Having a sense of humor helps.

February 12, 2010 at 10:35 am | Posted in Battles (aka: toddlerhood), schmoop (i.e. why I love my kid) | 12 Comments

We have a place in the kitchen which we call the “Mad Spot.” It’s right near the bathroom door, the place O was standing when we first taught him how to stomp his foot and say “I’m MAD.”

We did this partly to teach him to recognize when he’s frustrated, but also to give him an outlet for his anger, too.

He thinks it’s great fun, and generally if he’s in the midst of a tantrum and we ask him “do you need to go to your Mad Spot?” he’ll get up, stomp his foot, and giggle.

I think I’ve also mentioned this before, but in case you missed it – O is COMPLETELY BUTTON OBSESSED.

When I say obsessed, I mean ADDICTED.

Now, when he’s upset, he doesn’t want his bear. Or hugs.

Pressing a button though? Totally helps.

And he’s tall enough now to reach the dial and buttons on the dishwasher. And he takes great pleasure on turning the dial.

Which, you know. TURNS IT ON if it’s locked.

Wednesday afternoon, in our we-didn’t-get-ANY-of-the-blizzard-but-daycare-decided-to-close-to-avoid-all-the-snow-anyway afternoon home, when I was trying to put together a ridiculously complicated casserole for a family dinner, and O was overtired and needed my attention… he must have turned the fricking dishwasher dial 150,000,000 times.

Initially, I removed him from the dial, told him kindly (but firmly) “no,” and offered a toy with buttons.

Then I told him “no” and removed him from the dial.

Then I told him “No.”

Then I yelled “NO!”

(Yep. I yelled.)

He kept doing it. As my patience waned, my voice got louder and louder. And I got more and more annoyed.

I finally hit my limit when he pressed it the 150,000,001 time.

I was really irrationally angry.

Angry enough that I needed to say nothing.

Angry enough that I just dropped my head and took a deep breath to calm down.

And damned if my kid didn’t regard me calmly.

He went over to the Mad Spot.

He stomped his foot and said: “Mommy MAD!”

And then he smiled.

Which completely undid me. I couldn’t help it, I giggled. And he giggled too.

And I stopped the process of cooking dinner and I went over and hugged him.

And believe it or now, the rest of the afternoon went pretty smoothly.

I’m really glad that O can make me laugh.



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  1. That is adorable! I’m going to try the “I’m mad” thing with M.

  2. Nice story, pretty much captures toddlerhood in a nutshell. They drive you crazy–and then they get so damned CUTE!!

    The mad spot is a good idea.

  3. Wow! I really like the mad spot idea. And your story is also a reminder (which I often need) that just because your child lacks the self-control to actually stop what he’s doing, doesn’t mean he hasn’t gotten the message.

    Toddlerhood is hard.

  4. Great story. We needed a new dishwasher anyway so I sprung for one with hidden controls for that same reason.

  5. That is so precious!!

  6. I’ve been there so many times…so frustrating. I wish mine made me giggle like that more often. I’ve learned that sometimes mommy just needs a timeout. 🙂

    Love the mad spot idea.

  7. That’s one awesome kid : )

  8. That is both genius and adorable!

  9. That’s so cool.


  10. too cute. Love the idea of the mad spot, you are one clever and creative mom!!!!!!! I need one too LOL

  11. that’s an awesome idea, because I find myself unwinding a lot more these days, twin toddlers are “trying” and mine are BUTTON obsessed too…

    I like the Mad Spot, more for me than for them, I think. 🙂 LOL

  12. That’s cute! Great idea, too. I can see that I’ll need that with I. She bangs her head on the ground when frustrated, or arches her back wildly if held at this time.

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