Independence Can Also Mean Tantrums
No matter how old we get, the human body never fails to be fascinating. This is especially true for toddlers, who are newly realizing that their various parts have names and functions. Your 21-month-old can name at least the major body parts by now, and point them out not only on herself, but on dolls and other people. Showing your toddler how excited you are about her new knowledge and abilities helps her gain confidence and encourages her growing sense of independence.
Just be patient when that new sense of independence makes you want to pull your hair out, starting as soon as you wake up and it’s time to get dressed. The moment you finally get your wiggling tot into an adorable outfit, she’s no doubt showing off her impressive motor skills by undressing herself before you can even get out of the room. Just hang in there, because at about age 2 ½ or 3 she’ll start dressing herself, too! Which sounds like a good thing, until you realize she’s going to have a costume change about four billion times a day.
Unfortunately, independence sometimes also means tantrums. Your toddler has an opinion about everything and BIG ideas about what he wants to accomplish, but doesn’t always have the physical ability to pull his ideas off — nor does he have the cognitive awareness to know when his plan is actually super dangerous or ridiculously unrealistic. So frustrating! The fact that you won’t let him jump down from eight stairs up or go to the library naked is liable to send him into hysterics, which in turn isn’t going to do much for your mood either.
Scary Mommy Tip: Even the most even-tempered mama can lose it when faced with the intensity of a toddler tantrum. When everyone’s getting hot under the collar, try a couple of these cool-down techniques.