At two years old, Allie was already being annoyed by our "fuddy duddy" behavior. Wait until we are REALLY old....we will be trying her patience big time! This photo was taken one late summer afternoon in 2012. We decided we were going to the pool and apparently we weren't moving fast enough for her liking. I remember searching for our bathing suits and Justin was in the bathroom and Allie wanted to be at the pool, like, yesterday.
Let me first mention that one of her first ten words was "ning-a-ning-a-ning", which had multiple definitions. It referred to swimming, the pool itself and her bikini. Now, I know its not a REAL word, but if you spoke Allienese you knew what it meant. She has a much broader vocabulary now, but we still refer to the pool as The "Ning-a-ning-a-ning". I'm sure that's wrong in the world of vocabulary development, but....we don't care.
Back to my story.....I was walking past the living room and caught a glimpse of Miss Atta Tudey sitting in her Elmo chair, tapping her fingers, wearing the only piece of her swim ensemble that she could find (the floatation device), and oozing annoyance. Im sure grabbing my phone and taking a photo of her didn't help her attitude but I couldn't help it.
This is about the time that our sweet baby developed a fresh attitude. Up until then, we were her wonderful, perfect parents who she just wanted to tag along with. Suddenly, she was hitting, spitting, throwing things, getting frustrated with our behavior, and pushing us away saying "no touch!" when we went for the random hug for no reason. Fortunately she never started biting. While I was reading everything I could on this new undesirable behavior I found so many horror stories about biting and kept telling myself that we were lucky she never resorted to that. I feel for the parents who have a biter at this stage.
It's a confusing time as a parent not just because of what she is doing, but also because we are constantly trying to figure out what the appropriate reaction to this behavior is. Her actions are telling us she's frustrated or unhappy about something. Her vocabulary isn't yet fabulous so words aren't the best way to communicate how she feels when she feels something strongly. She has a right to say that she doesn't want to be touched, even if it's just her parents who want to give her a hug or kiss because we adore her. I don't want her to ever feel like she ISN'T in control of what happens to her body. No means no, starting now. But I don't want to raise a bratty child who thinks she can act out either.
The first time I saw her hit my mother I thought I was going to lose my mind. UNACCEPTABLE. No assaulting the grandparents....ever! No pummeling anyone else either.....unless they are pummeling you first, but we can wait on that lesson until she gets a little older. Do we wait until she's older and speaking better to really enforce the other fresh behaviors? Are we stifling her from venting the only way she knows how? Is throwing a toy across the room at nothing okay now? Or are we starting a bad habit?
It's kind of like the whole crying thing. When babies are born, they tell you that you should never let them cry. Apparently it has a huge impact on their self confidence later in life if they cry and no one comes right away or at all. At some point this changes. I'm not sure when, but eventually "crying it out" becomes helpful (not in my world, but that's just me). No one can define when it goes from detrimental to acceptable. So, at what time does throwing a tantrum of sorts go from being acceptable to damaging? I hope I don't miss that checkpoint.