Friday, March 30, 2012

Of toddlers and tantrums

Oh my darling Rocky-bear

You are bonkers. I mean that most affectionately, of course.

Some days, your need to control everything around you makes me laugh. Some days it makes me almost cry. Some days it makes me want to tear my hair out. And other days I love that you are observing so much of your world and trying so hard to understand it.

Honestly, I have never ever seen anything like some of the tantrums you have lately. And I can see them coming. Usually I do whatever I can to avoid them - like not presuming to do anything on your behalf. You are so gorgeously, stubbornly, exhaustingly independent. You have to get the weetbix from the cupboard, and the milk from the fridge. You have to pull your own chair up to the bench, and take the milk bottle lid off yourself. You have to get your own spoon from the drawer and carry your own bowl to the table.

You have to choose your own clothes, put on your own undies, do your shoes yourself, get your own water, walk down the stairs yourself, climb into the car yourself, do your own seatbelt, clean your own teeth, bring your own pjs from the bedroom... and on it goes. You most definitely will not do something you don't want to do.

Sometimes I forget - because I'm so used to doing things for you. Other times I want to avoid the mess. Mostly, we're in a rush. But it's always a bad idea to 'help'. I have to wait for your invitation to "do it together". You never need help, of course: that would mean sacrificing some independence. But I know that when you say you want to "do it together", that actually, you need your mummy.

And when a tantrum hits, far out it hits. You can scream with the best of them, my noisy, angry little man. I know that it's just you trying so hard to control your environment so that you feel safe and secure. And I understand it. But the challenge for your daddy and me is to work out how and where to draw the line. We need you to understand what is acceptable behaviour, and what isn't. We need you to understand that while you're the centre of your own universe (and rightfully so!), you need to be aware of others, their needs and their feelings. And we need you to learn that you don't get what you want by screaming for it (although the social change activist in me fights hard against that and screams right back that sometimes it's the only way).

At least once a day Hamey says: "Rocky cwying again Mama" :)

You 'rewind' things. Literally. All the time. If I touch something you don't want me to have touched, you grab my hands and swipe them - 'untouching' them. If I accidentally sit on your bed at nighttime before you have asked me to sit down, we have to go back to where we were before we walked into the bedroom to give it another go to get it right. If the cupboard door is open, when you think it should be closed, you have to close it and then re-open it. At least you haven't tried to 'unpeel' a banana... yet. I know of other toddlers at your age who have done just that!

But most of the time you are a funny, delightful, and delighted boy. You are enamoured with life, people and the world around you. You sing your heart out at any given opportunity, and say hello to strangers passing by. You are caring, and affectionate, and need far more than the average person's daily quota of cuddles and kisses. You smooch smooch smooch all day long. You crash tackle Hamey in your quest for cuddles. You speak a mile a minute and every single day amaze me with what you can say, but more so, what you understand.

Some wise person once said that the very traits that make your toddler sometime challenging are the same traits that are admired in adults. And I hope you don't lose your spiritedness, vigour, energy, and protestation. You need these in this world.

I love you so so so much. You're frighteningly clever. Terrifyingly loud. And I am so so proud of you.

Mama xxx


  1. well done for embracing his spirit and not trying to break it like so many others. i admire your patience

  2. So beautifully expressed Jen. You made me smile at the 'undoing things' bit. If I do something for Grace like put on her shoe, she'll take it off and do it again herself too :) Such independent little things!!


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