It must be very difficult to be a toddler. If you think about it, there are so many contradictions in the life of a toddler that must make things very, very confusing. This is what I repeatedly tell myself as I try to remain calm and compassionate with Blake as he navigates toddler territory.
It has been only a little while since Dylan transitioned from being a toddler to being a preschooler, but apparently enough time has passed since the beginning of Dylan’s toddlerhood that I sort of forgot just how confusing life can be during that time. If it is confusing for the toddlers themselves, then it is most certainly confusing for their parents, too. Especially during the early part of toddlerhood, when actual words are few and far between and parents are charged with becoming experts in decoding nonverbal cues and understanding the few words that our toddlers do say.
Over the past few days, I have noticed quite a few things that Blake does which illustrate just how much of a tug – of – war must be going on inside of him. On one hand, he is very independent and wants to do things himself which often exceed his abilities to do them safely or neatly. On the other hand, he often asks me to pick him up and carry him around and he also nurses (in my opinion) rather frequently. He is a little bit of a “big boy” and a little bit of a baby all at once.
One typical scene which plays out a couple of times a day is his new (self – designed) meal time routine. A couple of days ago he decided that he wants nothing to do with his high chair or with being fed from my plate while sitting on my lap. Since I am trying my best to encourage his independence when I can safely do so, I watched to see what he wanted to do. I pulled out one of our dining room chairs, and he climbed up into it and sat. When I placed his plate and cup in front of him, he started to eat, all the while looking rather pleased with himself. Of course, he also spills quite a bit of his food and he stands on the chair. I let the spills happen and clean them up later. The standing, however, is a safety issue, so I ask him to sit. If he does not sit after being asked to do so a few times, I help him down off of the chair as he throws a fit.
Sometimes it seems as though toddlers have the best of both worlds. At other times my heart breaks because it seems as though Blake is torn between wanting to be a big boy and wanting to be a baby. Taking time to think about how tough it is to be a toddler really helps me to summon patience and compassion when I need it most.