PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome): A powerful spell that the majority of women are put under once every month which gives them the strength of a grizzly bear, the stability of Internet Explorer and the scream of a banshee. The most common mood-related symptoms are irritability, crying for no reason, over-sensitivity (did we mention crying?) and extreme mood swings.
I’m not going to lie, like most of the female species I am prone to an unfortunate attack of the PMS bug every month and my husband can predict exactly where I am in my cycle by my tolerance levels, my ability to be rational and my temper. This usually lasts for a few days and I can laugh about it in hindsight (but not in the midst of it because hey, PMS!) as I am totally aware that I’m doing it but I honestly can’t help it!
My 2 year old has the exact same symptoms down pat! However, it’s lasting a whole lot longer than a few days! Try the last couple of months (and counting!). I was immensely fortunate to skip the tantrum phase with my big boy but the little one is making me pay by upping the ante to ten times what other mums seem to be enduring! The meltdowns and mood swings are epic. I walk on eggshells afraid of doing the wrong thing for fear of triggering a tantrum. Things that were once safe zones (like Toy Story, his bottle or a hug) are no longer considered safe zones. Sometimes they are and at other times … yeah, nah. Not so much!
Here is where my toddlers temperament and that of a woman with extreme PMS are so alike:
1. THE IRRITABILITY
My god this kid is irritable. Heaven forbid I should try to cover him with a blanket or offer to help him put on his gumboots. Attempts at helping to build a Lego tower are met with yelps of protest and DO NOT attempt to sing along to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme tune with them if you value your life! ‘No mummy! Stop it! No singing!’. Attempting to turn the page in his book and it won’t go to the page that he wants? Book goes hurtling across the room*. The rectangle won’t fit in the circle hole of the puzzle? Watch out, flying puzzle overhead!* He can’t find the toy that he so desperately decides he wants? Toys are tossed in all directions and the toy bucket is discarded in disgust*
*NOTE: These things are accompanied by screaming. Like a banshee. Banshee screaming. Squealing screaming. Whoever said boys don’t squeal have not met my son!
Dare I offer to help him? NO WAY! ‘I do it!’.
2. THE CRYING
I NO WANT IT! Cue hysterical crying. The type with the real crocodile tears that stream down their little face and tug at your heart strings.
From the moment he opens his eyes and rolls out of bed in the mornings, he cries. No, really. He stumbles out of bed crying and carries on crying for an entire hour until it’s time to hop in the car to go to Nanny’s where all of a sudden it’s like a switch has flipped and BAM, he’s happy as larry again. We go from hysterical banshee crocodile tear crying on the hallway floor because ‘Daddy looked at me!’ to all smiles and ‘Hi Gandad! Hi Nanny! Whatcha doing? Love you! Bye mummy, mummy go work now! Love you so much! See you later!’.
Deep breaths. In. And out. In. And out.
3. THE OVER-SENSITIVITY
The other evening we were playing hide and seek and he ran off to hide which consisted of him running down to the bedroom and then 2 seconds later sprinting back towards us proclaiming we had found him. To carry on the game I said to my husband ‘I can’t see him? Where is he? Can you see him daddy?’ ‘No, I can’t see him anywhere, where’s he gone? I wonder where he’s hiding’. The whole time this was going on he was jumping in front of us giggling hysterically and yelling ‘Here I am mummy! I right here!’. Of course, that is all part of the game so we carried on pretending to look for him while he jumped around in front of us laughing. ‘Is he in the kitchen? Nope, not in here! The bedroom? Nope, not in here!’.
Then suddenly out of nowhere his little lip dropped ‘I right here mummy, I not gone invisible, I right here. Mummy, daddy, I here’ giant tears rolling down his chubby cheeks. Turns out he was upset because he thought he was invisible. We play this game almost every night and the little tyke has always giggled hysterically through the charade like it was the best thing to ever happen to him.
Until then that is. Never underestimate the sensitivity of a 2 year old boy.
4. THE EPIC MOOD SWINGS
Ah, the mood swings. The swings and roundabouts of not knowing what it is that you actually want. Or you do and you’re not getting it. Wait … what do I want again? Whatever it was, I want it NOW!
So the morning crying jag commences with the wanting of a bottle IMMEDIATELY. A typical morning in our household goes like this: A bottle is offered that has been made in advance to avoid a meltdown but he still cries because it’s not hot enough, then it’s too hot, then he wants me to walk him to the lounge to have it, then his brother is on ‘his’ couch so he throws himself dramatically onto the floor, then daddy makes the epic mistake of actually LOOKING at him ‘No daddy look at me! Daddy looked at me! No daddy, no look at me!’, then he gets on the couch and I attempt to cover him with his blanket but on this day it is a mistake ‘No blanket! No want blanket!’, so I put on his favourite show ‘No want Mickey Mouse, no want it!’ so I change it ‘Want Mickey mummy! Mummmmmy!’ so I turn it back on (keep in mind that I have only an hour to get us all ready and out the door by 6.30am, so I am prone to just do whatever I have to in order to stop the inevitable fall out and make us late. Again). I then left the room so he followed me wailing that mummy needed to come back but sadly mummy had to get ready for work. ‘No work mummy! No get ready!’. Cue more crying. The entire hour. Crying. Waaaaahhhhhh! ‘No want gumboots on!’. ‘Mummy, I want gumboots on!’.
Welcome to my life.