Happiest Toddler on the Block?

Well, this post has been a long time coming. We’re having some wild discipline throw downs in our house and somedays I feel like I can’t even come up for air between time outs. On one hand, I’ve been dying to share my frustrations and maybe get advice? (anyone out there? See the comment button below?) Then on the other hand, I worry that by making an issue out of our issues I’m somehow labeling Brooks and setting a standard for him to be a “problem child”. Which he is not. At all. PLEASE Lord, don’t let him turn into a problem child.

So what are the problems specifically? First and foremost and the thing so huge I can’t even think about any other issues,  kid has a raging temper. This isn’t necessarily the issue, it just leads to the screaming, which is the issue. I never would have thought that a simple thing like screaming could be so life changing. But this screaming? This screaming is just that. The sound…how can I describe the sound? Picture, maybe, say an enraged bird of some sort with a mega phone. When he hollers it’s kind of like a very loud “BAGAWK!!!, BAGAWK!!!“, but so high and loud it makes your skin burn. Now this screaming used to be reserved for special occasions, when he was very, very upset. Now, it seems he enjoys testing the responses he gets in all kinds of places. School, church, Wal-Mart, the post office. I won’t even go into Barnes and Noble anymore.


I finally came to terms with the gravity of the situation the other evening in North Charleston. We were in A.C. Moore when we should have been home getting ready for bed. I fully acknowledge my fault there and will say that this was not smart. Anyway. Brooks was screaming so loud my embarrassment forced me to stand outside with him in time out while James paid. It was while he sat, screaming about being in time out, that I was approached by a fellow frazzled mother. I expected her to simply exchange the usual knowing smile while I rolled my eyes at my wild child, but she came closer. This was not an easy task for her as she had three children, two dragging along, one on each side of her. The youngest who looked to be around 2, dangled from  a very stretched Baby Bjorn front pack.

“I’ve been there” she said. I smiled and said something like “Yeah, I’ve only got one!”

She smiled authoritatively and lowered her voice, “Listen, you need to get one of these…” she said as she reached into her front pack. I braced myself as she rearranged her toddler. Expecting a taser, I was slightly disappointed when she pulled out a squirt bottle.

“Oh my!” I said. “Wha…..”

“You squirt them in the face when they start to scream” she explained.

“Oh….” I stammered.

“He’s gotten to the point where I don’t even squirt him anymore, all I have to do is pull out this here bottle and he shuts up.”

“I see” I said, noting her son’s soaking wet shirt. I thanked her for the advice and wished her good evening.

The sad thing is, for a brief moment after she told me this, I wracked my brain trying to remember where I’d stashed the squirt bottles we used during our brief foray into cat ownership. (Buster Bluth, the stray cat we found at school, now lives with a lovely family, as I could not handle two wild animals in the house) When did things become so bad that I am willing, even if just for a delusional second, to consider spraying water in my child’s face to get him to behave?

***Please know, anyone reading this, that time outs have been and still are our discipline method of choice around here. If you see me with a spray bottle, I’ve surely cracked and I need to be put away for a while. With a Snuggie, please.

I shared this story with a friend this past weekend and she had the idea of using a Super Soaker. “That seems a little more child friendly” she said. Now, wherever did I put that Super Soaker from so many summers ago?

In other news, Brooks refers to Baby Jesus as Baby Angie. What do you even say to that?!?


1 Comment

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One response to “Happiest Toddler on the Block?

  1. Beth S

    Hillary, I LOVE your blog! In the spirit of the holidays, I have to admit that although I do not read it religiously, I do read it when I see it posted in the news feed:)
    Although I am especially fond of your entries about Brooks, I have no advice for you. You see…. I also have a “creative” boy on my hands and I am always on the look out for a productive approach to handling his ‘colorful’ moods. So, although I would love to rattle off some parental wisdom, you should know that not only do I enjoy your stories, but on some level, I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone. So, please keep reading your how-to books and please continue to post your findings. Happy Holidays and keep us posted on the “elf”… I’m very curious:)

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