Posted in Parenting

Toddler Rules

Today, Madeline asked me to play a game of hide-and-seek with her. Not just your everyday, garden-variety hide-and-seek", though. "No, Mommy," she said when I started scanning our main floor for a good hiding spot, "You go behind the chair, and I will count!"

Ah. We were going to use Toddler Rules for our game.

Toddler Rules have been cropping up all over lately. There are Toddler Rules for deciding when footwear is required or optional. Toddler Rules also affect the reading of picture books, the singing of songs, and even determine who is permitted to pass the toddler her beverage while we’re headed somewhere in the car.  Get the picture?

I must say that I am not always fond of the Toddler Rules. They’re making my job as the primary caregiver more challenging and less rewarding. For example, I could respect the Toddler Rules and agree that footwear is optional for the car trip to take Chris to work each morning. I’m a Good Mommy in the eyes of my toddler, but I can feel the glaring eyes of a thousand righteous parents upon me, even if I can’t see them. Only Bad Mommies let their kids out of house without shoes, don’t you know? The only way to avoid this legitimate, though imaginary, guilt trip is to wrestle a pair of shoes on the protesting and anguished toddler, and then I feel bad for having to fight with her and force her to do something she doesn’t want to do. Madeline probably thinks that being the grown-up in a relationship is the best thing ever, but to be honest, sometimes it feels really lousy to be the authority figure. Not a day goes by where I don’t silently curse those Toddler Rules.

I am also in awe of the Toddler Rules. My daughter has been growing for 2.5 years and this is her biggest expression of independence. She wants to do thing her way. She’s figured out that she’s entitled to an opinion, and wants her opinion considered. That’s pretty cool, too, isn’t it?


6 thoughts on “Toddler Rules

  1. You need your “Invisibility Cloak” to play hide and seek with Toddlers. Or, just hide somewhere else and jump out and scare her! That’ll learn her good! lol.


  2. I usually just chuck a pair of shoes into the car along with the kid. That way I have them, if I need them. But then, I live with a child who has decided that all she wants to wear ANYWHERE are jammies. Who am I to talk?


  3. I love the Toddler Rules too. It appears Hayley and I play hide and seek the same way you and Madeline do and I have to say,I rather enjoy it. Good for you letting her go without shoes, who needs the battle to put them on? Socks are completely optional here in our house and that’s fine with me.


  4. Ada (20 mo) and I already struggle over things like whether to wear coat/socks/shoes. And then, in any car trip longer than 10 minutes, she rips the shoes and socks off, telling me about it gleefully.


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