My name is Raawwrr and I'm hear for your sweet baby! I cannot hear you, because I'm going "Raawwrr" all the time, as that is my name. What's my name!!?
After three days of questioning what happened to my usually sweet baby, and why she suddenly has the disposition of T Rex with longer reach, I received this timely piece in my inbox from our informative friends at BabyCenter.com.
“New this month: A stranger among you?
You may not know from one minute to the next how your 13-month-old will behave. At this age, many toddlers begin to behave unpredictably. Yours may scream at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason, pull the tablecloth (and all the dishes on it) to the floor, or yank the dog’s tail despite your firmly telling him not to.”
Substitute “cat’s” for “dog’s” and strike the tablecloth bit for just the dishes and I’m totally with you, babycenter.
“Though this may be a trying time for you, remember that your toddler isn’t deliberately disobeying you — he’s just exploring his surroundings and figuring out how much power he has over you, his environment, and himself. Many of these “destructive” practices will actually help him develop a sense of independence and figure out which types of behavior are acceptable to you and which aren’t.”
I’d be more inclined to believe it wasn’t deliberate if she didn’t give me that LOOK every time, but sure, she’s trying to figure out boundaries, independence la la la… at the expense of my housekeeping. Lovely.
“What you can do”
I’m all ears (or rather eyes) BabyCenter!!
“You can help him channel his potentially destructive exuberance in safe ways. Pillow fights, for example, either outside or in a room where he can’t break anything, are bound to tire out your toddler. For totally wild but nondestructive pillow fights, make a set of 12 small lightly stuffed pillows about 9 inches square — they’ll be easier for your toddler to heft and too light to break much of anything.”
Wait, you want me to do a crafting project? While my toddler does what? And then, you want me to have a pillow fight with her? You want me to encourage her to throw things at my head? The self-same toddler who likes to throw dishes and food and car keys? And we’re worried about the weight of the pillows for her little arms?! Gosh, I was thinking if the pillow were heavier she might not be able to throw it so hard!
“Playing with modeling clay — pulling, kneading, and rolling the squishy stuff — is another good outlet. On the next rainy day, put on your rain boots and go jump in puddles together. If you’re constantly admonishing your child to “keep the water in the tub,” he’ll love the freedom to splash around and make a big mess.”
Oh, BabyCenter… I know you mean well, but the last time she played with modeling clay, she pretty much ate it twice, looked revolted, and moved on. Granted, it was a very nice home-made, fresh batch, so actually pretty food-safe! But my point is, have you SEEN our puddles?? Whenever there is a bit of water on the ground, my dear daughter likes to pet it. Seriously. Pet it. Sure, she’ll run through it, but eventually, she’s going to want to touch it. And around here, the parks have Biohazard boxes for drug-users to put used needles. I’m no germ-o-phobe, but I am also pretty sure our puddles have Tetanus.
“Other developments: Picky eating
Does your 13-month-old seem so busy he can’t even make time to eat? That’s because he’s so preoccupied with moving that sitting still for five minutes, even to munch on a favorite food, may be more than he can manage on many days. Even if he eagerly ate everything from applesauce to garlic chicken when he was a baby, he may suddenly turn up his nose at every morsel you offer. Both behaviors are completely normal.You may think that because his activity level has increased so much he should be eating more, but a child’s growth rate slows dramatically during the second year and that accounts for some loss of appetite.”
Well isn’t that nice to know! My toddler not eating is completely normal! I can stop trying to feed her! Oh wait… So earlier tonight I made a nice Mushroom Bourguigon (courtesy of Smitten Kitchen) and she pretty much only picked at the noodles. I make her delightful things all the time. Julia suggested that the more effort we put in, the less likely they are to eat something, that they can “smell the desperation.” Well, I can’t very well feed her cheerios every day (oh, but we are close). Sure she eats fruit, so I guess I should count myself lucky in that regard, but vegetables, protein? A battle almost every time. It’s not like I get to give up, so where’s the hot tip?
“Experts say it’s a mistake to turn mealtime into a battle. The harder you push your child to eat, the less likely he is to do it. Offer him a choice of two or three nutritious foods at each sitting and let him eat what and how much he wants. (Be sure to offer him healthful snacks between mealtimes, too.) When he starts to throw food off his tray or otherwise play with it, take it as a sign that he’s finished and remove the food. If he refuses to eat anything you put in front of him, wrap it up, put it in the refrigerator, and save it for later (but don’t force him to eat the leftovers if he doesn’t want to).”
This is basically what I already do. A small bowl of two or three different things is set before my darling Pumpkinsauce, each night. Her first step, dump the bowl onto her tray and toss the bowl aside. I believe this is so that she can examine the contents in better isolation. Next, she tries to determine if any fruit is present. If not, she moves to the most nutritionally-devoid content of the assembled foodstuffs, usually the carbohydrate. She tries one or two bites and then begins to deposit samples on the floor (presumably for further study? eliminating the outliers?). If I took this as a sign she was “finished” then all she’d have for dinner each night is equivalent of one noodle.
Our fridge has a number of small containers at any time. I actually had to buy MORE small futzy containers (this is what we call them around my family, the ones that never seem to have lids) since we kept running out of them. After the food has been suitably stored, it’s basically a contest between her mind changing and the mold. The mold is winning, my friends.
I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing, unless any of you have suggestions. Sometimes they are super helpful, but this week, BabyCenter, you got nothin’.