Friday, March 25, 2011

The problem with a naturally easy-going kid

Be prepared to hate me. Seriously, moms with high-maintenance kids, you might want to stop reading, I'm really going to brag on Nixon for a minute.

I'm blessed. I know it, but I love it all the same. Nixon is, by nature, an easy going, cool-as-a-cucumber (where did that phrase come from by the way??) little guy. He has been from the very beginning of his life outside of my womb. Inside it was a whole different story.

Nixon was a calm, quiet baby. He hardly ever cried without cause. He started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks old. He's always been a stick to the schedule kind of baby/toddler and it only takes a few days, a week at the most, for him to settle into a new schedule. He slept 80% of the 26 hour flight here, and when he was awake he was content eating and getting snuggles from Mac or I. Sure, he was only 4.5 months old at the time, but other children younger and older were less content and more loud for attentions sake. Even when he was teething, he'd cry only out of necessity. As soon as I found a way to calm his raging gums, he was perfectly happy and content again. He took his time learning how to walk, but never got frustrated and pissy. So what if his little friends were walking, Nixon was faster crawling!

But the downside to having a laidback kid by nature is, I'm not equipped to deal with the "terrible twos". Since I've never really been challenged by Nixon, I'm not very cool and collected when faced with a meltdown. It frustrates me that he's pissed off and throwing a fit. We do time outs, and even when he knows he's in time out, he just sits there. He doesn't get down/escape/fight going onto his time out chair. I can think of only a handful of times that he actually attempted to get down before his time out was over. Most of the time he sits in the chair and cries or plays with his feet and waits for one of us to free him. I mean seriously, how lucky am I, right?!?!?

So, now we're in full-blown terrible two zone. And its rough for a mom who's never had to really parent. Yep, raw honesty here, Nixon is so laid back there's not much I've had to do beyond feed, clothe, play with, clean and very rarely, correct his behavior. Until today, I usually lose my shit...I mean mind, within seconds of Nixon starting a fit. Then he's feeding off of my frustration and it gets ugly fast. I know this is not how I'm supposed to deal with him, really I do. But it feels like someone stole my perfect baby boy and replaced him with some demon seed on a mission to make me lose my mind. And it works too!

Now, realizing the flaw in myself and correcting it takes time. I think today was my breakthrough!

I took Nixon to the zoo. It was cool but not cold outside. The zoo had 4 schools of children there, so I took great pains to avoid the really crowded areas. Nixon got to walk around, feed fish and birds, see the animals and have some snacks. We were really having a great day! The end came so fast I'm still reeling from the directional flow change!

We were walking back up towards the entrance. Nixon wanted to take the stairs, so we walked up 4 flights of stairs. When we reached the top, Nixon saw it. The "it" that ultimately became the bane of my existence as a mom. The train. Its a small train that takes riders in a circle twice around a very small track. I had every intention of taking Nixon on the train. I had yen in hand, stroller parked when the train came back. The employee running it shows me a ticket. So I needed to get a ticket, unlike the last time when the employee took the yen for the ride. Well, Nixon was not happy with the change. I tried, pre-meltdown, to tell him we had to walk away to get tickets to ride. Nixon kept walking to the train "open, momma, open" and "I ride". Well, since he couldn't get on because I didn't have the tickets yet, he started to lose his mind. I gave him the chance to calm down and walk with me to get the tickets. He started slamming his sippy cup on the bench. I asked him to stop, he slammed it again looking right at me.
I gave him a hug, pulling him closely so I could whisper in his ear. I told him one more time, he needed to come with me to get tickets to ride OR we were going home. He threw his cup at me. That's it, game over!
I scooped him up, buckled him in the stroller and told him we were going home. This, obviously, did not sit well with my little monster. He bucked, thrashed, screamed and cried the whole walk to the car. He did say "bye bye" and "thank you" to the lady at the gate and the birds we passed on the way out. Polite even when throwing a temper tantrum, I'm a proud momma. He started saying at the car "I wan Dadda", so I called Mac only to have Nixon screaming into the phone "no no no". I put the stroller in the car, the snacks and drinks in the car, I got into the car and we left the zoo. The screaming lasted until he realized we'd really left the zoo! He got quiet and said "byebye aminals". He hugged BeBe, drank his sippy cup, ate some raisins and decompressed.

The mom accomplishment I had was I never raised my voice, I never felt frustration or the need to reel him in. We were outdoors, so if he screamed he screamed. He stopped when his throat got sore. I stopped once, because he sounded like he was gagging and he nearly was. He was so upset he was drooling and almost vomiting as he cried. I let him relax, gave him a hug and continued walking to the car.

But damn was it hard to not cave and just get the tickets and let him ride the train. That goddess-forsaken train! Damn you train!! Next time, Mac is coming with (his idea). One of us will distract Nixon while the other gets the tickets, quickly!

If Nixon were a difficult child, I'd be better prepared for fits like that. Or not, maybe we'd never leave the house and we'd never get to enjoy each other together like we do when we go on "dates" like this together.


  1. Thanks...I could have written this post. Maybe it is the age? My daughter was 2 in January and is doing the exact same thing. You should be proud of yourself for your cool and calm manner. It was probably the best thing that you could have done for him. Caving in and pacifying it with the train would only make the next time worse.

  2. Thank you. It took every ounce of resolve I had to keep walking away from the train. It would've been so easy to cave in and make him happy, but I realize that's the very WORST thing I could've done in the long run.