3.12.2007

How to read a 17-month old?

I post this question as Maia is having one of her tantrums. These tantrums just started this past week. And they are daily. Sometimes twice a day. And they drive me crazy. Not because I can't stand her crying and throwing a huge fit (because I find that part kind of funny, actually) but because I don't know exactly WHY she is throwing that fit, and then I wonder if I am doing something wrong. I think these tantrums are a result of her not getting her way. If she doesn't get her way, then all heckaroo breaks out.

Example # 1 - A few days ago she and Noah were coloring. She decided to take a marker (washable, but still . . .) and color her belly. So, I took the marker away, told her she can't do that, and put the box of markers on the fireplace mantle. She broke out in a bloody murder fit. she threw herself on the floor, tears streaming down her face, rolling all over the place, screaming, and hyperventilating a bit. She wasn't hurt. She was fine. Just wasn't happy with not getting her way. I kept time, and this went on for 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes. And I just ignored her. (That's what I am suppose to do, right?) Noah even ignored her like he does every time she does this. (There's moments when he even says "it's okay, Maia . . ."). So my question is, how long will this behavior last? Is it a normal stage in baby girls' lives?

Maia has these tantrum fits if she doesn't get what she wants, if it's time for bed and she doesn't want to go, just to name a few. She's even started throwing them because of really miniscule things (not miniscule to her, of course) like being done with dinner, not wanting a certain type of food, wanting to try this or that herself (because she thinks she can do it like big brother Noah), wanting to try and pick out her own clothes (again, like her brother does), wanting to go outside when the rest of us aren't ready to, and so on. (And I let her pick out her clothes, for example, but she gets really frustrated in that process. Maybe the problem is that she can't explain what she's wanting and how she is feeling?)

We never experienced this with Noah. I think he has had maybe 5 tantrums ever. Maia, she is obviously a completely different human being! And one very strong-minded, determined baby girl. (Mom said I was similar to this, but I didn't have any older siblings and my way of saying it had to be my way or no way, was by holding my breath!)

So the question of the day in our house is, will these tantrums end? And is this behavior because of Noah being bigger and she wanting to be like him but she knows that she cannot? What can I do to help her? I need other mommies to help me. This is a whole new world to me and not a world that I find myself comfortable in. At all.

Edited to add this afternoon thought: I just put Maia down for her nap, which she use to go down for so simply. All I had to do was lay her in bed with a drink, her blankies, and wish her good night. She'd fall asleep without a peep. I just attempted the usual easy nap routine, and it didn't work. As soon as I set foot in her room, she threw her head back and almost hit it on the dresser. (sigh . . .) Then I put her in her bed, she stood up, flailed her arms in the air, then fell down on her chest and face. I walked out and of course she's still screaming. Ohmygoodness! What is going on?! I don't think she is teething and I know she is tired. Where oh where did my sweet quiet obedient little girl go? Someone please tell me this is normal!

11 comments:

Erin said...

Oh, you bet it's normal...at least at my house. My Aidan is 18 months and she's been doing this for a while. It's hard to know what to do when your first never did this (neither did my first), I think a lot of it has to do with 1. not getting her own way, 2. thinking she can do things she can just because older sibling can and 3. sometimes it's just plain old frustration at not being able to tell us exactly what they want. So be encouraged, you are definitely not the only one. And yes, I think sometimes, ignoring is the only thing you can do. If it's outright defiance and disobedience, then discipline of some form is good. My friend would put her little girl in her crib and tell her she couldn't come out until she stopped having a fit. It's very lonely having a tantrum when there's no one to watch!

Alexis Jacobs said...

It is a totally normal thing. Some kids throw tantrums worse than others. Maia is very strong willed and stubborn (gee, do I have one of those) When she doesn't get her way, at this stage, the only way she knows how to communicate is to pitch a fit. Keep doing what you are doing. Ignore her and DO NOT give in. Eventually she will learn that throwing a tantrum isn't the way to get what she wants and will go about another way to test you.

Hang in there. Mommyhood is HARD.

Alexis Jacobs said...

It is a totally normal thing. Some kids throw tantrums worse than others. Maia is very strong willed and stubborn (gee, do I have one of those) When she doesn't get her way, at this stage, the only way she knows how to communicate is to pitch a fit. Keep doing what you are doing. Ignore her and DO NOT give in. Eventually she will learn that throwing a tantrum isn't the way to get what she wants and will go about another way to test you.

Hang in there. Mommyhood is HARD.

Alexis Jacobs said...

Dang I thought what I had to say was so important I double posted. Oops, sorry LOL

Anissa said...

Your a great mom don't fret. She is just testing her boundaries with you. You guys are great parents and are doing the right thing. She will learn. Besides I heard the teenage years are much harder. Our lives are only getting easier! LMAO!

Chel said...

From my limited experience, I think it's a gender thing. Our son never acted like that, and yet our daughter, who is three, still does. Everything is so dramatic with her! And she's not going to let anything go. A 20 minute tantrum/fit is nothing. This kid has determination and follow-through. It'll serve her well later in life, but she's driving us batty now.

I can't tell you it's normal because we're pretty sure Eliza's nuts, but it is at least common amongst little girls

Jen said...

I hope you dont laugh out loud
Children have to learn they cant have everything there on way
they wont like it but whose the boss??? U
good on u for ignoring her. Giving her attention when she throws a paddy will not help

Yes they will end eventually
She probably does want to be like her brother
Give her limited choices
stay loving but firm
Its normal shes growing up

BTW I have my bachelor in early childhood education if you want to discuss it more :)

Anissa said...

I didn't mean laugh out loud at the tantrum nor show her attention merely laugh at the sarcastic comment I made.

blackpurl said...

yep sounds normal to me... my youngest was the king of tantrums. He could hold his breath long enough to make himself have a seizure, after three days in the hospital we were told he just had a bad temper. He is now 16 and is a dream!

blackpurl said...
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mama2dibs said...

I'll chime in with, YEP...COMPLETELY NORMAL! My Libby is 24 months now and has been throwing these fits since she was about the same age as Maia started. I don't know when they go away, but it doesn't necessarily have to do with birth order because Libby is all I have. I just hope the next one is a little more calm. :D