Wednesday, August 31, 2011

There's a catch-phrase for this ...


... and that phrase is "toddler negativism." It's totally normal. But let me tell you: it's also ass-kicking.

So, the other day, I made Joe some macaroni and cheese. It's my every toddler's favorite, right? Well, it was really hot. And I didn't want to burn my baby's mouth. So I shoved Joe's bowl in the freezer, for just a few minutes, to cool it off for him.

Joe started screaming, of course. He saw the mac and cheese! And then I took it away! Horrors!

Explanations did not help. Helplessly, I saw Joe descend into tantrum-mode. It's not a rational place to be. Once you've started in on a tantrum, it's very hard to get out.

So even after I pulled the cooled bowl out of the freezer and set it down in front of him, Joe kept on screaming. Because I had offended him by making him wait. I mean, gosh darnit, he wasn't even hungry anymore. That'll show me, right?

But all he actually said was "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"


At which point, Joe threatens to throw the whole bowl on the floor! So I took the bowl back, because, hello, that's precious mac and cheese right there, kiddo. No way I'm letting it get fed to the dogs (sorry, dogs). Also, um, that's a ceramic bowl.

Which resulted in, completely unprompted, this:


(Ha! I ran for the camera. You know you're hardened to toddler drama when your first okay, second thought after your child starts to tantrum is that you might as well capture it on film. Especially that dramatic hand on forehead gesture! Poor kid, he doesn't realize that he is a (super cute) stereotype of melodrama.)

After a few more minutes of angry screaming, I took Joe out of his high chair, set his screaming self down, sat down at the table, and started eating myself. I think I tried to say some reassuring and upbeat things, but really, it's all a blur. As my friend Melissa told me, "Studies have shown that the sound of crying babies actually messes with our brains and prevents us from thinking clearly." And I'm here to say, anecdotally at least, that this is true. Especially if it's your baby.

At some point, I tried giving Joe a bite of food.

And he took it. The screaming stopped. Oh, thank heavens, peace and quiet.

I guess I was forgiven? Whew.

It's all part of Joe expressing his independence, becoming his own person, growing up, all that good stuff. But, like I said: Ass-kicking.


  1. Parenting is hard. The maddening "no's" turn into more verbally nuanced "If I do it what are you going to do?" and a lot of "Or what?"

  2. Yeah. Ass-kicking. Of course, he'll have to learn to talk to get that nuanced, huh? If he knew that, it would probably be great incentive.

  3. Ahhh, the irrational tanty. Clem's specialty is having these in the car when he's super-tired, on the way home from childcare, when all I can do really is turn the music up louder (and he will probably scream that he wants a different song that is on a CD who-knows-where). Love the drama in those photos!


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