Friday, November 8, 2013

Toddlerhood Lessons

Surinne is now 2 and 1/2.  She is ever the busy little girl, and definitely keeps us on our exhausted toes!
Being a toddler has is it's advantages for this momma!  As you know I am fully capable of managing a toddler in a much more civilized manner (most of the time) than I am a baby.  So I am still very glad that she is now bigger and, should I say "wiser?"

1) Potty training: This has been a struggle for most of us involved.  Surinne is still scared of most potty's and sometimes even the one at home...but is out of diapers during the day (thank goodness!) and working on being sure she goes right away when she feels the need.  She has resorted to telling anyone in the house "good job!" after they use the potty.  So if you happen to be the unsuspecting subject of her pleasure you will at least get a good laugh!

2) Clothing and Cleaning:  Love having Surinne pick her own clothes!  Being an OT has it's benefits in that supporting the child building their own independence comes pretty naturally for me.  Empowerment comes with choice..."Surinne, do you want this red shirt or this blue shirt?" is an easy example.  This also applies for me in the daily struggle to clean and keep my floor somewhat visible beneath the mountainous pile of toys.  "Surinne, you have to clean up one of these.  Do you want to keep your blocks out, or your puzzle?"  She chose, then we cleaned up the one she didn't want readily while we sang.  I figure at least it's a start!

3) Helping: Surinne loves to help!  (Thank God!)  She understands that when I say we are going to make pancakes/cookies/even wash dishes she will need her stool.  She loves to measure and dump ingredients (everywhere but the bowl), scrub cups (spill water all over the counter), and even "mix, mix" the batter/dough (splashing everywhere)!
Mostly though, I think she just likes to lick the beater...

4) The look: I feel like this really is an advantage...You know what I mean.  THE.  LOOK.  The yeah-right-you-are-crazy-mom look!?!  Of course this elusive face is yet to be captured by my camera, but trust me, I know it well.  Why is this an advantage?  Well it makes me check myself!  Am I trying to get by with a little white lie, as in "No games on the iPad cause momma lost it?"  Or am I trying to trick (oh wait, I mean bribe) Surinne into obeying my commands, "Surinne if you do this, you can have this?"  Either way I need to be sure that I am accountable for what I say.  This means that no means no.  Right away, there is no waiting, no testing.  Just say no, correct/take away the item/dangerous thing being put in mouth, and move on.
This does remind me of the convo I had with the husband a long time ago.  I may have been still pregnant or Surinne may have been just days old.  But it basically went like this.  "I can take care of a baby, no problem!  It's just like training a dog, and I've done that twice!"  Lessons learned in dog training gave me methods on redirection, quick corrections, and what Cesar Milan refers to as "calm, submissive."  Well in my world the things that worked with my dogs were use of a spray bottle, and a loud secondary noise (usually an old soda can filled with coins/pebbles).  As you may suspect we really didn't spray the baby in the face with water (which she actually likes, go figure), and we didn't shake a loud can by her ear.
But being accountable and following through with what I say has been difficult.  We are learning slowly as Surinne has finally remembered the "no hitting" rule yesterday by verbally recalling why she spent time alone in her room.  It's progress.

She really is just a goofs!  What lessons have you learned from your toddler/baby?  I'd love to hear about them.  

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