Try as I might, sometimes I don’t understand children. Tonight our toddler really acted up. He had his mother at wit’s end trying to figure out what he wanted. He took a late nap and was a bundle of energy the entire evening. We couldn’t get him to sleep because he was so wound up. He looked like he wanted mommy to come out and play at 11 o’clock at night. Daddy just wouldn’t do. He was really upset, and because he doesn’t say much yet he couldn’t tell us what he wanted. Mommy was very tired, so she asked daddy to take him out to the living room to play and exhaust the last of his energy. Our toddler cried and cried and just wanted to go back to mommy. I thought he was hungry and tried to feed him some food. He didn’t want it. I thought he might need some milk but he didn’t want that either. Finally, I noticed he was looking at his sippy cup. I finally figured out that he wanted some apple juice mixed with water. I finally understood what he had been trying to tell us all along. We just didn’t have a clue. We were frustrated with him, and he with us. Once he got his juice he was fine. He was thirsty after playing so hard and crying all evening. Juice is what he needed.
You try to be a good parent and listen to your children. Sometimes you just can’t understand them. But instead of losing your temper, you just have to try harder to communicate and figure out what they’re trying to tell you. In a year or so our son will be old enough to put short sentences together and will be able to better tell us what he wants. He already can convey simple ideas like “car”, “bird,” and “diaper”. However, he can’t tell us he’s thirsty. We have to be magicians by figuring it out from his signs and trying to read his mind. It’s frustrating for us sometimes, but no more so than it is for him.
I never understood why children go through the so-called “Terrible Two’s” (which really start around 1 1/2 years of age). I now know that it’s because sometimes children at that age have to resort to extreme forms of communication to get their point across–blood-curdling, mind-numbing temper tantrums. Our son is now in that phase, and I hope for his sake and ours it will pass soon. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on my listening skills.