Updated: Jul 18, 2020
'Klingon child- is fierce and aggressive by nature; from as soon as they can walk, are temperamental. They speak an unrecognisable language and have sudden bursts of growth, extreme mood swings and violent tendencies. They are always in the centre of the action'.
Just like the aforementioned fictional character of a much loved SciFi tv show, to any parent , a Cling-on toddler is much the same animal ! Mine is two and all she wants is Mummy, which isn't helpful when I'm trying to go to the loo and or cook. And when she is unable to attach herself to my leg or in her words huggle as she reaches up to me, she in no uncertain terms let everyone know that she is not happy. Its got the point where she is regressing she wants to eat her meals close to me, on me at times. If I'm playing on the floor , she crawls up and cant seem to get close enough. She won't go to her Dad sometimes with out a screaming fit, like she's being torn away. She is going back to baby stage, where they just want to be held. It wasn't too long ago we moved away from that I thought. The determination she put in to crawling and stepping to walking and running usually away from where I want her to go seems counter productive to want to be carried all the time !
We swing between I do it, on my own !! and kicking and screaming when not able to or I help her. To whingy, whinny, feed me, don't leave me, real tears crying when I leave the room or get her to do something independent of me. For example 15 mins of pure effort the other day , to get welly boots on and no help would be entertained. All hell broke loose when her father oblivious of her attempts, picked her up and popped them on .... I swear she didn't speak to him for half a day ! And it doesn't matter what parenting style you have , every household of kids the same age is experiencing this I have found , thanks to my antenatal group updates.
The only antidotes I can offer, is alcohol, it gives you time and patience to get through your days. Kidding, (not really, on the alcohol front) But time and patience is the key to this phase and it is just a phase and it will pass so keep that in the back of your mind.
Time - Give them opportunity and space to do the things they want and are able to do on their own, this instills confidence in them so they will continue to explore their perceived limitations. Relying less and less on you.
Patience- Give yourself enough time to allow them to do the things they insist on doing. Mine has to do at least five rounds of the car, like she's inspecting it before she gets in and anything less causes a battle of wills. So I choose mine wisely ( I hope ) and factor in this to our going out routine. She is making things right in her mind like a mini OCD episode.
Communication- Like you have been , talk your way through it, explain who, what, how, where and when , and listen when they try to explain to you , what they want. This is hard when you are trying to extract them from your leg or neck ( my ones chosen hanging on points ) and they are explaining to you in a high pitched squeal. Or transforming in to either an ironbound ( if you're trying to strap them in to something ) or a jelly fish ( if trying to carry them ) How they manage to do this still mystifies me after all these years and so many kids do it. Stiff as a board or no bones and slide out of your grasp like sand. But keep at it, the talking bit, it will get through eventually after you swear your talking to yourself as they are clearly not listening.
What I think this all stems from is learning the concept of Fear. They are learning about the world and how to explore it. They are finding out about and registering dangers. Things they should not do, not allowed to do, and most importantly are not capable of doing . Limitations coupled with fear, takes them by surprise and frustrates them. Its all the more greater for a wee one who up until now thought they were untouchable. They now can hurt themselves physically. When once they would shoot up that ladder or swing off that tree, do this or that without a care, they are learning to be cautious. Because they are learning to be afraid of things as they can allocate , pain or fright with objects , sounds, people and places, this is the reason for the clinginess you are experiencing. The most common situations this fear manifests itself for toddlers is Fear of the dark. Fear of crowds, strangers etc. Fear of separation (also at bedtime). Remember you are their safe place. So anything that threatens that in their mind, they will cling to you. All are usually a result of the situation being sudden or an unknown atmosphere.
This new emotion of fear couple with the already familiar concept of frustration is what is making this phase hard on everyone. They want to do this or that , cant and now something is telling them shouldn't. But curiosity and a need to learn is spurring them on. No wonder they are clingy and wound up. This is all in their heads and we as adults need to remember that and put ourselves in their place to understand how to help them . Reassurance is key. Show them how to do it, stay with them that wee bit longer, hold their hand is a good one. I love holding my wee ones hand when we are sitting or eating or walking if she needs me, so soon she won't need me and she will let go so I relish this period of our lives. They are moving away from baby phase , one foot on either side of the divide. Beginning to venturing out in the world, inside and outside of their comfort zone, expectations of themselves and from you and others are upon them. I know in myself that its hard to move forward into the unknown. But from experience we must be brave, and try new things so I need to help my wee one bridge that gap and take that leap.
So next when they are having a clingy, or whingy episode , remember that its just a momentary set back that they need you to help them to combat their doubt or bout of fear. That it will be ok, or they can do it. Give them a cuddle and prop them up verbally. Slowly extract them off your body part they are trying to melt on to. Get down on their level, mentally and physically ( I've found that when she wants lifting on carrying I just sit on the ground till it passes, or we walk ten counted steps before I pop her down again ) make eye contact , take time, find the patience. And when they have rebounded, get that glass of wine to make it through tomorrow.