Jake’s Therapy: Practically Petrifying in Every Way

When I think of my darling little Jake over the last few weeks, phrases like “donkey’s bottom” and “screech machine” come to mind.  My normally well-behaved, good-humored, easy-going boy has become a terror. 

I have no idea what has happened, but Jake has started doing this body-arching screaming thing when he’s mad, making high-pitched dolphin noises when he’s irritated, and throwing things when we tell him to stop whatever behavior has become unacceptable.  We went to the mall a few days ago to finish up our Christmas shopping and we were THAT family.  You know the one I’m talking about.  Where the parents are frantically trying to calm their tantrum-throwing child while everyone else averts their eyes or mutters under their breath about how their little angel would never do that in public.  The reason Jake was throwing himself on the floor in the mall, you ask?  Because we didn’t get a table by the food court fountain.  Then, Greg and I had the nerve to insist that he eat something.  And after that, because we didn’t ride the escalator for the ninth time in ten minutes.  And, ten minutes after that because I wouldn’t let him drink out of a gum-infested water fountain.  The shopping trip ended in shame, Greg carrying a screaming child to the car, and the entire mall breathed a sigh of relief as Jake’s screams drifted off into the distance.

Yesterday was our feeding therapy appointment with our new therapist.  The appointment unfortunately comes in that gap before Jake is worn out enough to hold still enough to sleep but after his horns and tail have sprouted.   I had to get him out of his chair three times in twenty minutes and make him apologize to Jennifer for screaming at her. 

And then came The Moment when Jennifer turned to me and asked if I would like a psychologist to come to the house and go over behavior modification ideas with me.

All rise, and fanfare, please, while I go to the podium to receive my Mother of The Year Award.

I know that I’m not a bad mama and that every child, no matter how consistent the discipline, does morph in a gremlin every once in a while and gnaw on cords and dump all the sugar on the floor.  That said, I know we have some tweaking to do before Greg and I become completely insane and just give in because it’s “easier”.

So, last night during Jake’s nap, Greg napped on the couch, worn out from dealing with our little lovely while I ran a few tense-lipped miles on my treadmill.  I’ve realized that raising a little guy with special problems makes things like tantrums and the Terrible Two’s even harder to figure out.

For instance:

Is Jake anti-reflux medication wearing off and he’s freaking out because he’s in pain?

Are the warnings of said medication’s ability to turn a normal child into the mean version of Chucky coming true?

Is his skin bothered by the cold weather, the elastic on his pants, his new shoes, etc.

Is he unable to get enough sleep because he has to be in constant motion?

Is he developing lactose intolerance like I did at that age?

Are we dealing with the early stages of OCD?  (That concern is a real one which I’ll write about later.)


Is Jake just two and good at it?

Whatever the answer to all the above questions, I’m sure we’ll find an answer.  In the meantime, I’m done with Jake’s tantrums, screaming at me, freaking out in the car, collapsing in public, and generally being a donkey’s bottom.  I hate being held captive by the screams of a person a third my size and that I give in all too easily because I really, really want that noise to stop.  I know that consistency is the answer and even though it’s tiring, frustrating, and easy to give in just this once, I really can’t do it.  Especially since I’m pretty sure that Jake is smarter than I am.  At not even three, he’s figured out how to manipulate my words to get what he wants.  Today, after he threw a toy on the floor, I told him that he could give me the toy and keep playing, or he had to go to his room.  He looked at me, grinned, and went to his room with the toy.  Oh, that is so not what I meant and he knew it!

I fear for my future sanity on many levels and know that I have to get a handle on some of this stuff right now.  So, if you would, pray for Jake and I as I attempt to tame the monster without breaking both of us.  I love my little Donkey’s Bottom so much and I know that some rough days are ahead of us.  But, so are some wonderfully good days when the tantrums and screeching are all, mostly, behind us.

The good news is that I usually run to blow off steam, so I’ll be super-model-skinny in no time!

Since laughter really is good medicine, I hope you have laughed at some of this. And, if you are a fellow mother, please send your funny stories my way.  I could use a laugh and to know that there are others occupying my Mother of the Year podium.

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10 Responses to Jake’s Therapy: Practically Petrifying in Every Way

  1. behnnie says:

    I can’t get my little ones to stop pooping on the carpet, hiding my things, and nipping at house guests.

    But then- my little ones are ferrets, so maybe I *can’t* really relate. Hmm…

    • I think ferrets, dogs, cats, whatever are a really, really, really good preparation for having children. Because even kids poop on the carpet, hid things, and occasionally bite people who live in your house.

  2. cheekypinky says:

    Oh, you are so not alone in this.

    And at least you and Greg were *trying* to make him behave–
    that is SO much better than just letting the Donkey’s Bottom run amok!

    Jake is going to be an awesome man.

    You just get to tell these stories to his girlfriends for revenge. 🙂

  3. Dyann says:

    You want a laugh? How about this: standing on the porch with my beautiful 3yo, talking to one of my tenants, who happened to be a nanny. Said 3yo pipes up in her sweet little girly voice and says, “I get tied up and spanked!”

    Oh yes. Laugh all you want. It’s still my dad’s favorite kid quote.

    After Nanny Tenant gave me a “WHAT THE CRAP?!?!?” look, I said, “Yes, sweetheart, sometimes you get a swat on the bum if you’re not obeying Mama.” Then I had to explain that we’d recently started tying her into her pretty white toddler bed (in a safe manner, if you can believe it) so she would stop throwing clothes, toys, books and garbage into her 1yo brother’s bed…with him in it. Nanny Tenant’s only voiced concern was if there was a fire and I assured her that we loosed her bands when we went to bed. She seemed placated, but I was positive that if CPS stopped by the next day, I’d know why.


    Enjoy your laugh at my expense. Hope it helps.

  4. Brenda says:

    Mary was two and a half, and I was about five months along with Peter – pregnant enough to be showing and a little awkward, but not hugely waddling pregnant yet. We needed to get a few things from the drugstore, and we also needed to get out of the house for some fresh air and a change of scenery. I had finally gotten past the worst of my morning-noon-and-night sickness and could leave the house without an emergency barf bag in my purse (and you know that’s not hyperbole), and I desperately needed to be somewhere besides at home. It was worth braving Walgreen’s and its aisles full of wonders and delights for little girls.

    I honestly don’t even remember now what it was she wanted. It could have been anything – a stuffed animal, red lipstick, a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew. Whatever it was, SHE WANTED IT, and if she didn’t get it, somebody was goin’ down. I went through all the usual Good-Parent routines of gentle reason, redirection, humor, out-and-out distraction (“Oh look, a flashy light up there!”), firm and no-nonsense statements, and dire threats of bodily harm. These only fueled the fire, and we were at the parental equivalent of DEFCON 2 in a matter of minutes.

    She was That Kid – lying on the floor kicking and screaming herself red in the face, with me standing over her saying “You get up! You get up right now!” When I tried taking her by the hand and making her stand up, she did that horrifying thing that small children can do with their bodies, where they let their joints go all limp and floppy so that you suddenly look like you’re dragging them around by the arm. I then turned into That Mother, crouching down on the floor and hissing in a disturbing Disney-movie-witch tone of voice, “If you don’t get up RIGHT NOW, I am going to take you outside and SPANK YOU.”

    Nothing. I was out of options. I set our basket of stuff on a nearby counter, took a deep breath, and grabbed her. She was flipping around like a psychotic baby dolphin, but I managed to get her pinned – I wrapped my left arm across her chest with her head banging my left shoulder, looped my right arm between her kicking legs and locked my hands together so that she was pinned against my chest over my none-too-happy pregnant tummy. She could still kick and wail, but she couldn’t make contact. (I found out later, from our pastor who coached middle school wrestling on the side, that this is actually a valid move on the wrestling mat.) I marched her out the front door of Walgreen’s, mouthing an apology to the clerk for the basket of goods left on the counter.

    I don’t remember what happened once we got out to the car. She’s alive and relatively unwarped now, though, so I must have figured out something that didn’t involve shipping her off to Siberia.

    • behnnie says:

      “She was flipping around like a psychotic baby dolphin…” Okay now THAT is good stuff right there. I’m sorry I’m enjoying that story so much, but between baby dolphins and Disney-movie-witch voices I can picture this perfectly!

  5. Pingback: Jake’s Therapy: Sweet Jake | Back Porch Swing

  6. Yep…been “That Family”, Anna got set off by a red balloon that passed a little too close to her face in a noisy, crowded mall….she just flipped out…siren wailing. So I did what any good fireman hearing a siren would do…packed her over my shoulder, wheeled the baby stroller, one-handed with her little brother in it across the entire mall where our car was parked on the other end, strapped her into her seat (still screaming, kicking and flailing) and stood outside the car for a few minutes until we both calmed down. 5 years later…I still avoid the malls at “rush-hour”.

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