Author Topic: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?  (Read 3260 times)

redwagon

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2019, 09:09:08 AM »
I think that each parenting experience is unique and very difficult to predict how it will actually be until you are living it but I think is a terrific idea to ask all of these questions beforehand!!!
I can relate to many of the notes above but wanted to add in to consider how much support you will have either from family or friends. We have always been fiercely independent couple but having kids makes you have to surrender at times and accept the help of others (whether due to illness, exhaustion, or just needing a break!) We have never lived close to relatives and for a while did not understand how our friends were managing to find downtime away from kids- but they had nearby grandparents that were constantly being used as sitters!!!!! Honestly, I had never considered how important that could be! We still don't get as many breaks as we should but we do sometimes trade off kids with close friends to allow everybody to take a little break- is important!!
We have taken our kids all over the world and has been wonderful but not going to sugar coat- kids are hard work and as noted above they are constantly changing so just when you think you have things on an even keel it all gets thrown out the window!!!

caleb

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2019, 09:55:37 AM »
@Mr. Green You've heard from a lot of people who chose to be parents.  I'll provide a little perspective from someone child-free.

In our late 20s, my wife and I were on the fence about having kids.  But watching all of our friends have kids pushed us off the fence.

I think all of our friends are great parents.  The observation I'd have is that the friends who most radically changed their lives to serve what they perceived to be the interests of their kids (or simply the social expectations of upper middle class childrearing) have been made (at least to appear) pretty unhappy and exhausted by the experience.  The ones who minimized the changes to their lives - NOT moving to the "good" school district, continuing to have both spouses work, and hiring out much of the household labor - ended up most happy.  To an outsider, there seems to be something of an inverse correlation between the percentage of the parenting work and/or accommodation they do and enjoying having a child.

There's a notable exception though, and that's that everyone I know who has adopted has without exception been made a better and more joyful person by the experience.  Maybe it's because the hormones and idealism are taken out of it.  Maybe it's because with slightly older kids the "drawing straws" nature of it that @Malkynn mentioned is minimized.  I'm not sure, but in my world of observations adoption seems like a great deal.

Someone may very well come along and say that these ^ observations are wrong, based on a limited and biased sample, and generally wrongheaded because everyone loves, loves, loves their children.  Fine.  These are just my anecdotal observations like all the others in this thread.  Perhaps there's something there that's useful.

Cassie

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2019, 10:56:00 AM »
My son is 46 and his wife is 41. They were just discussing how happy they are not to have kids as their friends are stressed out about money and time.   They on the other hand travel and do what they want. My sister also chose not to have kids and was never sorry. Actually the people I knew with no children have never been sorry. My 3 kids are grown but our lives did revolve around their needs and activities.  Money was tight for many years when they were young and many plans,etc were canceled when one got sick. I love them very much and am not sorry I had them but to think that your life wonít change a lot is wishful thinking.

Cassie

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #53 on: August 12, 2019, 10:58:31 AM »
A friend of mine says ďOne day I woke up and I had too much time, money and my body was in awesome shape.  I fixed all 3 problems by having kids:))Ē

Prairie Stash

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #54 on: August 12, 2019, 03:29:17 PM »
Semi retired with kids aged 3 and 6.

A lot changes with kids when you FIRE, a lot of anecdotes from parents no longer apply. As a benefit of FIRE, it eliminates money stress. It also frees up massive amounts of time, parenting is easier when its all you need to do.

As for the fussiness, my wife and I discussed it. Our first born was fussy and bed time use to take an hour (or more, we would put her down, she would cry and then we would repeat the cycle). One day (around 11 months) I convinced her to try the cry it out method, 4 days later our child was happier at bedtime and went to sleep in under 5 minutes. It turns out we conditioned the child to cry at bedtime, as parents we were the cause of a lot of the fuss. We taught the child that crying was appropriate, when we rectified it the child learned a new behaviour; falling asleep without crying. For us, a parenting style change reduced fussiness and decreased our stress. How many parents do you see change their style? How many anecdotes do you read where a child goes from fussy to good because the parents changed?

That lesson was applied to a lot of other times, often the source of the problem was us, not the child. I'm saying that as parents we improved with time and as a result, our child's needs became easier to accomplish and started taking a lot less time. Its shortsighted saying that children go through phases as if its solely up to the children to change, parents also grow.

Another example is daycare. We would take our child who was 1 at the time and the caregiver could handle 4 kids that age. Logically, how is this possible if all kids need 100% of your attention? How is a daycare provider better at parenting your kid than the actual parent? A lot of it is they have developed skills and techniques to keep things running smooth. Parenting is hard, it is a skill to be learned. I picked up a lot of tricks from the pros, it turns out that as you learn more about parenting, it gets easier. We were open to changing and adapting, it helped our situation.

Today our youngest is 3. We fed her breakfast, then she played toys. Then it was lunch for everyone, followed by outside play with friends. There should be bath time at some point this evening, typically an hour, with her sister. Story time and getting ready for bed is 30 minutes. Altogether, about three hours of intense time with some check ups throughout the day. She will sleep for 10-12 hours, we'll do our own thing after she goes to bed. Notice how I said "we", that's the perk of FIRE, it only takes 1 person to accomplish any of these tasks but there's two of us to do them.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #55 on: August 12, 2019, 03:49:43 PM »
I haven't read the whole thread, but I want to address your central point - yes, there are different ways to parent.  Some parents tend toward higher intervention and others are lower intervention.  No one way is "right", but the idea that you can't be out of arm's reach of a toddler is not set in stone.

I have a friend who is a VERY intensive parent, and after a weekend with her and her kid I was seriously doubting if I wanted anything to do with parenting.  She barely talked to me the whole weekend, was constantly tending to the needs/desires/whims of her 2.5 year old.  But I now I have a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old at least in my perception, my spouse and I tend our kids much less than she does.  Which isn't to say they free range around the neighborhood, but they play independently (although this is highly kid dependent), get their own snacks within their own abilities, can wait at least a little bit for one of us to help them.  That said, our 4 year old is a "spirited" child and discipline is a 24/7 affair with her - making sure that the environment can support her making good choices, and being sure that we are consistent when she doesn't.  She was, in retrospect, a very fussy baby.  But I was so enamored with her every move it didn't really matter much to me.

I do really believe some of this is the attitude you bring to parenting.  For us parenting is a grand adventure, and we are excited to share our lives with our children.  So we travel, we keep the kids up late for special occasions, we go hiking and canoeing with kids in tow.  We do things to make life easier and more relaxed - the kids eat pb&j or cottage cheese and fruit for dinner more than I care to admit, we have used babysitters to make sure we have relationship time since the older one was 3 months old, and we have a cleaning person.  We have changed our lives a ton (goodbye sleeping in!) and also not changed them a in important ways (our values are still the same, how we live them out varies some).

And like someone else said, no developmental phase lasts too long with kids, so good or bad, it will be different soon.  The days are long but the years are short.  Reminding myself of that gets me through a lot of the tough parts of parenting.

Mr. Green

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2019, 08:00:36 AM »
There is some really good information here to consider. In my gut, I questioned if toddler parenting (hovering) had to be the way we are seeing it modeled. We still want a kid, and adoption is not out of the question for us. We've waited this long, so I think we're going to wait just a tiny bit longer so that we can take another cross-country journey this coming Spring. How we travel, constantly moving around, isn't really the most conducive to having an infant/early toddler. And in the event that the ACA is struck down here shortly the golden era for multi-state, long term travel with no employment may well come to an end. If something happens where we are unable to take a trip like this again (having a special needs child, physically aging poorly), we'll have fewer regrets knowing we took advantage of the opportunity when it was right in front of us.

charis

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2019, 09:12:47 AM »
I think it's important to note that parents may "parent" differently when they are with other adults, particularly those that don't have children.  I am much more likely to let my toddler fuss for a while in a closed off play area while I do the dishes or prepare a meal.  But with other adults that I am trying to interact with, I much more likely to redirect or intervene if I know it will prevent a behavior breakdown during that time.  There is much more to parenting than what you can see. 

Some kids are also more demanding of their parents' attention when other people are around, for a variety of reasons, but may do fine in a different or more private setting.  It's very difficult to predict how you will parent (or assess how others should parent) until you are in it. 

That being said, people's personalities before having children seem (in my limited experience) to correlate with their parenting style, in a lot of cases.  More so than how they intended or expected to parent.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2019, 04:03:36 PM »
I found traveling with a pre-crawling infant infinitely easier than with a crawler, or the bolting toddler.  Then once the youngest was about 18 months, traveling got easier again.  But traveling with 5 and 8 year olds is a piece of cake.  But the travel is really different with children.  It is only funny once to have a toddler faceplant into a meal at a restaurant. Or try to eat dinner with a sleeping child in your lap.  I felt too guilty that I was torturing them after both incidents.  But you adapt - different types of sightseeing and meal times and you make it work.  We stopped hiking for a long stretch because they were too heavy to carry but unable to walk that far or that fast. 

We tried really hard to meet all our kids needs when they were really little before they knew they had a need and then when they could ask for something with words or needed to learn how to do things for themselves I started enlarging the boundaries.  I feel like I worked damn hard at parenting for a good long time, but I am cruising now.  I have these delightful teenagers that are launching into the world without any of the drama many of my cohort are experiencing.

The one thing that I am so very thankful for is that I got two and their age difference is 33 months.  It was brutally difficult for the first six months of youngest - every waking moment #1 was doing stuff that could result in injury or death to #2.  (Using the bouncy chair as a catapult or giving that baby swing an extra push or pouring thomas trains into the bassinet.  Or even just trying to get into the basinet to cuddle.)  Then when number 2 could crawl, the biting and destroying started on #1 or any toys or arrangements.  But almost by magic, they started to play together.  And we could trust them not to maim one other at any moment.  They became the best of friends (something in the many sibling rivalry books I read must of worked).  Our friends with single children couldn't have a dinner conversation without a child interupting and making demands long after mine stopped doing that.  Mine would have some project or activity to get to before bed and I don't know how I taught them to just do stuff without an adult, but they did all the time for long stretches.  I don't remember when we started reading the paper while they "read" their own books, we just have done that forever. 

Many aspects of our lives changed to allow the kids to be at the center of it, but we managed somehow to create a family lifestyle that had room for the adults as well.  I did a ton of reading and tried to always be a considered parent.  I have only worked full time for a few month stretches, but have always had some sort of part time work that I did while they were at daycare or while it was crazy town in the office.  We are not yet retiring and won't be early because of the choices I made not to do full time work once I had the second.  However, I wouldn't trade a thing now. 

My kids are thoughtful, responsible, funny and kind.  They make me laugh every day.  My oldest is heading off to university in 17 days but I still have 3 years before the youngest leaves the nest.  The time flew by. 

Cassie

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2019, 08:16:29 PM »
We were never helicopter parents and allowed them freedom appropriate to their age. Although now society is making this hard for parents to do. If we had company we balanced our childrenís needs with our adult needs.  If friends had kids we might invite them all and the kids kept each other busy. Or we would put our kids to bed at 7 and have adult dinner with friends. We were strict about nap and bedtime so we didnít have cranky kids.  Little kids are physically draining and big kids emotionally draining.  I loved raising my kids. 

Hula Hoop

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #60 on: August 15, 2019, 02:24:26 AM »
This is timely as we're about to head off for a 4 day "cultural" trip with our kids to a hill town within Italy.  We're balancing kid friendly stuff (touring the chocolate factory) with grownup friendly stuff (seeing amazing art and architecture).  Amazingly enough, the older kid (11) started liking art at quite an early age - maybe 2 years' ago - so now it's just a matter of keeping the younger one entertained while touring art museums or churches.  We've been surprised that both our kids have loved certain museums - for example when we went to Naples in December they both loved San Gennaro's jewels. 

Frugal Lizard -kudos to you for raising kids who are best friends.  Our kids are opposites but still manage to entertain each other a lot of the time.  I'd characterize their relationship as "frenemies" though rather than best friends.  I was raised as an only child (my sibling is much, much younger than me so I'm more like her mother) so it was important to me to have 2 close together not just so that they could play together but also so that they had that relationship. 

elliha

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #61 on: August 15, 2019, 07:02:16 AM »
As many have said, kids are all different and will require different things from their parents. A 1-2 year old is still very small and while I do agree that they should be able to play on their own for a while they should also seek their parents' attention quite often. I was told that parenting is like a rubberband, neither you nor your kid should want it to snap and break and both should want to stretch that band in different directions. Some kids will have a tight rubberband and others a stretchy one. Even so, they should want to bounce back to you quite often.

I was never the parent that planned very much or kept exact nap- and bedtimes when my kids were little. I had a tiny diaper bag or just threw some stuff into my purse, the kids slept in the stroller or in a Manduca carrier on my back. My daughter was pretty calm, my son was wild but he just got to stay in the stroller more until he grew some sense (at about 2-2.5) in places where he could get lost or wreck stuff. My kids have often done things that us adult want and often they are OK with that. When we want to do something fun for all of us we adapt to the kids more but we still avoid stuff us parents hate. This summer for example we had an outing where we travelled by steam train and a trip to a combined zoo and amusement park. Next summer we may go on a trip to Uppsala and Stockholm and I assuem not everything we do will be completely kid friendly but then again, not so bad that they will start acting up or just be completely bored. My daughter has always found it easier to be "well behaved" even if you compare the kids at the same age but with some considerations of his personality we have still had the chance to do stuff and have him tag along too.

While a child's basic personality is unique I do think parenting plays in. Parents who get more involved and who are very routine based will often have kids who have problems responding to change. All kids may react to change but instilling at least some flexibility often does pay off. Sure, if your child has special needs more routine may be necessary but usually it is not necessary other than for shorter periods of time. That doesn't mean my kids do not have stability but we have built that around us parents and us being available for questions, hugs etc rather than predictability in what happens in general if you understand what I mean. Our kids are always described as stable, loving, imaginative etc at evaluations at day care and school and they can also easily adapt to more set environments like school because they don't take doing stuff exactly the same way for granted.

As for travelling, we have not travelled a lot but we do travel regularly within the country to visit family and I have friends who have travelled with kids. Many of them have been on more spontanous trips where they have done what they have wanted and adapted a "go with the flow" schedule and this has been fine with kids as without them. The only thing is that you need to remember that doing things with kids can take extra time so have as little as possible of "I must be in x town by y date". If you are FIRE, who cares if the trip is 6 or 8 weeks so then that should be OK.

So in short:

- Kids are all unique and may respond in different ways
- They take up time and energy regardless of parenting style
- You will need to adapt to them

But:

- By not taking unnecessary actions, develop unnecessary habits with kids or parents you are likely to have at least some kind of room for adjustment for your kid.
- Don't make it all about you or all about the kid/s, make it about family and compromise so all of you can have fun, even together.

And love those kids if you get them, with enough love many things will fall into place naturally, that I am convinced of.

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #62 on: August 15, 2019, 08:13:24 AM »
I have a 3 year old and an 11 month old right now. Yes, my husband and I are always in the same room as our kids. Mostly because there are 2 of them and we are still worried about big brother with baby sister.

Yes, babies are super needy. Yes, every parent gets mad at their baby because they are needy at times when parents want to rest. Thatís the gig of parenting, you have to do it even when you donít want to.

I think I know what youíre talking about with people always being within arms reach, my brother is like that with his kid. Young toddlers are crazy though and capable of big messes and accidents. Maybe your friends would rather play ďtagĒ on who is watching the kid than  have to clean up a big mess because they left the kid alone for 5 minutes.

You cannot predict or control what kind of 1-2 year old your kid will be. They will be easy in some ways and hard in others. Maybe the baby you see now is extra clingy, but is a great eater or napper? Other babies are very independent but wonít sleep through the night, for example.

If you want kids but arenít looking forward to the toddler years, you can put them in daycare during that time. HUGE difference between being with a kid 24/7 and having 8-10 hours of a break every day (especially if you are FIRE and donít have to work!)

FIRE47

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #63 on: August 16, 2019, 05:13:28 AM »
For the most part those early stages and even later in life depends largely on a roll of the dice and the personality of the child as much as anything you do as a parent. There is a chance no matter what you do especially at such a young age the child will be needy. Also  all children are extremely needy if that is the right term - they are essentially helpless after all. To think that if only Friend X had applied just the right parenting a very spirited 1 year old would be an independent wonder kid is a bit naive to say the least.

Based on your responses - which of course may not include every nuance and thought and opinion you have on the matter I would probably pause before having kids.

From what Iíve read kids are a lot  harder the older you are, they are also hard if you like to travel or if you are either strapped for cash or just donít want to part with any money due to competing interests such as FIRE,  it doesnít seem like you are checking many boxes objectively speaking.

Iím a homebody and we had our first young, we also donít have any money trouble and I really donít care that each child will delay FIRE by 6 months to a year, my style of travel is also slow and conducive to children when I do get the urge once year or so or for small road trips. I can honestly say that even with a screaming newborn Iíve loved every moment of it but also have support and got lucky with a calm happy baby.

I have also seen babies that through no fault of the parent just a very curious and energetic child that has not slept the night in 2 years. He just requires constant stimulation but there is nothing wrong with him, in fact his constant curiosity and energy could actually be positive as time moves on.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 05:17:58 AM by FIRE47 »

NorCal

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #64 on: August 16, 2019, 09:01:45 AM »
I currently have a 2 and 5 year old.  Here's my experience.

Assuming you have a baby proofed house (no choking hazards in reach, chemicals locked, etc.), they can start playing independently sometime in the 1-2  y/o range.  They can be left in a room alone in a room, as long as you can hear what they're doing.

That being said, the times the kid is willing to play independently has roughly zero correlation with when you want the kid to play independently.  In fact, I strongly suspect a big negative correlation there. 

Kids need a lot of attention.  They also behave different and need more attention in unfamiliar situations (like when you're meeting new people for the first time).

Mrs. D.

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #65 on: August 17, 2019, 09:55:54 PM »
Each child is SO different.  I have 4.  My first was and still is the easiest child/teenager ever.  She is almost 16.  If she had been an only we would have thought we were the "best" parents ever! Then the 2nd kid came hahaha...I love that kid to pieces but wow he was/is intense!  Number 2 has made me a better person and I have learned a lot about myself. Then 3 and 4...all different.  Different stages were/are hard.  Traveling with our kids has never been hard but we go with the flow.  We don't drive at night because they do better during the day etc.  We adapt to their needs and we all have a great time!  We always knew we wanted kids and never doubted that just how many.  Really do some soul searching!  I love having 4!

Many people parent very differently.  Also don't ever say I would never until you have been in their shoes....

This sounds like my DS. I was just saying to a friend today that my spirited son has taught me so much about myself, helped me grow in love, empathy, patience, compassion. Definitely made me a better person, but boy has it been a rocky journey.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #66 on: August 20, 2019, 08:15:30 AM »
One thing that I haven't seen mentioned is that you don't get to choose when your child needs you. We have a 15 month old. He's pretty chill on the scale of babies: in bed from 6pm to 6/7am with no nighttime crying, not massively adventurous or destructive, able to play nicely by himself in the same room as us. We do organise our life around his meals and naps but everyone is happier that way, and he has a very predictable schedule.

However! Earlier today Mr SLTD was making lunch and BabySLTD was pottering happily around looking in the kitchen cupboards when he started SCREAMING. At exactly the most crucial moment of lunch prep, he had shut his finger in a cupboard door. I was called in from doing stuff upstairs to tend to the wounded martyr.

A few weeks ago, I was ill. And then suddenly so was BabySLTD, for a week of unending misery.

Sometimes we have friends over and have just sat down with tea and cake when he does a pungent, explosive poo and we have to get up and change him that very second.

In between all of these events are lovely peaceful times when everyone can get on with their own thing (in reasonable proximity) but you have no idea when the shit is going to hit the fan...as it were. You have to arrange yourself around your toddler's unexpected urgent needs.

None of these involve what I would call "fussing". I don't think BabySLTD really does fussing. He's either fine or its the apocalypse. And I say this as someone who did hardass CIO at the youngest possible age because I was so fucking tired.

Also, a huge +1 to the luck of the draw. We have to be around BabySLTD all the time (though often passive, not active) because otherwise he gets sad and anxious. My friend has to be around her toddler all the time because otherwise she would pull all the furniture over just to see what was on top of it or something crazy like that. You can never babyproof enough to make an area 100% safe for a child that wants to get into something. But our "supervision" can be just reading our book with half an eye on him to make sure he's still in the room - it's certainly not full attention every waking minute. But if he needs us, we have to put down the book THAT SECOND.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #67 on: August 20, 2019, 10:51:25 AM »
OK, I actually take it back that BabySLTD doesn't fuss. Having spent the afternoon with him with that in the back of my mind, he definitely fusses. But I hadn't been thinking of most of it that way. Most of it is either, "I want to do this thing that I would totally be allowed to do but I need help doing it and haven't yet learned the words to ask for help, so I have to just make attention getting noises" (e.g. walk down steps, open downstairs toy trunk, open closed door) or "Muuuuuuuum, you're sooooooo mean!" (e.g. telling him not to play with the pruning saw then when he whines take it out of reach and out of sight and he gets over it, or taking him off for a nap when he doesn't want one) or "I obviously want a thing! Why don't you understand what it is? It's a thing! No, not that thing! A THING!" (and so we play the guessing game until either he gets it or I realise it's a thing he can't have). So even if I'm not hovering OVER him (which is what you seem to be describing), I'm still mentally and physically hovering AROUND him (or him around me if I try to pop out of the room - he just follows me!).

But I've been categorising all of that as either a communication attempt or him getting upset over not being allowed something or being told off. I guess if I just thought of all that as "fussing" I'd be pretty pissed off with him all the time. But I think of it as talking in a child too young to communicate his needs and wants effectively and too young to understand everything we say back to him.

I found the book "How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Little Kids Will Talk" really helpful in framing our interactions in more collaborative ways, and how to decide when is a good time to intervene. I don't really believe in "natural consequences" at his age. Like, I believe in physical reality, but consequences beyond "Mummy and Daddy get cross" seems a bit sophisticated for him (e.g. separated by too much time, like if you eat all the treats now you won't have any tomorrow) or downright dangerous, depending on the activity.

I think you would find it helpful to read some of arebelspy's posts. I think he has a journal about travelling and posts about doing it with his children. They seem like the "freest" parents on this forum, jetting off all over the world with kids in tow.

The thing I didn't internalise until I became a parent was that even when the physical load is not too bad, the mental load is constant. I've ALWAYS got half an eye on what he's doing, and when he's asleep I've got half an ear out in case he's crying. For me it's not a choice - it's hormonal and I can't switch it off even if I know perfectly well he's being cared for by someone else. It's getting better with time, though, and I assume will fade by the point that he can actually be self-sufficient. It's calmed down since I stopped breastfeeding at ten months, and I am now able to sleep through some baby noises - so Mr SLTD can get him up in the morning, for example, and I can have a lie in rather than jolting intensely awake the second I hear them.

cloudsail

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #68 on: August 20, 2019, 11:10:24 AM »
Amen to the mental load thing. This is why even though now my kids are mostly self-sufficient, I still feel so much lighter when they're not at home and are being cared for by someone else. This summer when they were at camp was like heaven. It's not like they really need me much when they're at home, but mentally some part of my brain is always on them when they're under my care (which during the school year is 99% of the time since we homeschool).

I'm not nearly as alert as when they were babies, but it never completely turns off.

Luz

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #69 on: August 21, 2019, 07:38:25 PM »
Mine is 14 months. I chose a pretty old-school route after being a nanny for 15 years and studying up on modern child-raising (how things have changed over the past few decades and to what effect).
I do a number of things that make it so my life doesn't revolve around my daughter.  I don't entertain her during the day (she either plays or tags along with me with what I'm doing). She does independent play-time for at least an hour  every day (in her crib after breakfast- we built that time up over months). I always pause before I intervene with her, to give her a chance to sort things out for herself and also to teach her delayed gratification. I make it my mission to be uber-consistent with discipline and in holding the boundaries. I try to take as good of care of myself as I do her. I keep my dreams for my own life in focus.

But, despite my approach, she still has become super needy since turning 1. It's developmental (separation anxiety, frustration from not getting what she wants, for example). I don't cater to her at all, but she still WAILS at the drop of a hat (if I put her down, if I say "no"...) which she didn't do before except at 6 months with another separation anxiety period. Teething also doesn't make things easy. So I've decided to stay the course on the big things (not entertaining, pausing, consistent discipline) but let the little things go (peeing alone).

So all that to say that yes, there are many things you can do to make life more enjoyable while raising preschoolers (seriously, that independent play time is my sanity) but even so, it's unlikely that any parent would be able to avoid night wakings from sickness, clingy kids from separation anxiety and teething, kids who refuse to eat anything but fruit, toddlers throwing a tantrum when you tell them they can't stick their head in the toilet, etc. But it does help to go into it with the awareness that ages 1-3 are particularly trying. That makes it more doable, somehow.

Also totally agree that it would have been much easier to become a mother in my 20's in terms of stamina. However, I like that my identity is more established now and I'm not figuring out who I am so much, like in my twenties. There's something nice about being settled in who I am while raising kids.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #70 on: Today at 07:41:15 AM »
So I've decided to stay the course on the big things (not entertaining, pausing, consistent discipline) but let the little things go (peeing alone).

One of the things which I have found interesting as a parent is the process of deciding what the big things and little things are for me. Turns out I have no desire to pee alone or go out in the evenings, but I would sell a kidney for a full night's sleep. I don't mind him having all his toys out at once all over the sitting room, but throwing things makes me furious. We try to have the minimum number of rules required to function as a family unit, but to make the rules we do have ironclad.

Mr. Green

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Re: Can parents opine on the neediness of their 1-2 year olds?
« Reply #71 on: Today at 04:15:06 PM »
OK, I actually take it back that BabySLTD doesn't fuss. Having spent the afternoon with him with that in the back of my mind, he definitely fusses. But I hadn't been thinking of most of it that way. Most of it is either, "I want to do this thing that I would totally be allowed to do but I need help doing it and haven't yet learned the words to ask for help, so I have to just make attention getting noises" (e.g. walk down steps, open downstairs toy trunk, open closed door) or "Muuuuuuuum, you're sooooooo mean!" (e.g. telling him not to play with the pruning saw then when he whines take it out of reach and out of sight and he gets over it, or taking him off for a nap when he doesn't want one) or "I obviously want a thing! Why don't you understand what it is? It's a thing! No, not that thing! A THING!" (and so we play the guessing game until either he gets it or I realise it's a thing he can't have). So even if I'm not hovering OVER him (which is what you seem to be describing), I'm still mentally and physically hovering AROUND him (or him around me if I try to pop out of the room - he just follows me!).

But I've been categorising all of that as either a communication attempt or him getting upset over not being allowed something or being told off. I guess if I just thought of all that as "fussing" I'd be pretty pissed off with him all the time. But I think of it as talking in a child too young to communicate his needs and wants effectively and too young to understand everything we say back to him.
This behavior here is really what I had in mind when I was talking about fussing, consequences (which I really should have described as cause & effect), and figuring things out. Naturally, a baby has a limited ability to understand things but I still feel inclined to treat that baby like a person in some respects. For example, if a one year old (basically walking, pulling open drawers, all that) wanted to pick up something immovable, why would I redirect it? Would I redirect an adult if they walked up to a tree and tried to pick it up and then wanted to pitch a fit about why it wouldn't move? No, you'd let that person learn that trees don't move. In the baby's case, figuring that out may involve crying but I'm okay with that if it means the child is learning that we simply can't do certain things. Perhaps my logic here is flawed and a one year old will not learn that it can't pick something up, but when I see the kinds of things our friend's son is learning, it seems reasonable to expect that he can also learn that you can't do certain things. In our friend's case, they constantly redirect the child, rather than let him struggle through the process of learning that he can't lift the 200 pound coffee table off the ground. I suppose my big beef with this is that it creates this dependency where the parent is constantly stuck right on top of the child because at that age they are always trying to do things they can't do.

So for the fussing that comes from a learning 12-18 month old not getting what it wants, is it acceptable to just let them fuss about certain things or are they not capable of moving past not getting something they want and this is just tantamount to being cruel? This is the part I would like to understand better.