Isabella at 20 Months

Isabella turns 20 months old tomorrow. How can it be that this tiny baby

is going to be two years old in just four short months?

This past month marked the emergence of a fierce independant streak. She's always been a very "spirited" and stubborn baby, but in the past month, she's been able to vocalize exactly what she wants, which is nice in one way, and kinda sucks in another. We are deep in the throes of "Isabella Do!" There is very little she believes she cannot do on her own, including climbing a full set of stairs without assistance, dress herself, and take herself on a walk through the neighborhood, none of which she is allowed to attempt (although she can put on and take off her Velcro-secured shoes pretty well without assistance). This patience-less and stubborn mommy and her equally afflicted daughter are butting heads.

However, while the screams of "Isabella Do! can get really annoying, really fast, some of her other new tricks offset the independance struggles. She now loves to ask what people (and things) are doing, as in, "What Daddy doing?" and "What sippy cup doing?". Asking inanimate objects what they're doing is slightly hysterical, as she sometimes pauses waiting for them to answer her.
Another of her favorite vocalizations is "Hold Something! HOLD SOMETHING!" which is toddlerese for "Give me whatever you happen to be holding right now, or I'll whip off my diaper and poop in your shoe." And she's also started saying, "Mine," to which I have to try my hardest to avoid replying, "Honey, nothing is yours. I own you, all your toys, and even the air you breathe."
We're really trying to hammer home the idea of saying, "please" and "thank you," because a bossy toddler with no manners lands quite high on my "Stuff That Irks Me" list. Luckily, she seems to have picked it up fairly well, and now accompanies many of her requests with a "please" even when we haven't asked her to say it. (She's a little less forthcoming with the "thank yous," though.)
She's developed a sense of humor over the past month, and now says that things are "funny." If she falls down (and doesn't receive a mortal wound), she'll say "funny." Or if she sees something entertaining on Sesame Street, she'll say it then too. And she's started trying to make us laugh too, by putting a bowl on her head, or hiding from us when she knows we're looking for her.
Isabella can walk backward now, which is pretty amusing to watch. She can also run quite fast, and there's been many a time when I've had to take off at a full sprint toward her to prevent her from running into the street. Luckily, we live in a fairly quiet neighborhood, but I want her to learn that the street = danger.

This wouldn't be my daughter's monthly update if I didn't have a problem that needs solving, so here it is. A wicked little violent streak made its debut this month. She's hitting. A lot. This happens most often when she's frustrated, and is usually always followed by a maniacal laugh, as if she's enjoying pissing us off. How does one go about disciplining a 20-month-old in a meaningful way? I can't see a time out working at his point. And we're not doing the spanking thing. Any suggestions?
Thank you to everyone who offered suggestions last month for dealing with our food battles. I've decided to take some of your advice and adopt a more laid-back attitude toward getting her to try new things, and so far, it's working.

Current Likes: Drawing with sidewalk chalk, talking on the phone, and counting dogs in the neighborhood while on walks (oh yes, I said walks! More on this soon.)

Current Dislikes: Keeping shoes on, her parents

7 Responses to “Isabella at 20 Months”

  1. # Anonymous Laura McIntyre

    Happy 20 months, time just flies by when you have kids.

    Im useless when it comes to the displining thing, my eldest gets time outs in her sisters cot and Eilidh gets the same when she does something really bad. At this stage i find just taking away from the situation can help , we actually play a "time out game" . If Eils is bad i tell her to go in the corner and she does laughing, staying there for a few seconds then coming for a big cuddle and kiss - its not a punishment but works to get her to stop doing what she is doing  

  2. # Blogger Tracey

    She's just so cute! And everything sounds so perfectly on target. Even, unfortunately, the hitting.

    There is no miracle works-for-everyone cure for toddler hitting, but consistency in whatever you choose to implement here is key.

    For each kid, I'd say we tailored each discipline differently, but for my current toddler, who has 2 older brothers who sometimes hit Her FIRST, it can be challenging. You'd be surprised how early on a toddler will respond to time-outs, though. For major offenses, like hitting, you need to have an immediate response that she can remember. Our living room couch is apart from the hub-bub and is no fun for Corinne. Hence, that is where she goes for time-outs. She just needs to be able to hear me (i.e. can't talk to her while she's screaming hysterically) and can't have any toys or get up. It lasts no more than 30 seconds in the beginning, truly. You just pull her aside, to a different room, or a corner or hallway. Anywhere that she knows is someplace ELSE. You know? Also, my 2nd and 3rd children both responded to a time-out better (if they had gotten hysterical while being put into one)if I silently and gently hug them till they calm down. Then I can look them in the eye easier. BUT, my first child did NOT respond to that motion. He had to have ABSOLUTE peace and ABSOLUTELY no people looking at him. He used to go to his room, which was on the same floor.

    Long response! Sorry. Haven't had coffee yet....

    Hope you're feeling well!!  

  3. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    She's so cute! I wish I had advice for the hitting. Little Elvis is (gasp!) a biter. He doesn't do it when he's angry, more when he's happy. We just try to stay away from his mouth, but I'm not always successful.  

  4. # Blogger Mom24

    So cute! What a trip down memory lane for last two are 27 months apart, which is pretty close, it sounds like, to what yours will be. You are so smart to try and enjoy it all--it flies by. Unfortunately, I remember very little of when my youngest were really little, because it was such a busy blur!

    I don't think you can effectively discipline a 20 month old. Head off when you can, and tell her in a firm voice no, that was not nice. But you can't react too much, or she could decide it's her favorite game to get a reaction from Mommy! Good luck...this too shall pass.  

  5. # Blogger My Wombinations

    She is so cute as always!

    Wish I had some advice for the hitting (we are going through it ourselves). I have been doing time outs when it is extreme, but mostly, I just say, "NO!" in a stern voice. It seems to work in the moment.  

  6. # Anonymous Lis Garrett

    I think Tracey's advice is spot on. While Bridget is not hitting, she's very much into pinching. She doesn't do it maliciously - she likes to get a rise out of me or her siblings (not good).

    I think at Isabella's age, you can get down on her level and say firmly, "We don't hit people we love," and then put her in a "no fun" sort of place. End the short time out with "We don't hit people we love," and then give her a hug.

    But, like Tracey said, hitting is normal at this stage.

    She definitely is a cutie!!  

  7. # Anonymous catdoggg

    when our son started hitting we read him books about what hands are for doing... i really liked hands are not for hitting by martine agassi. here's the link to its amazon page. hope you find this helpful.  

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