At some point between 18-22 months, my sweet, good-natured baby turned into a full-blown toddler. New developments accompanied this change -- noticeably a high-pitched squeal that became her fallback when she was frustrated with anything (the scooter is stuck! The blocks are under the sofa! Mom won’t let me climb on the kitchen benches!).
Now we’ve hit age two, and our world is topsy-turvy. Every day brings new likes, dislikes, and must-haves. Not only do they change daily, they’re often the complete opposite the following day. Today, strawberries are the must-have object. Yesterday, strawberries were poison. It’s hard keeping up with the whirligig of my toddler’s emotions, wants, and needs as she starts this period of new discoveries.
Dealing With Tantrums.
Nothing says “terrible twos” like tantrums. We’re lucky that our toddler throws minimal tantrums, but we have had moments when she has sat on an elevator floor in a puddle of tears, refusing to get up, and inconsolable. What’s worked for us? We’d pick her up quietly, despite her protesting and without any added drama from us, and plop her into her stroller or simply carry her outside.
If we’re at home and a tantrum strikes, it’s into the crib for a brief timeout. Timeouts allow for my toddler to calm down and gather her composure. I’ve learned that just a few minutes of quiet time can make all of the difference for her mood. It’s not punishment -- just a way to give toddlers the space and removal from stimulus they need to calm down.
Patience: The Two Way Street.
When you’re a toddler, you want everything RIGHT NOW. We’re trying to teach ours patience by not giving her everything she wants straight away. We also try to have patience with her. Age two is a tough time for kids. We try very hard to explain everything to our toddler in a way she can understand. She has to wear shoes when she goes outside, or the ground will hurt her feet. No shoes means stroller only. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, but we keep trying.
Remember That This, Too, Shall Pass.
Like every other stage, both bad and good, this one will be over in the blink of an eye. That’s why my husband and I are sure to write down some of the funniest tantrums and fussy stories with the hopes that our child will love hearing about her wacky toddler-self when she’s older.
Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of brunchwithmybaby.com, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.