The toddler

Having a toddler is much more difficult than I anticipated.

Maya is a strong-willed kid. She has strong opinions about things and doesn’t appreciate not getting her way. When we go to restaurants, I see other kids sitting happily in their high chairs, eating and playing and hanging out.

We usually get a minute or two in a high chair, before she starts screaming and thrashing and trying to kick herself over. She wants to walk around restaurants, climb up and down any stairs she sees, and generally find the most dangerous thing she can do and try to do it over and over again.

When I try to stop her, she screams at the top of her lungs and throws herself to the floor.

Even at home, sometimes she just throws herself on the floor and screams for no apparent reason. And by sometimes, I mean a couple times an hour, every hour, pretty much.

It makes me wonder if I am doing a bad job. Maybe I’m too permissive, maybe I don’t give her enough attention, maybe I give her too much attention? Who knows.

But she is also so smart. She amazes me. At 15 months, she says and understands:

  • mama
  • dada
  • nana
  • hi
  • bye bye
  • milk
  • apple
  • berries
  • toes
  • eye
  • nose
  • mouth
  • more
  • done
  • water / agua (uses both)
  • book
  • “animal” (the name of her animal book)
  • up
  • ball
  • no
  • shoes

There may be some others I’m forgetting. “Shoes” really impressed me because she recognizes all shoes as shoes, even shoes that she’s never seen before (like shoes in a store).

She understands a lot more than that, too. She understands simple commands like “put this away,” “give me a kiss,” and “close the door.”

This morning, she surprised me by knocking on a closed door. I think she must have picked it up at daycare; I’ve never shown her how to knock on a door.

She also has a sense of humor, which I didn’t expect at this age. For instance, we were playing in a pool, and she would climb out of the pool then jump in. After doing this over and over, she faked us out — she started walking toward the edge like she was going to jump in, and then when we were ready to catch her, she turned around and walked away and laughed hysterically. She does it in the bath tub too. When I lean down to take her out, she reaches up like she’s going to grab on for me to lift her out, and then she flings herself into the water and splashes and laughs.

She is a tough toddler. But she cracks me up. I hope she is always a strong advocate for herself, and she always fights for what she wants.

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