My husband, stepson, and 16mo daughter just moved 1200 miles away from family. We were previously living with my parents due to finances, and she saw them and my younger two brothers every day.
She has been adjusting well the past 2 weeks, but in the last two weeks she has been developing crying fits. They're not exactly tantrums. For example if I or DH leave the room (even if she can see me) she cries tears (unusual for her). Then if we take away a toy for whatever reason (it's too late and DSS is trying to sleep and it's noisy) or her favorite show is over...she just cries and wants one of us to pick her up. Just any little thing sets her off. In addition to this, she has been getting angry and telling me "NO" something she never did before we moved. In fact, she said her first 'no' while here. She doesn't seem to understand it all of the time but like if she goes to an area she knows that we tell her not to go to, she'll shake her head and look at me and say "NO NO NO NO." I am not sure if she's trying to reinforce that she remembers she isn't supposed to go there, or telling me no, she won't listen and wants to be there. She just isn't following instruction as she normally does "sit down please" "don't climb please" "please no biting". It works maybe 1/3 of the time. I know a lot of this is "typical" toddler behavior, however she only started this after we moved. Is it just a phase, or is there something I can do to help her cope and get back to being herself?
I don't know how to treat this problem as she is not ready for time-outs, time-ins (though I still do this one as much as I can), etc. I refuse to spank. She is still breastfed. She is napping well, and although she's been waking A LOT to nurse, last night was much better. She is also learning a lot of new things here that she never understood/did before we moved (such as that keys go into doorknobs, that turning doorknobs opens doors...thankfully she doesn't have the hand strength for that one yet, that pulling on something while in her umbrella stroller can move her where she wants to go, she has said 10ish new works in 2 weeks, and and is putting 2 and 2 together about how to get what she wants when she lacks the word (ie. nursing/naptime: will ask Dahdee to pick her up, then point to the bed, and when he puts her down, she lay down in "her" spot, pat "my" spot and say MAMA.)
Is this just an intellectual growth spurt that she's processing? What is going on and what should I do? I am so conflicted whether to let her cope on her own terms and maybe process it in her own way...but I also don't want a screaming tantruming 18 month old who won't listen to me anymore in a few weeks. Thoughts? Suggestions?