I now understand what people mean by the “terrible twos” after I brought my young toddler to a friend’s baby shower today. I was humbled as a parent today, and as I type this post, I have had to re-edit and repeatedly click the “backspace” button to delete many of the profanities that have naturally left my fingertips so as not to offend you (I deleted the entire first paragraph). My personal advice at this moment in time: do not bring a young toddler to an event, such as a baby shower, that is located in a non-baby-proofed, expensive home.
If I would have had a spare second to capture a picture for you of what today looked like for me, in a nut-shell, it would look like this:
The baby shower was located in the home of a very wealthy individual – filled with lovely furnishings and a beach cozied up to Lake Michigan in their backyard. Guess what else was inside of this lovely home? Low bookshelves filled with expensive books and breakable objects, a real stone floor (which promises to crack open the head of any toddler that trips over their two “left feet”), un-gated stairs that separated many of the rooms, open wall outlets…the list goes on. It is a home that seems straight of out the MTV show “Cribs” (at least for this medium-sized city that we live in). It is a home that my toddler would destroy within seconds (or vice versa) if I even so much took the time to blow my nose.
I swear to you that my child is actually the sweetest, happiest little nugget I’ve ever seen, but my experience and perspective is limited only to homes that are baby-proofed and homes in which she is free to run around without me needing to become a complete “helicopter parent.” I let her walk around at the baby shower (trying not to be that annoying mom that everyone realizes should have found a babysitter instead of bringing her toddler to a baby shower). But when it came time for the mom-to-be to open up her presents from her family and friends, I needed to pick up my daughter and set her on my lap during the process, but I was met with the worst tantrum(s) from my young toddler (16-months) that I have seen (my little girl loves exploring).
- Guess who didn’t want to sit down and watch the mom-to-be open her gifts? My toddler.
- Guess who thought every present was for her and ran to grab the unopened gift bags? My toddler.
- Guess who screamed in such a way that you have thought she was being water-boarded when I picked her up? My toddler.
The scariest part is that I know this is not yet the worst to come of tantrums. I don’t have a clue as to what is normal at this phase. It feels too young for discipline. The main problem is that I don’t have a clue as to how to approach this (aside from ignoring the tantrums per the advice of her pediatrician).
I have realized that I need to pursue this next phase with the same diligence as I did with the newborn and infant phase – I need to read parenting books, conduct expensive research, and get a grasp on what kind of parent that I want to be to my toddler, and develop strategies for how I will make that happen. It is time to reprogram my brain.
For starters, I have purchased the following books on my Kindle:
- Love and Logic (Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six), by Jim Fay and Charles Fay Ph.D
- The Girlfriend’s Guide to Toddlers (The Girlfriends’ Guide to Toddlers), by Vicki Iovine
- What to Expect In the Second Year ( What to Expect the Second Year: From 12 to 24 Months (What to Expect (Workman Publishing), by Heidi Murkoff
I will post with an update on my progress in the next month or so.
Wish me luck.