My youngest daughter is seventeen months old. She seems like she’s peaked a need for close attention. She is fussy, doesn’t seem to know what she wants (cries if I put her down, cries if I pick her up, really cries if I sit down at the computer), and has been throwing little fits when she doesn’t get her way. I’ve been thinking through our need to teach her and help her learn, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a stage that will pass, although I believe it is important to respond well. Here is why I think the problem is temporary.
- Some of the trouble is that we’re away from daddy for the week. That’s not an excuse, but it is a part of the difficulty that will resolve when we go home tomorrow.
- Part of the problem is language development. She’s still learning how to communicate, and I believe some of her frustration is a difficulty understanding me, and me understanding her. As she develops her language skills, this part of the problem will take care of itself.
- Another part of the problem is that she has a great desire to follow David and Bethel, but she’s developmentally unable to do much of what they do. This, too, will change as she grows more able to keep up with them.
- She’s also at an age where she’s not able to entertain herself well. Today I remember that Bethel struggled with the same exact problem when she was this age. It was also at the same time I decided to teach an online class, which in retrospect was precisely the four months she needed me the most. I remember being frustrated because I couldn’t get anything done, and that there was nothing that I could give her that would keep her entertained longer than three minutes. Remembering this helped me think through how I need to adjust my expectations a bit with Laurel.
- Yes, some of her problem is that she’s testing her boundaries. She’s learned that mommy’s instructions aren’t always what she wants to do. This is the part that needs more attention.
Even though it is a temporary stage, I’ve decided that probably for the next few months, I need to give more one-on-one time with baby. I need to be careful that I don’t do my best to keep her entertained by herself, but instead keep her with me where I can interact with her. I shouldn’t be frustrated that she sleeps less than the other children; rather, I should be thankful that God has given me some extra time to interact without distraction.
Remind me of that if I start to complain!