Sometimes You Need to Throw a Fit Over Jellybeans

Last week a “memory” came across my newsfeed in Facebook.  It was About that time my kid ate off the floor. Here he was a year ago during that lovely incident.

eating off the floor

My little boy looking pleased with himself (and his lunch on the floor)

Ironically, when I saw this memory, I had another delightful parenting moment. It started off well enough – my four year old son and I decided to quickly make a chocolate chip cookie bar dessert before we would venture to the Y for my yoga class. He’s been helping more in the kitchen, so I thought this would go smoothly for us, and for the most part, it did.

He got out a wire whisk (that he also uses for mixing scrambled eggs), and started mixing the dry ingredients that I measured and poured into the bowl. When it came time for me to use the hand mixer, he didn’t want to share. I explained to him that the batter becomes really difficult to mix with a whisk, and finally, he grew frustrated and bored, and let me finish mixing and spreading the cookie dough into the pan.

As everything was spread out in the pan, my son came back into the kitchen wanting to add jelly beans to THE ENTIRE pan. Not sure how jelly beans would bake and also not wanting to ruin a full pan of a chocolate chip dessert, I asked him to stop sprinkling jelly beans all over the dough. He was NOT pleased to say the least.

What then ensued was a thirty minute tantrum – uncontrollable crying and thrashing about. I gave him his blanket and let him work it out on his own. It was so odd, being that I couldn’t remember his last proper tantrum.

When he finally calmed down, I showed him that we could spread vanilla frosting on top of the cookie bars and THEN put as many jellybeans or sprinkles we wanted on top. This is really delicious – just like a piece of cookie cake! We sampled pieces of the still warm cookie bars, and both of us agreed that it was yummy.

Later I ended up cutting the “jellybean chocolate chip bars” and storing them in a separate container just for the kids. Just last night though, I bit into one of these bars and had a bite of hard jellybean! Yuck…

This tantrum certainly reminded me that my son is only four, and such outbursts can still happen. With two kids, now six and four, I have had MANY tantrums under my belt, and I think I’ve become better equipped to handle them. Instead of forcing them to see reason, I just let them go and have a good fit hopefully out of my hearing distance. The jellybeans were a big deal to him and his master plan for the dessert, and thus worthy of a proper tantrum.

It reminds me of a friend of mine who is a music teacher. She told me that she had a back room in her class, and she let a student who was having a tough time go into that room and have a good scream. After the student returned, he said, “Thank you Miss, I needed that.”

Don’t we all just need a scream, fit, tantrum at times?!


Age Two – Take Two

Now that Daddy O. and I are in the throes of age two for the second time around (thus Age Two – Take Two), we can’t help but feel it’s a little easier. Some possible explanations:

  • Maybe we’ve honed our parenting skills for the toddler years, remembering what worked well for big sister’s two-year-old antics.
  • Maybe we’re just a little more laid-back this time around.
  • Maybe God has answered my prayers for patience.
  • Most likely it’s a combination of all of the above.

It’s true that little brother is different than big sister in many ways.  He’s much more talkative, a little more easy-going, more physical in terms of biting and hitting, and is definitely into trains, cars, and balls. Big sister is more than happy to tattle on him whenever he breaks a rule.  She is very black and white and likes things to go HER way when she plays with little brother, though they can be so sweet together (see my post One Thing that Surprised Me Most as a Mom for more about the brother-sister relationship). During moments of conflict, I tend to give them space to see if they’ll figure it out on their own, but intervene when I hear screaming and crying.

Big Sister and Little Brother Age 2

My Two Year Old Cutie-pies (and 4 Year Old Big Sister). I think they are pretending to be kitties. 

Just like his sister (and parents), Little Brother is prone to stubbornness. This trait can lead to monumental tantrums – especially during times of conflict as we have learned!  A few ways that we try to stop tantrums that seem to work:

  • Distraction.  While little brother cried & screamed on a car ride over the holidays, I quick yelled, “Look – Christmas lights out your side (of the car).” The shiny Christmas cheer magically quieted him down.
  • Food Bribe. Little brother and I were having a standoff at the grocery store.  All of our gear and big sister were loaded into a shopping card already.  He didn’t WANT to go in THAT cart.  I didn’t want to reload everything in HIS chosen cart.  We waited. He screamed. We waited some more.  I checked in with him to see if he was ready to join us, and he screamed some more.  I waited more. Finally, I offered him a granola bar that he could eat if he rode in Mom’s cart.  He finally agreed. Another kind mom came up to me, having witness this all unfold, and complimented me on how I handled the situation.  It was really kind of her! Don’t we ALL hate tantrums in public?!
  • Asking questions. After some crying and screaming, I’ll calmly ask little brother, “What do you want?  I can’t understand you right now. Can you use words?” This can typically help.
  • Get favorite blankie & paci.  We find his favorite blanket and pacifier to help him calm down.  At two and a half, he doesn’t use his paci THAT much (mostly at night), but it still gives him comfort. Our dentist and pediatrician have encouraged us to simply let him give it up when he’s ready, so for now the pacifier and favorite blanket bring some peace and quiet to the raging two-year-old.
  • Time and space.  Sometimes you just have to let it out! Little brother has been wanting to hear the end of songs when we drive home, which means sitting in the car.  Sometimes, I oblige and let him listen until the song is over.  One day with below zero temperatures, it wasn’t going to happen, so I carried him unwillingly inside. I gave him time to cry & scream by himself, and in a few minutes he was ready to return to calmness and fun.

I’m curious to see how we continue to navigate Little Brother’s second year.  As is common with kids, just when you think you have things figured out, things can change! How do you cope with the terrible twos and tantrums?

In the spirit of #ThrowbackThursday, here are some older posts I wrote about parenting:

Have a great day and almost TGIF!