Switching Mental Parenting Gears: from infant to toddler

Babies come with built in SOS system - they cry.  Hungry, tired, soiled, hurt, sick, lonely, scared, uncomfortable, hot, cold, whatever it may be - crying is their means to communicate the issue. it's always legitimate. Babies do not 'cry wolf', they are unable to remedy the issue themselves. Enter: caretaker (tosses cape over shoulder). It is call of duty for the adult to respond - to 'tend', always. 

Months go by, newborn label graduates to 'infant', which morphs simply to, 'baby'. Baby grows and evolves, even learns how to do some things for self. Until one day you look down and the (now walking) 14-month old is sitting seeetly and peacefully, playing with a....permanent marker. Where acquired? Who knows, but happy as a clam baby is with it- lid on, lid off, on and off, on off on off onoffon and off, obsessively. The scientific repetition noted and appreciated, however we both know this game inevitably leads to a redesigned granite tile kitchen floor and tattooed baby legs. 

You politely ask baby relinquish the marker to you. For perhaps the first time in his/her life, this innocent being who has LIVED to please and engage with you, denies the relinquish request and gleefully stays the course (floor redesign). You then require baby to give marker to you. Baby responds by, crying. Not just any cry, the pained frequency, a wailing, complete with crocodile tears. 

You know this cry!  Your entire being tells you so. Distress that requires prompt remedy. Only this time nothing works, not crayon/paper redirection, distraction, nor hug. It only escalates. The ONLY thing that will make baby happy, is the marker back in hand. 

*Freezes scenario*. This is a significant moment in child rearing. A shifting of gears. For for the first time perhaps ever, that cry in a sense deceived your senses. Just like that, you now officially have a toddler. Did taking away the marker truly upset your little one? Yes. Did he/she express that effectively? Yes. Was the removal of a marker from hands urgent distress that requires fixing, like hunger would, or a finger pinched in a cabinet door would? ....No. 

Redirection is a priceless tool, However for the purposes of this example it's not always necessary. Consider 2 scenarios  -either you appease toddler and give back the permanent marker. Or, you simply tell the child, no.

Babies come with built in SOS system - they cry.  Hungry, tired, soiled, hurt, sick, lonely, scared, uncomfortable, hot, cold, whatever it may be - crying is their means to communicate the issue. it's always legitimate. Babies do not 'cry wolf', they are unable to remedy the issue themselves. Enter: caretaker (tosses cape over shoulder). It is call of duty for the adult to respond - to 'tend', always. 

Months go by, newborn label graduates to 'infant', which morphs simply to, 'baby'. Baby grows and evolves, even learns how to do some things for self. Until one day you look down and the (now walking) 14-month old is sitting seeetly and peacefully, playing with a....permanent marker. Where acquired? Who knows, but happy as a clam baby is with it- lid on, lid off, on and off, on off on off onoffon and off, obsessively. The scientific repetition noted and appreciated, however we both know this game inevitably leads to a redesigned granite tile kitchen floor and tattooed baby legs. 

You politely ask baby relinquish the marker to you. For perhaps the first time in his/her life, this innocent being who has LIVED to please and engage with you, denies the relinquish request and gleefully stays the course (floor redesign). You then require baby to give marker to you. Baby responds by, crying. Not just any cry, the pained frequency, a wailing, complete with crocodile tears. 

You know this cry!  Your entire being tells you so. Distress that requires prompt remedy. Only this time nothing works, not crayon/paper redirection, distraction, nor hug. It only escalates. The ONLY thing that will make baby happy, is the marker back in hand. 

*Freezes scenario*. This is a significant moment in child rearing. A shifting of gears. For for the first time perhaps ever, that cry in a sense deceived your senses. Just like that, you now officially have a toddler. Did taking away the marker truly upset your little one? Yes. Did he/she express that effectively? Yes. Was the removal of a marker from hands urgent distress that requires fixing, like hunger would, or a finger pinched in a cabinet door would? ....No. 

Redirection is a priceless tool, However for the purposes of this example it's not always necessary. Consider 2 scenarios  -either you appease toddler and give back the permanent marker. Or, you simply tell the child, no.