Sunday, 5 January 2014

NFNC: Geek Dad - The Terrible Twos

Good Sunday Everyone!

Today I'd like to talk to you about a blight that has settled in to our home, a truly terrible beast that will not leave until it is ready.

I am of course talking about the infamous 'tantrum'.

You see, roughly two months ago, my little Moo turned two years old, and about two months before that she had started to show signs that this was coming.


I'm sure to most parents this is a common thing, seen all the time around this age, after all, there is a reason why it is called the 'terrible twos': a child being carried by one of its parents while it screams at a high pitch while kicking its legs into anyone and anything it can in a desperate attempt to somehow change the outcome of what just happened.

This has now become a semi regular event during our weekly shopping trips into town, where the Moo insists on walking into town with us. This is fine, and we regularly impress our daycare staff when they hear about how long she has walked for, plus it is exercise for her, and a good chance to explore the world.

It is also a chance for me; Geek Dad to loose years from my life as my anxiety levels go through the roof as I try to make sure she is safe from cars and other people.

I think yesterday was the perfect example of a tantrum, how she was crossing a road with us very well, when she stopped to wave goodbye to a car. It was sweet really, and is a great example of her nature, but it was in the middle of a road so extremely unsafe and not something that should be allowed of encouraged.

So I asked her to move, she would not, so as the 'green man' was flashing, I had little choice but to scoop her up and make my way across the road.

As you can imagine she was not happy with this, and who could blame her, all she wanted to do was wave goodbye to the bright coloured car. To her it was a perfectly safe situation with no negative consequences, and yet here was Daddy stealing her away from her fun.

Cue tantrum on the side of the road.

But one thing I have noticed, and this is something I have found from day one of her moods, even when she was very little; there is always a reason for everything.

So we set her down, and explained to her in a fair neutral manner that the roads are dangerous and that cars can hurt you, before letting her run off away from the road on the common en route to town; with Daddy very close behind.

In this situation, we were not going to get angry with her, as other than not obeying us, she was not being naughty. Her rationale behind her actions was sweet and caring, and that is something that we want to encourage not squash, it just needs to be focused into things that are less likely to squash her.


I've also found another tantrum that is quite common, and it happens around the time of the 3Bs (Bath, Bottle, Bed) of course of course the Bottle B is regularly coming a Cup now.

You see, in this situation, it doesn't matter what she is doing, she doesn't want to stop doing it. If she is reading a book or playing with toys, she doesn't want to go for her bath. Once she is in the bath, she doesn't want to get out and have her bottle, even once all the water has drained. Once she has her bottle she doesn't want to go to bed.

Virtually every stage of this is followed by a minor tantrum which I can imagine to a lot of people would be very very tiring, but once again I find it very important to understand what is going on in her head.

You see a few months ago she was learning a couple of new words every month or so, and only 6 months ago we actually had a chart of what words she knew, but as of the past month or so that has outgrown, we've given up the chart and every day there are new words and actual sentences growing. Her name is being replaced with "I" and "My" and her range of vocabulary is truly astounding.

But this is where the catch lies. She is learning so much, so fast that it is tiring her out. Maybe not physically, but mentally, and that is the cause for these evening tantrums.

I remember back when she was going through a growth spurt at the same time as she was learning to crawl. She had a couple of times when she was inconsolable at night. She wasn't hungry, she didn't need a change, she just was so physically tired, and she didn't understand how to deal with it.

This is the same only it's mental.

At some point moving forward I am sure one of two things will happen, either her brain tiredness will reduce, or she will learn what it means and that the best way to deal with it is to go to sleep; or chances are she will learn the latter which causes the former to happen.

And this is the reason it's so important not to get upset with their tantrums and crying. In both instances they are not being naughty, they are just trying to learn who they are in a world that they don't understand all the while their bodies are growing and changing, sometimes on the outside, but also on the inside as is the case with brain development.


Don't get me wrong, I'm no baby/toddler expert, after all this is my first and only attempt at being a dad, but it saddens me when I see in the street or on that train parents getting angry at children the same age as my Moo because they can't deal with their tantrums, when most of the time it is obvious that the parent hasn't tried to get to know why the child is tantruming.

I mean yes, even knowing that she wants to wave bye bye to the cars in the road, doesn't help with the screaming that follows, but when you know and understand the reasons, and that reason is not naughty, it is not bad, or evil, or tyrannical, for me it is really hard to get angry at her, and it is that understanding which really helps me keep my cool when she's in Sainsbury's kicking and screaming because she wants to look at something colourful and we're not stopping to let her have it.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed my brief trip into my life as the Geek Dad of a two year old. Like I said, we're only two months into it, so I am sure there will be many more developments in time.

For now stay safe, and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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