It’s gotten more refuctious. Yes, refuctious – one of the most appropriate words I’ve ever made up. It will be the subject of a later post.
How can anything this cute behave so refuctiously?
After posting that essay, I started looking for information on the question of where the belief that everything is theirs could have come from. Then I mulled over the question of how they put the word “MINE” in front of everything they saw. If she were being brought up by Paris Hilton, I could understand it.
First, I looked in my trusty toddler book What to Expect: The Toddler Years by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff, and Sandee E. Hathaway. If you’ve been pregnant, you likely have What to Expect when You’re Pregnant and know about the What To Expect series.
In “The Twenty-Second Month,” the authors have a brief section on Generosity Turned Selfish in response to a question from the mother of a female toddler:
Your daughter, like most children in their second year, has suddenly realized [the concept of ownership.] . . . Now she has a new sense of self and of ownership (These are mine!”).
It’s important to recognize that the impulse to guard what is hers (and occasionally grab what she wants to be hers) reflects not selfishness but a developmental stage. . . A willingness to share with her playmates – at least part of the time – probably won’t be forthcoming for at least a year.”
A YEAR? A Whole YEAR???
I resorted to pulling out my old Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, the 40th Anniversary Edition revised and updated for the 1980s. The copyright information says that Dr. Spock came out with his first book in 1945. Amazing. He essentially says the same thing: “If your child at 2 doesn’t give up her possessions, she is behaving normally. Amazingly refuctious.
So the answer to the first part of the question sounds like, “It’s a developmental thing.” As they begin to define their sense of self, everything revolves around them. It’s “theirs.” I guess Paris Hilton is still two.
Just the other day I, my husband, and our granddaughter Joanna Leigh, 25 months old, went on an outing to Piggly Wiggly. We needed thick, overnight diapers, bananas, pears, yogurt, flavored water (for her nighttime ba-ba, the subject of yet another post), cat food, and come to think of it, not much for us except a frozen pizza for that night’s supper. There was a time I wouldn’t have considered eating a grocery-store pizza for supper, but toddlers change lives, especially grandparent’s lives when they are parenting that toddler.
We were at the check-out when I realized I needed vacuum cleaner bags. “7-B,” said the clerk. So I high-tailed it to the back left part of the store. Looking, looking, looking. Suddenly I hear high-pitched wails from the front of the store.
“Why doesn’t that mother do something,” I said out loud to the cleaning supplies. No vacuum bags. Anywhere. Crying from the front. Suddenly it hit me. “That’s Joanna Leigh!”
I high-tail it back to the front, just as my husband and the baby were headed to the door. She had real tears in her eyes and was still crying.
“What on Earth?” I asked.
“You won’t believe it,” my husband replied. “When I got the yogurt out of the buggy to put on the scanner, she started screaming ‘MINE, my yogurt. Mine’.”
“NO. Say it’s not so.” I looked back at the check-out clerk. She met my eye, with a LOOK.
It WAS so. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to ALL the mothers out there that I have given LOOKS to when their kids were acting up in public, and believe me, there have been many.
I think I have found the answer to the second part of the question. You have things to do, and I’ll have to study this. I will explain it as best I can in Part III.
Meanwhile, you pronounce refuctious thusly: re-fuc΄-shus.
Photo by Emory Kimbrough