My DS is 18.5 months and in the past couple of weeks has just ramped up the tantrums to an unbelievable frequency and intensity. I'm totally lost as to how to handle it. Before, I was dedicated to meeting all his needs, AP style, but now I find myself feeling used and manipulated while "giving in" to his tantrums.
I try avoiding his triggers and this works sometimes. I've upped the number and frequency of his snacks and this seems to help sometimes. I've pushed his nap earlier and tried to make it longer- maybe this helps, I dunno. As for helping ME get a handle on things- I need more sleep and to not have DS attached to me all night- so we are nightweaning as soon as he gets over a cold he's had for a while. I'm not a patient person and I frustrate easily, but since DS was born I've really worked on this and I *thought* I had this aspect of my personality under control. But this is a whole new level of frustration that I find really tough. I need more time away from DS and DH and I are working on this as well. I know this is a part of the issue.
His triggers are weird things- if he sees the guitar he NEEDS me or dad to play it for him and will freak if we don't. He can't play with his ride-on car anymore because sometimes (unpredictably) he will just freak out sitting on it and want us to push (backbreaking, bending over) or pull it (it's almost broken from a rope we attached to the steering wheel) instead of using it himself. Same with his pull toys. KEYS...omg the f-ing keys. If he sees them he wants them but it's impossible to hide them when we are going into and out of the house/car. The mop and broom- he sees them and he NEEDS to have them and drag them around the house, leaving them in gross places like his bed. Ugh. And other things like that.
Other tantrums, like when he is frustrated with something he can't do or things like that, I can handle- I help him out and calm him down and that's ok I can deal with those.
My problem is, I'm not sure if I should ignore the "I want" tantrums (even Dr. Sears recommends this) or what. I'm not sure I CAN ignore it- the crying drives me insane and makes me soooo irritated. How do I handle the really irrational stuff and when he wants things he can't have. I feel like giving in is just teaching him that tantrums get him what he wants. And I end up resenting him and feeling manipulated and used. I try the whole "validation and identifying his feelings"- you know saying "You want the keys but you can't them. You're angry." etc- but this does NOT work to calm him down. If anything, it makes it worse.
Some background- DS just exploded verbally in the past couple of months and can say short sentences and understands pretty much everything we say. He is really, really bright- can spell and read some words, knows his alphabet, can count from 1 to the 50s, he loves reading books. I stay home with him, he still breastfeeds a lot, he eats alot. We don't do junk foods at all. He's always been a pretty crappy sleeper.
Anyway, please...ANY words of advice or wisdom here. I'm losing my sh*t. I've ordered a bunch of books on toddler stuff- The Emotional Toddler, Playful Parenting, How to talk so kids will listen...some others I can't remember. But they haven't arrived yet.
HELP ME before I run screaming into the desert and never come back!