less baby, more little girl

Two events in the past 24 hours that are proving that Cate is becoming more and more of a toddler:

1.) I recorded “Monsters Inc.” when it came on Disney the other day because I thought she might like the animation. The scene at the beginning where they show the little boy asleep in his room? Cate laughed at it, until the monster showed up, and the boy opened his eyes and gasped in fear. Then she freaked out. I thought she was too little to be scared by movies, but apparently not. She was absolutely terrified, and it took a while to calm her down. I quickly turned off the movie – and erased it from the DVR, since obviously we won’t be watching it anytime soon. I thought it was a really cute movie, but I guess we can try it again in a few years, when she’s (much) older.

2.) This morning, she had a full-throttle, red-faced, real-tears-and-all temper tantrum. I had to set her down so I could get dressed, and I was trying to put her down with some of her toys and books to distract her. She turned her body all rigid, so I couldn’t sit her on the floor, so I was like, “ok, you want to be flat as a board, here you go,” and I lay her on the floor on her back. Hoo boy, the wrath. She screamed, sat up (still screaming), then threw herself forward so that she was lying on her stomach (again, still screaming). I actually had to turn away from her because the drama of it all was making me giggle.

It took less than a minute for me to change out of my pajamas and into my jeans and sweatshirt, and when I was done, I sat down next to her to wait for her to calm down. She didn’t. I pulled her into my lap. She kept screaming. I picked her up and stood up. More screaming. We went downstairs and turned on cartoons, and after screaming for a couple more minutes (you know, just for good measure), she settled down and was fine. Oy.

This is actually something that I’m having a hard time figuring out. Cate seems to want to be held and cuddled an awful lot of the time. On the one hand, I think it would be beneficial if I set her down more often so she can gain some independence, learn how to entertain herself, and just generally be more self-reliant. At the same time, it seems like maybe she wants to be cuddled because she’s feeling insecure, and I certainly don’t want to withhold any reassurance or love that she might need.

I’m not sure if the clinginess is a normal toddler development phase, if the need to cuddle is just part of her nature (since it seems like she’s always been this way), or if she’s feeling particularly insecure because she’s noticing all of the boxes and other various changes that are going on in the house. She acts the same way at Patsy’s house, at least as far as wanting to be held all the time, so it isn’t something that she’s turning on just for me. I’m just not quite sure how to handle it: be her personal pack mule, or plop her on the floor with some toys and let her learn to get over it. It seems like I’m going back and forth between the two a lot, which I worry is doing more harm than good.

Did anyone else have super-clingy babies? How did you deal with it so that they became strong, independent little people?

2 thoughts on “less baby, more little girl

  1. Gaby was clingy. Still is sometimes, and is seriously pissed that I can’t carry her when she gets tired of walking.
    It may just be a phase Cate is going through. I’m betting it doesn’t have anything to do with the boxes, if she behaves that way at Patsy’s house.
    But there’s a lot going on in her head right now, from walking to language development, etc., and it may be that she’s clinging because she needs a little extra of what she’s familiar with.

  2. Yup, it is normal toddler behavior, and it’s healthy attachment behavior. She learns you’re there for her, and that it’s safe to venture out from mommy-home-base and play. But she’ll want to keep a close eye on you even when you’re not holding her.

    E-baby is that way too, so I just let her have her space, pick her up for a quick cuddle when she asks for it (and sometimes just because), and then put her down to explore again. If she really needs to be held some more, she says so with a “WEH!” and otherwise, she toddles off to see the world. Usually if it’s just the two of us, she’s fine to go do stuff on her own (as long as I’m in the room). If other people are around, she usually wants me to hold her until she’s had a chance to get used to everyone. But every kid will have their own level of need for cuddling.

    Hey, by this time 12 years from now, you’ll be wishing you could get even a little tiny hug from her. 🙂

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