Saturday, September 22, 2007

She'll make a good boss someday ... toddler logic

(Or, Into Every Parent's Life a Two-Year Old Must Fall)

Yes, observing toddlers assert their independence is so amusing sometimes.

If we ask Nessa a question that can have a positive or negative response (I would say yes or no but she rarely simply says "no"), 99% of the time she will respond in the negative, even if it's something we really expect her to want to do (go outside, take a bath, even watching a DVD sometimes gets a negative) ... then I wait and try not to smile when I hear it start. Within seconds she's often telling us that she wants to do exactly what she just declined to do ... only this time it's her idea and on HER timing!

And sometimes this scenario plays out even when we simply invite her to do something with us.

For example:

Mom: "Nessa, let's have a snack together."
Nessa: "No thank you." (yes, she really does say this a lot now!!! :-)
Mom: "OK." And turns as if to go do something else.
Nessa: "Mommy." Pause. "I want a snack now." "Yes that's a good idea" (very much implying that it is HER idea)

I keep in mind that as long as I can creatively make her think it was her idea and it will be fun that she'll be excited and willing to do just about anything. Don't worry, it doesn't always work ... toddlers aren't THAT easy to figure out. Especially our independent, spirited, creative Nessa. :-)

And then there is the one track mind that repeats the same thing, often a request for something she wants, over and over and over and over ... often without pausing to allow us to respond to her. Or, after we get a chance to respond and it's a negative response to her request, she asks again. Sometimes her 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 10th time asking is phrased slightly differently and sometimes it isn't. Often if one of us says no, she'll ask the other one (oh yes, she already does this). Sometimes she'll make a plan that includes what we said we're doing instead AFTER what she wants and then she'll look at us sweetly and say "Okay" or "will that be okay" or "that's a plan" or "okey, dokey" or "right, mom/dad" or, my favorite, "that will be great." All of these are said full of smiles and with great confidence.

And persistence, well that is one lesson she does not have to learn. :-)

Another fun story from this past Thursday night:

Nessa was done eating and excused from the table. I was finishing at the table and wanted to talk to Shawn about just a couple of things. After literally 90 seconds, Nessa comes back towards the table and asks me something. I answer her and tell her I'll be there shortly. I turn to repeat my question to Shawn and before I could finish Nessa returned to tell me something. I smiled and replied to and informed her that I would be there as soon as I was done talking to Daddy. I turn to Shawn and Nessa asks me a question. I answer Nessa and turned back to Shawn.

Finally, patience wearing thin after trying to explain several times to Nessa that she really would have to wait I turned back to Shawn and tuned Nessa out as I said: "Why does it take them so long to understand that it will only take longer if they keep interrupting? I mean Megan STILL has a hard time with that too."

Shawn said, "Yeah, managers don't get that either."

In other toddler pleasures, we've also entered the "Are we there yet?" stage. Oh joy, I really thought we could at least get through potty training before having to listen to that question over and over and over again while going on the shortest of trips around town.

And in the "They are ALWAYS listening" category -- Nessa overheard me explaining to Shawn one night that one of the reasons to avoid fluoride toothpaste is because kids like to eat it. Nessa never ate her toothpaste on purpose before and now for the last two weeks she smiles and says "eat it" and then does exactly that whenever she is brushing her teeth. I tried going back to using the adult (strong peppermint) toothpaste instead of strawberry flavored kid's Tom's of Maine (or whatever natural brand we're on this month), and she made a strange face but she still smiled and ate it.

I smile as I write these things. These are not (unless they escalate way up) the reasons Nessa is still quite familiar with the "not so sweet" chair and the "uh-oh" song. No, those are reserved for times she outright disobeys or does things like bite her Dad when he is trying to help brush her teeth. :-( But if I'm honest I would have to say that the chair seems to be needed less and less these days although it certainly varies a lot day to day as well. We haven't even quite made it to 2 and 1/2 yet so this is good. :-)

Oh, and a word about how much easier it is supposed to be when toddlers can communicate. Well as I pointed out to a clerk in the store the other night (as Nessa was on the floor "reading" the floor mat), the problem then is that I can't pretend I don't know what she wants! And being able to talk "like a college student" (a quote from an acquaintance last weekend and certainly not my words but then again I have heard quite the stories about college students "these days") does NOT mean she can reason like one! (Then again there are those stories I just referred to). Nessa speaks quite clearly (and will now ask about words she doesn't know) and still signs too ... but she could be fluent in three languages and it wouldn't change the fact that she is a toddler. :-)

As I almost started saying a couple of paragraphs ago -- No, these are not really naughty things even when they wear my patience past thin. These are mostly just amusing toddler things ... and two-year olds really are as terrific as they are "terrible." When that favorite two-year old trait of having tantrums hits, and it certainly does at our house, I find myself having to try not to hold my breath too. I also pray hard that all of those people that say, "really, three is worse/harder than two" just had kids that were a little behind the curve!

1 comment:

Janeen said...

It's so much fun to read about Nessa and look forward to where Natalie will be in 8 months. They grow up so fast, don't they? Just curious though, is Nessa still nursing? I know she had cut way down when she was about Natalie's age, I want to say but you haven't said anything about that of late so I thought I'd ask. Natalie is still going strong with the nursing bit though the challenge will be this next week as we're in Wisconsin Dells for the Feast of Tabernacles (a week of Holy days for John's religion). Since I'm sure we'll be running around and doing all kinds of things that will require me to less accessible to Natalie (not to mention I rarely nurse public), the number of sessions will go down quite drastically during the week compared to normal. The results from this will be interesting to see. Natalie will be 21 months as of this Thursday though.