I’m all for nurturing my daughter to be strong and independent. Even as a toddler. I have written about how within reason I let her have some freedom to choose and I value her opinion. This is all well and good.
But why the heck, despite this, is my toddler so pig headed? As parents we are programmed to want to help them, let them grow and blossom, and ultimately do things for themselves. But small, uncoordinated limbs can’t always do this without a bit of help at first. Sometimes not helping them is fine; not an issue. But other times it is a flipping disaster. Mess, injuries and crying. All because my daughter refuses help. “No mummy,” is the standard response to the majority of my offers of kindness. She could be walking into flames and I’m sure the response would be the same. She’s fiercely strong-willed and simply wants to do it herself. But how many times has this mantra lead her to carnage?
Oh plenty of times in the gremlin household:
1) Climbing the stairs. Not just a little step, the steepest stairs out there. Holding Mummy’s hand is about as likely as my hubby not leaving clothes on the floor. Result? A trip. A fall and crying. Copious crying.
2) Eating. The food may be escaping everywhere, splattered everywhere, falling off the spoon but any offers of help as rejected as easily as a bowl of fruit salad. So half the food is worn, a tenth may get in her mouth and the rest is….well everywhere!!!
3) The iPad. The useful tool. The almost babysitter. My girl is way too good at finding YouTube and her favourite show. However, not always. She bangs it in temper, presses every button and loses what she was watching. Is help accepted? Course not. A further strop later and the iPad is removed and further hysteria ensues.
4) Shoes. I’m not patient. The polar opposite actually. Watching my gremlin try and thread the straps through the holes in her sandals is the ultimate test in how long I can sit on my hands for. She is dying to succeed and after a bit I offer to help. This is rejected and the sandals are thrown in temper as she can’t do it. *sighs*.
5) Swimming. This holiday classic. Long gone are the snuggles in the water. If I even touch her my altruism is met with a firm “no mummy.” And the result? She fell over in the swimming pool, face flat down, hat floating and she comes up coughing and spluttering like a drowned rat. This is what I think is called character building.
6) Bottles of water. Sometimes getting fluid in my girl can be an issue but she will always have a swig from a bottle. Those little, unsteady hands don’t always have the best grip. If I try to hold it for her, there’s an mini wobble. So she drinks, she misses and she’s in turmoil as she’s soaked!
7) Walking anywhere with assistance is just way too uncool for my girl. Hand holding is for mugs. Tripping, falling, running into the road and into lamp posts is the new in thing.
8) Playing together. I feel like the worlds worst mother sometimes for not playing nicely with my gremlin. However, this isn’t by choice, it’s by rejection. Touching her toys and daring to interfere with her games is just criminal in my daughter’s little mind.
So what do I do? It varies and usually depends on my mood, how much time I have and can I be arsed to deal with a tantrum. Some days I just pick her up and move her along and usually get few whines and strops. Other days I let her do it alone, sometimes with success and other times I have to intervene.
Independence is such an important thing for your child to develop but at 22 months the world is just that little bit too crazy and big for her to manage without her interfering mother’s help. Sorry darling. I’ll bugger off but you will probably end up in A+E.