Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Temper Tantrums

One of the things Lynden has had to adjust to while I've been back to work is having different people watch him.  We've been very lucky and he liked everyone who is watching him, but that does not stop the occasional break down when I have to go.

The worst was the morning after he fell and scraped his face.  When my friend Amber arrived to pick up the kids he went into full meltdown mode. 

I'm talking crying hard enough to make his eyes swell, screaming loud enough I prayed no one called the police, screeching that would wake the deal, all with arms and legs in full swinging and kicking mode.

At first I was calm, talking to him (while he continued to cry), explaining what was going to happen.  When he continued to be a blubbering mess I told him to go to his room until he was calm enough to talk to me.  I use this tactic quite often as he usually calms down within a few moments. 

Not this time.

After about 5 minutes I went into his room to talk to him (by this time his eyes were starting to swell).  Every time he sobbed "I don't want you to go to work" my heart broke.  But all I could do was tell him that I didn't want to go to work, but I had to, so he had to go with Amber, but I would be home tonight before he went to bed and I would be home all day the next day.  To which he'd say "I don't want you to go to work" and cry harder. 

I snuggled and cuddled.  I talked calmly and rationally.  I told him I had to go to work and I was sorry that made him upset but I had to finish getting ready (I was packing my lunch, feeding Alyssa, and trying to get the rest of their stuff packed).  I again told him he could come out when he was done.

After a few more minutes Amber tired to go in and talk to him about all the fun things she had planned for them.  Lynden didn't handle it well.

This is when it got bad.

He can running out of his room into the kitchen and crawled through the chair legs to hide under the kitchen table. 

This is when I started to get upset.

I dragged him, kicking. screaming, and screeching, out from under the table and carried him downstairs.  I was prepared for him to run back upstairs so I closed the baby gate behind us. 

When we got to the bottom of the stairs he got louder and more hysterical.  I sat him on my lap and pinned him in my arms so he couldn't run away.  I tried, still calmly but sharply (in my opinion), to talk to him.  I managed to get one shoe on him before he bolted back up the stairs. 

Here we are, standing in the entry, Alyssa ready to go with her brother having a meltdown, with 15 minutes until I need to leave for work.  I was at a loss for what to do so I resorted to threatening Lynden with the wrath of daddy.  This normally works.

Not this time.

I'm not going to lie, I spanked Lynden at one point in the hopes that it would startle him and get him to calm down for just a minute (it was not hard enough to hurt).  Bad idea.

So, I followed through on my daddy threat and called Danny.  I felt bad dragging him into it but I was at a loss of what to do and running out of time (I wasn't done making my lunch).  Danny agreed to talk to Lynden, which consisted of Lynden crying "I don't want mommy to go to work" and running back up the stairs. 

At some point we managed to get his other shoe on.  So, while I was talking to Danny (he was trying to see if he could leave work right away) Amber decided to try to have another go at Lynden. 

While Danny was talking to his supervisor, Amber and I loaded Lynden into the seat at the back of the stroller and buckle him in (I was worried about him taking off while on the road).  I gave both kids a kiss and Amber headed on her way.

It was a terrible morning. 

I felt like a crappy mom.

I felt guilty for having to go to work and leave my child.  I felt guilty for having to call Danny at work because I couldn't handle it. 

I felt mad that he wouldn't calm down, for one god-damn second.  I felt mad that my peaceful routine for getting ready was shattered.  

I felt neglectful of Alyssa who didn't make a peep during any of this because she was excited to be wearing her shoes and sitting in the stroller. 

I felt embarrassed because this was happening infront of a friend.  I felt embarrassed because our downstairs neighbour and our friends who were camping in our backyard could hear everything.  I felt sad that my child was so upset and I couldn't make him feel better. 

I felt scared that Lynden would scream and cry the whole way to Amber's house.  I felt scared that Lynden wouldn't understand what was happening. 

I felt frustrated that there was nothing I could do to change the situation.

I felt thankful that Danny answered his phone and volunteered to come home.  I felt thankful that Amber was there to step in and make a decision I could not make (to take him, kicking and screaming, to her place). 

I felt relieved when I learned Lynden had a good time. 

As a parent I know there are going to be meltdowns and we've been very lucky that we've been able to stop most of them before they start.  They still happen and we have to try any and all tricks in the book to get us through them.  But that doesn't stop us from being dumbfounded from when things like this happen.

For those of you who don't know Lynden, this is out of left field.  He's not a kid who acts like this, even when he is upset.  We encourage talking it through so we can find some way of making everyone happy.  So, when something like this happens I'm unequipped. 

I don't know if I handled it the best way I could have.  In fact I doubt I did because since then I've had two smaller versions of it, including the kicking, however I've been able to stop them within the first few minutes. 

All I can do at this point is continue to talk to him; about how we feel and how we need to handle our feelings.  I'm hoping this is just a phase (I'm really hoping this isn't his reaction to me going back to work, although Danny and I have been talking about cutting back a few hours a week - I'm finding it to be too tough on me) and we'll be back to our normal happy-go-lucky son soon. 

In the meantime: lots of deep breaths.


  1. yes.. lots of deep breaths.. it's good to know we as parents aren't always perfect either. He will get used to you working and will learn how to handle and adjust to things better. just try to treat each experience as a learning opportunity for all of you! hang in there!!

    1. Thanks Maria. I just hope he figures out that he always has fun before I go instead of after ;o)

  2. Awe I'm sorry he's having a hard time with you returning to work Amanda. This brings to mind stories from my Mom and Grandmother about leaving the children and crying all the way to work because of a meltdown. How stressful for you to have to deal with your upset child right before you have to go and work. :(

    1. It does make getting out the door more stressful, but I always know they're in great hands and will have fun

  3. Thanks for sharing and being so vulnerable. I find that deep breaths are good as well. Hopefully this will not be the norm and he will remember that he has fun like you said prior to you leaving!

    1. He's slowly been getting better but it'll be 2 weeks before he goes with my friend again... so we'll see how it is then

  4. Oh, I'm so sorry you had to have this experience. I think it's harder on us mothers to go back to work even though we don't have full-on tantrums like the little ones. Just remember that you are taking good care of your son and that kids are resilient.

    1. It is hard going back to work, but I needed to get some time away from my kids each week. And in the end it'll be good practice for him once he starts preschool in the fall :o)

  5. I have been in your situation so many times, it's so hard! I find talking to him the night before helps and giving him something to look forward to, like when mumma gets home we'll make pikelets, just little things he likes to do. I hope this doesn't last long for you! xx

    1. Thanks! We do talk about it the night before and he's usually fine then. It's more when I have to leave he gets upset. I think he just needs time