What Is Up With All This Whining?Emily Malone
This toddler business seems to come and go in waves. We’ll have a great week where I announce to my husband that we have the cutest/most well-behaved/smartest/most pleasant 2-year-old in the universe, and that I have no idea what this notion of “terrible twos” is all about. And then, in one fell swoop, he comes home to me, blinking back tears, convinced that we’re raising a serial killer.
My toddler’s latest habit? Excessive whining. It’s like he’s so used to whining right now that he has forgotten how to just speak clearly. Everything is said in a high-pitched squeal and with so much drama. And it’s almost always over silly things like “I want more milk” or “I don’t want to wear those shoes.” Why can’t he just ask in a normal voice?
The whining has been really getting to me recently, and I’m tired of constantly battling and asking him to “use his words.” Finally, in an effort to not rip my own hair out, I tried to flip the switch and lighten the mood. Now whenever he whines, I call him “the fire truck,” as in — “do I hear the fire truck again? Is Cullen whining or did a fire truck just roll into the kitchen?” It usually breaks him out of the funk and gets a laugh, and half the time it gets him to snap out of it (the other half of the time the whining just gets louder). But at least it makes us all smile for a minute, and it makes me less likely to yell and threaten a time-out (which is not something I ever feel good about afterward).
The thing is, I’m not the toughest mom on the block when it comes to toddler battles. If he asks for something nicely, chances are I’ll probably give it to him (within reason). And I’m really working hard to help him structure his language and ask for things appropriately — like “May I please have another cracker” versus “I WANT A CRACKER!!” It’s catching on, but it sure is taking some time.
I’m hoping this whiny-ness is just a phase and something he’ll grow out of sooner than later. It’s kind of driving me insane. Until then, we’ll just keep listening for the fire truck and asking him to go back to the station!