Monday, April 10, 2006

My Toddler

My 2 year old, she’ll be 3 in July, is so different from my older child, it’s amazing. The easier my older child was, it seems the harder my younger one is. She is so incredibly attached to me and demands my attention all the time. Till this day she has only slept in her own bed a few nights completely without getting up and coming back to me. I don’t force her into it either. Most nights she eagerly gets into her bed after story time when she and her sister snuggle in and then there are prayers and lullabies and goodnight kisses. She’ll even fall asleep but then a few hours later she comes waddling back or crying or calling me. Right now it’s around midnight and she was in her bed a while back all tucked in but somehow has ended up back into my lap while I type this. She’s watching the screen as we speak, good thing she doesn’t know how to read yet!

We recently went for her first haircut at the hairdressers last week. She’s so temperamental and unpredictable I really did not know what she would do. That’s why I’ve been hacking away at her hair for the past almost three years just so I don’t have to embarrass myself at what she might end up doing. She’s been pretty crazy since she was a baby. She gets into these bouts of screaming-crying for no apparent reason and she doesn’t want to stop. She’s also the most unfriendliest (is that a word?) child I’ve ever met. She refuses to play with anyone else except for her sister and does not even speak to many other children. She’s finally started to warm up to a few that are her sister’s best friends. Surprisingly the hairdressers’ went well because when we entered she saw a big bowl of lollipops on the counter and was of course promised one if she was good while the nice lady cut her hair. Needless to say she sat very quietly and moved her head exactly as she was told and didn’t fuss at all. Then when she was finished the only thing she said was “I want a pink one!”

One thing I’ve noticed about her is she really cares for the people in her family, no matter how tough she acts. Anytime I say ouch or her sister gets hurt she comes running and asks if we are okay. Then she wants to get us a Band-Aid or help us in any way. She’s starting to listen a lot and she’s very good about cleaning up after herself. She’s also very eager to learn and loves books just as much as her sister does. She’ll sit for hours opening one book after another just pretending to read, and very loudly. And when I read to them, she’ll sit through whole chapter books listening intently. She has a great attention span. Her favorite book is I Love You Stinky Face I must have read that to her atleast 100 times now. When her sister homeschools, she sits at the little table with us and colors along or tries to do the arts and crafts with us. It can be a bit more time consuming having her there, but I know she also picks up a lot so I don’t mind. The other day I actually walked into their room because I noticed they were rather quiet and my 4 year old was sitting next to my 2 year old teaching her how to read using the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons that she got off my shelf. My 2 year old was following along as my 4 year old was reading and following all the instructions and teaching her the sounds of each letter. They were on the 5th lesson I think. It was really such a hilarious but a very amazing moment for me. I was so proud of both of them.

These days they’ve been playing with their doctor kit a lot and checking each other’s blood pressures and heartbeats and giving each other needles (that’s their favorite part). They also love playing legos together. They make huge lego robots with their uncle or big buildings with their father and castles with their grandfather. I’ve taught my four year old how to make hearts and strawberries so recently I’ve seen her trying to teach my 2 year old how to make them as well. I’ve also recently caught my four year old trying to teach her salawat. She’s told me a few times that when she grows up she wants to be a teacher so she likes to practice teaching her little sister. But of course she’s also told me she wants to be a doctor, a superhero, a ballerina, a realtor, and of course the funniest one: a homeschooling mama!

4 comments:

  1. It sounds like your younger child has an introverted personality. It doesn't mean unfriendliness, though. Trust me, I'm an introvert myself. We just don't enjoy being around strangers, it drains our energy. We prefer small intimate gatherings with family and close friends. Baraka had a link on her blog to taking care of introverts in your family.....

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  2. Oh thanks, I'd love to read more about it. Do you know what the link is or even the link to Baraka's?
    Thanks!

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  3. It seems to me that your daughter has a high degree of need for attachment to you and other family members. This is in fact a *good* thing. All children are born with attachment needs. Some more than others. Responding to her lead -- her honest expressed needs -- is not a bad thing, and will not lead to her being "spoiled" or a "tyrant". It's just responding to a child with an unusually high need for close physical and emotional contact. Responding with embraces and cuddling may make her *less* rather than *more* "tempermental".

    This is the thinking (backed by experience and research) behind the "attachment parenting" movement (see here, for example), which is much closer to the natural way humans have raised children for millenia than to modern methods that stress separation and "independence" for children from the earliest possible ages (for example, by making children sleep in cribs rather than in warm contact with their parents).

    We learned about Attachment Parenting from Dr. Sears (here's a sample), and his advice proved extremely handy, after our fourth (and last) child proved to be much as you describe yours. Now our boy is 9 and very loving and affectionate, yet secure and independent as well.

    Each to their own methods, of course. But I highly recommend checking out those two links, plus others you might find in a search for Attachment Parenting. Don't be surprised to find a lot of philosophical as well as practical connections to the home schooling movement as well.

    Love the blog, by the way. Keep it up.

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  4. Thank you so much. I have read a lot on attachment parenting before but I will definitely check out those two links you sent, I'd love to learn even more. I did do a few things like nursing till almost 2 years of age, co-sleeping (they both didn't sleep in their own beds until they were close to 2 years of age) and also baby wearing. As a family we are very loving and love to snuggle and cuddle a lot. I love it when we are all snuggled up together in our bed and I read to all of them. I have noticed that my 2 year old is getting much better with her tantrums now that she is able to verbalize her needs. She was actually friendly with some non-related people over the weekend and actually let one of them feed her. I was very shocked but happy to see that she was comfortable enough to let them do that.

    Thank you so much for your advice and sharing your personal experience, it makes me feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. And thanks for visiting my blog! :)

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