The Art of Distraction

I have always known that I am not very good with kids. I am the youngest on both sides of my family, no little cousins, no little siblings. I babysat some, but not much and it was always kind of uncomfortable to me. It has always escaped me, ‘what do you do with kids?’ I remember asking my neighbors before getting pregnant, “What do you do with kids on the weekends?” They laughed, of course knowing how difficult it can be to entertain these little (sometimes) hell-ians.

Jon on the other hand – SO GOOD WITH KIDS!! Really, I think he could be a stay at home dad. Not that he wants to, but I think he would be great at it. Granted, he has a HUGE immediate and extended family. Cousins out the wha-zoo, and by the time he was 10 or 12, his sisters were having kids. He’s always been around kids. When we first had Marielle, I was scared to death of her. What to do, when to do it, how to stop crying, even how to change a diaper – I had no clue. To be honest, Jon didn’t really know what to do either, but he wasn’t scared AT ALL. There I was freaking out and here he is saying, “let’s try this” or “she’ll be fine” or “go lay down, I’ll take care of her.”

I thought I was getting the hang of this and I *thought* I was getting good at averting temper tantrums. Apparently not. When I know a tantrum is coming on, I usually try to rationalize the situation (I know – what I am thinking? Rationalize with a 2 year old?) and explain to Marielle what is going on and what I expect out of her. I try to be calm, talk to her, and believe it or not, I ask her if she needs a hug. IT WORKS!! I stop, look at her and say, “do you need a hug?” She has even been in the middle of a tantrum and said, “I need a hug.” It’s so sweet, like she knows she has had enough and gone too far.

But these terrible two’s tantrums are out of control. She doesn’t know what she wants. She requests something, then about 3 seconds later, when I have started to fulfill her request, she changes her mind and screams like I didn’t do what she said. I don’t get it. She wants to get in the stroller, I put her in, she wants to get OOOUUUTTT!! RIGHT THAT SECOND!! Tears coming, wailing voice, the whole bit.

It’s really difficult to deal with her like this. I give her what she wants and she still throws a fit. And for some reason, this kind of thing doesn’t happen to Jon. When is watching the kids, it doesn’t get out of control like it does with me. He says the key is to divert her attention elsewhere. He is THE ARTIST OF DISTRACTION. It works so well, he thinks quickly and can calm a kid down in seconds. I am sitting there watching with my jaw on the floor going, “????????????”

This is my weak spot. It’s thinking on your feet, and I’m not good at it. I start to get aggravated and I can’t think straight. I suddenly can’t think of anything to distract her, all I can do is keep trying to finish what we are doing. And that makes it worse. And I lose confidence and Marielle walks all over me. I’ve got to get a hold of this soon. These tantrums are driving me nuts.

What do/did you do with your kid/s during terrible twos??? HELP!!


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