Dealing With Toddlers and Their Many Phases
October 18, 2013
It’s Saturday morning and we’re heading to the grocery store as a family of three. It’s been one of our favorite activities for the past few months. Rooney loves riding in carts, we get to run errands together as a family, and it gets us out of the house without spending money (that we weren’t going to spend anyway).
This time it was different. As we enter the store and I attempt to put Rooney in the cart, she flails and starts to scream. I wasn’t prepared for this, but I try to be quick on my feet. “Oh, look! There are tiny little green carts Rooney can push… how cute.”
Rooney starts pushing the little green cart. Kelsey and I quickly decide we’ll divide and conquer: One of us follows Rooney around the store and the other plays Supermarket Sweep with our grocery list.
I feel like I’ve been ranting about Rooney’s misbehavior’s a lot lately, and I don’t mean to. I talk about the tantrums as though they happen so frequently that she’s a terrible child. That is not the case at all. She is the sweetest little girl. But as with all toddlers, they are ticking time bombs waiting to go off.
I’m new to this whole “being a dad” thing, so I’m just making this stuff up as I go.
We all have things that set us off. And as a growing/learning toddler, Rooney has a lot of them, I’m finding out. Her mind is learning so many new things every day and all she wants to do is learn and grow.
She wants to push the cart in the grocery store because it’s a new skill she is trying to master. And when I try to stop her from growing and learning, she gets frustrated and her trigger is set off.
We could remove the trigger by just one of us doing the grocery shopping and the other two staying home. And perhaps for this short transition that would be best – to simply remove the trigger.
It’s a fine balance, though. Selfishly as an adult who has made grocery shopping a thing of efficiency over the years, I have to force myself to slow down and allow my daughter the time she needs to learn new things.
So, she has a shopping cart at home now and she’s learning to master that all over our main floor.
It’s so easy to get frustrated as a parent that your child isn’t moving as fast as you or is holding you up from getting somewhere faster, but sometimes it’s best to just enjoy the days we have. To slow down and enjoy watching our children grow.
I’m speaking to myself really… I need all the reminders I can get. I’m not the most patient person, but Kelsey keeps reminding me that everything is a phase, and this too shall pass.
And with each new phase we are learning right alongside Rooney. We learn how to handle tantrums in the grocery store, how to keep her busy while we’re running other errands and how to lead her through this quest for independence.
I’m not sure if it was just the mood she was in, but the other day I took Rooney to the store, just the two of us. We were on a mission for toilet paper and Kleenex. That was it. Kelsey had been home with Rooney all day and I thought she could use some alone time, so just the two of us went.
As I was driving to the store, I thought… “What am I doing? She’s going to throw a fit!” But, as we walked in past the carts, she didn’t cry and didn’t want to push them, and she followed me all the way to the paper goods aisle where I handed her the package of Kleenex. I grabbed the toilet paper, and her and I waddled all the way to the register.
She helped me hand the money to the cashier and carried the sack all the way to the van. She was so proud. It was a great bonding experience and I’m glad I took her on that short adventure with me.