You scream, I wilt

It felt like any other day. My son had just turned two years old and started pre-school.

The first day of school was difficult for all of us. We spent 30 minutes before leaving him and probably phoned every hour or two on that day. All was well. We later discovered that, within 10 minutes of us leaving, he had stopped crying. Day two, he got into trouble. Threw sand in another child’s face. Sat in the naughty corner. He still throws things at his parents though. Day 3,  actually naps during nap time.  Then we had to keep him home for a week. The usual. Ear infection. Cold. Swine flu scare.

It was his second day back after school after the week off and, as I mentioned before, it felt like any other day. I dropped him off to fewer tears and went about my day. He was now on full days so I picked him up at about 4pm and we headed home. As we drove in the gate, he started grumbling. Wanted the remote to open the gate. We got out of the car and he wanted to stay outside the yard. We got into the yard and he wanted to be ‘ousite’ yet followed me into the house. By now, the grumbling was a fake cry and then it happened….. the screaming. No warning. No nothing. From ‘daddee ousite’ to the kind of scream one hears outside an abattoir. I rush to him thinking he’s hurt himself or something, he pushes me away, lies on the ground kicking his legs and keeps on screaming.

I’m a patient man. Really, I am. I am understanding. When he cries, I try to determine what is wrong. I try to comfort. I try to be a good, loving father. I don’t shout. I talk. I maintained that image for the first 30 minutes. I tried to give him juice. I talked to him. I asked what was wrong. I couldn’t think straight anymore. I put on the telly, but the screams got louder, drowning out the telly. I put on music. He likes music. Loves singing and dancing. The screams weren’t even in tune. I shouted at him. Told him to stop it. Opened the front door and told him to go play outside. The screams echoed through the house and reverberated through the neighbourhood. Eventually, I ignored him. Twenty minutes after having broken the one hour mark, he just stopped. Five minutes after that. Smiling and laughing, telling me stories.

For a week, that became the routine. Every day, after school though, thank the heavens, they only ran for about 30 minutes. Then one day I put him in his room and left him there and the consistent tantrums after school stopped. Now they just come any old time.

I finally discovered why they call them the terrible twos. I have heard all the theories. I have tried some. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. If you have more, please share. All I really have now is the hope that, one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, he’ll stop. Until then, all I’m committed to is maintaining my sanity. I love him, even if he may just drive me mad.

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Kojo Baffoe

Kojo Baffoe

Kojo Baffoe , editor of DESTINY Man magazine, a father, a son, a brother, a husband, a friend, a poet, a writer on a quest to make sense of this reality, with words. Visit his website.

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10 Responses

  1. I hear your pain, my daughter is the queen of monumental tantrums and me staying sane is not always on the cards. they do grow out of it but at this age when they don’t have the verbal skills to voice their frustration it is hard on everyone. Hang in there

  2. Ooooh, okay, well, I hate to break it to you, but my friends and I have have a consensus that the THREEs are way WAY worse than the twos!! You give a smack, they glare at you, challenge you, do smack again, they laugh in your face. The shout at you, smack you, and in general are just terrible!! I hear fours are better. I can’t wait!! 🙂

  3. My first child never had a tantrum – what an anticlimax! Instead he had a secret pact with my daughter, who has sufficient lung capacity for a soccer team! She also currently has tonsillitus! Needless to say her reaction to her antibiotic is loud and vicious and to top that her mouth is now full of sores, the medicine for which appears to be equally distasteful. For my long weekend, i have been the lucky winner of my own personalised 30 minute tantrum (4 times daily) from my angelic daughter about how she’s never going to take her medicine and how disgustingly ‘yukky’ it is and how no one understands. Fortunately, my eldest has switched allegiance and is now soothing me with my own wisdom, “…don’t worry Mum, she’s only winding you up… breathe in, breathe out… lets go for a walk…”

    1. Hey there…I’m a single mum, with two boys, one eight and one five. Wish I could tell you that the tantrums are limited to the two year olds, but then I’ll be lying through and through…
      The older they get, the more advanced tantrums begin, and what’s worse, the tantrums are now not only dedicated to you, but also to the siblings.
      All I can say is, hang in there..we parents, we love them regardless, and just make the most of the quiet time when they put to bed, cos before you know it, the morning is here again…


  4. Shame, Kojo, welcome to our world. My daughter is a drama queen who ensures that she throws her tantrums at malls requiring me to try and pry her off the road in the parking lot. What works for me is to stay calm, tell her that I am going and start going. The nice thing is that most people who have children pass comments of encouragement and understanding whilst dealing with my drama queen, one old man suggested that I make booze my best friend.

  5. Oh my word, you just described Aarons tantrums to a T! He also just starts and when he says insde, you try take him in and then its outside, TV on he wants it off, you turn t off he wants it on. He also pushes me away and wont let me console him. We have left him in his cot and he just screams until he makes himself vomit.
    Dont despair, you are not alone!
    Apparently they do grow out of it…

  6. So things are slightly better though Kweku & I spent 5 minutes at the Zone yesterday coz he started with a tantrum as we walked into the mall.

    Now, when he acts up, his mom sends him to the ‘naughty corner’ and he actually goes. Hard not to laugh when you have this little person peeking at you from other side of couch as he waits to be allowed back.

    I put him in his room till he stops acting up. He’ll actually sit on the bed & wait for me to let him out.

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