Books + Books + Books = Tantrum

Leon loves books.

I love that he loves books. I love reading to him and taking him to storytime at the library and witnessing him learn more every day.

Now that we’ve established that, his books have been the source of about three-quarters of his tantrums lately. When I tell him “you can’t take a book to daycare,” “please put your books away,” “I can’t read to you right now,” I’m met with what would be a comical display of defiance if it wasn’t ear-splitting.

When he wakes up, he’s typically in a finicky mood (which he probably got from me, if we’re being honest), so Minh and I carefully do our best to start the day off on the right foot. After Leon gives Elmo a hug, points out where the light is, and brushes his teeth, he runs to the upstairs living room and grabs a book. We tell him he can’t read his books there but can take a book downstairs, which is often met with either whining or a full-blown tantrum since he won’t be reading his books in that exact spot. This morning I was lucky and he calmed down once I hauled him downstairs and let him shut the baby gate. Sometimes Minh wakes up from the screaming and helps me calm him down.

At night, we read three books before he brushes his teeth and takes his sippy cup of water to his crib. If we hesitate too long after the third book, he picks out another one and throws a tantrum if we don’t read it. He could spend an hour at a time reading (and has, during some of our board game afternoons), so we’re adamant that he only reads three during our bedtime routine.

I don’t want to take the books away. It’s not like a pacifier — he needs to love to read. I also don’t want him to walk all over us. We’re at least consistent, but setting boundaries is harder than I thought it’d be. And it’s only the beginning.

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