Sophie has this endearing habit where she takes my hand (really, just one finger of my hand: she curls all her little fingers around one of my big fingers) and leads me to whatever she’s finding interesting at the moment. Usually I like playing this game. But sometimes, like tonight, I have other ideas about where I want to go. Tonight I wanted to go to the bathtub, because it was past her bedtime and past time for a bath. She wanted to go exploring, especially exploring in the garage, where her Dad was doing something dangerous-smelling with his bike-tire.
So she hurled herself onto the floor, screaming.
I walked away.
I hummed a cheerful little song.
I got involved in the exciting put-the-toys-away game, and the turn-down-the-lights game. She stood up, she even considered joining me, beause she likes those games. I harbored hopes that my distraction ploy was successful. But then she dashed for the garage and its dangerous fumes. I picked her up and carried her to the tub. She tried to poke at my eyes.
Yesterday, during another tantrum, she bit my shoulder.
The screams are starting to get to me.
Tonight’s screams lasted all through the bath (which was really only a brief wetting) and then all through the towel-drying, daddy-hugging, re-diapering, pajama-cladding routine. Tonight’s screams only began to subside when we got to the putting-on-some-sleep-socks phase of her bedtime ritual, which is followed by ceremoniously saying “Nighty-night” to her pile of shoes. Tonight was a lot of screams.
Yesterday’s tantrum-triggers: I wouldn’t let her climb on the kitchen-table. I wouldn’t let her run into a stranger’s backyard. I insisted that when she walked home from our half-mile walk (after wiggling out of her sling), that she stay headed in the direction of home. And that was just in the first hour of our morning. I can’t even remember the rest of the tantrums. Being outdoors and being around other people was about all that kept her calm yesterday. I had wanted to go to the store to get a pumpkin, but there were way too many tantrum-inducing events on the way to the store, so we ended up spending almost the entire day at the park.
Even that led to some tantrums.
Maybe she’s overtired. Maybe she’s teething with those painful molars. Maybe I’ve already spoiled her, so that placing even minor restrictions on her leads to these outbursts. Maybe this is just the terrible twos.
It hurts my ears. It hurts my heart.