February 9th, 2007
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Categories: Adoptive Families

My great niece Becca is full of energy and surprise. At the tender age of 18 months she was already charming the world with her funny little antics.

Becca is what I would call the “Total Toddler.” She has it all. From the mean little tantrums, right down to the tender kisses and hugs after she has bopped her brother or fellow toddler in the head.

She gets into everything, so the house has to be child-proof and she keeps her parents and her grandma busy. If she’s out of sight and it is quiet, there is no telling what she has gotten herself into.

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Becca is bright and her smile melts your heart.

I tease my sister who is her grandmother about her. My mother used to tell us that she had to set the bed rail down on Julia (my older sister’s) dress to keep her safe, if she was washing dishes or doing something other than watching her 24/7.

In all aspects I’d say that Rebecca is her grandmother in totality. At two they had to install better door locks because she mastered how to open the doors and get out of the house.

Her mother is having a hard time potty training her and her mindset is one that challenges her mommy every inch of the way.

Becca wins your heart with her tender side. She will cuddle and kiss you and she seems to know when someone is down and really needs a hug.

She has her mommy’s feisty love for life, her daddy’s determined mind and her grandma’s penchant for mischief. Her older brother is always looking out for her and she fights him tooth and nail. She will knock his lights out and he just shrugs his little shoulders and chases her down again.

Becca thinks the sun rises and sets with her sister “Elby.” That is what she calls her older sister Shelby. She is full of life and excitement. There is never a dull moment when Becca is around.

Like most little girls she is pretty in pink and she knows it. eedless to say she has won the hearts of all of our family.

Life around a healthy toddler can exhaust any Mom. This is the most precious time in a child’s life. They learn how far they can push their parents and they learn where the boundaries are set for them. They learn to listen. They learn right from wrong. They seem to develop their personalities and are learning to show emotions like anger, kindness, love, joy, happiness, excitement and sadness. They are like little sponges at this age.

What you teach them now and train them to do will carry with them throughout life. You are molding their life by how you handle all the little struggles that they put you through.

This is the time when “No” must mean “NO.” You bet your life they will push to the limit. Now is the time to perfect your parenting skills and ask for help if you are feeling at all needy of good advice.

All toddlers are much the same but no two children are exactly alike so there is no set handbook on how to handle the toils of toddlers.

With a little luck and some firm parenting you will survive and they will too. (grin) Do not be afraid to use time outs. To expect them to learn what discipline is or to doubt that they are able to understand the basics when you talk to them.

By this time they know what a happy meal is. I’d bet my life on it. So you can bet your life that they know what “No” means. With a little TLC and talent we can all survive and enjoy the total toddler years.

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