This is a difficult post to write. It's been floating around in my head for a few weeks because I've been trying to think of how to write it without sounding whiny, petty or ungrateful. If I do seem this way, please forgive me. I'm doing the best I can, as are we all.
flowers and sidewalk chalk (surprise, surprise... right?)
Yes, all toddlers are challenging in their own, unique toddler-ish ways (as are they all utterly delightful in their own unique toddler-ish ways), but I must say, I'm glad this little Bloom is my second child and not my first. My older son challenged me in all the normal ways and, with the perspective of having been through toddlerhood with one child, I know that, when my little one is being difficult, I haven't done anything wrong and don't blame myself. My little one is just different from his brother... and more... difficult.
What do I do about the shrieking (and pinching and biting?) I used to flinch and get upset (I still do get upset sometimes.) I assess for hunger, pain or tiredness and otherwise try to talk to him gently, with reminders to use a gentle voice and gentle hands (it's always more helpful to show a child what we DO want instead of what we don't want, right?) When it's clear he's not in distress but testing limits or communicating by screaming, I flatten my expression, turn my back and walk away -- at which point, I usually hear a little voice behind me whisper, "Gentle voice..." My response to this, of course, is to turn around and say, "Yes, very good... gentle voice," then give lots of kisses and hugs. Things have improved somewhat by using this response consistently.
this excellent article and this other excellent article, plus this article here. I found reading these really helpful, and, if you've got a young child who screams, bites, pinches, hits or kicks, perhaps they will be helpful to you, too.