The boy has started to express himself!
And I don't just mean by screaming, although he is still doing an awful lot of that, but actually by communicating needs, wants, desires, emotions - call them what you will.
He's always been very good with his language and single or maybe two or three words together but recently, when he's been stressed and in the middle of a tantrum, Hubby and I have both taken to saying
"Tell us what the problem is. What do you need? Use your words."
This is a combination of a few things. The Baby and Toddler Calm course we went on to learn how to deal with tantrums (which isn't surprisingly chuck jam tarts at them until they shut up which is what I was always led to believe), the middle expression which is something Lemon Cake Lady uses and the last one which is something Vixen uses on her little boy, who can now say whole sentences and has been for ages.
And you know what? It works!
Don't get me wrong, it doesn't work straight away. This is the boy we're talking about here. He still cries, screams and bangs his head on stuff (really wish he wouldn't do that, he bruises easily like I do - hello social services).
However when he does eventually calm down he can now "use his words' and express "what he needs".
Evidence of which became apparent the other night when we put him to bed.
A combination of a solid bedtime routine and sheer beginners luck has meant that 9 times out of 10 bedtime with the boy is pretty hassle free.
On this occasion we said all the usual night time stuff. Sweet dreams, we love you, settle down, see you in the morning, don't wake up until at least 7 o'clock or we will be forced to ignore you & shut our bedroom door to drown out the incessant screaming for a Thomas DD (DVD). You know the drill. When, just as I was leaving the room a little voice said
No! No, no, no. What is this no you speak of?
Oh god. He understands the concept of not being something. Before it was always expressing a need for something, like food, juice, milk or Fireman Sam on continuously but never that he was "not" something.
We offered a compromise. We left the landing light on and his door open and said he could look at his books until he was feeling tired then he could go to sleep.
A bright and positive "Ok" was the response so we sneaked out while our luck was still holding!
When we came downstairs Hubby and I couldn't decide if we were proud or terrified.
"Ahhh he can understand and tell us when he's not tired" we said dreamily, very proud of another milestone in the boys life.
"Arggghhhhh he can understand and tell us when he's not tired" we screamed at each other!
Bedtime may never be as calm again.
Let battle commence.....