"And when he came to the place where the wild things are, they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws..."
That is pretty much how I feel when Dexter is in the middle of a tantrum. This kid who says to his dad "how bout hug?" before bed and says "ooh, sowwy, mama", if he accidentally hits me while pretend sword fighting, who is generally mild mannered and sweet, shy even, loses his (earmuffs here) shit. There's a lot of tears involved, a fair amount of yelling, oh and as an added bonus he's recently added jumping up and down to his repertoire. Fun stuff, I tell you. It is not a slow meltdown either. There's no time to brace yourself for impact, it's zero to sixty in no seconds flat. It is loud and proud and beyond comfort or caring.
Tantrums leave me exhausted. They leave me frazzled and frustrated. The quickest way to take the wind out of my sails as a parent is to throw a tantrum into the mix. He ate his meal without complaint, put away his toys, turned the TV off without a whine--nothing to see here, folks just a little A+ parenting. But then. But then a tantrum strikes and pfffft. Wind gone. Just another deflated mother struggling to wrangle her son and pull him back from the edge of insanity and despair while trying not to fall in herself.
Perhaps I'm being a tad bit dramatic but there's a certain feeling of helplessness when this is going down. It's happening and it's happening fast and the attempts to ignore, acknowledge and distract aren't working. I realize my job is to teach him how to handle his feelings and I'm to mold him into a well-adjusted little person. Sometimes though all I can think is WTF, I did not sign up for this (I did). It's the kind of situation that requires grace under pressure and that my friends, is something I have not yet mastered. Sweats under pressure is more my style.
Have you heard that three year olds are worse? I've heard that. Lord, help us all. This too shall pass. And I am counting down the days.