It’s time for wins and woes — a day when we step back from the big questions to share the small moments.
My almost 2-year-old is obsessed with YouTube videos of trucks, and by extension my iPad. But now he finally gets the concept that I have to do work on my iPad, and he’ll wait until I finish my Zoom calls to try and steal it from me… Last week, I was exhausted from potty training and he was sitting on the potty with my phone watching his trucks, and when I tried taking the phone from him, he held it to his chest, put his hand out to stop me, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “I’m working.”
—Rachel: Toddler Wrangler Extraordinaire
My son Oliver (age 4.5) was struggling with brushing his teeth before bed. I’m in a parenting group on Facebook, and someone suggested to make the brushing more playful and make it a game by scrubbing out the germs. I misread it, though, and thought it said to try scrubbing out gems! Ever since then, I will say to my son, “OK. We need to brush your teeth because there are a lot of diamonds in there!” He thinks it’s HILARIOUS and tells me most days, “Mommy, I ate diamonds and gold for lunch!” Even though I put my own spin on the advice (by accident), it has worked out incredibly well. He just had a dentist appointment and got a glowing report from our dentist — no cavities! 🙂
Making friends with masks
My 3-year-old daughter has lived most of her life behind a mask and away from big groups. If nature gave her a shy personality, the pandemic made her fearful of strangers. She started preschool last August, and I’ve painfully watched as she has struggled to engage with other children. I could tell that she wanted to join in the fun but didn’t know how to do so. For the past six months, I’ve been working really hard on helping her overcome what social isolation created. I’ve arranged play dates, taken her to the park multiple times a week, and participated in her gymnastics group when she refuses to join the class on her own. I don’t mind being the only adult doing bear crawls back and forth on the mat if it means that my little girl will participate. I try to model behavior. “Hi! What’s your name? This is Julieta. She’s 3. I love your unicorn dress.” I think that I’ve had more conversations with toddlers during the past six months than I have with adults.
Today I watched my daughter join a group of classmates in free play. They ran around the grass while they waited for class to start. Her teacher looked at her and said, “This one has really come out of her shell recently.” I felt pure joy.
Time for you to help
Our reader, Krista, writes: Our 2-year-old doesn’t want to leave my side when I’m home. He clings to my legs. We’re about to have a baby, so how do I help him feel more comfortable on his own or with his dad?