Why I am loving my little independent toddler

A few months ago I wrote about my fear of the toddler years. I feel like I am now in a place where I feel a little more confident about things and what is to come. I am really enjoying this age and the changes that we are seeing. Amelia is becoming more and more independent and turning into a little person with a big personality. The difference from where she was a few months ago is incredible and even in the last few weeks we can see a difference in the way she acts, her speech and her general understanding  of things going on around her.

Of course we can see the beginning of those tantrums and episodes where she isn’t quite getting her own way but we are learning too. We have a few things in place where we will use ‘Time Out’ when it is needed and you can tell that she is starting to understand what this means. She knows the difference between our tone of voice when she has done something wrong and she is starting to understand that when she is taken away from a situation there is a reason.

On the opposite side of this I am defiantly an advocate for praising a child when they do well. I have read things which say you shouldn’t praise toddlers too much but I have to disagree with this.  Amelia is at the stage now where she wants to try everything herself and I am more than happy to sit back and let her have a go.  It is so satisfying to see her achieve something and to see the satisfaction on her face afterwards just makes my day. Cue lots of high fives and well done from us!

With this need for independence can come frustration, but I have to remember that she is frustrated because she just wants to be able to do it on her own without the help of Mummy and Daddy.  I can see the concentration on her face when she wants to put her shoes on or get dressed by herself. Any attempt at offering help is met with a ‘no no no’ which I then say ‘OK’, and sit back and watch her. I have learnt that after a little time you can then go back and she will let us help.  I always give her a little job to do though, whether that is doing the velcro up on her shoes or pulling a zip up on her coat. This way she is satisfied that she has done it and leaves the house a happy small person.

A few weeks ago we went through a phase where she wasn’t happy at brushing her teeth. It was horrible and I used to dread the time when it came to even mentioning the ‘T’ word.  It had all been going so well then suddenly she just wasn’t interested anymore. The toughest thing for me with parenting is change. When things seem to be going so smoothly they like to keep you on your toes and change everything. A couple of weeks later and I genuinely feel like I am winning at life. She loves to wash her hands so we bought her a little step to go by the bathroom sink. After some advice from my mum we now do ‘Washing hands and brushing teeth’. She will come with me, stand on her step by the sink, take her toothbrush and brush them on her own ( the electric toothbrush was a definite investment!). In between she will ask for some water for her brush which she will have and then carry on brushing. After this we wash and dry our hands and she then shows Daddy her clean teeth.

Whilst worrying about why she wasn’t suddenly wanting to brush her teeth I hadn’t considered that she just wanted to do something on her own and giving it a go alongside another activity. I now literally skip out of that bathroom every time she does it, so happy that for that little win.

It is a fascinating age that I am becoming more and more intrigued by every day. She is changing all of the time and hearing her put short sentences together is really fun to here. This weekend Granny and Grandad ( GA Gad!) came for Sunday dinner. They were there when she went to bed and when she woke up the next morning she pointed at the sofa and said ‘Where’s Ga Gad?’. I loved that she had remembered that he was there and I thought it was hilarious that she expected him to still be there the next morning.

I love seeing the level of independence that she wants to have and of course whilst it can have it’s frustrations on all of our parts, she is so happy when at the end of it she has done something for herself. Of course all this talk of independence makes me realise how little we do for her now. She will wash herself in the bath, she eats her dinner on her own, she even puts the plate in the sink afterwards! This where I realise I don’t have a baby anymore, I have a fully fledged toddler who I can’t wait to see grow over the next few months.

Bridie By The Sea

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