Tantrum City

In a matter of days, my angel baby has disappeared!  Ok, that's not entirely true.  The vast majority of the time she is still her sweet self, but at sporadic moments throughout the day she will suddenly do a 180 switch and turn into Little Miss Terror!  Last night was our worst episode yet.

Burke was out playing racquetball with friends and I had just put Daphne in the tubby when she decided there was nothing more she wanted in this world than the measuring cup I was using to wash her hair.  There was no warning, no build up to this tantrum, but an instantaneous shriek accompanied by the horrid bucking she does when she's not getting her way.  I was barely able to catch her as she threw herself backwards, but she still got a little bump on the head.  This led to the unleashing of her full baby rage; flailing arms, thrashing feet and indignant, strangled screams, all the while I tried desperately to keep her from getting submerged in the water and got completely soaked in the process.  Who knew an 8 and 3/4 month old could be so strong or so angry?

I have never had to discipline Daphne in all her little life (she has been that good!), but this tantrum was ridiculous and so I picked her little nakey body up under the arms and faced her towards me while she continued to flail and told her in a firm voice, "Daphne Marie, this is unacceptable.  You stop that right this minute!"  And she did.  I expected her to cry because of the stern, no-nonsense "Mom" voice (I didn't know I had one of those!) I was using as I had seen other babies do when they are scolded, but instead she just scowled at me bitterly and then freaked out some more when I put her back in the water, so that I had to end tubby time early and get her calmed down.

What the?!  Where did this come from?!  That look of defiance from my sweet little baby has been playing in my mind since then.  It terrified me, because I believe it was a sign of things to come, and I don't know what I'm going to do.  I feel like my transition into motherhood was so smooth and the last 9 months have been so wonderful, but I have been downright spoiled.  What am I going to do now that I have to discipline?

It's clear that Daphne is smart and she understands way more than we give her credit for.  Obviously, we need to be setting patterns and teaching her what is right and wrong even at this young age.  I know Burke and I will work through this and figure out a loving, but firm way to teach our little lady how to behave, but I am just feeling a little overwhelmed by the task ahead - because I know from this time on, the teaching will never end!

Do you have any parenting books that helped you learn to set limits and boundaries?  What do you think is a good approach to disciplining at such a young age?  I am open to suggestions!


Chelsea said…
One piece of advice my mother gave me was to make sure the child cannot harm themselves while throwing their tantrum but to walk away and let them do it. Also, if they throw a tantrum in the store you end the shopping trip.

I'm still waiting for one of those. Andy has thrown plenty while at home.

I've also read that you need to set limits for your child even if they don't want to obey them, because they'll be happier knowing they have boundaries and rules. They can't set limits for themselves yet.
{cam}.{haley} said…
I agree with Chelsea!

Colbie has thrown some pretty epic tantrums and, as long as she's not hurting herself or anyone else, I just walk away and ignore it... or pull out a video camera. :)

When we set limits, we usually give her one warning and then give her time out if she does it again (only 1 minute, since she's 18 months old). I thought there was no way that she would stay put but she understands that when she's in time out, she doesn't move. When it's time to come out, I explain to her why she was in time out and then give her a love. It's very effective!

Welcome to the disciplining stage! :)
I am definitely learning as I go and Ayla can throw some fits. She has learned "my look" haha though! That and putting her in her crib for one minute is all I've done. Isn't it so hard when they're so darn cute! Good luck to the both of us;)
McCall and Eric said…
I love the book, "Parenting With Love and Logic" Awesome Awesome stuff! And I must mention that the terrible two's are incredibly real...so enjoy the sporadic tantrums until they become a constant thing!