Routine changes, as I’ve said, are hard to deal with both for the toddlers and the adults involved. Even the slightest change can cause a ripple effect that will last for weeks.
When my mother in law visited us, not much changed. We went out to eat a bit more. The babies had more attention. There was an extra person with us. That’s about it. They still napped at the same time, ate at the same time, went to bed at the same time. They were still allowed the same things, and not allowed other things.
Still, as they learn that not all things will always be the same, it shifts their definitions of their lives. If their grandmother is suddenly here, and not living in the phone, for instance, then maybe they are now allowed to eat lollipops for breakfast. It’s worth a try, right? If one thing has changed, perhaps everything has changed. And what better time for rebellion than when there is an outside audience present?
We overcame many tantrums this past week about minor issues that I never thought I would have to fight against. Which video we would watch, when we would watch it, when they could have chocolate milk, whether or not they were allowed to stand in front of the fridge and pick out any number of miscellaneous items and throw them on the ground. Issues I thought we had conquered months ago were now apparently up for rediscussion.
And since discussions with a toddler invariably end up in fish-flopping on the floor in anywhere from one to four minutes, we suffered an inordinate amount of timeouts and count downs this last week.
As frustrated as I became with them (and I did become very frustrated – it’s one thing to have your children act out around you, it’s another when they do it in front of someone you respect and, let’s admit it, are trying to show off for), I tried desperately to remember that two year olds not only have the right to test boundaries, they need to test boundaries. A huge amount of toddler growth comes from taking a leap of faith and overcoming boundaries. How else would a toddler learn how to climb stairs, or go potty, or use a fork? Things that were previously impossible become possible everyday for them. In their minds, lollipops for breakfast should be no different.
As much as I admire their gumption and persuasive arguments, as much as I see the toddler logic ticking away and making sense, I am afraid there will not be any lollipops for breakfast. There will never be any lollipops for breakfast.
Because I said so.
And here, at 27 months, the “because I said so” begins.
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