It’s begun – from toddler to mini dictator!
Pumpkinella is now 2 years and 7 months old and has really come into her own. We can have sensible conversations where we’ll discuss the things she’d like to eat, what games she’d like to play and how her day has gone when I pick her up after returning from work.
Or fun things she’d like to do during the day. During these conversations I’m amazed at her rate of development. She’s already worked out sarcasm, to my detriment and often makes comments where I’m left wondering which adult she’s learnt them from. In truth I’m embarrassed to say she sounds just like me though so it just makes me laugh.
Having raved to others that Pumpkinella is such a sweet child and there’s no ‘terrible’ in her 2nd year of life; I’ve recently been sent crashing down to earth with a thud as my daughter has altered her behaviour to make sure she always gets what she wants.
Some of the things often shouted at me are:
- ‘I WANT IT NOW MUMMY!’
- ‘Go there, GO there…GO THERE MUMMY!’
- ‘I don’t want to eat my food, I WANT AN ICE CREAM CONE/ I WANT CHOCCIE BUTTONS!’
- ‘I DON’T LIKE IT THAT ONE!’
Hopefully you get the gist by now. Pumpkinella knows what she wants, wants it at a specific time of her choosing, and is not afraid to send it back if it isn’t the way she wants it.
I can just about cope with all of this, well only just! There are two things she’s just recently started doing that have resorted in my bringing out Jo Frost books of techniques for handling toddlers. One thing she has begun to do is to lash out when frustrated. I’ve been accidentally head butted, punched, slapped and kicked during her rare but lethal meltdowns. At first I was in shock and just went along with it to see if ignoring the behaviour would make her snap out of it. However, the behaviour tended to escalate to the point where I’d have to call in reinforcements in the form of Daddy (something I don’t like to do when I’m trying to be the boss-lady).
In comes Jo Frost to the rescue with the ‘naughty corner’ exercise. I can completely understand that it’s not for everyone as it’s very hard work and requires a lot of willpower from the parent(s). Also, Pumpkinella is 2 years old and some might argue that she’s too young to understand what she’s doing. My feeling is that when you have a child asking you if what she’s doing is naughty and then laughing in your face when you say yes, then continuing the behaviour, well you can tell at this point she understands right from wrong.
Before resorting to the daughter corner, I try and explain to Pumpkinella that her behaviour is not nice and makes mummy sad. I explain why it makes mummy sad and then tell her about the consequences of not changing her behaviour immediately. If she lashes out because she wants something then she will not get it until her behaviour changes. This works 80% of the time thankfully. She’ll agree with me that it’s not a nice thing that she’s either doing or has done. She will then go a little quiet and start another activity.
The point of all of this is that I want to raise a happy and well-adjusted child with a passion for life and will change the world in her own special and awesome way. I don’t want to raise a toddler who terrorizes others, lashes out or shouts at people to get her own way. Her mind is developing so quickly at the moment that I understand that much of the behaviour is her just trying to make sense of her environment. She is exercising her newfound independence and understand her boundaries. These will in turn help to further develop her personality and as such can’t really been seen as bad things. Instead, I choose to see this phase as the shaping and reasoning phase requiring guidance, support, and lots of hugs and kisses to help her transition to the other side.
Thank God for Netmums, Mumsnet, and other sites that have helped me to see that this is a perfectly normal and excitedly phase in Pumpkinella’s life. Finding the right tools to support her will make sure she flourishes and becomes the gamer-changer I’ve believe she will be.