Monday, August 8, 2011

The Six Stages of Tantrums

As mothers, we are well versed in recognizing those moments when we feel like we're about to lose our collective schmidt and say something to those precious little people that we may regret later. We usually wind up walking outside with a telephone to call Lydia, or pretending that we have to go poo so we can hide in the bathroom for ten minutes and hope that nothing destructive will happen.

In between those moments, your crack MommyLand Scientific Team has unlocked the mysteries of the Kid Tantrum. There seem to be six stages. We came to two significant conclusions. ONE, that stages pretty much seamlessly transition into the next, usually immediately after the moment moms have figured out how to deal with the previous one. And, TWO, that once you've completed Stage Six, you. are. not. done. Because the entire cycle begins anew. Kate just discovered this with McGee.

Stage One: Six Thousand Decibels
This stage starts the moment you get home from the hospital. That peaceful, sweet, sleepy angel you bonded with after birth is gone and has been replaced with a wall-eyed dictator who wakes up 24 hours a day screaming "WHY IS THERE NO MILK IN MY STOMACH?! THERE SHOULD ALREADY BE A NIPPLE IN MY MOUTH!! WHERE THE F&%$ ARE YOU?!" This ear-drum shattering tantrum also presents for dirty diapers, exhaustion, over-stimulation or a scary visitor. It's also when brand new mothers learn how to rock in the fetal position.

Stage Two: Floppy Jelly Kid/Rigid Kid
This is the car seat or high chair phenomenon. Baby knows he is about to get restrained and either goes completely floppy in a last-ditch attempt to make impending restraint nearly impossible, or somehow morphs himself into a piece of wood who's diapered bum is actually repelled by his car seat. Either way, you're left desperately trying to contort a body that has no intention of accommodating you in any way whatsoever. Of course, there are a few strategies for dealing with Jelly/Woody Baby. If you're battling the kid who's been mysteriously placed in invisible traction, just give him a minute. Trying to hold this position for any longer than about 30 seconds is impossible for a kid who's most impressive physical feat so far is acting like a human bobblehead. He'll collapse soon enough. And, the upside to the Jelly stage? You can pretty much maneuver them any way you want, with little worry about injuring them. Mostly because they apparently have no bones.

Stage Three:Blue Kid Group
Oh this is all very charming. I understand that you don't want to go take a nap. You've made that abundantly clear, what with all the no no no no no no's. And when that wasn't enough, you decided that holding your breath was a strategic maneuver. And you do have a sort of alarming way of contorting your face in such a way that your eyebrows meld together right about the same time you start turning an interesting shade of red. But guess what, sweetheart? In about thirty seconds you're going to pass right out, and when you come to, guess where you'll be? In your bed. Taking a nap. Mommy wins.


Stage Four: I Can Do It Myself
This is by far the longest stage. And, if you try to intervene, they incorporate elements of Stage One, and just scream "I CAN DO IT!" for forty-five minutes. Everything takes nine hundred times as long as it would if you were just allowed to jump in there and do it. Mom putting on shoes: 14 seconds. Kid putting on shoes: 11 days. And they're Crocs. It's not like they're real shoes. Also, this stage just begs for Mom to lose her mind, and you wind up having "I can do it!" "No, just let me help you." "NO I CAN DO IT!" "GAH! WE'RE GONNA BE LATE! I'LL DO IT!" debates with your kids. Which, ironically, take more time. This stage can't end fast enough...



Stage Five: You Hate Me
Wait, YOU hate ME? Guess what, cupcake? I love you very much, but right now, you're not my favorite person at the moment either, ya a-hole. [Editor's Note: We get this from the following video. Please note it's not safe for work or little ears...but it's damn funny. And no, we don't actually think our kids are a-holes, but every once in a while...damn. -Kate]



Stage Six: The Jeffersons
That's right. They're movin' on up. Or, out as the case may be. They threaten go find nicer mommies and better daddies and they pack their backpack with a baseball glove, some socks and their teddy bear and head out the front door. About forty seconds later, they come to a corner, crosswalk or Mommy-defined outer perimeter and stand there perplexed. They also suddenly realize that they're hungry and barefoot and maybe you aren't quite so bad even though that other Mommy would be waaaay nicer than you.

Twelve years later...you think you're done? That once they've entered and left Stage Six, you think it's over? Girl, please...then it just starts all over again, when your lovely tweener re-enters Six Thousand Decibels, Part Two. Now the screaming is equally as loud, but comes from behind recently slammed doors and is accompanied by seismic stomping. Mostly because you don't buy them things.

It also means that the "I Can Do It Myself" in Phase One that involves shoes, clothes and the potty is replaced in Phase Two with driving your Volvo. Super.

Maybe George and Weezy will take them. 

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

35 comments:

  1. We are in the middle of stage four and entering stage five right now. And OMG, will it ever end?!? Her birthday party was yesterday, and she got mad at me today and told me I can't come to her birthday party. All I could say was, "Really?!? You are giving the woman who plans and pays for your birthday parties 365 days notice that she's not invited?!? Super!" You might wanna rethink that plan, kid.

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  2. I'm in stage one...I've become VERY good at rocking myself in the fetal position at the end of a long day...at the bottom of my shower...where I close my eyes and pretend no one can see or need me!!! lol!

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  3. Damn that was funny. What a well-timed read, too. I find myself reading this in the dark in the living room at 4:30 in the morning as my 6 month old wails in her crib (sleep "training"). Laughing out loud as quietly as I can. Damn you're good therapy.

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  4. Heh... I brought home my little dictator just over 2 weeks ago. She is currently staring at me from her bouncy seat and I'm pretty sure she is just deciding when to implement stage 2... *sigh* It's a good thing we love them so much! Thanks for the laughs ladies. My sleep deprived mind needs all the late night/early morning giggles I can get.

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  5. My dear middle child has just entered stage six...ironically at age six. Seems early to me but who knows. She has told me she has a "bad family" and she is going to go find a new family. Nice. My thoughts on this are similar to Stage Five. You want to leave? Sister, if anyone is leaving this joint for a while, it will be ME! (Just for the evening for cocktails anyway...I will be he when you wake up of course.)

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  6. Sigh. It's gotten to the point where my 1 year-old son turns blue so frequently I don't even react. And other people are always so alarmed..."He's turning BLUE! Oh my GOD!" And I'm all, he's fine. Watch him faint! Fun for everyone! Also, I can't tell you the number of times I've been late because the 3 year-old takes eleventy-seven hours to put on her shoes. I CAN DO IT MYSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. Kevin Hart's dad works with my husband (and yes, his nickname really IS Spoon!) His dad is just as funny (just less cursing..lol)

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  8. My daughter is just entereing stage one for the second go round, at almost 11. Gah!

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  9. I literally sprayed Coke out of my nose. Thanks for the awesome start to my week!!!!!

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  10. where's the "we're in a public place with lots of people and I'm not getting what I want so I'm gonna throw myself down on the floor and scream and flail until you're pretty sure the police or CPS has been called" stage?

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  11. I've got one in stage 2, sometimes 4, one in stage 4 (has been for awhile, but occasionally morphs to Stage 1 without warning), and one in 6 who is on her way back to 1 for a second go-around. My son is somewhere in the middle, not sure, mostly he just hides from the rest of us. Thank you so much for writing this! I'm going to send the link to my husband. Then I'm going to the bathroom for ten minutes. Ten minutes PER KID, that is. Now where's my book...

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  12. And I just peed. Making a 32 week pregnant woman laugh that hard is just not fair. YOu did forget to mention that when they are 2 the first 4 stages happen at the same time... just saying... or maybe that's just my kid...

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  13. Wow, holy crap! Thank you, thank you! I am so glad to see I am not the only loving mother that refers to their child as a baby a-hole! ;)
    ...I actually run Mommy Support Groups for New Moms and in the first 2 weeks they are classically offended by that term. There is a shocking turn around in that sentiment around week 3! Thanks for the belly aching laughs over coffee at 7 am! Keep up the awesome work!

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  14. My 6 year old is on stage 5 but he trys to use guilt. Instead of I hate you I'll get things like are you sorry you yelled at me for leaving toys on the stairs a good mommy wouldn't do that.

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  15. hahaha i love this! thank you so much <3

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  16. After my third child I finally figured out how to avert the stiff body of Stage Two. While trying to strap the kiddo into the carseat and the stiff body body starts, immediately give him or her a sweet tickle to the ribs. The child will curl up in the fetal position, giggle then be stunned they are now strapped into the carseat.

    Works everytime! And the best part? They got a giggle and so did mom!

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  17. We are also on the 2nd time through and I have to say.....NO ONE SAID THIS WOULD HAPPEN AGAIN!!! I think that the one good thing is that my corner is now stocked with wine for when I go into the fetal position. Also has anyone else noticed that their younger kids are in more than one stage at a time....whatever stage they are in and parroting whatever stage their older siblings are in? Seriously?!?

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  18. My kid, who at 17 weeks can't even sit up by himself, has so mastered Stage 2 that, upon finding himself being undressed, will alternate between going so rigid he STANDS UP by himself, and then collapses into a jelly puddle. It's like dressing a jack-in-the-box without a spine..

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  19. That was spot on! I remember each of these phases quite well. You did miss one phase. I call it the "One More" phase. One more minute, song, story, hug, kiss, tuck or anything else she can think of before bed, bath, school or anything else she doesn't want to do.

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  20. I think you should combine all of th4ese. If you can do it yourself, grab a bottle of milk, strap yourself in the car seat, sign a lease and move out. Don't hold your breath for me to scream after you. Though I hate to see you leave. :)

    Julie
    ilikebeerandbabies.com

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  21. Not sure what stage screaming, whining and pouting the word "NO" fits in to?... Since my beloved two and half year old seems to incorporate it with every fricking fracking one of these stages - simultaneously. The six thousand decibel NO is actually the easiest to deal with *sigh* The Jelly/Woody baby NO is of course, as mentioned above, only put out for display in very public places peopled with perfect Mommies and their perfect prodigy with their perfectly clean clothes and their please and thank yous... *double sigh*
    I LOVE the Kevin Hart video... My daughter can definitely be a "No No No...*pause for breath... aw schmidt I know what's coming*.... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" baby a-hole!

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  22. My 5 year autistic son doesn't do any of this. I know. I'm sooo lucky, right? He prefers to protest by peeing on himself in public. Good times.

    PS. go to youtube and search "kevin hart ostrich." I can't watch it without peeing on MYSELF.

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  23. You hookers are the reason I wake up every single day! I love this freaking blog! Also you are the reason I will be fired very soon from screaming till tears fall outta my face at my work desk! The 11-day Crocs nearly made me reach for a Depend. Thank you for a sorely needed laugh today :)

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  24. My 2 year old is in stage 1, 2 and 4 at the moment. She will scream (just scream like in a horror movie) at the top of her lungs when you tell her something she doesn't like or she gets yelled at, put in time out or gets in trouble, or just feels like acting out. She will also do the stiff as a board thing for car seats and high chairs when we are dining out, and then HAS to do everything by herself which causes me to lose my schmidt and then send her to stage one. Ugh it is a vicious cycle with her. My 5 year old is in a self martyr stage so that when he gets in trouble, yelled at, told no, he then says he never wants Wii, computer time, video EVER again. That also makes me lose my schmidt since when I say OK whatever you want, I am the mean one and he tells me I told him he couldn't...(fill in the blank). Ugh...this is happening as we type.

    Jrseygirl in VA

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  25. I have a 4 yr old and a 3 yr old so we are in the thick of Stage 4 x 2. And, I was recently introduced to Stage 5 for the very first time (sniffle, sniffle). We were at a kids play place and I so rudely interrupted their day by saying those 4 words that churn tantrum in the pit of every toddler: "It's time to go". That is when I heard it for the first time. My older one screamed "I hate you mommy, like so much. I hate you so bad mommy" as I, 10 shades of red, dragged him out of that place as quickly as I could without making eye contact with a single other mother who were no doubt judging me and siding with my 4 year old. Ugh.

    Glad to see you've so eloquently labeled the stages so I can commiserate with other Stage 5'ers.

    Love it!

    Visit my blog @ www.moreskeesplease.com!

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  27. My boy especially goes back and forth between the stages.... Last year he tried to pull a stage 6 and told me and the hubby that we were not his parents anymore and he wanted to leave. My husband for once got creative and told him that was fine, but if he was leaving he could not take any of his things with him including the clothes he had on since we had bought them for him. Faced with the choice of leaving naked, my then 4 year old son decided that our house wasn't too bad after all.

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  28. Oh I love this! We're in Stage 2 with my 13 month old and ANY car trips. And Stage 4 with my 3 year old....it takes FOREVER to leave this house!! Then he has the gall to get upset when I tell him we'll be late for something when it's half his fault we're so late!! Love these posts.

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  29. See now, I don't TRUST little kids who aren't occasionally outright a**holes. It's not natural.

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  30. Thank you for this. I laughed so hard I cried. I'm a new mommy, Bugeyes is 6 months old, she's a rigid baby when it comes to naptime or time to get in the carseat. She goes completely stiff. Glad to know I'm not alone! So much more to look forward to! Cheers!

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  31. Hahahaha
    You have made me laugh and cry aloud, and I am at a public place. So, if someone calls my attention for disturbing, I will be blaming it on you and the Stage 2.
    Great post as always!

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  32. I just laughed so hard I cried. I have a 6 month old a a 4 year old. I've been through all the stages and not looking forward to the stages part 2. Little tip on stage 2 in car seats. I put the kidbin and quickly do one of the bottom clips so when the kid goes rigid I can still buckle them because it's hard to go rigid when ninja fast mommy already has you half buckled.

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  33. Might I add to Stage 2, the "I Have No Armpits" stance. So when they are tantruming in public and you try to pick them up, they somehow raise their arms so incredibly high that they have no armpits and there is no way to pick them up except to just carry them sideways by their torso. Good times.

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  34. I'm sitting here with my 1 week old baby in my lap laughing so hard at Stage 1 that I'm making her cry! It's the most perfect description of her pissed off little self when boob doesn't appear fast enough. I think I'm officially ready to be a member of the RFM club :)

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  35. What about the 33 year old version when she forgets and misses the susan B anthony 19th amendment festival.

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