We have officially hit what I call “The Awkward Phase”. This phase can knock you down for two if you never anticipated it to happen.
I find it rather amusing when people say having a baby will solve your problems… it baffles me to even think how anyone can offer such advise. What they refuse to tell you is the toddler phase only gets worse before it gets better. We have yet to see the “better” side of it since we have reached the awkward phase or should I say the dreaded hitting phase!
There comes a time when watching your child grow into a little person is the most fascinating thing in the world. To see this tiny person figure out how to run, even if they are running away with your mobile in hand whilst you try to shop at the local grocery store. It gives every parent a sense of joy to see their child emerging into this little person who is starting to make sense of their surroundings whilst figuring out that this tiny human has realised that they can choose to listen or to ignore what you say.
As Deeja had hit 17 months old she has reached a peak in showing off more of her personality. She has begun to show that she can understand simple commands such as tidy up time and give mommy a hug (which I sometimes make her do a million times just because it’s cute). What has stood out to us the most is the fact that Deeja now makes the decision whether she wants to listen to us telling her to stop climbing on the dining table or whether she wants to ignore us and act as though no one has said anything.
It’s come to our attention that this toddler of ours has entered a dangerous stage of her development that involves hitting me or the OH when she does not want to be told what to do or what she can’t have. At first blow, I thought nothing much of it… aside from being in shock that I had been slapped in the face at full force by Deeja intentionally. As time went on, the hitting mommy and daddy phase began to peak and we were at our wits end thinking how our little angel had turned into a gremlin that was now attacking us at every given chance… even in public.
You know those families that are out dining with their kids and all seems jolly… until that one child of theirs flips a switch and starts acting as though they are possessed and begin to hit everyone and throw things within reach.
Or that one family that looks so happy watching their children play in the park… until it’s time to leave the play area, and that one toddler of theirs decides to lay on the floor and scream the place down refusing to leave. THAT FAMILY IS US!
I hate to admit it but we have had so many embarrassing times where Deeja has had meltdowns because she did not want to leave the park, or did not want to return our mobile to us eventhough we did not give it to her. What we began to ask ourselves is, where did it all go wrong? Why is she lashing out?
Toddlers are very fast learning people, but they are at a difficult stage in their development where they are unable to say more than a few words. Therefore expecting your toddler to explain what is wrong is well out of the question just yet. Which then leads to a massive meltdown and the toddler now laying on the floor face down because we as parents’ didn’t understand what he or she tried to tell us. The hitting phase or throwing themself on the floor phase is Deeja’s way of showing her frustration of not being able to express herself, so she takes to hitting us or herself, or laying on the floor until she is over her meltdown.
If you are currently going through this lovely phase or are starting to see signs of these tantrums in your toddler, just remember that patience is key when it comes to handling meltdowns. Even if it means holding in the shock of being hit by a tiny hand in the face whilst sat amongst family or friends (yes that has happened to me on many occassions). The key is to try to remain calm and ask the toddler to use their words, even if they only know a few words. This in turn encourages them to try to voice out what they would like or what seems to be annoying them at the time, even if it means pointing at the object.
For now we are seeing some improvements in how Deeja has been acting with less hitting, so we are holding on tight for when she has mastered controlling some of her emotions by voicing out her problems… only to anticipate the next phase (whatever that maybe).
Deeja and Mum