Toddler Disequilibrium

My dad and stepmom told me that when my brother was a toddler they read how kids go through periods of equilibrium–when the universe is rosy, everyone plays nice, and “self” and “control” are used in the same sentence–followed by periods of disequilibrium–times when toy trains are thrown like missiles and Trouble is everywhere.

Hello Disequilibrium!

The highs are high and the lows are low. And the whining. The whiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnniiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggggg. Trouble is so ubiquitous that it’s post-traumatic stress inducing.

Just last week I would have told you that I was a strict parent with a polite toddler who says “kiwi” for “thank you,” which makes us all laugh politely at tea time. He carries the little saucers to the dishwasher, and he’s always looking out for the needs of others. Or at least the needs of Baby Woww, whom he makes laugh while I take photos for the baby book.

Frankly, I was a little high on my high horse. But we got bucked right off that nag.

It’s hell over here.

K-Pants wants Mama, then Dada, then his blankie, then a book, then blocks, then Super Why, then the park, then his toddler bike, then a treat. And that’s only about 15 seconds of toddler circus. And it’s all in whiny-whiny voice. Which isn’t allowed, but there are so many things coming at me that aren’t allowed that it’s like a game of Whack-a-Mole. Hitting! Throwing! Screaming! Whining! 

Lately I’ve been looking at my husband with desperate, crazy eyes when he’s about to take off in the morning. Don’t leave me. Please don’t leave me. The little people are in charge and I don’t think I’ll survive another day. 

I’ve been asking other parents for advice, and most of them say, “He’ll turn four some day.”

You’ve. got. to. be. kidding. me.

I’ve heard it enough that I know they’re right, but that makes me scared. Very scared. Because K-Pants is two-and-a-half. And you know what’s going to happen when K-Pants turns four? Then it’s Baby Woww’s turn at the terribles.

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19 responses to “Toddler Disequilibrium

  1. I hear you Mama! Most days I have to convince myself to drag my body out of bed….Great to have a sense of humor about it all.

  2. I’m with ya sister!!!

  3. *Sigh* Disequilibrium is a great word. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve found that storing up the points of “equilibrium” makes all the disequilibrium worthwhile. Oh, and for combatting the whine, I suggest some of your own. I prefer it in the white variety, chilled. It might not make the whining cease, but it won’t seem so loud. 🙂

  4. So I heard something along the lines that the “halves” (2.5, 3.5, etc) are always the hardest and then they go back to being wonderful afterward….that goes along with your equilibrium/disequilibrium theory. Unfortunately, S (at 2 years, 3 months) has already started to enter disequilibrium which frankly, just isn’t fair. I like to say that he is “taking 2 seriously” and then laugh it off while crying quietly inside. I think the thing that is hardest for me is that I feel like I “get it”. His abilities are exploding and there are limits to push and new things to try and he has a brother that has all of a sudden taken great interest in the his toys. All of which make it really difficult for him not to throw a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. But at the same time? I am human and sometimes it is just too much in one day and then I put tatas (Thomas) on and take a mommy time out with a cup of coffee. I think the bottom line is that I need to cut myself some slack and my toddler some slack and take it one 15 minute chunk at a time and hope that I haven’t turned completely insane by the time this disequilibrium goes away.

    Oh and hugs to you. Maybe some more play dates are in order?

  5. The whining actually physically hurts my brain.
    No advice. Just empathy.
    Ok, fine. Advice: Run when you can. Mother’s helper, husband, drop-off playdate. They are always better for anyone other than Mom. ALWAYS.

  6. Oh my LORD, I so know what you are talking about. Miss S (3.5yo) is a TERROR right now. She can be so stinkin’ cute, too – but for every ten minutes of cute we get 30 minutes of terror. You do the math. I feel like I am about to lose it at times. I think the only way I am handling this is b/c of Prozac. And I’m not kidding. I can tell you that I have a 6yo who was horrific at this age and is now a doll. So here’s hoping.

  7. Oh my LORD, I so know what you are talking about. Miss S (3.5yo) is a TERROR right now. She can be so stinkin’ cute, too – but for every ten minutes of cute we get 30 minutes of terror. You do the math. I feel like I am about to lose it at times. I think the only way I am handling this is b/c of Prozac. And I’m not kidding.

    On a positive note, I can tell you that I have a 6yo who was horrific at this age and is now a doll. So here’s hoping. 🙂

  8. At least you won’t have TWO two-year-olds at once. I’m doing my best to enjoy the last of my twin babymoon before THAT one hits.

  9. Oh, I’m not the only one. Thank. God. We have the same roller coaster ride going on over here at our house. I have found that the more time outside time, the better the day (I think there is a real correlation between those two for us). We have been spending at least an hour outside per day rain or shine and even my husband notices a difference when he comes hime. I also think empathizing with other mamas over coffee or wine really helps :).

  10. There are some wise mamas on here. In my experience, the chaotic/devil-possessed spurts space out as kiddos age. My oldest is 4 1/2 and boy-oh-boy, we still have them, but they are fewer and further between (though maybe more intense than before?). What worked best for us when he was younger was trying to find a way to distract him or make him laugh in the midst of the misery. Because the horrible/awful that he was so upset about always seemed to be forgettable when mama started doing a lively tap-dance or trying to tickle the “whinies” out. That doesn’t work as well as it used to, so we’re trying to work on “big reactions for big problems, little reactions for little problems.” Who knew there were so many BIG problems in his little life!?

  11. OH, E.

    Don’t worry love.

    It only gets worse. (cue in maniacal laugh)

  12. I agree with the half-age theory. My girls seem to turn into crazy people for at least a months or so around their birthday and half-birthday. I read an article somewhere that confirmed this theory. Personally, I can’t wait until all of my girls and myself turn into crazy people all at once every 28 days. It’s gonna be AWESOME NO IT WON’T.

  13. Wait, you’re telling me this goes on until they’re four?!? I thought it was just the “terrible twos” don’t tell me the threes are terrible too?

  14. Pingback: Hiding From the Children | momsicle

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