Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Elena has a lot of them these days…It’s both fascinating & frustrating at the same time. She will express her displeasure if she doesn’t like the outfit I choose to dress her in. She seems to have realized there are drawers full of clothes & wants to have a say in what she wears. She will throw a fit if I choose the wrong blanket for bedtime…she doesn’t have any one particular blanket she loves so it’s a crap shoot from night to night. What might have been The Blanket last night may not be the one she wants tonight. She’s even gone so far as to completely meltdown when I didn’t slip on the shoes she had (unbeknownst to me) decided she wanted me to wear out.

It’s absolutely fascinating…seeing her have opinions & preferences, choosing one thing over another for reasons very meaningful to her…watching her discover that she possesses the power of choice & how she decides to use this new found power. To me, her choices seem very arbitrary but they are obviously very significant to her. The things she is choosing don’t seem to matter as much to her as the fact that she gets to make A Choice.

The frustrating part is that she doesn’t have the language skills to express her choices & opinions clearly (I’ll have to explain this further in a future post). So when I inadvertently pick the “wrong” outfit or blanket or shoes, Elena stamps her feet, screeches, screams, cries or any number of other reactions & I am left clueless as to why she’s so upset.

I am catching on tho…I show her a chosen outfit & ask her if it’s ok or I’ll just open the drawer (I removed the handles long ago to prevent her from emptying them for fun) & tell her to pick something. This has its downside since when faced with so many choices she inevitably chooses inappropriately, like 3 tops & no bottoms.

I do endeavor to give her as many choices & opportunities to express her opinions as reasonably possible tho because there is so much that is regulated & chosen for her. I want to teach her early that her opinions matter & that her choices have consequences. I want her to know that I value her opinion & will respect her decisions, even those I don’t agree with. (‘Cause you know those will come!) I want her to be strong minded & confident & hope that by giving her these opportunities for choice early, those traits will become part of her personality.

I have found that the more choices I give her, the more opportunities she has to express her opinions, the less frustrated she is in general, the fewer complete meltdown tantrums she has, thus resulting in me not being such a ball of stress & anxiety. That has to mean we’re on the right track, doesn’t it?


  1. Its is amazing to see their personalities develop. I think your approach of giving her the choices and allowing her to make decisons is wonderful. She will grow up to be a smart and independant thinker.
    BTW -- yours was one of the very first blogs I started reading and I was a lurker when you got your BFP. Amazing how big Elena is now :-)

  2. I love watching how much they change from day to day at this age!

    A friend of mine just recommended the parenting book "Love and Logic" - she says one of the strategies they advocate is giving your child choices, for exactly the reasons you stated. Glad to know it works in real life!

  3. It is so interesting how their minds work at this stage. I can just imagine her and The Blanket. Or the shoes. I have experience with that one. The look J gave me once when I told him I wasn't putting on sandals was something else! I try to remember to treat J as a big boy and give him options. It's so much easier to say 'I'm the mom' but most of the time it works so much better when there's options within the rules. I feel like raising a toddler teaches me far more than I think I'm teaching him!

  4. I can definitely relate to this. I try to give my children many opportunities to pick from a couple of appropriate choices. Of course there are times when they have no choice--must hold my hand when crossing the street, cannot have 3 popsicles, must stay buckled in carseats, etc. Those are the hardest times (and loudest meltdowns...)

  5. It is amazing seeing them turn into little people!
    And I agree on letting them make their choices. I mostly let Butterfly choose her own clothes. A few weeks ago the nanny came to pick B up and saw how I asked her if she wants to wear this or that and then how well she let me dress her. She told me (nanny)how they struggle getting her dress as B refuses but have never given her a choice. The report when returning was how easy it was to dress her once B made her choice of clothes!!


Your comments are greatly appreciated so I've turned off the verification!