The Mind of a Toddler

This week I wander into dangerous and unpredictable territory: I attempt a few insights into the complex mind of a toddler.

Every age and stage comes with its challenges, but the years between when kids learn to walk and talk and when they’re old enough to start school are particularly strange and challenging.

The General melted down one night last week because we were talking about facial hair and he realized that he could not see his own eyebrows. He kept rolling his eyes up and making this hilarious face as he tried to look at his forehead, but then he got sad.

(Why didn’t I just go get him a mirror, you ask? He was in bed. I couldn’t find a hand mirror. And the Cardinal Rule of Bedtime is that once you actually have a kid in bed, you don’t let him get up unless it’s an emergency. An existential eyebrow crisis is not quite an emergency.)

Three ain't easy, baby.

Three ain’t easy, baby.

In truth it’s perfectly normal for kids that age to completely lose their minds and behave in unpredictable ways. This great Slate article explains the science behind toddler tantrums: their world is expanding exponentially and their brains are developing in wild ways. Sometimes it’s too much to handle.

Knowing this can help us sympathize, but it’s still cold comfort when your kid is weeping facedown on the floor because you gave him Rice Krispies instead of  Cheerios, even though he specifically asked you for Rice Krispies and not Cheerios. It’s hard to parent a three-year-old if you are not telepathic.


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