T is for Tantrums and Teething

August 16, 2021, Hailey Cain

After every one of Delilah’s well-baby checkups, they always give me a little printout with some upcoming information about Delilah’s development. On the way home from her 15-month appointment a while back, I remember reading it and noticing it gave a little warning about a rise in tantrum behavior. I was going to include a direct quote from the paper but I couldn’t find it. It went something along the lines of “Your baby has feelings and wants, but very little patience”.

I had already started to notice that Delilah had very little patience when it came to something she wanted, so it wasn’t surprising to read that tantrums were on the way. I’m guessing Joshua didn’t read it though because after she threw a couple, he looks at me across the living room and goes “Is this supposed to happen? Is this normal for her to do this already?”. It’s not just that Delilah doesn’t have any patience when she’s waiting for me to pour her a milk cup or take her outside. We’re also getting to a point where she has very little patience when she doesn’t get exactly what she wants. Now that she’s older we’ve been working on setting boundaries on what is and isn’t okay to do like, “it’s not okay to feed the dogs during dinner” or “that it’s not safe to stand up and walk on the bed,”. Recently about every 8 out of 10 times she doesn’t get her way she does some sort of tantrum behavior to express her frustration.

When she has a tantrum at home I’m totally fine. I’m not sure If it’s the best practice but as long as she’s not going to hurt herself, I normally let her just let out her mad feelings. I also try to talk her through it a little by using words to describe her emotions and letting her know that it’s okay to be frustrated or angry when she doesn’t get her way. I’ve tried a little bit to show her how to take deep breaths to calm down. I’m not sure if it’s actually helping, but occasionally it makes her laugh and she tries to do it back by blowing raspberries and we both start laughing. Sometimes when she starts throwing a tantrum, I can’t help but laugh. I try not to respond too much to the tantrum behavior positively or negatively, but there are times I just can’t help it. She does some pretty funny moves when she’s frustrated. Sometimes she does the tried and true throwing herself to the floor and shouting, but more often she sticks her arms up in the air and just runs while shouting “ahhhhaa!”. When she reaches a wall, she turns around and runs the other way. Another one she likes to do is ball up her fists and get really tense and then let out one loud shout.

She doesn’t often do her tantrum behaviors away from home because for the most part she’s comfortable with going out and we haven’t had to do too much boundary setting in the public arena…. yet. It is definitely more stressful when she starts acting up when we’re out and it’s not because I’m embarrassed or concerned about her making a scene because it’s totally normal for toddlers. It just makes it that much harder to do whatever it is we were out in public to do. Like the other day we thought it would be fun to take Delilah out to the lake, she even took a good nap before we left, but when we got there she was not having it. We set up our spot and were going to have a little picnic lunch and then take her down to the water but seeing the lake was too much she wanted in the water first. It was a little stressful to immediately take her down to the water after getting set up but we did our best and took turns letting her play. That all would have been fine except that she wasn’t happy in the water. She didn’t want to hold hands with anyone or keep her life jacket on. Ultimately, we let her take it off but with that, she couldn’t go in the water any higher than her knees which she didn’t like either. It just seemed like there was no way to have her be happy and safe in the water. She was happy for a little while splashing on the shore but she was still fighting it anytime we moved her closer to the shore or if the ball got too far away. It also didn’t help that she hadn’t had any lunch or had anything to keep her hydrated since we got there because all she wanted to do was be in the water. After about an hour I said it was time for her to take a break and at least have something to drink before playing anymore and she was not having it. She started fussing and crying the second we left the water and we could not get her to calm down. Joshua even took her to the car to cool off in the air conditioning and have a drink and she still never calmed down. In the end, we decided to just pack up and go home because at that point nobody was really able to enjoy being at the lake.

This past week or so has kind of been a double whammy because on top of the tantrums, Delilah is currently getting 3 of her molars at the same time.  This round of teeth had really been hard on Delilah. We finally got her to eat a little bit better and now because her teeth hurt she hardly wants to eat at all and not much has been helping. Even now we’re still learning to identify when teething is behind Delilah’s fussy moods and I feel like she responds a little differently to it every time. This time around she’s been chewing on her fingers a lot and she’s been super clingy with me even to the point where she’d normally walk somewhere in the house with me and hold my hand. She’s now crying at my feet wanting to be carried …everywhere and it’s been hard.

While it has been pretty stressful recently we’re trying our best to stay positive and still have some fun even on the hard days. We’re definitely looking forward to when Delilah’s teeth start to feel better. A break from this heat wouldn’t be so bad either!