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Stubborn almost 2 year-olds

Oh, Pia. Pia is currently plagued by an insufferable (and incurable) case of the Youngest Child Syndrome. YCS is the injustice of being born last, an affliction which affects much of the population. Symptoms exhibited may include (but not limited to) the following behaviors by the child: Being obnoxious, an obsessive need to be the center of attention, being demanding, excessive use of tantrums when the child does not get her way, being needy, becoming easily frustrated, being keen on exerting the child’s own will, continuously trying to prove others wrong. Symptoms may or my not be demonstrated simultaneously. These personality traits often are accompanied by the urge to tattle on others, especially siblings, exert forcefulness with siblings in attempts to get them to do what the child wants them to and the tendency to exaggerate or overdramatize situations.

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Yes, we have a raging case on our hands. Currently there is no cure, only slow treatment over time which can take years to show results. We have been facing several outbreaks on different fronts.

First and primary, our dear Pia has determined that falling asleep is simply not worthwhile. Instead, she would rather physically cling to Mom and/or Dad for an unspecified period of time without actually sleeping. She keeps at least one eye on her parent while sucking her thumb and refuses to stay in bed when her parent attempts to leave (or move or breathe differently). Pia seems to simply not desire to comply with Operation Sleep at any cost, rather she would like to stay awake and in the continuos presence of a parent at all times. Not giving in to this request has repeatedly resulted in said child going Boneless, followed by successive stomping her feet, continuous screaming and chasing of parents. This behavioral pattern applies to both nap time and bed time over the course of the past four days. One inhibitor parents have employed has been the closing of Pia’s door. However, that has only resulted in keeping her in her room for an extended period of time, where she pounds the door, lays on the floor in attempts to smash her face against the gap under the door to more effectively project her voice through the house chanting “Mamamama! Dadadada!” Often times Pia will fall asleep there out of sheer exhaustion. However, sleeping on a hardwood floor with no blanket is prone to excessive discomfort and frequent waking, which begins the whole Screaming Process again. Any attempts to move her from this position also results in her waking, which begins the Parental Clinging from the start. So far no remedy has been found, though her parents have tried cuddling, rocking, letting her sleep with her sisters in their bed, placing the toddler bed mattress on the floor by the door, but as soon as parental contact has been lost, Pia launches into her fits once again.

Secondarily, Pia has been suffering from an identity crisis. She also lacks the ability to differentiate between the given names of her siblings. Combined with the YCS tendency for her to exert her rightness, Mom has been continuously corrected by her 21 month-old that each child in the family unit is indeed named “Riya”; Their position in the family line-up is indicated by the repetition of this title. Therefore, Araiya is a single “Riya.” Tallis, being second, has been dubbed a double “Riya-Riya.” Pia, in self-identifying, calls herself “Riya-Riya-Riya.” While this is a rather clever system of naming her siblings, Tallis has taken quite an offense to being called ‘Araiya’. Despite repeated attempts at explaining and practicing saying the two missing names, Mom continues to be corrected by Pia through her excessive use of the word “no” then repeating the correct number of “Riya”s associated with that particular sister. In contrast, she does not have any difficulty identifying the difference between who’s Mom and who’s Dad.

Thirdly, Pia has been demonstrating increasing pickiness when it comes to food choices. She has decided to be on a restricted diet consisting solely of carbs, including pasta, certain grains (limited to rice and quinoa), Nutella and certain cracker selections. Additionally, she will entertain a few fruits in the berry realm, with the exception of blueberries. Currently she is rejecting anything which does not fall into the color categories of the brown, beige or white families. Attempting to serve anything green, leafy or that can be classified as a vegetable, meat or particular fruit results in that food being flung off her plate onto the floor. If her plate is not refilled with enough carb reserves quickly enough, she will loudly scream and bang her plate on the dinner table. Pia will also attempt to coerce her siblings into taking from her half-chewed samplings which she has determined are inadequate for her own consumption.

Fourth, Pia continues to develop a keen sense of drawing attention to herself for the sole purpose of it’s entertainment value. Parental attempts at correcting sub-par behavior lead only to Pia laughing at them, then ridiculing said attempts by asking for more correction and putting herself in time-out. Thus far, many of the parenting techniques deemed successful with her sisters have proven to have the opposite effects on Pia.

Fifth and finally, Pia suffers from the inability to sit still. Sitting on laps can often result in bruising on the parental lap, face, appendages and other body parts supplied to her for her lounging needs. She is easily distracted and frequently begins moving with excessive movements and what can be classified as flailing. Pia also has become a busy body, working relentlessly around the house undoing everything that has just been done. This includes purposefully knocking over neatly folded piles of laundry, spitefully pulling items out of cabinets and drawers directly after being told and receiving help to put them away, the excess trying on and wearing of shoes around the house, depositing food items in inappropriate places (like Mom & Dad’s bed) and repeatedly (yet mysteriously) taking items she knows are off limits to her and have been repeatedly taken away. When in public places, Pia has an overwhelming desire to walk on her own, yet will not hold a hand and when picked back up will scream to decibel levels deemed unsafe by OSHA standards. She also likes to run away and refuse to listen or obey commands to stop, saying “un-ah” with all the defiance of a teenager.

Pia’s parents realize this is just a stage of child development, and look forward to seeing success as they work through these important, yet frustrating affects of YCS.

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