02 July 2010

All I really need to know about toddlers, I learned from my kindergartener.

Our church has a little summer preschooly program that gets the four-year-old out of the house for a morning every now and again—a really great arrangement for everyone. In his absence, the 6-year-old pays a lot more attention to the 2-year-old, and observing BigBoy’s attempts to organize ToddlerDude has provided a good refresher in Life With a Toddler 101.

For instance:

1)If you talk to a toddler like he’s an actual human being (without the condescending and simpering), he’s more likely to respond as such. (This can also result in some really hilarious, sanity -saving moments when an earnest member of the two-set, playing it cool, attempts to answer in kind.)

2)The toddler dude may not totally get what’s going on, but his comprehension far exceeds his verbal expression. If you do your best to involve him in whatever you’re doing, he’ll be awfully happy to be a part of it, and he just might surprise you by rising to the occasion. Toddlers are people too, after all. Volatile people, to be sure—but then which of us doesn’t throw a tantrum at least every now and again?

Yeah. Sometimes I feel like that too.

3)A toddler’s frustrations and heartbreaks are as real to him as they seem ridiculous to you. To a certain extent, those moments in which his world falls apart deserve to be taken seriously. (This goes along with him being an actual, albeit short and hilarious, person.) Then again, sometimes the best thing you can do for him is to laugh at him, until he laughs along. People who take themselves too seriously don’t often turn out well.

4)Sometimes, you need to remember that the two-year-old is still…two. Thirtysome months ago, give or take, he was an eight-pound mass of squalling flesh, propelled into an unknown world with nothing going for him but a suckling reflex. Even if you’re able to co-opt him into creating an elaborate duplo tower, his attention span will waver, particularly if he’s frustrated beyond his developmental abilities, and in the end he probably won’t be able to resist destroying it in a fit of utter glee. And what did you expect, after all? He’s only two, and if you don’t think he’ll act his age, you’re the one who’ll end up in tears.


Gauntlets said...

>> ... you need to remember that the two-year-old is still ... two.

I have trouble remembering that my children are just children. I often expect more of them than they are developmentally ready to deliver. Once the oldest one hit eight, I was ready for everyone to act like eight-year-olds. Too bad for the baby. :P

Marie said...

Good reminder- thanks! I find it hard, as I was trained for teaching elementary school, to remember that they should act their age=)

Untamed Shrew said...

I'm probably the one in our house who should act her age.

Rebekah said...

>>If you talk to a toddler like he’s an actual human being (without the condescending and simpering)

Oh goodness. Would that all the world would read this sentence.

lisa said...

And then there are moms like me - who totally enjoy babytalking it up with their, well, 1.5yr old baby guys.

I mean he'll only be this painfully adorable little guy once. And maybe it is filling momma's need - but well, he's got his whole life to grow into a normal functioning articulate adult :)

Then he'll go study and cleave and do what he needs to do. Bless him!

But for right now he's my wittle, wittle guy ;)
U. Shrew: Sigh. Ditto :)

Anonymous said...

Whole post: So nice.

>> To a certain extent, those moments in which his world falls apart deserve to be taken seriously.

So true. I try to feebly explain it (if I read your meaning correctly, forgive me if not) as "it's not your reaction, it's your recovery that matters (most)".

Reb. Mary said...

Gauntlets and Marie, I don't know why I always catch myself expecting the toddler to act 6 and the 6 to act 10, but guilty I am!

Shrew, :P

Lisa, you sound really nice. :) We occasionally play "Baby ToddlerDude" around here too... another of the distraction techniques in my arsenal. I must admit that I can't help doing this ironically, because the dude is such a bulldozer. He thinks it's a funny game. We do both enjoy it :)

Anon, not sure if we're getting at quite the same place, but at least we're traveling congenially ;) Worlds do fall apart, but a mantra around here is also, "your response is your responsibility."

Anonymous said...

"your response is your responsibility."

Yep, better said than my feebality.