Dealing with a Toddler

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You might be able to relate or think, what the hell?!, this kid is crazy. Or even better, this Mom is a superhero.

I’m sure everyone has the same day to day issues when it comes to raising children. More so when you are raising a toddler. In my case, I have a gorgeous little girl, who challenges me every single day. She manages to challenge me mentally, physically and emotionally.

My mental stamina has to be so strong at times, that I think losing it is the only way to cope. If there is no mental state to challenge, then it should be easy right? Joking, or am I.

She started talking full words about a year ago and stringing those words together to make what she thinks, are sentences. It all makes sense in her head and heaven forbid it doesn’t makes sense to us parental units. When she first started talking and I couldn’t understand her, she would literally throw her toys. No joke! She would walk around the house and look for stuff to throw. It was cute at first. Just imagine this little human being so frustrated, walking around still talking, waving her hands in the air and throwing her toys, and ours. However, as she got older and lost her cool like that it was not so cute anymore and became expensive for us replacing our toys aka phones and iPads. I identified that it is an issue and should be dealt with before it gets out of hand.

I tried just about everything my mother and other parents advised. From doing the whole naughty corner approach, taking favorite toys away aka blackmail, ignoring her, reprimanding loudly, talking kindly, the list goes on. You cannot imagine that such a little person can have one of the strongest and largest personalities. Much bigger than herself, which is too much for a 2 year old to handle. Therefore all my attempts failed. After months of trial and error, I realised that I have to handle the matter delicately. Me pushing one direction and my daughter pushing back even harder was not a solution.

As an adult, you really cannot understand what goes on in that little mind. How could you? Their whole perception of the world is at another level. I mean they are only 2 feet tall. I just had to get into her head, down to her level. And that’s exactly what I did. I would go down on one knee, face her at eye level. At first she didn’t understand what I was doing, but eventually trusted that I am trying to help her. I would let her take my hand, walk me to what it is that she wants. Ask her to point and I would walk in that direction. For weeks it would be like that, her pointing and me trying to figure out what she wanted. I did’t get it right the first time or the second time, but we both knew that I would eventually understand what she wanted. What I was doing meant the world to this little girl. She no longer felt frustrated, which meant she stoped throwing things around.

Now we are at a stage where she has to pick her outfit for the day. I am all for individuality, expressing yourself and also to be in control. However, she feels the need to wear a dress everyday. It has to be a certain color, length and size. Her and I would spend a good 15 minutes choosing a dress in the morning for that day. I tried selecting an outfit the night before, but she changes her mind the next day. The challenge is not about wearing dresses, the challenge is catering to her strange needs and not having enough dresses. All I can do to assist her through this, is a very large and strong cup of coffee before we start the selection process. Sigh!

She is a busy little girl, so much so that I wonder where all her energy comes from. Not only is she a bad sleeper, but she doesn’t eat as much as I think she needs. From the moment her eyes open its all systems go. There is constant movement, continues talking and when she’s not talking she’s singing. Her actions are always exaggerated, so walking is really running, bathing is swimming, eating is a food fight… get the idea. There is no taming this animal. The best I can do is to try and keep up. This normally consists of several cups of caffeine, that get cold halfway through.

Everyday my little precious girl has so much love in her heart, that it just overflows. The hugs, kisses and I love you’s come at random and with so much passion. Moments that are burnt into my soul and I will cherish them forever. This makes the daily challenges seem so small in comparison.

I’d like to leave you with this; Toddler a**holery is a normal part of human development—not unlike puberty, except this stage involves throwing food on the floor and taking swings at people who pay your way in life. For parents of toddlers, it’s a “you better laugh so you don’t cry” period. – Toddlers are assholes: it’s not your fault by Bunmi Laditan

by Odette van Jaarsveld

I am a Mom to an independent, beautiful little girl and a strong, cuddly baby boy. I also have the privilege to be a wife to a very intelligent, handsome man. My life is filled with so much love, joy and very busy days....sometimes nights too.

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