There are so many things I love about toddlers - chubby legs, perfectly round bellies, the wobbly walk for which they're named,... Probably my favorite thing about toddlers is the purity of their emotions. The have no problem expressing:
No, I will not hug you.You are annoying me.This is MY milk, not yours.Although that is your milk, I want it to be MINE.I need you to hug me.
And my favorite:
I AM ANGRY!!!
They have practically no ability to filter themselves. Imagine what the world would be like if adults were this way. As I'm currently in Starbucks, I would be standing next to the man sitting at the best table, the one by the window, and screaming at him to move. He might push me down or throw his coffee at me.
Different toddlers major in different forms of anger. My little niece's forte is righteous indignation. My big boys noticed this and shamelessly entertained themselves with this repeated conversation:
Brother H: My name is Evie.
Evie: (indignant and hilariously verbal to us as she is a head shorter than Rand and was speaking in sentences when Rand wouldn't say a word, literally) NO! I EVIE!!!
My little nephew (Okay, he's not little anymore. He's twelve now. How did that happen?) would lose it when his parents ordered pizza. Once he heard the word, "pizza," he required pizza. Immediately. He would sit at the door and wail until the pizza man got there.* I'm with him on this particular form of anger.
Well my little toddler's specialty is pure and unbridled rage. These are the stages of Rand's anger, sorted in increasing order of severity:
- He says, "Muh, muh!" and reaches for what he wants.
- Opens and closes his hands, bends at the waist and screams.
- Jogs in place, while screaming.
- Claps his hands, while screaming.
And, reserved for the most serious occasions, like someone withholding candy...
5. Arches his back and SMACKS his belly with both hands, while screaming.**
But toddler anger is so easy to resolve. Rand can be at RAGE STAGE 5, and I can...
- Put a sock on my head.
- Pick him up by his ankles.
- Bolt the door with my nose.
and he's instantly over it. Actually, he's not just over it, but laughing hysterically. I kind of wish Chris worked this way. At what age does that break down? It's definitely by eight years old. David was mad the other day, and Chris shot him with a nerf gun, hoping to diffuse the situation. It was... counterproductive.
Unfortunately for poor Rand, the rest of his family is mostly just entertained at his little anger demonstrations.*** At the park the other day, I heard David yelling, "Our baby won! Our baby won!" with toddler tears in the background. My Mommy radar started beeping. I found David and a friend staging a sort of toddler gladiator fight. Both babies wanted the single water fountain they could reach. Their sadistic older brothers were picking them up, carrying them about thirty feet away from it and releasing them to see who would get there first. I have no idea where David learned such a thing.
* Assuming you don't have the toddler who cries when they hear the word "pizza", Hi Pizza Man by Virginia Walter is a great picture book for this age. I think it's out of print, but you can find it at used book sites.
** This was sad a month ago or so when his little belly was sunburned. He'd forget until after the belly smack.
*** Rand is especially affectionate with Bryan. I think that may partly be because Bryan is the only one of us who ever responds to his anger in kind. It's nice to be taken seriously.