Miles decided to spend the day switching between severe meltdowns accompanied by uncontrollable screaming and crying and then the next minute clinging desperately to me as though his life depended on it. I know this sounds awful, but there was a point during one of his meltdowns that I started laughing. I just couldn't help it. That little thing was screaming his head off, slapping at any object he could find, and then collapsing in hysterical tears. All I could think to myself was, who is this kid, and what did he do with my little Miles??!
Later in the afternoon I decided he maybe needed some outside playtime. We hadn't had been outside all day so I hoped that this was the reason for his little issues, and that a bit of fresh air would help sort him out. Miles generally loves playing outside, so I can usually count this as an instant cure for any issue. But apparently Miles Meltdown 2012 wasn't going to let me win so easily. I tried playing soccer with him, but that only led to more meltdowns! He was happy enough as long as he kicked the ball, but every time I touched it, he went postal. Now, under normal circumstances I would have just left him alone to play with the ball, but for some reason he was desperately trying to kick the ball down the hill into the lake. Urg!! I stayed outside with him as long as we both could manage it (about 15 minutes) until dashing into the house before the neighbors began to get concerned about all the screaming.
Once back inside, I again tried all my old tricks: music, dancing, coloring, reading, a few time outs when his behavior got completely out of control, and as many hugs and kisses as he would let me administer. Those little moments of kisses and hugs were like a battery recharge. Holding him in my arms helped me remember just how little and helpless he really is, which in turn gave me the energy to deal with the next round of tantrums. That's the thing about kids, they can make you feel crazy and hopelessly in love in the same breath.
During his tantrums, half of the time I felt so sad for my little toddler because I just wanted to make him feel better, but couldn't. Then the other half of the time I felt bad for myself, because I just wanted to make him feel better but couldn't. Oh motherhood.
Eventually, I took the cowards way out and we sat in front of the tv with a snack. I hate to admit it, but it was a relief. He was happy and calm, and I got a break.
The moral of the story: sometimes you just can't be super mom (or at least I can't).
I'm not sure if this is a new phase or if it was just a bad day. But I'm pretty sure I haven't seen the last of this behavior. So, I guess I'll be brainstorming some ideas on helping him through these tantrums (without tv). In the meantime I have to accept that as a mom, there are just days like this, and more often than not, I won't have all the answers. But what I do have are a few peaceful moments to hold my baby in my arms, and that can create enough happiness to get me through. Or if all else fails, I can just laugh my way through his tantrums. :)