If you are — or recently were — the parent of a toddler, you know that there is no such thing as a lazy weekend afternoon. There is no lounging on the couch with a good book while in
the company of your child. There are no marathons of your favorite show on Netflix. Instead there is playtime with bubbles and repeat reads of “insert the name of your child’s favorite book of the week”. Sometimes you just can’t predict the direction an activity will take. Especially when your toddler blindsides you and insists on doing something herself. This often leads to your child doing something potentially dangerous that puts an abrupt halt to the activity which in turn leads to a downward spiral and the mother of all things — a meltdown.
Case in point, my husband and I were hanging in our yard with our young toddler one Summer weekend afternoon. My daughter and I went inside to grab something and she spotted the yellow bubble wand purchased before she had entered the “do it myself” phase. I had been hesitant in taking it out because I didn’t want to deal with her insisting on moving the wand in and out of the bubble stick herself and the resulting sticky mess. But I felt bad because she really wanted to play with it, plus I knew it could help her develop her motor skills. I decided to take it out and off we went into the yard to blow bubbles. Almost immediately my daughter took the bubble wand and the part with the solution and was attempting the process herself. Not long after that she came very close to drinking the bubble solution. The word “no” came flying out of our mouths, but that didn’t stop her from trying to take a sip again. So we took the bubbles away and the following ensued: screaming and the full-body shaking that happens during a toddler meltdown when something doesn’t go the toddler’s way. And my child knows how to stomp her feet, thanks to Sesame Street, so while she balled out tears and shook her whole body in anger, she also stomped her feet.