The unpredictability of toddlers

Life with a toddler is unpredictable; you never know what you’re going to get.  Some days I go in to get her out of bed and she’s mad at me for getting her up.  Mind you that she’s been hanging out in her crib for the last 20 minutes talking herself awake then singing and playing with her doll.  She wants to do a set amount of pretend play in her crib before I can get her up.  If I attempt to do so before she is finished, she is not happy.

Then other days I go in to get her up and she is 100% chipper.  This morning, for example, I heard her saying to her doll, “Doll, did you wake me up?”  Then she plopped doll in the corner of her crib and told her that was a good idea.  She was happy.  She was thrilled.  I had hopes for a good day.

My silly girl being super cute and happy today while singing a song she made up.

You see, some days she is happy to entertain herself while I get stuff done like cleaning up breakfast dishes, getting myself ready and doing chores.  Other days she needs my attention no matter what.  She whines about wanting to play with me (and I do play with her; I just can’t play with her constantly).  She whines about wanting to watch an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  And other days she is somewhere in the middle.  She may be happily entertaining herself and then out of the blue it all goes south.

Right now, in fact, she is running around with “The Little Mermaid” book pretending it is my blog and she is reading it.  Talk about cute!  Now comes a break for some whining to ask for more Goldfish crackers.  You never know what you’re going to get.  The whining ended and now she is happily chatting to her photo magnets on the refrigerator.

I’m pretty sure every parent of a toddler (and maybe any age child) can tell you these things.  You never know what you’re going to get.  It may be a happy, contented child.  It may be a cranky, unhappy one.  It just depends on the day, the hour and the minute.

Sometimes I think about the way that my life has changed with this child.  It’s changed in more ways than I could ever tell you.  There are lots of good parts.  And they definitely outweigh the difficult ones.  The kiddo makes me laugh, she makes me smile and she makes me love.  She makes me want to cry tears of overwhelming love and tears of frustration — sometimes all within 10 minutes.  So I long for her to be more predictable.  Can’t she be easy to satisfy everyday?  Can’t she be happy with whatever I have planned for us every day?  Nope.  Am I satisfied everyday?  Am I happy with whatever I have planned everyday?  Nope.  It’s part of being human.  I’ve just learned through the years how to control it more and be more on an even keel — or so I think (you’d have to ask my husband to get the real story).

And, of course, I understand a good portion of her unhappiness these days come from wanting to be more independent than she can be.  She wants to call the shots and do things, but she’s 2. Some things she just can’t and shouldn’t do.  Some of those things make her angry.  She wants to take her shoes off by herself and says no to my offers of help.  But, then she’s angry when they won’t quite come off of her feet.  Two minutes later, however, she’s running around the house with her Minnie Mouse sunglasses upside down on her face and singing.  You never know what you’re going to get.  Because there are other times when I offer to take her shoes off and she sits down and happily waits for me to do so.

Life with a toddler is unpredictable at best.  Every day is different.  Every day is the same.  We have different attitudes and activities from one day to the next.  At the same time we maintain our routines and schedules to keep things running smoothly and happily.   It’s unpredictable.  It’s ever-changing.  And it’s great — 80 percent of the time.  The other 20 percent?  Well, in the grand scheme of things it dims pretty well.  I’m guessing (and hoping) years from now when I look back at this age, I’m not going to remember near as much of that 20 percent as I do of the 80.

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