Toddler Talk: Learning the Language of a Three-anger
I've been learning another language lately.
(and no, it's not just Spanish on duolingo... though that's been fun too!)
It's called Toddler Talk.
My daughter has definitely embodying the "three-anger" attitude these days.
I'm refusing to call this stage terrible with all it's moodiness, bossiness, confusion on what she really wants. It's a time of explosive growth and I'm learning to simply listen.
I chose to work with teenagers as a teacher because I felt that age group was misunderstood... and now I'm drawing those parallels so clearly with my toddler. It's a period of such massive learning, independence and a lack of communication skills.
For example, these all happened this week.
Recently, C has started taking up yelling "Stop talking!!" when there are conversations happening around her. On the surface, how disrespectful, right?! As adults, we make it all about us (seriously, how self-centered are we?) Top tip, stop making your kid's behavior about you and your life will change.
I started diving deeper every time she said this. First, I taught her to say "Excuse me" (at least that sounds better when we are in public so I don't feel 52 eyes on me). Then I started asked questions and analyzing the situations. I discovered that it was really a call for attention. She wanted us to talk to HER, not each other (luckily she did eventually find the words herself, she said "Um excuse me. Stop talking. Talk to me." when we were having dinner one night). We are working through understanding that adults to talk to each other, but lightbulb moment. It's not always what it seems.
Let me keep going...
Since quarantine, I've been craving the outdoors or at least getting out. of. the. house. Seriously, don't make me spend more time in here than I know we will have too... unfortunately, it's been really hot and C is not a fan of heat, but we are making it work.
While playing outside happily, she suddenly had a COMPLETE meltdown about going in the house. Just an explosive, out-of-nowhere full-blown irrational meltdown and was yelling "Go Inside!!!". As soon as we got inside and shoes off, she told me she was hungry and wanted a snack.
Instead of being able to just have the words outside, she's associated eating with her little table in our kitchen, and melting down to get inside was one step closer to the food.
Oh man, this is like the longest, drawn-out, hard-to-lesson yet. I keep telling myself it's NOT that she is an only child, it's because it's part of development but man does it make me feel like she needs a sibling so this concept doesn't last forever.
She's definitely learning about ownership... my toys, mommy's computer, poppa's truck... but does not understand that others can use/borrow without taking possession. I suppose we call that sharing LOL.
Any time someone is at our house using "her" toys, it becomes a battle of "MINE!" and a slew of embarrassing behaviors. I've also heard that kid's use "mine" to mean "I want to see/play with that." Dang, it's painful.
I'm definitely not a parent that pushes sharing (perhaps that's why we are still stuck in this pattern) but really, does it make sense to walk over to someone and they have to immediately give you what they have just because you are there? When does that ever happen in the real world?
As the grown-up, I set the boundary "When X is done with Y, you will be able to look at it." or "you can take a turn." Newsflash: that's not always what a toddler wants to hear ... but it will be a great lesson down the road... however, lord give me strength during the months we learn it!
(PSST any books or resources that you know that are helpful on any of these topics, please reply and let me know!)
This week, try to listen. Read between the lines. What is your child REALLY telling you but may not have the words for yet?
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