Toddler Tantrums and Banana Shenanigans: This is why I’m Crazy

posted in Best of Shakespeare's Mom, I am not good at mornings, Parenting Challenges, Preschool, Toddlers are Weird on by with 19 Replies

The Enforcer is crying.  It’s a booger-sobby, chest-heaving, sofa-soaking, ugly-cry tantrum, because…

I wouldn’t give her more milk.

I would gladly have given her more milk, had she said please.  But instead of asking nicely, she threw her cup down and chose the crying.

She finally calms down, but almost immediately she’s at it again.  Shaking the baby gate with angry fists, her pants around her ankles, she screeches something unintelligible at Captain Chaos, who is using the apparently awesome and superior upstairs bathroom.  Because The Enforcer was already on the downstairs toilet with her pants around her ankles.  Not even underwear shackles can stop her from a rage-filled protest at the unfairness of this situation, though.  It’s not always convenient to stand up to injustice, but someone has to do it.

Captain Chaos is soon pouring her own river of tears into the already soggy sofa because The Enforcer refused to take a taste of cream cheese from her finger.  I mean, come on.  Gross.  The Enforcer doesn’t even like cream cheese.  Which Chaos knows.  But it broke her heart because I think she was trying, in a weird, gooey way, to cheer her sister up.  And her efforts were violently rejected.  So she wails.

While the soggy sofa wailing is happening, The Baby flips out because this:

The Baby: “More banana!”

Me: “You still have half a banana on your tray.  Do you see it?  It’s right there.”

The Baby: “More ba-NANA!!”

Me: “You have banana.  It’s right there.  Eat the banana you have.”

The Baby: (quieter this time, and very polite) “More banana.  Please.”

Me: (Wait.  Is she actually not seeing the banana?  Could she have a vision problem?  OH MY GOD I’M THE WORST MOTHER EVER MY BABY CAN’T SEE AND I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW) “Can you see the banana on your tray?”

The Baby: (dutifully points to the banana) “Right here.  No want it.  More ba-NANA!!”

She acknowledges the banana, but doesn’t want it.  It’s like the banana is there and not there at the same time.

It’s Shrodinger’s Fucking Banana.

Toddlers totally rock at physics.  And philosophy.  Just not at logic.

She arches her back, screeches, and flings Shrodinger’s banana onto the floor.

banana shenanigans

Pantsless tantrums.  Cream cheese fingers.  Banana shenanigans.  Or, bananagins, I guess.  These are the things that are going to make me lose my damn mind.  I start to get that rage-y feeling.  My blood pressure is rising.  How can a person be expected to act calmly and rationally with all of this ridiculous and very LOUD irrationality going on?!?

I try to focus on one problem at a time, but my brain feels frazzled and itchy when there’s crying and whining and questioning and pulling on the curtains and and throwing bananas and poking the dog going on all around me.

How does this even happen?  How did I get here?

Some days it’s just too much.  I don’t know what to do or say.  Even if I knew the right things to say, I’m not sure I could say them.  I just want to yell, “YOU’RE ALL A BUNCH OF LUNATICS AND IF YOU DON’T GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER I’M GOING TO BE A LUNATIC TOO AND THEN WHO WILL FEED YOU?!?”

Of course I don’t.  Adding my own tantrum to theirs would be absurd.  Sometimes I yell, but it’s usually something like, “STOP WHINING AND FUSSING RIGHT NOW.”  Sometimes they listen and sometimes they don’t.  But sometimes they listen and sometimes they don’t when I speak calmly and firmly, too.  There are just too many of them.  They overwhelm me with their combined freak-out forces.  They feed off each other’s energy and it’s a hard cycle to break.

Eventually, somehow, they all finish breakfast.  They get washed up.  They play for a while, and then I let them watch a show.  Which they fight over, obviously.

I want them to be happy.  I want them to calm down and have fun.  It’s a chilly, rainy day, so I make them tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.  They’re happy for a few minutes before more whining and messing around with food starts all over again.  I don’t know.  Maybe I should be happy that they were all happy for those few minutes.  Maybe that’s all I can reasonably expect from this day.

The thing is that I know why they’re acting out today.  The Baby hasn’t been feeling well.  And the twins have started preschool and it’s been going really well.  They love it.  There have been, knock on wood, no tears at drop-off.  They eat well there.  They nap.  They play and participate and sing and laugh.  It’s incredible.

And so of course, because this is how three-year-old brains and bodies work, they have to freak out a little when they’re at home and comfortable.  They’re doing something brand new and huge for them, and it’s making their little heads explode.

But when I’m in the middle of the ridiculous sobbing and crazy bananagins, it doesn’t matter that I know why it’s happening.  It’s still happening, and it still makes me crazy.  Some days I wonder if I’ll ever get back the bits of my mind that I lose every time days like this happen.

I really hope so.  I think I liked my mind.  I don’t know.  I can’t really remember.