Normal Toddler Behavior at 23 Months? Warning. It's a long one. :)

Sharin - posted on 04/23/2012 ( 10 moms have responded )




I'm a first time Mom of a Beautiful 23 Month old boy. He was a cranky/colicky baby and never slept worth a hill of beans, but was always smiley, happy, ate well and active. He crawled a bit late and walked at 14 months.. but still is dead on with his milestones. As a soon-to-be two year old... He's quirky and silly, smart, active and cuddly... chatty… still eats pretty well and still doesn't sleep worth a hill of beans. :) Some days, however, I think he's not quite "normal" and I stress about it. Now I get that “normal” goes from black to white… but….

At times -- our days are peaceful and delightful. We took him on an airplane for three hours and he was a DREAM! Who knew? Other days, I feel like everything is a constant fight. He's crazy and busy and going ten million miles an hour! There are tantrums over the smallest things like juice vs milk…. Still tantruming DAILY over diaper changes unless he plays with an iphone or something he's INTENSELY fascinated with. Still? Tantrums over diapers? Really? There's a lot of stubborn attitude with this boy, but so are his Mommy & Daddy so I don't think much of it. The Tantrums are not violent.. so really nothing I feel should be flags. Most times he tells me what he wants so I don't get a tantrum from him, but times when we’re in control, we get the whiny nonsense that sends me over the edge. I think that's normal?

His favorite toys are not really toys and he goes quickly from one thing to the next. He'll play for awhile with his zoo animals, read books, chase a ball with Mom & Dad, play on the swings/slide or even walk in the wagon.. We do imaginary play by pretending we are airplanes, or sing and dance.. color.. etc. but often times he wants to "watch baby" which is videos of himself on the iphone... over and over and over. Or, "Sweep" -- outside, with a broom. Favorite Favorite activity. Over and Over. He loves bubbles... in the tub, in the classroom at school, outside... always asks for them. Speaking of the tub, he still won’t sit down in it. For about eight months now. He went through an intense fear of the bathtub and during that time wouldn’t sit, then got excited by it and now STILL WON’T SIT! UGH! (Hates showers, too)… Do kids at this age play with toys? Is it normal to not sit in the tub!?

He's very clingy with Mommy -- DRIVES ME INSANE. He wants to be held, and will even say, "Mommy hold you?" sometimes when he wants to be picked up! I try so hard not to all the time, but after a tantrum over it, I give in. (I also still cherish this little piece of cuddle time.) He also does this at day care drop off and has been since November. Screams when I leave, usually no more than five minutes or so and they say he's happy when I leave.. but.. NOTHING here has changed. It's the same place/people for the past year. As I do a quick, "I love you" and kiss and walk out and see the other parents are bringing their WALKING children in, smiling and happy and I run off defeated... Is that NORMAL!?

He eats well for the most part.. I find it helps that his day care provides a different lunch item every day. Most days he will eat everything they serve him even if he won't eat it at home. Stinker :) I think that's a normal part of being a toddler?

The things that really kill me in all of this...

1) He's wicked smart. He can tell you what color just about anything is... from Pink to Blue to Brown. He knew his animal sounds at around 14 months… recognizes A TON of letters (Part of this is his book fascination) and most all of his numbers... even shapes. (On vacation he was telling us what floors the elevator was passing and read that the number 905 on the door of our room.) Is that normal at this age!? He goes to a very structured day care but... really?

2) He's a little bit obsessed with ceiling fans and candles. This is the part where everything goes crazy on me. I know this is a big sign of autism in kids and I'm doing all but everything convincing myself my kid isn't normal because of it. He sees a ceiling fan and doesn't want to leave it. (Even if they are off) He doesn't stand and stare at them if they are on, he's just excited by them! He wants to go "check them out" in all the rooms... he may ask you to turn them on or off. He will ask you to turn on a candle.. or off.. and gets downright giddy if you do. (And angry if you don't. Very angry.) He wants you to put the top on the candle after you blow it out… He gets cranky if he finds a fan when you’re out and about and then you have to leave. Sometimes he’ll say, “Bye bye fans!” but if he’s not ready… Meltdown. He will spin the dishwasher spray wand sometimes when he’s helping me unload dishes… He may stop for a minute to spin something (propeller or wheels) on a toy.. but not for more than a second or two. He’s always been interested in the ceiling fans, but I feel like now this has gotten worse instead of something he would grow out of. I find these things wierd... and worrysome.

I will be bringing these things up to his Ped at his 2 year visit in a few weeks, but… I just needed the peace of mind that maybe some of this is all in my head? Anyone? Thanks, ladies, for letting me vent. I do tend to worry, as most moms do, and I know there isn't always a "normal" when it comes to being a toddler.. but.. any support would be much appreciated.



User - posted on 04/25/2012




As a child psychologist and mom, the best piece of advice I can give you is to take him to see your pediatrician and present your concerns. I ALWAYS encourage parents to stay off the Internet when trying to self diagnose their children because there is so much misinformation out there that results in scaring them instead of helping them. Whenever you are concerned, start with the doctor. On a side note, none of the information you provided seems problematic to me. There is a huge range of what is considered "normal" and spinning toys is only one small sign of autism. Lots of children who are not autistic spin toys. Most toddlers develop fascinations with things as well.

"The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself."


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Mary Renee - posted on 04/28/2012




oh, and kudos on the wicked smart thing! I've been trying to teach my daughter how to count (and I admit, my motives are not entirely pure, I found a home video of myself counting to 8 when I was 23 months old so I want her to be able to as well) but she still counts numbers in no particular order "one two two five two three FIVE!" (two and five are her favorites). It's so funny because at the playground when she's pushing kids on the swing or playing hide and go seek or counting before she jumps off something she "counts" mimicking the big kids but she always says "two five two five THREE five!" She puts her fingers up and everything like she counting on her fingers. They can be little cavemen at this age, but they're definitely the cutest cavemen ever!

Janice - posted on 04/27/2012




I used to work with toddlers in daycare and I have always found from 17-26 months to be the most difficult. They are busy, demanding and often do not speak well yet.

Melt down over the silliest things is normal. An obsession with something is normal as long as he also does other things. Being busy is very normal. Crying at drop off is normal. I remember one boy who had been in daycare since he was a a few months old would cry and beg mom to stay during every drop off (from 18 months on) and then he would calm down and when mom came to pick him up he would get mad and not want to go home.

I understand being worried. My own toddler is smart but is on the slower side when it comes to articulation and gross motor skills. Just behind enough for me to be worried but not behind enough to actually need intervention. One day she is shocking me with her smarts and the next I am worry she will never speak properly.

I would definitely bring up you concerns with your ped. but he sounds pretty normal. I wouldn't worry too much.

Bethany - posted on 04/27/2012




my 26 mth old is the same, i call him naughty but he just constant, hes on the go all the time, all ways getting into shit he aint suppost 2 ie tonight i walked into the lounge to find him IN the turtle tank yes standing full in it clothes, socks and all!! he is normal, he is big and bright 4 his age but thats just him. we have bad cases of adhd in my fam and im always worried that hes suffering from that but im assured by his daycare carers that it normal...

i know its frustrating and you feel lost lots but it ok to worry but maje sure you address the concerns when he has his appointment and dont think your just being silly...

good luck keeping up with him! ox

Sharin - posted on 04/26/2012




Thanks... All of you rock. We had a great few days so hey, maybe it's just me!!! But again thanks for the support. I will be talking to the doctor In a couple weeks and asking for her advice. His teachers all told me of all the kids in their school he was the last that they would consider... Though he does enjoy solitude at times and is shy at others. Again thanks... I appreciate the sounding board!!!!!!

Mary Renee - posted on 04/25/2012




This sounds nearly identical to my totally healthy and normal 23-month-old. I would not be concerned. First of all, according to Dr. Harvey Harp (author of Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block)... temper tantrums PEAK at 18 months-24 months. The "terrible twos" are a misnomer, it should be the terrible almost twos, but it's not as catchy. Diaper changes are a daily battle for my 23 month old, as well as the 10 month old I nanny.

Secondly, toddlers are not miniature children. They don't have long enough attention spans for certain toys, but might be obsessed with other toys. My daughter also loves sweeping, but won't play with a puzzle for more than half a second. My daughter is also obsessed with ceiling fans and candles but that's because THEY ARE COOL. Haha. I'm an adult with out autism and I think they're kind of mesmerizing, I can only imagine they are only more so for a toddler.

You should bring this up to the pediatrician, but he sounds totally normal to me. They gave me an autism checklist at my daughters 18 month check up and they were very clear that some of the behavior on the list is still NORMAL behavior, it's more if they do it every day non-stop in addition to other thing OR with the exclusion of other things.

Stephanie - posted on 04/24/2012




Sharin, I deal with some of the same things. My son Nicholas is very busy. He is only into few toys but rather chase the dogs, or run around. He however whines for everything or we deal with anger meltdowns. I am really stressed at this point. He is very smart he knows about 35 words can count to 6 and knows the first 6 letters of the alphabet. But the fact that I can't really get him to sit down with me bothers me. Sometimes I can get a good ten minutes, but most of the time we are just going. Nicholas is however talks about ducks all the time and balls. He will sit and stare out the window for ducks. He doesn't want to leave them. Diaper changes can be so difficult, but then sometimes he goes and grabs his diaper. He isn't very social either, with other babies which I can't grasp on to, But I am a stay-at-home mom which can go hand in hand. Please let me know the answers you find. Sometimes I read into things, but being a first mom I feel like I am stuck in a whirlwind of not knowing what to do.
THanks for sharing!

Amanda - posted on 04/23/2012




As you stated already, normal is so broad that it can be really hard to tell. My son is 30 months old, and I don't always know about him either. Generally though, I feel he is normal, so if you are really worried about your child, I would look into it more.

Dori - posted on 04/23/2012




Hi there Sharin your boy sounds like quite thebusy man lol . I myself have a 4yr old with autism and if you feel something is off with your son dont let anyone make you feel bad about it. from what you said i dont think its a "classic autism" i would lean mor toward Aspergers syndrom google it lots ofsites will have signs of... hope thishelp and if this is the case its great you are catching now asearly intervetion andtherepy are what gives our little ones a fighting :)

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