Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Parenthood: Week 96 - Toddler Logic

As usual, I brought up a sippy cup full of milk and a breakfast snack for Ollie to eat while me and Diana got ready in the morning.  After Diana and I were ready, we all headed downstairs to eat more substantive family breakfast.  

Ollie nicely put his sippy cup on the kitchen table and went off to read a book.  A couple minutes later Ollie asked for some water. When Diana handed it to him, he said he wanted milk.  Sometimes Ollie gets his words confused so this error is that not that big a deal.  I handed Ollie the sippy cup full of milk Ollie had put on the table, but then he waved away saying "no!"

I quickly figured out that Ollie wanted milk, but more specifically he wanted milk in the new cup.  Another possibility is that Ollie simply forgot that the sippy cup had milk.  

I had two options. I could simply dump out the water and transfer the milk into the new cup, which would most likely deescalate the situation or I could argue with him.  Being the more mature person in this exchange, who had an in depth knowledge of child development through an education and career as a teacher, I of course decided to argue with Ollie.  

"Ollie the milk is on this cup." [shaking the sippy cup full of milk]
"No. MALK!!!" [pointing to the cup full of water]

As our exchanged continued with both of us reinforcing our points of contention, both of us became more and more agitated.  Then suddenly mid-cry, Ollie took the milk sippy cup from me, smiled and happily walked away. I stood there confused, mystified, and slightly frustrating, trying to figure out what just happened.  

Toddler logic is one of the most mind-boggling and confusing things I have ever encountered.  While there are some parts of toddler logic that are easy to figure out, other times toddlers logic is simply baffling.  

In the toddler mind there are opinions, ideas and impulses that sometimes line up with their language abilities and others times doesn't.  This disconnect leads to a lot of misunderstandings and frustrations by both parents and their children.  The most difficult part of these situations is knowing how to best deal with these feelings.  

Sometimes it is best to just let it go and give in to their irrationality and sometime it works to not give in and let them work through their own issues.  To be honest, often my response has to do with my own stubbornness and my mood when dealing with my little guy.  And in my less rational moments, I need to remind myself of Ollie's developmental stage in order to act more logically.

Toddler logic isn't a unique stage in children's craziness.  Every day I sift through teenage logic and pre-teen logic with my students.  At times I get what is going on and others times I'm baffled.  Sometimes I let it go and other times I steer right into the haze and attempt to help make sense of what often seems like a complete lack of actual logic.  

Toddler logic is something I'm not as used to and while at times it's aggravating, I love that Ollie is trying to express himself and working to understand the world around him.  Though I can't shake the feeling that Ollie was simple messing with me the whole time. . . 

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