So I got up this morning and heard Amy fiddling with her doorknob — usual behavior. I returned to my room to feed the cat, and when I turned around I saw Amy in the doorway — which startled me so much I screamed a little. I guess she’s learned how to open doors now. I’m glad she waited until she heard me up and moving around. I wonder how long that consideration will last.
What do you do when your toddler goes from fine to screaming-almost-going-to-puke-hyperventilating-upset with almost nothing in between?
It might be when she is so afraid of accidentally turning on the fan instead of the light that she sobs and screams and won’t go to the potty, even though a few days ago she was so excited to be able to climb up on her chair and turn on the light all by herself.
Or when she says a word or makes a request that sounds a little garbled, and one of us doesn’t understand it on the first try.
Or when she has to take a bath, even though she used to be fine with baths, and there doesn’t seem to be any one particular thing that bothers her about baths now, and she can’t explain what is so upsetting.
She went to bed a half hour ago and my shoulders are still all hunched up with the adrenalin from the stress of the awful sound and the demanding mystery and the I-don’t-know-what-to-do.
After some reflection (and quiet space!), you think about how toddlers don’t move linearly from dependence to independence, but bounce back and forth — the drive to do by themselves is strong, but so is the need for mama and daddy. If the upset seems vague and general, look for a vague and general reason.
Amy has been fussy and whiny and demanding lately. Normal two stuff, I’m sure, but also still annoying. She has little concept of patience (of course) or waiting until mama is done with the first thing before asking about the second thing, and what she wants changes every few seconds, anyway. And her first impulse when she gets upset is to scream, flail, and throw things. Normal, like I said. I’m not really expecting much different at this age.
We keep doing timeouts, talking about it being okay to be frustrated, not okay to throw things, and other strategies for dealing with / expressing the frustration.
Last evening, something came over her and she had a marvelous time being happy and cheerful and playing by herself, occasionally running in to show us or tell us something, like twirling the skirt of her dress with a big smile. It was delightful.
Another thing she does that I think is really interesting is that she plays with language sounds. She changes the first sounds of words, or the middle sounds, like substituting “wapple” for “waffle.” She can and does say “waffle” and knows which one is correct, but she clearly enjoys playing with switching the sounds around. I wonder how much is that I sometimes do that (I don’t think I do, but perhaps I do), how much is related to the “I like to eat” song where you substitute different vowel sounds (i.e. “O loke toh oat”) each verse, and how much is just her personal interest. Probably some combination.
I wrote a tune called Thursday Morning once. Of all the days of the week, Thursday just sounds more calm for some reason.
Anyway, today began with sourdough pancakes.
Then I saved WAV files of one side of a cassette I burned to the computer the other day, while Amy played mostly by herself, checking in with me every so often for a touch and to wish I were done.
Then we went to the music room, where I got my dulcimer out of the case it’s been sitting in since December 6’s gig. Funny that I was finally in the mood to do that, starting last night, and Amy coincidentally asked me to play it this morning, while I was still on the computer. Of course we had to play the bowed psaltery, too.
Then we looked at pictures (the scrapbooks are in that room, too). I put together a new spread in the current album while Amy played with some of my tools. I ought to get some kiddie scissors for her — I have a small pair that she uses when I can watch her carefully, but they are awfully sharp. She is fairly cautious with physical things, so I don’t worry a LOT, but still.
We put the new mattress pad for the sofa bed into the laundry and played and read books in the basement.
We ate quesadillas (Mark made tortillas on Sunday), apple slices, carrots, and (just for Amy) frozen green beans.
We played in the snow.
She’s napping, and I’m posting pictures on Ravelry of the things I’ve knitted or crocheted.
I need to have days like yesterday, with a big rowdy playgroup outing and lunch with friends and another friend who came over for help with a knitting project, but I also need days like today.