You're in a safe zone. Go ahead and admit that there are days you look at your kid and think, You are really getting on my last damn nerve. As annoying as they can sometimes be, though, there's usually a logic to their madness.
Let's take a look at five of the most irritating habits toddlers inflict upon us and see if we can figure out why they are trying to drive us -- loving, nurturing mothers that we are -- completely freaking insane.
Author's note: These are my particular tot peeves. Please (I beg of you!) share your own. Together we are strong.
Number 1: Hitting, Face-pulling, Biting, Scratching, and Other Alarming Displays of Aggression
"Oh my god, my kid's going to be a bully!" Not necessarily. Believe it or not, her alarmingly aggressive behavior is a normal part of her development. Toddlers can only say so much and yet they have so much to say and explore. In case you haven't noticed, they're also total control freaks and have an intense need to assert their independence, often with their hands, feet, or teeth.
"Toddlers often perceive aggressive behaviors such as biting and hitting as communication tools," says Dr. Sears.
Add to that their impulse control issues and there you have it. Think of these aggressive outbursts as teachable moments for the both of you, but don't let her off the hook when she lashes out like Lisbeth Salander if another kid touches her dolly. Just try to understand where she's coming from.
Number 2: He's Joined a Hot New Rock Band! They're Called The No, No, Nos
Yeah! He finally understands that no means no. Should be good news for you, right? Wrong.
At a certain point, toddlers say "no" just because they can. And they might get a little kick out of seeing you squirm.
Annoying as this may be, I found a rather heartening perspective from the folks at the University of Illinois. "Toddlers and 2-year-olds are learning to think ...they have opinions and ideas."
We do want them to be independent thinkers, don't we? While the endless "no" phase shall pass, let's hope they take that spirit with them when peer pressure gives us a whole new can of worms to wrangle.
Number 3: Throwing. Need I Say More.
Between 18 months and 3 years old, toddlers adopt the habit of throwing just about everything. Unlike saying no just because, they don't throw spaghetti just to annoy you. Rather, they're testing fundamental theorems of Newtonian physics.
What's it going to be, young lad ... Cambridge or Oxford?
Discovering the fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination required to throw things is pretty like, wow, eureka! for your tots. So they do it again. And again. And again.
How many apples did Newton eat in his lifetime before he figured the whole gravity thing out? And he was a Cambridge man.
Number 4: Static Clinginess
The What to Expect team calls this the Carry-Me Syndrome.
It usually happens at around 2 years old when they suddenly decide that walking is for 18-month-olds and mommies.
They explain, "She may be torn between her independent impulses and her very compelling desire to be attached (literally) to you."
Don't worry, she will eventually walk again. In the meantime, enjoy the workout. I know my arms look fabulous.
Number 5: Night Waking, Screaming, and Hollering
A lot goes on in a day in the life of a toddler. There's the potty to master, slides to slide down, Brussels sprouts to throw. When it's time for bed, all of that developmental action can lead to interrupted sleep patterns.
Dr. Robert Needlman, specialist in pediatric development and one of Dr. Spock's experts, also says, "Sleep disturbances are one way that toddlers often respond to stress."
You see. They're just like us, only smaller.
Image via mdanys/Flickr