Up until a couple weeks ago, we were navigating a phase with Sadie where she was the most high maintenance, impossible to please kiddo 80% of her awake hours. For 2-3 months she was seemingly so frustrated with and screaming about everything – her food, her clothes, our activity, you name it.
That stage where your kid has so much in their head but is really struggling to communicate is hard, hard, hard for everyone.
She’d rip her sock off and then scream until it was back on (repeat three times until I’d finally chuck the sock in the hamper and try not to lose my cool and move on). She’d throw every single toy and blanket out of her crib and then scream bloody murder until we put it all back. She’d demand a certain show and then throw the remote until we put on a different one.
She was off her flipping rocker, I tell you. She had us on a really short rope, and we both felt like our backs were against the wall because we couldn’t figure out how to make her happy, no matter how hard we tried to decipher what was irritating her.
I mentioned that about 20% of the time she was happy, and those happy times were so good that our tanks would usually fill right back up just in time for a switch to flip and she’d lose her mind again. She was (and still is!) the funniest kid we know, but oh my good Heavens, we were on the struggle bus hardcore with Sadie Rose.
But things thankfully have improved. Sadie will be 22 months soon, and the stage she’s in right now has me desperate to figure out a way to freeze her right where she’s at. We are just in awe of the precious little person she is. She’s hilarious, so playful, so sweet, so talkative, and just honestly such a joy. Jamie and I were talking on Friday about how we just want to pinch ourselves 100 times a day that she’s ours. She’s talking so much and able to finally somewhat communicate what she wants. She also seems to understand everything out of our mouths and is following instructions really well.
But back to her being a whack-a-do the last few months. I was loosing my ever-loving mind while on the phone with one of my best friends Amberlee one morning while Sadie hollered for her life at my feet. I was trying to unload the dishwasher, and was just so frustrated that she couldn’t entertain herself for even a second. All of a sudden, Amberlee was all “Give her something that’s not a toy!”
And I was like “Huh?”
And she was all “Duh! Give her wooden spoons, let her destroy your Rubbermaids, give her a container of hair ties, just something that she’s not usually allowed to have and just let her have fun.”
And what a game changer. Obviously I’d let the girls play with stuff like this before, but only after they’d found it on their own and started playing with it. I’d never ( or rarely?) actually given them “non toys” to play with intentionally.
So I followed her advice and gave Sadie a little container of random junk from my bathroom drawer. And for the next little while, she sat on the kitchen floor and explored her little heart out.
And I just wanted to kiss my bestie through the phone and say THANK YOU for hitting me across the head with this wisdom!
So if you’re on the struggle bus with your kiddo and want to figure out a way to keep them independently entertained besides throwing electronics in their face (no judgement from me – we do that too occasionally!), here are a few ideas I researched and found that would make great object to give them to play with.
- Cardboard box (I know you like that Amazon Prime as much as we do…)
- Broom & dust pan
- Empty plastic water bottle (just make sure to throw away the cap and plastic ring around the screw area since those are choking hazards)
- Pots and pans
- Piggy bank and coins
- Basket of blankets
- A mound of pillows from your bed from them to jump and play on
Would something like this work for your kiddo? What objects around your home work well as “toys”?