the best course of action was to let her “cry it out.”
For those not familiar: This is when you put your kid in their crib and listen to them scream and cry in avoidance of napping.
Sometimes it lasts 20 minutes, sometimes it lasts 2 FUCKING HOURS.
That was today.
Did she finally fall asleep?
Yes. After 2 hours of screaming. She then slept until British Ex-Husband got home. Then we tried to gently wake her. Penelope then threw herself back on the floor. And, had another massive tantrum for another 45 minutes. We had to bribe her with a cookie to get her to knock it off.
Our co-parenting style is kind of loosey-goosey right now. We’re just getting by. I would rather be able to focus 100% of my time on Penelope… but… I just can’t.
So I have days like this. Where I feel like a failure at work and as a parent.
The kid is alive, the assignment is done… but it was a really rough road getting there.