To Answer My Husband

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Recently, my husband earnestly asked me, “Are you sure that our kids are normal? Are they really supposed to act like little juvenile delinquents? Are we doing something wrong?!”

After a bit of thought, and a quick trip to my trusty child development book, I have come to the conclusion that our children are indeed normal. Jay, this one is for you!

Taken from the Complete Book of Baby and Child Care:

“Would you like some water?” you ask innocently, holding his cup.


You put the cup on the counter.

“Waaber!” he cries, reaching for it.

You fill it and give it to him.

“No!” he pushes it away.

You put the cup on the counter.

“WAABER!!” he howls.

“You offer him the cup.

“NO!!” He swipes at the cup, nearly knocking it out of your hand.

What fuels this temporary insanity is, in fact, a very simple premise: If it wasn’t his idea, he won’t have anything to do with it.

So, sweetheart, does that answer your question?

Jay and I both have pretty high standards for our kids behavior, and low tolerance for whining, fighting, and disobedience. So toddlerhood has proven to be quite challenging to us! I don’t feel badly being a “stricter” mom. I feel it is imperitive to my childrens’ safety, and my sanity. But boy has it been challenging to find ways to correct, re-direct and discipline in an age appropriate manner!

One of the issues we have been experiencing in our home is the lack of sharing. I came across this poem in my childcare book, and laughed in relief:


If I want it, it’s mine.

If I give it to you and change my mind later, it’s mine.

If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.

If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.

If it’s mine, it will never belong to anyone else, no matter what.

If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.

If it looks like mine, it’s mine.

(Dr. Burton L. White)

Phew! Another issue explained! Apparently this is a stage, an aspect of normal childhood development. As is the fighting, biting, tackling, hitting, hair pulling and general household destruction. That said, I am not going to stop breaking up the fights, or signing “share,” and “gentle!” I am not going to stop saying “No!” when it needs to be said. I am not afraid to discipline in public. But I am relieved to know that we aren’t raising criminally minded toddlers just because they refuse to share. I am thankful for this normal developmental stage. And I am confident, that I can now add “Professional Referee” to my resume.

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8 thoughts on “To Answer My Husband”

  1. Wow. I totally agree. I have to say that a few months after their second birthday, Brandon and Evan did finally turn a corner and really start playing WITH each other. Not that we don’t fight. In about one minute, one of the boys will probably be riding the other like a horse. But, life is better. You are on the right track!

  2. While I didn’t think there was anything wrong with them, I sure did appreciate knowing that this insane behavior is totally toddler! The whole drink scenario is dead on!

  3. LOL That creed needs to be printed out and hung over Burke’s bed.

    And I totally hear that about something not being their idea. yikes. I’m still working around trying to trick them into thinking things are their ideas heh

    Great post :)

  4. Oh goodness, this is amplified in the twos. I am amazed at the patience that I need to make it through my day. The fighting is not quite as bad as they understand consequences now (time out) but the lack of cooperation is crazy. And the mind-changing is almost laughable.

    I want cereal with milk.
    No, I don’t want milk on my cereal!!!! 15 min tantrum ensues.

  5. The closing line to the Toddler’s Creed that I have seen before, which I think is a critical addition, is:

    “If it’s broken, it’s yours.” :)

  6. A big, BIG thankyou! We must have fluked our first child… she really is a 1-in-a-million… we can reason with her, say no and she gets it, nearly always happy and calm… she’s so wonderful. Then came the twin boys -now nearly 2- and they’re doing all the biting, body-slam wrestling, whining, crying that she never did and then a WHOLE lot more. Love ’em all to bits but so-ooo lovely to know it doesn’t necessarily paint a picture of the next 16-plus years!

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