Gradually, sneakily, painfully, Eliza has begun the phase of throwing temper tantrums. It has not been fun. At all. Neither of us really possess any patience. It is understandable in her because she is, well 1, but in me, not so much. I should have a little more patience at 29. But I don’t, so we are left with me saying no and Eliza yelling, crying, throwing toys, grunting, anything to get her annoyance across. In the midst of the freak out, if I have the wherewithal to take a deep breath, get down on her level and really explain things to her, it does usually get better. It seems that she is thinking that she is having trouble communicating what it is that she wants. If I explain to her that I know what she wants and why it can’t happen, then she seems to calm down a bit and regain at least some composure. This doesn’t always work, however. Actually, it usually doesn’t work. When she stubbornly wants to climb on something and I say no, it doesn’t matter how much explaining I do, she is still pissed.
So, I set out to work this thing from a different angle. Maybe I could prevent at least some of the tantrums from happening in the first place. That would be nice. I read an article on “Cup of Jo” about a small purposeful action that could maybe help curb our frustrations. She said that she set aside 20 minutes at the same time every morning to just be with her child, 1 on 1, no distractions. This way her son had her undivided attention and wouldn’t feel so neglected throughout the day when there was work, or laundry, or dishes to do. I figured I would give it a try and see if it helped my beautiful, strong-willed Eliza like me more.
For the last week or so, I have done just that. Either right before or right after breakfast each morning I have given her my complete undivided attention and asked her what she wanted to do. We read books, watched a movie, played blocks, whatever her little heart desired. And I am happy to say that it seems to have helped, a little. I mean, she still gets mad when I won’t let her climb on the top of her elephant to reach the remote. She still runs to her room and catapults herself onto her bed when I won’t let her play with my red lipstick. However, the random fit throwing, pulling on my shirt, and just general annoyance seems to have waned a bit.
It may be because I am giving her that time and so she feels that she doesn’t have to compete with chores, or errands, or work for my attention but it also could be that I am gaining something from that dedicated, special time with my girl. We spend every waking hour together, and sleep hours too, if I’m being honest, so I never really thought that maybe I wasn’t feeding our relationship enough. But through this little experiment, I have come to realize a little shift in my thinking. By dedicating that time to just her and what she wants to do I am gaining quality time with her instead of just a giant quantity of time. This makes this mama happy. It makes me like her and myself more. It makes me more patient throughout the day, and slower to get agitated with her needs and wants. Our new little routine hasn’t changed a crazy almost 2-year-old into an angel, and I wouldn’t want it to, but it has made us happier and more at ease day-to-day. And I will take that. MEB