Thursday, November 7, 2013

PTSD Toddler Style

Before I even begin, here is my disclaimer. Yes, I know Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is nothing to joke about. It is a real and debilitating condition for those who suffer from it. 

That said, I believe I have uncovered a variant form of the condition: Post Tantrum Stress Disorder. The prime demographic for this particular strain is a child within the toddler years. Symptoms include spontaneous outbursts referring quite briefly back to the topic of a tantrum that has taken place earlier in the day or week. For example, one toddler may have had a meltdown about not liking Daniel Tiger anymore and wanting Madame Blueberry instead for his/her morning viewing pleasure. This resolved itself within a matter of a few minutes. Hours later, in the car, the toddler is overheard exclaiming to his/herself, "I don't like Daniel Tiger, I want Madame Blueberry!" To note, the car is in the Target parking lot during said outburst miles away from any possibility of either show being viewed. 

There you have it. PTSD - Toddler style.

It's crazy the things we hold on to long after situations resolve themselves. We relive our tantrums, our disappointments, and our failings, when in the light of Truth, we are long past them. Living with an eye on those moments can be debilitating as they keep us from focusing on the grace of the moment, on the goodness that surrounds us and fills us in the present. It steals the joy our hearts should be experiencing. There was no reason for this toddler who shall go unnamed to be dwelling on the tantrum over television choices. We had just been on a lovely, reasonably fun outing to Target. Instead of thinking on the joy of the impending McDonald's visit which is our tradition, said toddler was having a PTSD episode.

While it made me chuckle a bit and gave me the inspiration for this post, it also made me sad that this was such a strong memory. I hope as a mother I can downplay the tantrums and celebrate the joys better so it is the joy these kids remember. I hope as a woman of God I only take the life lessons from my failings without letting them shape my self worth or my memory of self so that I can live and love boldly in the grace, joy and blessings of the moment. After all, children learn what they live, so I'd better make a habit of living in grace and joy instead of dwelling on disappointments.

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