The "Aha" Book Series

A friend of mine always raves about the book series by THE GESELL INSTITUTE OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT. Titles include Your Two Year Old, Your Three Year Old, etc. I bought a used copy of Your Two Year Old right when Caroline turned two and read it. Turns out, I should have waited a bit until she was firmly entrenched in being two to read this little gem. I pulled it out tonight in search of suggestions, answers, whatever. What I found was reassurance. My child is two. She won’t be two forever.

Here are a few quotes that resonated with the situation in our household.

“Many are … beyond parallel play, and there is often considerable interaction. But this interaction cannot in most instances be described as cooperative. In fact it is often quite the opposite. One rule seems cardinal in the child’s mind. This is that he is going to hang onto and defend to the death any toy he has played with, is playing with, or might play with.” (So relived to read this is typical and my child is not a bully!)

“The two-and-a-half year old child not only acts like a baby but he loves to hear about his babyhood. ” (Caroline has loved to pretend to be a baby lately. She has fake-baby-cried more this last month than she ever did as an actual baby.)

“If you find yourself involved in one of those fruitless (and boring) ‘I want — I don’t want’ routines, in which the child demands some toy, food, article of clothing, or activity, and then the minute he gets it rejects it, and then when you take it away wants it again, it may be impossible to resolve the situation at this level.” The authors go on to suggest leaving the scene taking the child from the scene, or introducing some entirely new object or idea. “For instance, when the child is in a bad mood and nothing pleases — he doesn’t want to stay but he doesn’t want to go — some simple suggestion such as “but where are your shoes?” can shift his attention with good results.”

One thought on “The "Aha" Book Series

  1. Oh, I am laughing. Yes, yes, and yes. All those things are normal. I’ve got to wonder how I’m perceived by new parents though. In situations like swimming lessons, where Liz has collected up all the rubber ducks, diving rings and little balls that her arms can hold and she stands there in knee-deep shallow water, lips blue, goose bumpy body, and visibly shaking, just clutching that armful of toys…and there I am just quietly sitting next to her or saying things like, “Wow, Liz, that’s a LOT of toys you’ve got! Aren’t you gonna play with any of them? Or no, you just want to stand there and hold them?” and gently cupping water over her so she doesn’t freeze. The other parents must think I’m HORRIBLE! I hadn’t thought about that, really. I know they look at me like I’m doing something really wrong, while they wrench even just a second ducky from their toddlers’ hands to encourage “sharing” (puhleeze, the basket is brimming over with toys, there would be enough duckies and diving rings for every child in Minnesota to have an armload). But, I honestly thought they just had a more severe parenting style than I. It hadn’t crossed my mind that they might not realize that this hoarding and glaring is really a normal developmental milestone! Wow, I kinda feel like an ass now! Oh well, they’ll figure it out, right? At one point they’ll go “Aha” and realize I wasn’t actively training my daughter to be a toy-stealing bully, but that I had just resigned myself to the fact that it’s not worth a power struggle over something like that. Right? But, I will watch myself when around other parents in the future. I’m gonna get a bad rap before pre-school this way!

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