Today, DS (19mos) is a kiddo I've not seen yet. I don't know what's happened! I mean, I work, so maybe I'm just not seeing him enough during the week. But I swear, today he is different.
He learned to say NO!
Two days ago he learned Yeah. Which has been adorable. Yeah to everything; cause, you know, he's a happy helping kiddo.
But today... No. Everything was No. And not necessarily with anger, just No, and then walking away from me. OMG!
Today he also seemed to learn to open doors. His dad said two weeks ago that he walked into the bathroom, but I've been testing this and so far, nothing. Until today. Every door. Especially the outside door. Oh once he realized he could open the door and walk outside, that was it for the rest of the day. Inside-outside-inside. Have to get some special door-knobs! (anyone know if those work? My family swears by them, but FB responses are with little confidence).
AND today he decided he wasn't going to sit in his "high-chair" anymore, and walked right past his chair to MY chair and climbed up; pitched a total meltdown (which I've also never seen.... probably because I've never Not allowed him something before) when I didn't allow it.
What happened? I mean, he was in a good mood all day. Just all of the sudden, he's realized he can say NO, not do what I say, and do totally something different?!?! I'm not ready for this. I haven't instituted any "punishment" and have no experience with toddlers this age -- only when they're much older and you can actually Talk to them and they understand you :-)
Are your kiddos doing any of the above?
My guy's a little older than yours, but, YES, he does all of that! I'm not going to pretend I can give advice to you, b/c I'm in the thick of it as well, for the first time as well. But, I can tell you what I've been doing . . . maybe something will help! DS has meltdowns, but they're not too bad, & I'm learning how to avoid them. He also says NO often. I think it is hilarious (although I try not to laugh!!) when he says no & just walks away. Like, "take that, mama - what can you say now?!"
Anyway, here's what we do:
NO - If he says no as an answer to a question, I try to respect his decision. If he says no as an answer to a request I've made, I respect it if it's OK or not going to hurt anything. If it is something that needs to be done now, I say, DS do it or Mama do it - he usually chooses to do it himself rather than letting me do it.
DOORS - I put these on the doors that were 100% off limits (basement stairs & a closet). For others, we just let him have access. For outside doors, we leave the heavy door closed & he can't open it. He can open the screen doors, but can't usually get to them. I have explained that doors are not toys. He pinched his fingers once & remembered it for a few days as a precaution, but still plays with them. If I remind him about pinched fingers, he seems to get it.
MELTDOWNS - I really have no idea how one is supposed to deal with these. I try really hard to just avoid them! This just takes practice (& unfortunately, you have to have some to see what causes them). I offer lots of choices throughout the day - which clothes to wear; what to eat for lunch, snack; what books to read - then when a choice that he doesn't want to do comes along, he doesn't feel so put upon b/c he's been in charge of other stuff all day. I make sure he eats - I feel like meltdowns happen more for him when blood sugar is low. I try not to get into time crunches - DS does not know how to hurry & making him rush usually causes a problem & ends up taking more time anyway.
If a meltdown does occur, I usually just let it happen. I stay near but kind of leave him alone. I let him know I can help if he wants me to, but don't try to push myself on him. It is hard.
DS recently started the "do it myself" thing - he wants to do EVERYTHING by himself. It can be frustrating for both of us! I really try to let him do as much as possible & explain that some things are not OK for him to do yet (taking things out of the oven!), and that some things are for him to do with Mama, but not alone yet (squirting toothpaste on toothbrush). Some things take forever when he does them himself, but I'm really working on my patience skills!
Good Luck! I think a lot of stuff this age is just listening to your LO & giving them some respect. They just want to be heard & have a chance to do things, too! It is hard to watch your baby grow up right before your eyes, though, isn't it!!
Erin - mama to my happy little guy, born April 09
and my sweet baby, born July 12
His father has DS during the week in the afternoons and has had Terrible times this past week. I've been thinking....is he not paying attention to him? Because this kiddo lives for his schedule; definitely wants to be included in every decision and normally loves to help with everything. So when his dad says.... meltdown... I just assumed he wasn't giving him something he needed when he was asking for it.
Sorry Dad.... I witnessed it this weekend. The kiddo is changing, we have to change with him. It is hard for the first time to just witness so many changes. I hate using the word "willful" - because while that's exactly what it is, I think that's something that is totally part of development. I get that :-) I just hadn't seen it yet! haha
Thanks for the advice blu. Those were the door-knobs exactly that I was thinking of. Time to go shopping!
Yep DD is about 18 months and is starting to show signs of this behavior. Right now she can't open our front door if it is dead bolted, but I don't think it will take long to figure it out. It has a different type of door handle (not round) so I think we will put something like this on the top of the door this week:
And a sliding door secondary lock.
I also need to get the round knob covers for some interior doors that I need to keep off limits.
We are just managing the meltdowns right now...wish I had more advice for that :) I do find that most of DD's meltdowns are in the evening when she is tired. We are transitioning to one nap and it hasn't been easy!
(DD1 Oct 2009), (2011) , (DD2 and DD3 June 2012)
I am kind of proud that my child has his own will and does not do as I tell him. I don't want to have an obedient child. Yes, life might be easier that way, but also less fun and challenging. I know that if he says know, I can either try to take the time to explain and convince him to do otherwise, or I accept his no, or I have to deal with a tantrum.
If he does things that are dangerous or wasteful or annoying to me, I try to work with him. For instance, I found it way easier to let him play with the doors for 2-3 days and then usually his interests wean and he on to something else. If he wants to touch something nasty he has to wash hands afterwards, or I lock it away. If he wants to touch poison ivy, I redirect, explain, and might have to deal with his disappointment.
If he wants to sit on my chair instead of the high chair, I let him. I don't really mind sitting on a different chair. I don't see the point of picking that battle.
I found that my 18 month old responds pretty well, when I sympathize and explain (in simple and short phrases). I don't do punishments or timeouts, I don't believe in either.
And sometimes there are meltdowns and we all have to deal with it. They are not easy for anyone of us.
Mom since Oct'09. Wife to a loving husband. Expecting a little bean in May'12
Most kids at this age do this.
Some of it, you just ignore. "no" doesn't always mean "no"... it's just a great word, and he likes it. Sometimes you can say "Do you want some icecream?" and they SAY "no", while climbing up into the chair to eat it.
He's big enough to sit at the table. Just get a nice booster seat, and make it safe for him to climb up in it. He's a "big kid" now. He has one foot in the "preschool years, and one in the baby years". You just have to ride along.
As for the doors, you need to make the outside doors safe. If he pinches his hand on an interior door, it hurts and he learns. But, if he's opening exterior doors, he could be lost, seriously injured or worse. So, add a lock up high to all of those. (unless the backyard is safe, maybe he can go in and out that door.) All other doors I'd leave alone. It's a minor annoyance right now, but he'll quickly get tired of doors and move on to something else. If you let him get it out of his system, it's a shorter stage. Toddlers LOVE the things they can't have or do. Baby toys are SOOO last year.... doors are awesome! (they also love those plastic buckles on baby chairs and high chairs)
Pick ONLY the important things. If it's a hill you aren't willing to die on, let it go... it will stop very soon. But, if it's very important to you and your family, then keep working at it. For some families, saying "yes" or "Yes ma-am" is very important, so you would continue to work on that. But, if it's not a big deal that he likes to say "no", ignore it and let it run it's course.
DS started this recent transformation with two days of a high fever and general lethargy, so we were thinking he was just sick, he'll get over it. Someone suggested that it could be two-year molars, which is possible since the rest of his teeth are already in, but he has not been a dramatic teether up until this point so I'm a little unsure. But I swear there has been a quick transformation - tantruming in situations that wouldn't normally upset him, screaming, eating less, sleep all out of whack, anger interspersed with clinginess. Oddly, he also just learned to say no. Mostly he's using it appropriately, like when we offer him something to eat or to read a particular book. It's still sort of cute, actually - he'll push the object away, say no, wait about two seconds, and enthusiastically shake his head back and forth.
Seriously, this is a challenge I was not prepared for quite yet!
It's started at our house this week too! My son is just a few days older than yours, OP, and he's suddenly very opinionated and hot tempered. I mean red faced and shaking his fists at the most random things. It's so weird because my little guy is usually so happy and agreeable. Like BellyBean's DD, it doesn't help that he's dropping to one nap so dinner/bedtime have been esp. rough lately. I'm just trying to roll with it and do the "cave man" talking from the Happiest Toddler on the Block. Can't say if it's helping at all tho.
Good to hear that this happens in bursts to others. It has been a significant change! But like you all agree, I'm just rolling with it. Tantrums are good; he needs to learn his voice. I'm all for that. Not like I'm about to institute punishment or anything like that. It's just been a lot of changes in just a few days time (or really, One days time!). Ah, on to the new phase :-) Thanks for your comments that it's normal to have such an abrupt change all at once.
The doors do concern me. I'm not a fan of locked doors, even if it means just locking the outer doors to keep him inside. I'd rather a child-proofed door, so we'll work on that. He can still get out the cat-door (which is hilarious) when he wants outside :-)
The other day I refused to let her push all the buttons on the remote (and chew on it) and I put it on top of the dresser. She was so distraught that she bit my knee. Once she calmed down and I tried to talk to her about feeling upset, not hurting mama, etc, she kept pointing at the wet mouth mark from her teeth on my jeans and saying "Dat...dat!" (that, that) because she clearly knew she'd done something to me and wanted to address it. I told her please don't bite mama anymore because it can hurt, and that I loved her, and sometimes she gets upset and needs to just calm down.
One step at a time.
Mama to F(06/11/09) and baby boy C (06/09/11)