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I remember these days too, and I agree with the pp poster who said that it is a developmental rather than a behavior matter.

That said, what helped me keep my sanity is explaining in a matter-of-fact voice over the whining exactly what I was doing to get the water/snack/bath/whatever ready. I would also tell him that we were waiting, and for a while we had a waiting song (it never really caught on, but it distracted him for a while). If nothing else, you can teach her some new words or signs!

Now, at 25 months, he can say things like "wait," "bagel toaster," and recently "mama cut fruit." It's like he can remind himself what needs to happen before he gets what he's waiting for.

As for the giving in--giving water to a thirsty fussy child is a good policy, for everyone's sake! For other things, it has helped me to have a clear idea of what my son can and cannot have. If it's an OK thing, he can have it as quickly as I can reasonably get it to him, fussing or no. If it's not an OK thing (e.g., dangerous), then he gets an explanation (and distraction) and no amount of fussing can change it.
 
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