I started this post over two months ago and I never finished it. Initially I entitled it “Way More Terrible.” And it’s about Bean. And her terribleness compared to Monkey’s. But rather than being way more terrible than Monkey’s foray into the terrible two’s, I’ve realized that she’s already mellowed some after only two months, and that she’s really not way more terrible. She’s just different.
Monkey is high energy. I can handle high energy. I can do high energy all night long standing on my head. I rock high energy.
When Monkey was in her “terrible twos” I remember thinking she was pretty terrible.
In retrospect, she wasn’t that bad.
Because Bean is high energy. Bean is busy, busy, busy, combined with extreme willfulness and independence. Emphasis on extreme.
She’s just not easily distracted. She is unusually focused and determined. And we could see that about her even when she was a little baby.
As an infant she could be very difficult to console. While it took awhile for her to get worked up, when she did, she was MAD. She was just very intent on being really p*ssed off!
I distinctly remember being totally bewildered during these intense crying fits as she continued to scream her head off even after I picked her up, shushed her, swaddled her, bounced her and showed her a stunning and magical array of blue elephants. Finally, I would be like, “Dude, I’M HOLDING YOU. Do you SEE ME, holding YOU?” Which didn’t work either.
Honestly, she’s been like this since the SECOND she was born. Literally. She was born, she screamed, I got to hold her for a minute during which time she was stunned into silence … and then commenced screaming again. And then the nurse took her to clean her off and she SCREAMED the entire time. I think it took that nurse like 20 minutes to do the APGAR, handprint and footprint her, and then even after I got her back, she continued to cry and cry. Major. Stress Hormones.
So yeah. The whole introduce a new toy to distract her from the toy you just took away? Didn’t really work for her. Needless to say, the whole introduce a new activity to distract her from the activity you don’t want her doing works equally well. That sofa she’s bouncing on? That chair she’s climbing? You’re gonna have to physically remove her from the room and lock her up somewhere. Because when you ask her nicely to stop what she’s doing, she looks at you and nicely responds back, “No.”
And that very specific toy that she’s looking for? Well another pink plastic toy pacifier will just not work. She doesn’t want the HARD PLASTIC one, she wants the SOFT PLASTIC one. WHY DO YOU KEEP SHOVING THIS CLEARLY INFERIOR HARD PLASTIC TOY PACIFIER IN MY FACE? Excuse me while I lay crumpled and sobbing on the floor.
I’ve learned that I just need to let her go. When she’s reached that point I don’t try to console her because the more I try to talk to her, the more angry she gets. She’ll just continue shouting “NO!” at the top of her lungs. If I try to empathize with her? Forget it. If I offer her a hug when she’s angry? She doesn’t want any of that either. She’d rather turn her back than look at you.
Monkey in general was (and still is) more amenable to compromises, and hugs and empathy. And reason.
She is doing less hitting and throwing when she’s angry. I think timeouts and ignoring her has really helped. Thank God too, because it’s the awesomiest thing when we’re in a public place and she starts hitting you.
Her ability to listen and follow directions is still up for debate. Some days she’s great. Other days? Not. At. All. Sometimes I feel like trying not to tell her what to do because I know she’ll just do the opposite of what I want.
And when we try to pick her up and make her do what we tell her to do — like don’t run away from me during Monkey’s school performance, don’t run away from me in the library, don’t run away from me down the hall — she usually cycles her legs and flails her arms all around in an effort to get us to put her down.
Maybe I should just let go. 😉
That “Okay we’re leaving now,” trick where you walk out the door and leave her? Yeah, that totally doesn’t work with her. She’s completely unphased.
Two weeks ago she didn’t want to leave the neighbor’s house so Husband, Monkey and I walked out the door and stood there watching her through the window as she continued to play. She didn’t even look around for us after we left. After a Christmas parade last weekend we started walking away from her on the sidewalk and she just turned around and walked the other way. And when we were leaving my cousin’s in-laws’ house (people Bean literally sees 2-3 times/year) we said, “Okay, we’re leaving now. Are you staying here?” And she said, “Uh huh,” and started unzipping her coat.
Monkey definitely seemed to listen more. And that leaving trick TOTALLY worked with her. Hysterical sobbing usually would ensue with Monkey. Monkey’s still shy and Bean generally is not.
Monkey also is more prone to emotional outbursts. She’s a more emotional person. So while we had more frequent, but shorter tantrums with Monkey, we have fewer, but longer ones with Bean. Not necessarily more terrible. Just different.
I think the first four months of Bean’s life were so peaceful and easy because God knew how terrified I was about having a Toddler Tornado and a newborn.
Guess we were in for a surprise. I can’t wait to see how these traits manifest themselves in future years.