I am not usually the first to jump on the self help book bandwagon. I am rather cynical about “find yourself”, “fix your marriage” or “help your kid” type promises on glossy covers of 15.95 hardbacks in pristine rows in Borders but after Anni revolt number 986 last week I was open to suggestion (or Zanax). Well, another Mommy friend suggested The Emotional Life of the Toddler by Alicia F. Lieberman. I checked at the library: all copies checked out. So my girlfriend loaned me her copy and I must say it has helped me know I am not crazy. The book (at least so far) does not aim to correct all behaviors but rather helps clueless and tired Mamas and Papas understand what is going on in their once sweet and now sometimes crazy little toddler’s craniums.
In discussing this stage the author writes, “home observations of mothers and their toddlers show that mild to moderate conflicts take place once every three minutes, and major conflicts occur at the rate of three per hour, the younger the child the more frequent these disturbances.” The author then goes on to say “as a result, mothers of toddlers often experience such tension and fatigue that one author was moved to describe them as “unacknowledged victims”.
Now, I do not feel like a victim (ok, except on the days she is beating down every kid that comes within 10 feet of her) but it is reassuring to know that Annikah is learning so much and growing and these present conflicts are normal. I definitely do not have 3 major conflicts in an hour on most days so I guess I just needed to read it in print that toddlers can be disagreeable but that is important to their growth. I had to post about this as I hope it will also encourage some of my Mama friends out there that like me wonder what happened to their sweet, agreeable baby. The author also offers suggestions of how to best facilitate their need for a secure base and love and at the same time their struggle for independence. Lots of chances to please, assert herself, feel like I understand and hear even if her fear or protest is not logical, and many choices. I am learning a lot. We shall continue to navigate these rapids of toddlerdom.