I get that babies and toddlers go through stages. Everything is a stage. Ironically, the more frustrating the behaviour, the longer the stage- in my experience. But, as with all things, eventually it passes and they are on to the next.
Audrey’s current stage can be described as “Up?! Up?!”. I know she is not the only 20-26month old that has gone through this. I should probably go back and consult The Wonder Weeks to find out just what kind of amazing and disorienting changes are going on in her brain to warrant such an obsession with being carried around. Anyway, the point is I am sure there is a developmental reason for this shift but it rather sucks. I mean, I was just getting used to her being a little more independent.. able to walk herself to the car, get herself up into her chair for dinner, able to climb up and down the stairs, ect. And now we are back to absolute exhausting “Mommy I need you All. The. Time.” Sigh.
She wants me to carry her up and down stairs. She wants me to carry her around all morning while I am getting breakfast ready. She wants me to carry her upstairs and then asks to go downstairs. The other day she wanted me to carry her 4 feet from her bedroom to the bath tub in the bathroom. Kid weighs like 28 lbs. She is 21 months old. And yes, I need to work out, but this wasn’t what I had in mind.Wanna take a guess as to what happens if I put her down or say no? Yeah, you got it, crying. Lots and lots of crying.
So the question is, what does one do?
1) Carry the kid. Let it be a stage. Indulge. Soon she won’t want me around as she races off to play.
2) Split the difference. Carry her when I can, stop carrying her when my back is near breaking or when I really just can’t hold her while doing a particular task. Put her down, bear the crying.
3) Stand my ground and try to talk her through it to do it on her own. Maybe not all the time, but regularly.
I was channeling Janet Lansbury (or what I imagine Janet would say…) the other day and tried this tactic:
This particular stand off was over the stairs. “Audrey, I know you want me to carry you, but you can do this on your own.” Crying.
“Audrey, I know you want me to carry you, but you are very good and walking down stairs on your own. You will feel good when you do it on your own. Look, there is only 3 steps. I will hold your hand and we can count them together.”
“One…….” She takes one step and starts to cry again.
I repeat pretty much the same thing over and over again until she finally gave in and walked down the stairs. I told her I was proud of her and that she looked proud of herself. I thanked her for going down the stairs on her own.
I tried a similar technique with the walk to the bath tube the other night. So I know it works.
But I don’t have the time or the energy to do this every single time she wants to be picked up. So, along with a few of these chats a day, I am also trying to get down to her level and give her extra hugs. And yes, sometimes, carry her around.
Anything else that works? Oh, and any idea on how long this stage lasts? (If it is longer then a couple months please lie to me, I don’t want to know.) What do you think one should do?