Monday, October 21, 2013

Kennedy: the sour patch kid

You know the commercial, for sour patch kids.
They say "first their sour...then their sweet"?
That my girl.
When people say terrible 2's are..well..terrible I thought yeah, they aren't so bad. Ive raised my nieces at the age, but it isn't THAT bad.
Kennedy was different.
After I had Kensley something snapped. She wasn't my 24/7 snuggly,laid back girl.
She was still snuggly but when prompted with something she didn't want to do, she turned into this child I didn't know.
I remember many times calling my friend, husband or mom bawling after leaving a store, restaurant, or doctors apt just defeated.
"maybe you should put her in school" "is that normal?" they would say.
I spent so many sleepless night, crying & reading every thing I found under "2 year old with tantrums"
She would scream, & scream & scream. Many nights during bedtime {when they were the worse} bring herself to hyperventilation.
I was more than embarrassed when out in public, or over for a playdate.
People would give horrible looks & say the most hurtful things. I was always amazed on what was said to me by a complete stranger. The word "brat" & "can you believe that kid" said to their significant other in the grocery isle would leave in a bawling mess out in my car for at least 20 mins.
I started being consumed with her bad behavior. & embarrassingly now admit it took over thoughts of her awesome behavior. Which if I had taken time to look at, would have led me to how to deal with her tantrums.
I would look to my other mom friends for something, anything to tell me this was normal.
Their toddlers had tantrums no doubt that every toddler does. But Kennedy?  Hers were different.
So one night while typing in different things into google, a page of "autism tantrums" came up.
I read the list, she was doing more than half of them.
I could barely believe what I was reading.
The next day we went to the Pediatrician. & When I brought up? She looked at me & laughed.
"Tara she DOES NOT have Autism" I rolled my eyes. Something is wrong. & When my phone died right that second, Kennedy showed her just what I was talking about.
Her Doctor sat me down, & said she was going to tell me exactly what was wrong with her. I thought to myself, FINALLY, something that will tell me WHY she is acting this way.
She looked at me, grabbed my hand & said "There is not one thing wrong with Kennedy, she is beautiful, smart, healthy & 100% normal. But, she is one thing & that is strong-willed" She gave me some suggestions & what to do when she is "too far gone" using a old wives trick,which includes splashing water to the face!
I had a sense of relief, but still had her do some in office tests of Autism factors. She didn't meet one of the characteristics.
I could breathe.
But that didn't make the tantrums stop. I was still left with this monster of a child that would come out completely unexpectedly.
Her bow fell off in the backseat where I couldn't see?
 Full out crazy tantrum.
What was I doing wrong? Obviously her behavior was a reflection of my parenting. Where did I go wrong?
I tried everything, down to spanking; which I swore I would never do. Nothing worked.
And one day I read this:
I needed to get past what was WRONG with her & it was something I WAS doing to make her this way.  Cause it was neither of those things.
I decided to read more on "strong willed children"..Some things were not for me. Something's worked like.. Holding her hands, telling her calm down & lets count.1..2...3. Its the heart with Kennedy, time out, ect. would have no effect with her. But saying, "you are being naught Kennedy, & that hurts my feelings" would work.
Kennedys behavior was a HUGE {but not full} refection of having a sister. She was everyone's whole world, when I saw that; im not exaggerating. Everyone in our families was obsessed with Kennedy & now she had to share that spot light with someone else now. So in turn we have learned that we HAVE to make time for JUST Kennedy. Whether it be taking her something like Disney on Ice or as simple as frozen yogurt. She needed that time, to know we are still here & still have time for her. & since doing that we have had biggest change in our girl.
Yes it makes things more difficult to have my child take 15 mins to come down from a tantrum, than the other toddler in my play group. & heck that toddler doesn't even throw a real tantrum compared to my Kennedy. But Kennedy is kind, sweet, so helping, a awesome share-er, so so sensitive & tenderhearted {she gets that from me}, incredibly funny {she gets that from her dad}
Now, over a year and a half of crazy tantrums we are 98% tantrum free.  Why am I writing about this? My embarrassment isn't there anymore. I don't cry like I used to. But mostly, to the mom googling your child's tantrums & landed here.. I want people to know your child is normal. Tantrums are normal. & while it doesn't seem like it, it gets better. So so much better.
 & If your reading this & don't have a child or do, be slow to give that side eye view or the "look at child. OMG" look at the mom in the supermarket today. She doesn't want her child acting that anymore than you do, your looks & remarks will bring her to a low she has never wanted to go to. Be kind.


  1. I needed this today. I fear this is Natalei. It's like she's all of the sudden hit "terrible 2". And we are going through pretty much the same thing. Time out doesn't work. Lightly spanking(which I hate) doesn't work. Nothing does. She laughs or keeps screaming and doing it. So I needed this! 💙

  2. Hey Tara!! You have no clue who I am! I follow your Instagram... One night I could sleep and I searched the hashtag #matildajane and I saw sweet Kennedy's pictures and loved the different combos you had pieced together. So I started following you. Anyway. I saw your post this morning and started clicking around to find your blog. I sooooo needed this. It's brought me so much encouragement in the last thirty minutes! My daughter is right around Kennedy's age I believe. And has been in the craziest fit throwing phase. I have a 4.5 year old son and I've never seen anything like this. It's nuts! And I haven't known really how to handle it. Just last week I had both kids in a store trying to buy a gift and she started throwing the mother of all fits. It got ugly fast. So I hurried both kids to check out and of course got stuck behind an older man and a transaction gone bad. He was arguing and carrying on with the cashier. And then an even older grumpier man was behind me... So I was sandwiched in... With my massive fit bomb and precious four year old. Both old men were constantly huffing and puffing remarks about it -- I couldn't hear bc she was on my hip and so loud. At one point the one checking out turned and yelled "come on laddyyyyyyy" at that point I just was trying to keep my cool, get my gift and get out. But the longer I stood there calmly the worse she got and the sadder my son got. I finally couldn't help it and tears were just silently streaming down my cheeks as fast as the could. It was finally my turn and I cried like goob even as I signed on the debit card pad. All while the older man behind me rehashed the past 7 minutes to his wife who had just appeared in line. It was AWFUL. literally my most awful mom moment. I finally got to the car and made it home but I'm not over it. I didn't know how to handle it and it especially hurt my heart for my son. He had been waiting all week to go get this gift for my husband so it totally ruined the day we had hyped up. It just sucked. Left me feeling like -- I know I've done something wrong but I don't know what. Or how to fix it. Or prevent it. Soooo all that to say-- this SO encouraged my heart. The drastic differences in my children are hard on my mind. And the drastic change Wren makes in her temperament. It hits like a tornado and then I'm left thinking-- how did this happen. What did I do. Where did it come from. Etc... But I think your suggestions on special time together will help a lot. And I have Dobsons --Strong Willed Child book but is there any others you particularly liked? Thanks again so so so much! I feel more like a human today. Til the next fit that is!! --Rachel Berry

  3. So funny that you call her a sour patch kid because that's exactly what we call Makayla. She gets the best of me sometimes and I don't know how to handle her but things are getting a little better gradually. Taking alone time with her is a great idea. We may have to do that randomly. Tantrums are so rough and I tend to not do or go places by myself with both girls because I'm afraid of Victoria needing me and then Makayla melting down...and I just couldn't handle! I'm glad she's doing better for you though and I know easier said than done but ignore those looks and what people are a great mom and no one can knock that!! Keep up the great work!!


shucks, thanks the comment!
i looove hearing from you!
-tara :)


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