Choices: from the Perspective of a Toddler

Annalise is passionate. Have I mentioned that? She is giddy when she’s happy; a terror when she’s upset. She definitely wears her heart on her sleeve – and there’s no questioning what kind of mood she’s in. When her mood swings quickly from one extreme to the other, it’s a sign that she’s not feeling well, tired, and/or hungry. If more than two of those conditions are true, I should take a depressant cover.

Any who, Annalise is getting to the age where she is able to make choices. It’s a new way for her to assert her independence. This should be great, right? Well, not for my passionate, opinionated daughter. By choosing one option, she is inevitably choosing NOT to do something else. This is hard for her ego-centric self.

In my opinion, this truth of life is difficult for many college students and adults, too. Their coping strategy? Non-commitment. Don’t we see this so often in our culture?

“Commit to plans on Saturday night? Let me see if something better comes up…”

“You want me to promise to be at this small group/Bible study/club every week for 6 months? Well, if there’s nothing better going on that night…”

“Marriage? Whoa, let’s slow down and make sure that someone better doesn’t come along…”

Our human selfishness and our consumer-oriented culture tells us we can have anything we want, and do anything we set our minds too. While this can be true in some regard, we must value commitment. And saying yes to one thing inevitably means that we must say no to others. 

But I digress. Annalise is coming to grips with this truth, and it shows in a BIG way with her BIG personality.

Last weekend, Jason got Annalise up in the morning while I stayed in bed a few more minutes. (Isn’t that awesome? I hope this doesn’t stop when I’m no longer pregnant…) They were all getting ready to go walk our dog, Mya, when I came downstairs. Side note: Annalise loves walks, especially now that she “helps” by holding Mya’s leash. Anyways, I happened to come downstairs before they had left. Of course, Annalise is thrilled to see me (who isn’t?) and wanted to hug on me.

But…then Daddy needed to leave and walk Mya. And Mama was staying home. What is a toddler to do?

Well Annalise screamed in protest when Jason asked if she wanted to come on a walk. And then, as he walked out the door, she screamed and ran to the door. Jason heard her, came back, and as soon as he came to the door, Annalise screamed and ran back to me. This dance repeated itself probably three more times. Annalise wanted to go on the walk with Daddy, but she didn’t want to leave Mama. So what happened?

Jason left. There were tears, and lots of screaming. I held her and hugged her as she sobbed into my shoulder. “Da-da…Da-da…Walk…” As I rubbed her back, she eventually found comfort in a toy, forgetting the consequences of her decision.

Life is tough. Growing up is tough. Making decisions can be hard, especially when you can’t have the best of both worlds. Because Annalise is so passionate, she may be particularly disillusioned as the reality of life shocks her system. Oh, the joys of growing up! No one tell her about the horror of middle school…

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