Parent friends seem to have so many opinions and so much advice to give about how to deal with a newborn. From what essentials you’ll need to buy, to how you’ll
never get them to sleep through, there’s far too much on offer. But when it comes to dealing with a little independent toddler?……..silence! Perhaps it’s because after that first year of raising a child, you realise that no matter what plans you had for your parenting style, your toddler’s plans are entirely different. You really aren’t the one in charge here…
So advice is perhaps a little redundant. But a little warning never hurt anyone…and with almost a year of dealing with independent toddler behaviour, I thought I’d share some things you might like to prepare yourself for – even if you can’t do a darn thing about it!
Wow, I actually have choices! (No, nah, nope, no…)
I’m not sure when it happened, but suddenly everything was ‘nah’ in our house. It was swiftly joined with an exaggerated shaking of the head and a hand in the face (how dare you offer me strawberry yogurt – you know I stopped liking that yesterday!)
Is choice really always a good thing?? Which brings me on to…
I’m too grown up for a buggy now (I’m going to make every shopping trip hell on earth)
For me, this has proved to be the most difficult development of our toddler stage. Yes, of course toddlers want to run around and explore. And yes, that’s just lovely – when they’re in the great outdoors or the confines of your home. But out shopping? Actual hell on earth.
I can’t recall the amount of times I’ve had disapproving/ worried glances from strangers concerned that my toddler is standing up in her buggy (after unstrapping herself) and stamping her feet. Or those times I’ve had to try and get her strapped back into her buggy whilst she’s planking/purposefully slipping onto the floor whilst SCREAMING. And I’m not really just talking about buggies here – shopping trolley seats, Trikes, car seats, reins, holding hands…too independent for any of it apparently!
Or they may want to push the buggy themselves…
This week we resorted to putting her in the trolley section during a trip to IKEA, whilst we piled up shelving, plants and fruit bowls on top of her – it was the only thing we could do to stop her running around the store and picking up (smashing) everything within her grasp. A shop assistant came over to tell me that we should be careful. You can imagine my reaction. Shopping trips are few and far between these days.
Deep breaths people. Deep breaths.
I can dress myself, you know (you’re never leaving the house)
The process of getting my 22 month old daughter dressed in the morning usually goes something like this:
- 7am – toddler comes in to show me that she’s put her shoes on with her pajamas. She wants me to fasten them.
- 7.30 Time to take the shoes off (tantrum)
- 7.31 Whilst putting on the vest top, toddler puts both legs back inside one of the legs of her pajama bottoms
- 7.32 Mum takes pajama bottoms off (tantrum)
- 7.33 Mum tries to put leggings on. Toddler wants to do it herself (tantrum). Mum lets her
- 7.36 Mum takes leggings off as they are back to front (tantrum) and puts them back on the right way (whilst tantrum continues)
- 7.37 Toddler insists on putting on her own socks and shoes. Mum tries to put hair in bunches whilst toddler is distracted.
- 7.38 Toddler realises that Mum in sneakily trying to do hair (tantrum)
- 7.39 Mum puts slide in hair instead. Mum takes off shoes (tantrum) and puts them back on the right feet.
This world revolves around me (I own you)
The best thing about having a toddler is watching them develop and become more independent. But any parent will know that with that new-found independence comes a fierce defiance that can test even the most relaxed of us…Suddenly toddlers don’t see why they should have to drop everything at your whim – didn’t you realise that this is their world and you just live in it??
I hold my hands up and admit that on some days I avoid visiting a park with a play area because I just can’t face the tantrum that I know will come when it’s time to leave. On other days I have to sneak treats into the trolley at the supermarket to avoid a meltdown over not being allowed to have a bag of chocolate buttons at 8am. I also went through a period of keeping the Play-Doh tub hidden, as it just wasn’t worth the torrent of tears that came with putting it back away (usually at the point she started to eat it).
Trying to reason with an angry toddler is pretty much impossible, so it’s true what they say – Choose. Your. Battles.
On the flip-side, toddlers are hilariously funny, endlessly entertaining and ridiculously cute. So not every day is so hard!