Mine! NO! Cry!

A few weeks ago (specifically last weekend aka “weekend of hell”) Syd entered what I had been dreading;  The Toddler Phase, the Terrible Two’s, whatever you want to call it.  I prefer to call it the “Mine! No! Cry!” phase as this seems to be the only three things she can say or do with any predictability for the majority of her hours in her tiny little toddler day.

It’s mind-numbing. It totally broke me down last weekend, we all have a limit, she pushed me to mine which I think is fairly high…she has been known to scream at us all day if you remember correctly at a very young age.  But now we know this rage was probably associated more with her painful ears, and not some developmental torture like the phase we are in now.  In this phase everything pisses her off, toys are my nemesis, especially when they don’t do what Syd wants them to do.  But other situations are just as baffling.  A typical scenario:

Mom (holding up a sippy cup): Sydney do you want your wa-wa?
Sydney (difiantely):  NO!
Mom (turns to walk way, in a sweet tone):  OK!
Sydney (crying, stamping feet):  NO MINE NOOOOO MIIINNNNEEEE!
Mom (confused, turns to walk back, sets water in front of Syd, in sweet tone):  Here you go Syd, here is your WaWa!
Sydney (crying stamping feet, in front of her sippy cup):  NO MINE NO MINE NO MINE NO MINE NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I haven’t really figured out how to cope other than maybe delaying starting for offspring #2 so that mommy can still have a glass of wine at 5 pm after a full day of  “Mine! No! Cry!”.  I started reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block today, and while the theory makes sense (I too would be rather peeved if I was mad about something at work and the only thing my co-worker did was try to distract me with another issue, project or topic) I’m not sure I can walk around speaking like a caveman to my daughter when she is yelling at me.

At this point, I do wish that the word “mine” was never a part of the English language.  I would also like to have choice words to the little snot who taught Syd that word cause it’s not like Royce and I run around the house going “No! Mine!” as we grab things from each other all night long.

Anyways I’ve been reassured that challenging toddlers become strong adults, and I cling to those consolations with desperate hope.  I think the most reassuring thing said to me at this point about these years was from a co-worker:  “If it’s any consolation, the hardest babies/toddlers seem to grow up to be the easiest school-aged kids.  And, besides, your strong-willed child may have you wishing for an easy one right now, but one day the easy kids will be working for Syd”.

I wonder if anyone has ever studied this??  It would be interesting to know…

Until then if you have any tips to get us through this phase they will be extremely appreciated!  So far the only thing that can sometimes work is if I mock her.  This morning in the car she was doing her pre-tantrum frustrated little whine/grunts as she struggled getting her shoes off…so I started to make the same sound…and miraculously she stopped.  I did the same thing when she was crying as we were in the car running errands… three fake (loud) “whaaah’s”  from Mom in the front seat shut her up pretty fast (and helped Mom release frustration too!  a win-win!).  I guess it’s annoying for her to listen to it from the other end as well.  teehee.


  1. I’ll be interested in the advice too. We’re squarely in the Terrible Twos tantrum fest. I generally just try to ignore them, make sure he’s breathing (he tends to cry so hard he ends up holding his breath) and just let him cry and scream it out. Mostly he’s just gotten so defiant lately, really starting to test boundaries. Most people say it gets better when they can communicate effectively but then I’ve seen some things saying this stage can last till age 4 or so. I really hope not!!

  2. Yikes, I just wrote my own novel:
    Nolan was definitely not the happiest toddler on the block, so to speak. Stubborn and prone to meltdowns, we often felt defeated as parents, and frankly, at a loss for what to do. I can’t give great advice, as we never discovered any magic tricks or keys to suddenly creating a easygoing upbeat kid. A common mistake we made was trying to ‘talk’ to him, verbally, calmly ‘reason’ with him – too much talking. It doesn’t work. We learned that if we were somewhere public, we had to go. If we were home, and the meltdown/tantrum occurred, it was straight to the bedroom for a time-out/cool-off period ( a minute or two) if the tantrum was carried on. More action less talking on our end is what we learned. After a major fit, I’d end up with him on my lap in the rocking chair for snuggle; I learned that the tatrum/meltdown seemed just as distressing for him (if not more so) as it was for us. Sydney is still quite young and still learning a lot quickly, which might be a factor; often seems that the tantrums were worse as kid was learning something. The hardest thing as a parent I think is to not lose perspective; to not get so angry or frustrated ourselves that we miss seeing the struggle that they’re going through. Discipline is sort of another issue…. and a whole new challenge, and Sydney is probably a little young yet, but I also wish we would have figured it out a little earlier for Nolan. It sounds totally hokey, but we’ve had decent luck with the 1-2-3 Magic book after a friend recommended it to us. I thought I knew what to do, but it turned out I was a bit wrong… just reading the beginning was helpful as it gives specific guidelines. Fortunately it works, and if it works for our kid, I’m pretty impressed

    We decided to wait for kid #2 and stay focused on #1. Nolan is now 3.5 yrs, is incredibly more self controlled, verbal (and potty trained), and far less prone to the tantrums. Though we didn’t intend on quite the spacing, I think it worked out for the best for us. #2 is on the way, 11.5 wks – and we’re able to really look forward to the arrival.

  3. midwestkids says:

    Congrats on #2 Leslie!!! I think we are going to have to space a bit too. The popular thing these days it to have them back to back but I just can’t handle Syd and a baby at the same time (especially if she is acting like this!).

    Funny you mention too much talking cause that is exactly what we tried to do… sooth through sing-songy words or distract. And its exactly what the books tell you not to do. Whoops.

    Last night I tried some of the ideas from HTOTB and they actually worked! She was frustrated with her cart that wouldn’t turn the way she wanted it and I responded to her pre-tantrum with “Cart! Bad! Cart! Mad!!” and she actually stopped fussing! Yahoo!!

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