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.

  • Shawnee

    Love this

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you!

  • Elizabeth Catalano

    Relate to this though I only have the one. When I pick her up from daycare it’s always time to let loose emotionally because it’s “safe” to do so with Mommy. I try to take it as a compliment. As if I have a choice!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Glad you can relate. I’m hoping that once they get a little more settled in to the preschool routine, they’ll stop having such crazy freak-outs on home days. I guess we’ll see!

  • fairy guard mother

    Been there… creativity was my sword and savior, only matched by humor. Take the plate of banana, walk away, then return with the same, claiming it is more banana, new and improved. Sell it! Dish the non – logic back and have fun with it.
    If that’s not your cup of tea, use empathy. “I wish I could find the bananas, but they’ve gone missing! Where could they be?” (Distraction 101) In most cases, you’ll see the wheels turning in their little heads and then the resolution that Mommy really is on my side.
    Of course, my hind sight is 20/20. Hang in there, it might get better, and definitely different.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you so much for your support! You’re so right – it might get better, and definitely different. I love that.

  • Leslie

    Who are you and how are you living my life?!??!! Haha

    It’s like everything I feel from the frazzled brain to the complete chaos! I’m a SAHM to two boys under two– I stumbled upon your blog through your article “Being a good mom makes me a bad wife”.

    I absolutely loved every word of the article and now your blog.

    Thanks for making me feel so alone in my toddler madness! Keep up the great reads.

    • Leslie

      “Feel not so alone”

      • ShakespearesMom

        Leslie, you made my day! I’m glad you found me! The toddler madness is so. freaking. hard. It’s nice to know others are out there with the same struggles. And I didn’t even notice that you wrote “feel so alone” at first, but that’s hilarious 🙂

        • Leslie

          Haha! I didn’t notice it at first either obviously 😉

          I can remember thinking how “hard” newborn days were. Yea the nights were long but yowzers this toddler attitude is brutal!

  • Of all the things I’ve lost I miss my mind the most. I cracked up at Shrodinger’s fucking banana. Your baby is the Sheldon Cooper of babies! We tease my 4 YO about that, but she doesn’t know who Sheldon is so she just smiles. But she has SO MANY Bananigans (you should trademark that b-the-w) things have to a certain way and it’s never a LOGICAL way. And the anxiety? Oh we’ will find out if there is toddler Prozac, she might be a trial patient. Maybe we can get a two-fer Rx 🙂
    Glad wrong have each other to laugh at them–err WITH them, even when they’re not laughing.

    • ShakespearesMom

      I’m glad you liked Shrodinger’s banana. At least we crack each other up, right? My kids don’t appreciate my humor. Unless it’s about boogers or something.

      • I say all the time “These kids do NOT get me.”
        Glad I found you!

  • OMG ——–> “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 can completely relate to this. Some days it really does seem like all of us were happy at the same time for a grand total of 5 minutes.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Yeah. And 5 minutes just isn’t enough for me to keep my sanity. On the upside though, at least every day isn’t like this. I wrote this on a Tuesday, and then yesterday, Thursday, was pretty smooth sailing. You win some and you lose some I guess.

  • Shannon S

    This is fantastic! All of it sounds so familiar. I have 5 (yes 5) at home…the oldest is now 12 and the little one just turned 3. My brave and heroic sister in law has a 2 1/2 yr old and twin 6 mo olds. So many of our phone conversations include scrnarios just like you describe and we both end up laughing until we have tears. It’s so not funny at the time either. I can tell you though that the acting out after school thing doesn’t always end for a while…a couple of mine went through it all the way through about 3rd grade. So good luck! I look forward to reading more 🙂

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thanks so much for reading! And wow – 5!!! You’re right – it is SO not funny at the time. But at least we can laugh about it later. I just read the best quote by Amber Dusick in her book Parenting, Illustrated with Crappy Pictures – she said, “even the bad stuff is good stuff when it isn’t happening.” It applies perfectly to cream cheese fingers and bananagins 🙂

  • Oh Kate, I know exactly why you want to scream. But the good thing is that your twins have settled at school *knocking wood*, so their minds will calm down soon enough. Hang in there, is all I can say, not that we moms have much of a choice!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you! At least every day isn’t this crazy, I guess, and I’m sure they’ll settle into the preschool routine soon. In the meantime, I’m hanging in! Even if it’s just barely!