The same breed…just at different times in life!
The thought came to me last night, after an exhausting day with Ishaan, who put me through the wringer with his worst, clingy, whiny behavior in a long time and the memory of a conversation I had with a friend about her teenager just a few days ago.
Ishaan’s generally a happy child and when he gets this way, it’s safe to assume that he’s not feeling bright. The last time he was like this, it was teething-time and he had the ‘loosies‘. This time it was constipation and colic and other than wait for the medicines to take effect, massage his little tummy when he would let me, and cuddle & carry him continuously, there was nothing else to be done. When he finally recovered yesterday afternoon, he was instantly more cheery and by the evening, was back to his normal mischievous self, (albeit with sunken, rimmed eyes from 24-hours of non-stop whining :(), to the relief of us all.
It’s at times like these that I feel inadequate (A strong word. ‘Not up to it.’ seems kinder to self.), as a mother and pediatrician. There’s not much I can do in either role, except love, reassure and hope and then love, reassure and hope some more! Watching your child when they are ill, is heart-rending and yet educative, if you can stay sane enough to learn. It’s tough though, and I’m a pediatrician, trained to work with sick children!
Seeing him this way (difficult and whiny), brought back several conversations I’ve had over the years with friends and parents of teenagers, who are having trouble dealing with ‘the change’. It seems like toddlers and teens have a lot more in common than I first imagined! I made a list…short and not very sweet, which I include here. It’s by no means comprehensive nor written in stone…so do feel free to add, subtract, and otherwise share your thoughts.
- Stubbornness – helps them both get their way, although I think Toddlers here have the definite edge, ‘coz, well, try reasoning with a two-year-old with limited vocabulary, who doesn’t want to eat his veggies! But perhaps I’m biased as a toddler mom and parents of teens have an equally hard time getting them to swallow their spinach!
- Communication issues – Toddlers ‘coz their language is still developing and teens ‘coz they’ve developed an entirely different language 😉
- A tendency to tantrums, sulking and all manner of drama that’s downright scary!
- An inability to stand still for more than a minute and in Ishaan’s case – a few seconds!
- Following naturally from #4 – an inability to listen to most everything, unless it’s something they want to hear. Also the ability to twist anything and everything into something they want to hear.
- A strange yet firm resistance to all logic other than their own! Seen in abundance particularly in smart-alecky teens, of which I used to an esteemed member 🙂
- Toddlers are master manipulators as are Teens. Emotional blackmailers par excellence!
- An inability to understand ‘NO’
- Both revel in defying authority – any parent will testify to the fact that the surest way of getting your toddler or teen to ‘Do’ something is to ‘forbid’ it! Works like a charm!
- A curious affinity for trouble (A corollary to #7) – Both seem to have a penchant for getting into scrapes and tight spots with little regard for danger to self and others and little thought to consequences.
All right…this list is scarier than I thought! Will stop now before I lose all perspective and concentrate on happy thoughts…or I have a better idea…it’s close to midnight, my particular toddler is asleep…and that’s where I’m headed…comfy bed…happy thoughts…sweet dreams…smiling toddler…Nighty night…yawn…
p.s. for some reason I can’t get the numbers to turn blue…and it’s bothering me more than it should…guess I really am tuckered out…