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.
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?
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.