I read one time that much of the terrible two’s is out of frustration. That they get very frustrated that no one can understand what they want. I have found this to be completely true. Ella’s language skills are pretty good for her age, and as her mom I can understand most of what she says, but sometimes she asks for something and for the life of me I have no idea what she wants. She ends up repeating it 10 times and I usually ask her to go get what she wants, or I just start pointing to things in hopes that I’ll eventually find what she’s asking for.
Our most recent development is that she stopped asking for things and started yelling and demanding things. This did not go over well with me, so whenever she would yell for something I would look her in the eyes and say very calmly, “Ella, you need to ask nicely. Will you say, ‘Can I have some ice cream please?’” Then when she repeated it nicely we would give her what she wanted. It took about 3 days of Joe and me constantly reinforcing this idea. Finally, one day she was demanding ice cream with sprinkles (I fween with spweenk woos) and I said, “Ella, can you ask nicely?” And do you know what she did? She looked at me with those big blue eyes and that sweet face and said, “I fween please mommy!” I was so proud of her! I showered her with kisses and ran upstairs to get her ice cream with sprinkles. She had a huge smile on her face because she knew that she had done something good. And the reward was just what she wanted.
She’s doing so much better on asking nicely now. She still demands things sometimes, but if we remind her to ask nicely then she’ll repeat her question in a nice way. Joe and I have also learned the art of responding to her without giving her an answer. Luckily she doesn’t know that’s what we’re doing. She’ll ask for something that we can’t give her right then, so we’ll say “Ok, we’ll get it for you in a minute.” Or “Can we get that for you when we get home?” And she’s fine for a while. Sometimes she even forgets about it…if we distract her the right way.
Last night Ella and I went to Safeway to do some much needed grocery shopping. The second we walked in the store she saw a Mickey Mouse balloon and yelled “Mickey!!! Hi Mickey!” Of course everyone in the checkout lines looked over at us and smiled. She chatted like this throughout the entire store. Her biggest request was for Larry (the cucumber from Veggie Tales). She realized that asking for Larry was getting her nowhere, so she paused and thought for a minute then asked me, “Cumber?” So we went and got a cucumber, which was promptly named Larry and she carried it the rest of the time in the store. Kids are so funny. They make everything, even going to the grocery store, an exciting event.