Sherree - posted on 06/16/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )
My daughter is 20 months and has been getting more and more difficult to get moving when we're on a time constraint. For instance, in the morning when we have to get out the door to work / daycare. She started tantrums about 5 months ago. They aren't all the time - one week could be bad and then another week she's far more cheery and easy going. They usually surround having to leave things and do something different (having to leave the park, or having to go into the car) or not being allowed to do something (walk in the parking lot, or if she wants a particular snack and we don't have it). She's still nursing and I've found that when she gets really upset, that's the only way she will calm down. So at least I have that to use. (Very handy especially when the crying happens in public!) Lately, however, she is starting to fight us on every little thing that we need to make her do in the mornings, from getting up, to getting changed, to going in the high chair, to getting dressed to get out the door. It's not that she doesn't love her daycare - she does! It's just that she doesn't want to be told what to do and rushed. She wants to do her choice of things - like play with her toys in the morning.
Anyways, this morning I discovered something. If I pout and pretend to be sad, she stops fighting me! I was trying to put on her panties over her diaper and she was crying and being stiff and kicking. She grabbed them and threw them. So instead of trying to talk her down more like I usually do, I sat back, stuck out my bottom lip and whined. She immediately looked at me and came over and gave me a hug and said "awww". Then she grabbed the panties, gave them to me and promptly sat down and let me put them on her! The same thing happened tonight when she didn't want to put on her pj's. She threw them again and again I pouted and again she hugged me and let me put them on. Then she was fighting me again, not wanting to stop reading books and go to sleep. We had already read 4 books and it was late and she started crying. So I whined again and told her I was sad and she immediately hugged me and then lay down for me to nurse her to sleep (as is the way we do it still).
I told my husband this and his reaction was to wonder if it is healthy. He also thought it was unusual for her to show empathy at such a young age. So these are my questions. Is it unusual? Is what I'm doing unhealthy?
In my opinion, I thought it was especially healthy. I was very pleased to see her showing empathy, and anything that made her stop being so extremely upset with the crying and kicking and instead act like the calm and kind toddler that she most often is, has got to be good! I don't think she really was too worried about me - I think she knew I wasn't really that upset. She was hugging me and saying "awww" the way she does with the dog or her pooh bear. I think it was just part of a game to her. It gave her the ability to play a role and still be "in charge" rather than having to cry because she "lost" in a battle of wills, which is how it's most often been going lately.