Sorry, I Can't Hear You. My Toddler Broke My Ears

NOTE: This is a republish of a favorite post of mine. It's dedicated to the good ol' days and those parents out there with littles just exploring their voices and volume control...

OK. So my ears aren't really broken. But if they were, I wouldn't be upset about it. Why? Because my toddler's volume control is stuck on scream.

As in, he can only let sound come out of his mouth that resembles very poor operatic singing. He Scream-Talks. Scream-Sings. Scream-Cries. Scream-Laughs. Scream-Screams... Chances are, if you are quiet enough, no matter where you are in the world, you can hear my toddler screaming about something... or nothing... right now.

The scream-scream is the norm. All day long, my kid screams. It appears that it's mostly just for fun. Out of nowhere, he will just start screaming. I seriously think it's just to hear himself. Possibly, to piss me off.  Whatever it is, he is clearly enjoying it.

I always know when it is coming because he puts his hands over his ears. Yes, he covers up his ears before he starts the toddler opera from hell. Then out comes the blood curdling, ear drum rupturing scream. It usually lasts a minute or so, from first scream to last. What do I do? When he pauses to take a breath, I will interject a NO SCREAMING! with some sore of explanation why. Then I will either ignore him, or send him to time-out.  Sometimes just to let me know he is really the one in charge, after he takes a breath/finishes time-out he will tell me in a whisper, "no screaming," before covering his ears back up for another round of scream-scream. A-HOLE!

He sounds exactly like you would imagine this guy to sound. 
The worst of it is when we are out in public. If I deny him something, say NO!, or hold him back from something, he screams. And I mean, SCREAMS until he is red in the face and out of air. Fists balled... the whole shit storm. Then to add insult to injury, it never fails that someone in ear shot feels the need to either laugh or make a joke about it. It's usually something to the effect of, That's how I felt when I got out of bed this morning. Or, I hear ya kid, it is a tough world!  I know the stranger is trying to make light of it, or make me feel better... BUT! When I am trying to pretend like we invisible and no one but me witnessed the toddler shout out from hell, comments don't help. 

FTD and I are at a loss at this point. We have tried EVERYTHING! Time-Outs, Talk-it-outs, removal of toys, ignore him... Nothing helps. I keep telling myself that this is some sort of toddler phase from hell, and any day now he will be on to some other defiant annoying activity... I even try to tell myself that this is somehow a developmental thing. That the screaming is necessary for his growth and vocal/ear development--yes, that's how desperate I am.

Unfortunately, we are about three weeks into the scream fest, and there are no signs of him letting up.  Each time FTD and I explain that what he is doing is wrong, and then ignore him from there.  Sometimes we add in a timeout. We parent. He toddlers.  Business as usual...

Here's hoping it's over soon.

Are you, or have you already dealt with the scream phase?  Any tips? Please don't tell me it's only my kid?!

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April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit