A Message From A Busy One Year Old

Please expect me to be busy. That is my developmental job. Please remember that I don’t need to do things well, I just need to do them. I like it when you tell me what I am doing, not how well or how poorly I am doing it. If you keep telling me that I do things well, that I am smart or cute or brave or spunky, I get mixed up and I think I have to act those special ways to please you. When you tell me what I am doing, when you say, “Andrew is climbing on the sofa,” I feel loved for being who I am and the age I am.

Please say two “yes’s” for every “no” or two things I can do for everything I can’t.

Please have lots of small objects with different textures for me to rattle and drop and bang and throw and taste and stack and nest, and a container for me to drop them in and pour them out of. This will help me avoid confusion about relationships, sizes, shapes and positions when I am grown up.

I don’t need commercial toys, but I do need the objects to be too large for me to swallow.

Set a few limits for my safety and your comfort. Be consistent.

Please remember to accident proof the kitchen and the bathroom. I taste everything I can find, and cleansers and bleaches are poison in little bodies.

Please remember not to force teach me. Don’t read me a story when I don’t want to listen. If the book is stiff, I would usually rather play with the book and open and close the pages like doors than listen to you read.

Please find a way to block off a space sometimes so that the bigger kids can play without me crawling through their projects and so I can still have room to explore.

Please don’t hurry me. I will walk or throw away my cup when I am ready. We kids have our individual time tables, you know.

Please remember that when I get stuck doing something, it is more helpful to me if you help me do it myself than if you do it for me.

Please remember that punishment for performance such as tricks and toilet training interfere with my development at this stage.

If you need to put me in a play pen for my safety, please remember not to leave me there for more than ten minutes. I can’t do the kind of exploring I need to do when I am restricted.

Please expect me to check in with you. I say a few words like “up” or “milk” but I may tug at your clothes or grunt or holler instead. I may not stay long, but I need to know that you are near and are willing to give me a pat or a word or a smile.

Please remember that I am too young to understand sharing. I don’t even understand owning yet, how could I understand sharing? Please remember that exploring, self-feeding (after 8 or 9 months), messiness and curiosity are healthy behaviors in kids my age.

And please love me and hold me when I want to be held. I love you.

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