Last night was one of the most nerve wrecking, emotionally draining, turbulent times I have recently faced. I have been noticing this phenomenon happen regularly in the past few days, but yesterday was the climax of it all.
It is about Pari’s tantrums. Every evening she enjoys playing and watching TV which follows dinner time. All goes on fine till then. Halfway through dinner suddenly she’ll start demanding everything in sight, including hot food pots and also things that she knows are lying in her room. The crankiness is directly proportional to the delay in handing her the object she fancies.
A no is something she never takes at times like these. The crankiness in no time changes to angry, tearful outburst and she refuses to stay any second longer in her high chair. Anger is one emotion she finds impossible to control and I have slowly begun fearing such moments.
The angry outburst if left unattended for a couple of minutes results in her throwing down all the items she had collected on her table and will cry till I rescue her from her high chair. This was the original form of the tantrum-throwing-around-dinner that started early last week.
I took this very seriously and thinking maybe she gets very hungry by the time we eat dinner I tried to feed her earlier, but in vain. Tried changing the sequence of events that usually precede eating dinner, but things didn’t change. A day or two passed and her dinner-time tantrum started getting extended to half an hour post dinner to one hour in matter of three days.
Needless to say, everyone in the house was worried and my parents much more than me. The point to note here is, I am not saying that Pari doesn’t throw tantrums or anger fits at any other time, she does and I am aware that is normal for her age, but these evening to late night anger-tantrum-crankiness attacks are scaring me to no limits.
Yesterday night, I was busy baking a big cake and was also intending to frost this multi-layer cake. While still busy with the cake, I had Pari enjoy the frosting and the cake mix while playing around. There were some issues with the ingredients and it being Sunday I had to bake with the things available, requiring lot of time and effort to get the desired outcome
After a tiring baking session all I wanted was to go off to sleep as soon as we were done with dinner. Pari was very excited after having had a generous dollop of the chocolate frosting and was enjoying the dinner when the usual dinner-time crankiness hit home.
I being very tired decided to take her off the high-chair before she got any more upset so that things would calm down in time But, last night was destined to be etched in my mind and memory forever.
I took Pari for a stroll in our portico and she was calm in no time. I misunderstood this momentary peace and failed to see the storm lurking over me. I made the critical mistake of returning her to her high chair and within the count of three, she started crying.
There is one peculiar habit in her that whenever she gets very angry she tries to bang the back of her head against anything near her. Be it wall or the back of a chair, and there is no stopping. It scares, worries and irks me to extremes but still I try my best to stay in control, dropping everything I have in hand and rush to lift her in an attempt to stop her.
Yesterday evening when she started crying, she seemed to have made up her mind to not give up till all her energy reserves were exhausted. From rocking to swinging to giving her every possible thing she likes and might like, to singing and dancing to all insane item numbers and lullabies, to trying to make her sip water to drink milk, we tried every trick under the sun, moon and stars just to see them fail and fall headlong.
She cried non-stop in heart-wrenching shrill and after failing miserably to comfort her, I started crying too. It was very painful to see her so miserable in a fit of anger and only to throw a tantrum that lasted till midnight. When she was finally exhausted and could cry no longer she finally slept.
I was far more exhausted emotionally than physically and couldn’t sleep for hours after Pari slept. I couldn’t keep from worrying and wondering how would I have managed these difficult times had I not had the support, love, care and wisdom of my parents to guide me. I couldn’t help but feel scared and helpless worrying how will I take care of Pari as a single parent in the times to come.
Something pinched me deep and I failed to sleep beyond an hour last night. Though the tide has gone but the sediment of doubt, worry, fear and helplessness it has left in the shores of my mind are making me go sick with anxiety. I am aware that all these are part and parcel of parenting and growing up for babies, but my already shaken emotional stability fails to see these happenings as milestones of parenting.
I sincerely hope to become so strong that no-matter what challenge life might throw my way, I’ll be able to face it and swim through the rough waters to help my daughter have a happy life ahead. In the meantime, I am trying my best to bid goodbye to the helplessness that has gripped me tightly.
Edited to add: Ipshita shared a very useful link about understanding and managing behavior issues in toddlers >> A toddler’s need for boundaries – No walk in the park
The song on my mind: Chotti choti raatein ~ Tum Bin