You wouldn't know it if you were a fly on the wall now, but a mere hour ago our house fell victim to a horrendous toddler temper tantrum.
As I sat feeding Michael in the big comfy chair, Andrew began to get upset that I couldn't get something he wanted right then. He proceeded to bob Michael on the head. When I told him not to hit, his attempts at hitting, grabbing and pushing both Michael and me escalated. Michael got upset, woke up and spit up. While I was attempting to calm Michael down and get him happy enough that I could set him down, Andrew's tantrum got worse and worse. Once I was able to quiet Michael, I set to work to calm Andrew - at which point I discovered a big messy Andrew diaper. This needed immediate attention. That is certainly not what he wanted, but, hey, he was already upset, so why not? It was a very difficult diaper change and probably one of the longest recorded in history. All the while my frustration is getting higher and higher. I could feel my teeth clenching. (Side note: Once a long time ago I saw on Oprah that we all have some sort of physical sign that tells us we are about to explode emotionally. Mine is teeth clenching. If you know these signs you can better keep yourself in check. It really works if you listen to yourself.) I had to make real conscious decisions minute by minute to stay calm. Once we had finished Andrew was so upset, he couldn't calm down and by this time Michael was also crying again. I was having no luck comforting Andrew in my lap, so I got up to pick up Michael. I went to sit on the stairs to try and comfort them both. Michael was easier to calm. Andrew was still so upset. I felt as though I was not going to make it out of this temper tantrum without throwing one of my own. Thankfully I had just been reading Danielle Bean's new book and had a fresh perspective and resolve to persevere. I did. Thankfully the garbage truck was driving by just about then and I was able to distract Andrew at the window. I don't know why it happened. He is kind of tired and a little sick - so that might be it. No matter, I think God was just testing me out after reading all that wonderful encouragement from Danielle.
I made it through. And I feel different. Different than I normally would after an episode like this. This time I was able to resist the urge to break down and react in anger and frustration. As a result, I don't feel like a horrible Mommy afterwards and it was much easier to return to normal after the storm subsided. I don't have anyone to apologize to this time. I am not sweating and wiping tears from my eyes, or anyone else's for that matter. The tantrum is but a memory and we can move on.
Thank you Lord for hearing my prayers as I battled and for inspiring me to be the mother I really want to be. And thank you Danielle (and Michele - bringing me your copy to borrow yesterday couldn't have proved to be more useful!)