Again With the Discipline

Up until about three months ago, Charlie was basically a happy-go-lucky kid. He rarely complained, rarely cried, and almost never screamed.

But as I mentioned before, things are changing and I’m finding myself running to keep up.

Charlie has an opinion about everything these days: nap time, bed time, therapy, music, videos, and toys. At this point Charlie has two ways of expressing himself: delighted shrieks and horrendous, gut-wrenching sobs. I can take the shrieks, but when he cries it feel like someone is ripping out my stomach. I CAN’T TAKE THE SCREAMING.

At first glance you’d think that he was in some kind of pain–he’s that loud and real tears run down his chubby little cheeks. My mind races–is it his shunt? a seizure? reflux? But no. It’s just a run-of-the-mill toddler tantrum. He can’t talk, so I can’t tell him to “use his words,” so I’m working on two major concepts:

  1. Screaming will get you nowhere.
  2. Ask nicely.

At this point, for me, tone is everything. I can usually figure out what he wants, but I can’t take the screaming. I can’t. I keep reminding myself that this is normal behavior all the while feeling like the worst mother in the world when I ignore my child’s screams. Gah.

So, when he screams for a video, I tell him to ask nicely. If he changes his tone to something less shriek-y then I put the video on. If he continues to scream, then I put him in his bed and let him scream until he’s finished.

I’m also going to spend this weekend trying to put a communication board within easy reach–I figure it must be frustrating to not be able to talk.

Meanwhile, my MIL has adopted two Manx kittens and they are just about the cutest things ever. I keep going over to her house just to play with them. Charlie finds them intriguing, but then he touches them and find that they are entirely too fluffy–YUCK!



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  1. therextras says:

    I kept expecting a video of Charlie screaming…but the kitties are VERY cute, too.

    I know you will get the hang of ignoring Charlie's screams and he will get the hang of telling you what he wants more appropriately. Barbara

  2. Oh gosh no–when he's screaming I'm doing everything I can to stay distracted because I HATE IT! Sets off the mommy alarm every time.

  3. jennifer_jj says:

    Does he sign at all? My guy was very frustrated when he was pre-verbal. Just knowing the signs for 'drink' and 'more' helped him a great deal with his mood.

  4. jennifer–he has about two signs, which he's had for quite awhile, but he tends to do better with communicating when he's happy. When he's mad, it's like he's too frustrated to try.

  5. Yikes! What a tough thing to do. I think I'd go crazy–you're a bigger woman than I am!

  6. Small Town Girl says:

    Oh cuties!

    Good luck with the "training". I can't imagine how difficult it is!

  7. Gina (Mannyed) says:

    Too fluffy? Charlie and I need to have a chat.

    Good luck with the screaming. You and Charlie will get the hang of it soon.

  8. Heather says:

    My daughter, now 3 1/2, was born with a set of pipes and with 'em, a propensity to scream. Her scream makes Ring Wraiths/the Nagzul–you know the creatures I mean?–sound like Enya. Sometimes when I get the scream point-blank in the face it's like getting stabbed in the ear drums. It takes all restraint to stop my knee jerk reaction to slap the offending thing away from me. I can't image Charlie being quite that bad…yet. But I'm just telling you, I empathize with you completely. Only thing different, my daughter is freaky verbal and has been since 15 months-she has no excuses and is therefore, exceedingly lucky to be alive.


  9. therextras says:

    Ignoring = distracting self – in my book anyways. Just trying to be encouraging….

    Volume means that lots of trunk muscles are working good, eh?


  10. I LOVE that he is throwing normal two year old tantrums! This is great news! You are doing exactly what I would do. Don't give in. Get him away from what he wants when he is screaming for it. That is what we did with Abbie. It took a loooooooooong time to break her of her fits, but we are there now…pretty much.

  11. terrible Palsy says:

    Having had four kids, I expect myself to be an expert in something? – anything? – nothing? The only thing I can tell you is this, Moo's cries annoy?/bother me?/tear at the heart strings?, more than any of his brothers. I'm not sure whether it is guilt or that particular pitch/tone that his screams take – but it really gets to me.

    Good luck.