Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's a Toddler Life for Me!

I am continually fascinated by my day to day life with my toddler.  He makes me laugh, cry, and (want to) scream all in single day.  The way he lives life (as with most toddlers) reminds me to slow down and explore the flowers* when my instinct tends to be that of a "rushing" nature.  He is teaching me how to play cars and trains and would really like me to figure out how to make all the necessary noises that comes with it.  He shows me how to dance like you don't have a care in the world (which ends up looking a lot like Elaine's dancing from Seinfeld).  He is also reminding me that an art project really isn't about the end product, but rather the creative journey you go on to get there (and boy, do I need to be reminded!). 

He is also giving me ample opportunity to learn about patience.  Like most parents of toddlers, we have the typical tantrums going on.  I have read the book "Happiest Toddler On The Block" and can't recommend it enough.  The book hasn't made the tantrums completely go away, but it has taught us how to navigate through them so there are fewer tears, less screaming, and a happier outcome sooner than we would normally be able to achieve. 

As if dealing with tantrums wasn't enough to test my teach me patience, communicating with Superman moment to moment also requires a whole lot of it.  He is in the phase where he mostly speaks in one (maybe two) word sentences.  We have been working on sentences like, "Mommy, cheese please." or "Daddy, car please."  But most of the time it is the thing he wants and then an added please when we ask him to "ask nicely". 

When he is frustrated, the one or two words go away completely.  He wants to grunt or whine his way to whatever he wants.  Our current solution is to utilize Dr. Karp's techiniques and say, "You sound really frustrated." and then we add, "can you use your words to tell me what you need/want?"  Although we are a long way from it working every time, we are seeing some success.  In fact, he is a conversation from yesterday.

S: Whaaaaaaaa  (who is standing on a chair eating his lunch at the island in our kitchen)
Me: S, can you try and use your words and tell me what you need? (I am changing T's diaper)
S: No
Me: No as in you can't or No as in milk? (no has some how come to be the word he says for milk)
S: Spoon?
Me: You would like the spoon?  (they are also on the island, but out of reach)
S:yeah, spoon.
Me: Can you figure out a way to get the spoon without my help?
S: (No answer.  He stands there for a minute, then decides to get off the chair, move it closer to the spoons, climb back up and grab both his plate for lunch and the spoons.)
Me: (glowing from ear to ear) Great problem solving kiddo! S wanted the spoon and he figured out how to get it without Mommy's help.  Great job!

He may have a lot to teach me, but this type of conversation reminds me of the magnitude of my job as a mother and how this one skill, of solving a problem on your own, is just a small fraction of all that I have to teach him.  How cool is that?

 *or rather the leaves that he currently calls flowers


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