Soothing Heartbreak (Tantrums)

4 Comments 28 August 2010

Slowly but surely, I have begun realizing my baby is becoming a little girl.

I can literally see her little brain working.

Behind her gigantic, bright eyes,
there is a lot of inquisition, curiosity and independence. Everyday, my daughter boldly goes where she has never been before, whether it is picking out new books to read, or sliding down the bigger of the slides at the park.

While most encounters as we phase from baby to toddler are absolutely heart melting and exciting, there are of course challenges. The biggest challenge we are currently facing, is a phase I have been dreading about parenthood: tantrums.

Before I tell you more about those tantrums, let me first describe my daughter.

Ella Rose is almost nineteen months old and understands a lot for her age. She can say over 50 words and has started putting little sentences of three words together (ie: dog. woof. come – it’s adorable). Some recent accomplishments include stepping down stairs unassisted, telling me when she’s going potty and sliding on her own at the park.

Ella is still nursing – we are practicing child-lead weaning, and we bed-share, thanks to our big family bed.

Now, about these tantrums.

First of all, they’re not that bad.
Really. There is no throwing down on the floor kicking and screaming. No flailing, no biting, hitting or slamming of doors. But there are tears. Massive, sad tears.

Let me paint this picture for you (keep in mind Ella is my first child – this is all new to me!):

We live in a friendly, open block. Very nice neighbors. A few days ago, Ella and I were taking a walk. She didn’t want to ride in the stroller, so we sauntered down the sidewalk, stopping here and there to admire stones and pine cones.

When we made it to the our next door neighbor’s driveway, Ella walked up toward the house. There were things to investigate. The first thing she spotted immediately had her heart. I saw the spark in her eyes. She picked up the pace and grabbed it – a beautiful, shiny green child size rake. Oh man. So cool. Ella loves rakes, brooms and mops.

Ella pushed the rake back and forth in their drive for a while. I sat there, watching her, thinking how cute she was and enjoying the simple pleasure she derived from pushing the rake.

Then Ella began raking toward the sidewalk.

Uh-oh. I knew right then she wanted to take it home. She wanted this rake forever. Breathing out tension, I calmly told Ella we had to say bye bye to the rake. Ella looked at me and said, “neh,” while shaking her head. When I approached her, she ran.

Crap. This isn’t going to be pretty.

I jogged over and scooped Ella up in my arms. She screamed in defiance, arching her back and kicking her legs. “Neh!!!” she protested. “We can’t take the rake home. Let’s say bye bye to the rake.”

No good.

I had to pry her little death-gripped fingers off the rake. She fought hard. And when the rake was finally placed back where it came from, she sobbed, looking over my shoulder at her long lost love.

These are the kind of tantrums I’m talking about. They are no fun, and depending on the day and circumstances, can be quite frequent.

I needed advice on how to handle these situations, so I posed the question over at the BBH Facebook page. I can always rely on those ladies for some kick-butt experience based wisdom. They came through for me, offering tons of helpful tips, even website and book resources! Love those ladies.

Have you had trouble handling tantrums? It’s challenging! Check out the BBH Facebook Fans Advice and/or join the conversation and tells us about your experience!

Your Comments

4 Comments so far

  1. Free says:

    My 4th child is almost 2 and he throws himself on the ground and screams and cries. Its hard to take but I do believe it is a part of them trying to asset their independence while showing their frustration. Its usually over quickly and he will ask for a cuddle.

  2. bringbirthhome says:

    Here is a nice resource/article explaining how tantrums with good suggestions/tips:

  3. jennifer says:

    When my little man, also 19m, has a tantrum or generally is upset. I imitate the noises and body movements he makes… if he protests with a “neh” I repeat him, if he gets down on the ground and starts kicking I do to. I don’t do this to mock him but rather to connect with him in his emotion. When I have accomplished this connection he stops immediately and starts laughing, than I usually explain to him in words the rationale for my boundaries. I have heard that this method works no matter where you are, or how old the child is. and they briefly mention it in ‘the happiest kid on the block’ great book i have heard. good luck!


  1. Almost Wordless Wednesday: Speechless | Bring Birth Home - March 7, 2012

    [...] (she’s three – this blog was born just after her first birthday). Here’s a good older post about Ella to read when you’re done with this [...]

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