Meltdown Mania

Toddler Meltdowns
are the Worst

Dear Diary,

It is day 5,872 of quarantine and I am beginning to forget what it was even like to wake up to an alarm every day, get dressed, get the kids ready, and race out the door. Drop the kids off at daycare. Rush into work. Hit the ground running at work. Pick the kids up from day care. Wonder what they did all day. Feeling like I barely spent any time with them.

 I went from seeing my kids about 4 waking hours a day on the weekdays to every waking second of every single day. And honestly, I love it. I hate that it took such a horrendous reason to allow me to have this time with my kids, but I try to remain grateful for the opportunity.  I am so thankful for my family’s health and this chance to spend extra time with my kids.

But with that being said…some days are just rough! I am a teacher, so I am used to having some time off at home over the summer (when you can go outside and go places and not worry about contracting a deadly virus). I am not used to being a full-time stay at home mom while also trying to get my own work done from time to time. Even though I adore my kids, staying home with them all day every day, especially with nowhere to go was starting to mess with my head.

Which is why I decided to start writing a blog. It has been a really fun escape to look forward during nap time or in the evenings after the kids(those ones I love so much) are in bed. In fact, it’s what I was thinking about today as my son was having an epic meltdown. With all this time home with the kids, I begin to ask myself: “Am I good mom?” “Is whatever my son doing normal behavior?”  Because it definitely did not feel normal.

The morning started out normal enough. I found myself on the living room floor, cutting up an old bed sheet into squares to use as rags because we still can’t find paper towels anywhere. My son had been in a good mood. He ate breakfast. He played with his sister. We did our exercise videos on Youtube Kids together (which helps me feel better about him watching videos afterwards).

Just a day in the life

He asked to watch Frosty like he does every day. Yes, it’s April. Yes, he watches Frosty What can I say? He really loves Frosty.  I love it too because it’s about 25 minutes long and usually keeps him pretty well entertained. Oh, and don’t judge because we are in survival mode here, okay?

About halfway into it, I told him I was going to throw some laundry into the washing machine. Do you want to help me? “No, thank you. I’m just watching Frosty.” Okay. Threw in the laundry. Came back. He watched Frosty and played some more. It was time to go potty. He walked past the laundry machine….oh, no. I could sense it in my bones. Like that feeling that animals get before a tornado or something.

As soon as he saw that laundry machine running he started yelling, “I want to help you with the laundry!” and then proceeded to catapult into full-on meltdown mode. Crying, screaming, arms and legs flailing, rolling around on his bedroom floor. I try to talk to him, but he can’t even hear me. I try to ignore him and not give him attention, but I have to watch to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself. He doesn’t stop.

I debate pausing the laundry machine and to let him throw a few socks in, but at this point it seems like that would just be reinforcing this negative behavior. So, I just suck it up and wait. I try to ignore him. I try to calm him with a hug. I try to explain to him that the machine is already running. I said he could help me when it is done. I said we could go do another activity. Nothing.

We have been working on deep breathing (and I say we, because I have been consciously working on taking deep breaths to remain calm during moments like this). I model the breathing for him. It kind of calms him down for a second, but then he screams again, “I want to do the laundry!” I try to take a mental note in the memory bank for a few years down the road when I will be yelling at him to do his own laundry.

He was too far gone to be rational. All of my efforts were futile.

Finally, I told him that he seemed tired and he needed to take a nap even though it wasn’t actually nap time yet. I put him in his bed, turned off the light, and closed the door. I stood outside the door as he continued to flip out. I went right back in and said, “Do you want to go down for nap or are you going to come with me and eat lunch?” He sniffled, “I want a waffle with peanut butter and jelly on it.” Okay. I’ll take it. Meltdown over. He calmed down after a few minutes. He did continue to talk about the meltdown for the rest of the day though, like it was no big deal.

My husband asked him what he did today and my son, all matter of fact replied, “I had a meltdown today.” Insert major eye-roll here by me.

Can any moms out there tell me if this level of meltdown is normal? Anyone have anything that works for calming these meltdowns?

Here’s to all the moms out there just living the dream one day at a time!

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