Sudden toddler’s temper tantrums and sugar intake a myth?
I’m not so sure. For, if there ever was any doubt on the correlation of sugar to a child’s meltdown on my part before, it has all disappeared now based on our recent encounter(s) with Spud’s sudden inconsolable tantrums which appeared out of nowhere.
While I’m not overtly strict with Spud having some chocolates, ice-creams or cookies every now and then (especially when consumed in her peers’ birthday parties), given her used-to-be appalling food intake, it never had occurred to me that sugar + Spud =major meltdowns.
Although I can’t be a 100% sure if sugar intake was indeed the culprit for her sudden meltdown, the turning point for me was when I started to notice a causal relationship between sugary stuff and her 9.0 temper tantrums on a Richter Scale; the recent one being when she consumed almost half of a double chocolate fudge brownie cheesecake which she happily took off my plate while we were visiting a friend for lunch.
This meltdown was, unfortunately one of the worse we have seen. While we knew that she may be a little bit tired out (nearing afternoon naptime), the meltdown was completely over the top. It happened whilst we were in the car, just as we were leaving the vicinity of our friend’s place. Silver Bullet was driving, we were on our way home and out of nowhere, Spud started going berserk with wanting to go “a little bit up” while she was sitting in her car seat. She was kicking on the back of my chair and screaming her guts out over and over and over again. When Silver Bullet stopped for gas, I took the opportunity to check on her, and as soon as we drove off, she would not let up! Ignoring her did not help, talking to her nicely to calm her down did jack-all and raising our voice as a warning sent her over the edge. Her screaming spree probably made her pee in her pants, and that upset her even more. It was as if she was being possessed. Spud went berserk!
The worse part of it all was that we were stuck in really heavy traffic with nowhere to go! To add icing to the cake, her screaming upset Squirt and he joined in the screaming session as well.
In desperation, Silver Bullet inched to the side of the road in the massive traffic for me to get out of the car in my attempt to let Spud out of her car seat to let her go pee (god knows where!). By the time I get to the back seat, Spud was already wet.
It was chaos. Motorbikes were cutting corners, cars were honking at us, we were high strung and Spud refused to let up. In fact, she even went more hysterical when I took her out of her seat. She struggled and contorted her body, and it took all the strength I had to hold her without dropping her like a hot potato. It was made worse by the fact that we were just standing by the side of a major road. Standing right next to the car, all I could do was to strip her off her wet clothes real quick, and put on fresh underwear for her. There was no time to put on a new set of fresh clothes, and just as quickly, I had to strap her back in her car seat. The street side was mayhem and we just had to go.
Luckily the traffic had started moving. Spud continued screaming and then, 5 minutes later, she crashed. Asleep. Just like that. In nothing, but her underpants. Strapped to her car seat.
Although that was the worse temper-tantrums by far (the last one was when she was barely a year old, also in the car, but it was nothing compared to this one), this was not the first time it had happened in the recent months. Looking back, the last few occasions when she got really riled-up cranky with near-meltdowns were the several occasions we were invited to birthday parties. During those occasions, she was allowed to eat anything and everything the parents of the toddler served.She certainly was on a little sugar high. But as it was nearing her bed-time, we attributed it to her being over stimulated and plain tired.
The last melt-down confirmed my suspicion. It could be a myth for all I care, but, this time round, I am putting my foot down. NO.MORE.SUGARY. STUFF. FOR. SPUD.
Well…within reasonable limits. And certainly, NOT double fudged brownie cheesecake.
As I researched on this a little bit more, I am reassured that it was not just paranoia on my part. The explanation to post birthday-cake meltdowns is this: When blood-sugar levels rise too high, the body responds by producing a large amount of insulin, a hormone that sweeps sugar out of the blood and into body cells. Blood-sugar levels may then drop so quickly, so the child may feel shaky or sluggish. Not surprisingly, low blood-sugar levels can trigger a craving for more sweets, which creates a vicious cycle of sugar highs and lows.
Glad to know that I wasn’t paranoid or crazy; but just a case of a mother’s instinct being spot on.
And so, if you ever wondered about those “surprise” post-birthdays temper tantrums, you now know why!