Why My Toddler Is Whining

It’s 7:00 a.m. and I’m already awake, drinking my first cup of coffee, and feeding my infant his morning bottle. From the top of the stairs I hear a squeaky high-pitched voice call down to me, “Mommy! I’m awake! The sun is out.”

My two-year-old daughter is quite observant. As she makes her way down the stairs, she starts to survey the downstairs family room, or as I call it, headquarters. Like most families, our family room is the most utilized room in the house. Everyone’s stuff gets dumped there, toys, shoes, dishes, and laundry. If you need it you will find it in the family room.

“Mommy. No! That’s teddy’s blanket,” she whines to me. The blanket she is referring to is a striped burp cloth draped over my shoulder, which was indeed Teddy’s blanket last night.

“It’s okay honey, Teddy said I could borrow it.” I have to tread lightly with this one because, Teddy is territorial of his belongings.

“Noooooooo!” She wails, as the tears start streaming down her face. I think to myself, “Already small child? I haven’t even finished my coffee yet.”

“Okay, okay. I’m sorry. Teddy can have his blanket back. I’ll get a different one. Can I get you something to eat?”

With a nod and a smile the toddler returns to her happy self and we make our way into the kitchen to decide what to have for breakfast. After staring at the pantry for ten minutes, the only thing that sounds appealing to her is a can of black beans.

“I want beans! I won’t eat anything else!”

“You don’t like black beans darling. Let’s pick something else.”

“Nooooooooo!” She wails for the second time that morning.

“How about we start with some milk and watch some Mickey Mouse? We can eat in a little bit,” I suggest. With another nod and smile the toddler bounces over to the couch to curl up with Teddy and his blanket for morning cartoons. I get her milk in the purple cup, which was her favorite cup yesterday.

“Noooooooooo! Not purple!” Third wail. I switch to the blue cup. Clearly the color of the day because, she nods, smiles, and accepts the cup. With a deep exhale I sit back down and finish my cup of coffee, which is now the temperature I’m use to drinking it at…cold.

The next hour of the morning is pleasant. The toddler and infant play nicely together, even sharing a ball at one point. Until, the infant decides he would rather pull his sister’s hair than play with the ball.

“Noooooooo!” Fourth wail. I remove the tightly clenched fists from my daughter’s hair and separate the two children. Finally, able to get an appropriate meal in the toddler, I serve her up some scrambled eggs. The fifth wail is for the wrong color plate.

Note to self, just because the blue cup has a matching blue plate does not make it okay to use the two simultaneously. The yellow plate was clearly the correct choice. By 10:00 a.m. we are on our tenth whine of the morning. Whether it’s because of the wrong colored dish, the wrong use of a burp cloth, or the wrong placement of a book, a toddler will always let you know that you are wrong. She sets some high expectations and I’m just a tired mother of two trying to keep up. Hopefully, tomorrow I won’t screw up as much, she won’t whine as often, and there will be a bottle of wine waiting for me at bedtime because, if you have to listen to a toddler whining all day, you may as well wine yourself.

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