01 July 2009

The Rage

At breakneck speed, Austin's becoming a little man, not just a pink raisin who giggles and poops all day. There's good stuff -- he walks, he can carry his own toys, he hugs, he babbles -- but there's some not-so-good stuff, too. Like tantrums.

Apparently, 16 months is the new "two," meaning my once beautifully-behaved guy is an absolute nightmare at least once a day. He had a fantastic meltdown at Toys R Us last weekend, complete with flailing and screaming on the sidewalk. My reaction was not what I'd expected it to be: instead of feeling frustrated, or mad, or embarrassed, I wanted to laugh. Not laugh in a mean "ooh look at how pitiful you are" way, but in that, "Oh dear...that's just a hot mess of a toddler on the sidewalk" way. It was really surprising, and it made me feel like a good mom; I didn't lose my patience with him, I just picked him up and away we went. That's not to say that a mom who reacts differently is "bad," -- I can totally understand that feeling of "O MY GOSH WILL YOU PLEASE JUST STOP!"

Austin's tantrums are (fortunately) almost always predictable. Like me, he hates to be hot, he hates big noisy crowds, and God forbid you let the kid go more than three hours without eating something. I don't keep him away from everyone or everything just for the sake of preventing a scream-fest, though; I think he's got to adjust to being around big groups, and he has to learn that sometimes, getting hot and sticky and sweaty is inevitable. (I'm sure at some point he'll start saying really classy stuff like "It's so hot, my balls are stuck to my leg," a Charlie trademark phrase.) I don't want him to turn into one of these kids that's so isolated from everything that they never learn how to function in the real world. Isn't that the goal? Make him a well-adjusted kid who doesn't end up skinning the neighbor's cat?

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