The Toddler Rebellion Has Begun!

This week was a game changer with Finley. It’s safe to say he has well and truly entered toddlerhood, and boy did he show us that he means serious toddler business. 
To put it politely the behaviour our toddler boss was displaying this week was “new and challenging.” 

Oscar Worthy Meltdowns
Finley knows what he wants and understands everything we say to him, the only problem is he can only say a handful of words such as car, toes, dog etc. This is fantastic, although car and toe words ain’t going to help him, or I out much when he’s screaming at me, and at the cupboard, he can’t tell me why he’s screaming at the cupboard, but he is screaming really loud and won’t stop.
Which leads to a full blown toddler meltdown. 
What I witnessed this week was the start of toddler life in all it’s glory.
I thought I would share with you something that made Finley particularly “emotional” this week.
I think I’m going to put his name forward for an Oscar, as some of the performances he gave were Oscar worthy indeed.

Mealtime Madness
So the main act of defiance he started this week was refusing food and having mealtime meltdown’s.
Finley has always been a fantastic eater from the minute he started weaning.
He LOVES his grub with the exception of meat, but that’s fine as he enjoys all his veg, chickpeas, lentils etc… but last week he started refusing food not because he didn’t like it was pure toddler rebellion.
Finley was trying to push the rules to see our reactions, when he threw that plate across the floor, or tried to stand up in the highchair.
Anything offered to him he just said “NO!” and threw it away, stood on it, screamed, said “NO” again.
My Mum guilt brain was telling me “Oh goodness what if he gets hungry”, my logical Mum brain was telling me “The same boy will soon let you know if he is hungry, he is just trying to rebel Kathryn.” 
It was incredibly frustrating, especially after standing making dinner for half an hour, while cradling a screaming newborn, for Finley to refuse it totally and throw it on the floor. To stop myself from bursting out into tears, I kept telling myself “This is just a phase”.

Keeping Calm
So I was torn with that situation of, do I offer him something else if he doesn’t eat ?
If I started that would he see it as a reward and think it’s ok to behave that way?
Although I have to give him something to eat. It is such a tricky situation!
I remained calm, I didn’t fluster in front of him.
With calm voice I kept saying “Do you not want your dinner?” or “You might get hungry later if you don’t eat” I also said things such as “Please do not throw food or your plate that is messy” and tried to encourage him to start using his word’s and sound’s and try to get him to say “All done” instead.
Talking aloud like this helped me to stay calm and get less stressed about the whole situation even though it was VERY stressful, and I felt like I wanted to run for the hill’s. 
My thinking was,if he can understand sentences like “Will we brush your teeth” then surely he will start to understand “Please don’t throw your plate.”
If he didn’t eat the food I offered him first time round, I just lifted him out from the high chair saying to him “You must not throw your food” the last thing I want is a battle over mealtimes that helps no one, and to be honest with two other kids to see to, I don’t have time for it.
So a little while after mealtime, I placed out very plain plate of snacks, that he could go to if he was hungry. 
I didn’t draw attention to the snack’s or say anything about them. I just left the plate out.
My thinking was he wouldn’t see it as a reward for not eating as there was no attention drawn to it.
For the Mum guilt side of me I knew he was at least eating something!
Who knows if that’s the right thing to do, what even is the right thing to do?.
With parenting there really is no rule book or instructions to follow, but I thought I would give this tactic a try as it was the best solution for us. 

Mr Independent
Toddlers crave independence that’s part of the reason they have meltdowns, so any chance I could I gave him a more independence, in the hope it would make him feel less frustrated.
I let him feed himself.
I took the tray of the high chair, and pushed him into the table.
I gave him more choices, like asking him pick what flavour of yogurt he wanted.
Asking him to pick what colour of apron.
Encourage him choose which drink he wanted, if he wanted milk or water.
Let him decide which cup he wanted to use.
You get the jist, simple thing’s really, but it did help and after a week of defiance, by the end of the week he was eating again! 
Now it’s not all peaceful and perfect at mealtime’s, he still tries to rebel and kick off. 
Although he does seem to have a better understanding that throwing food and screaming at Mummy is not a good way to behave.

Here we go again!
However just when we have mealtimes sorted again, he has moved on and started to rebel against something else that he has always loved ….. the bath.
I’m still working on what is the best way to approach this bathtime rebellion.
I will keep you updated in the next toddler life blogpost. I have a feeling these post’s will turn into “The Toddler Rebellion Files
This too shall pass
The most important thing in all this toddler craziness is to stay calm, and remember the importance of self care.
To make time for myself to recharge on those really tough days,to keep telling myself it’s just a phase.
I’ve been through so many development phases with Finley since he was a newborn, sleep regression, silent reflux, baby growth spurts.
This is just another one that we will get through! 
Oh and I always make sure I have coffee ( thankyou Starbucks drive thru) and chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate.
“This too shall pass.”

Has your little one entered toddlerhood like Finley ? How are you coping with those meltdowns?