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Are these standard toddler traits? (2.5 year old DS)

(25 Posts)
Kalypso Fri 03-Aug-12 22:14:53

DS is 2.5. We have moved house in the last month, so I appreciate this will have been very unsettling for him, but here are some examples of his behaviour:

- Increased babble (or deliberately slurring or repeating words), making silly noises and singing, acts like he's got ants in his pants, particularly when out and about. No lost speech through, so it doesn't seem a regression as such?
- Ignoring me a lot of the time but quickly responding once I 'threaten' him with the consequence of not listening, e.g. "DS, if you can't quieten down while I pay for the shopping, there will be no raisins for you to eat on the way home". I don't like bribing him, but it seems to be the only way to get him to do things at the moment!
- He can be a little dictator at times, coming out with really odd demands, such as "NO, Daddy, don't say 'lovely'", if DH is commentating it on being a lovely day; "No, I don't want the lady to play with those dinosaurs please" (said in a grumpy way when he was in a toy shop and spotted a woman sorting through the toys)
- Increased grumpiness. Very embarrassing when a kind elderly lady smiled and waved hello to him in his buggy and he actually growled at her, and said 'No! I don't want the lady to talk to me' at her (I obviously apologised, as did he after I had explained this was very rude!)
- Hitting/aggression when thwarted (although this is, dare I say it, slightly improving now I have started confiscating toys for a decent length of time)
- Flat-out denying a lot of what we say to him, e.g. I might say "We don't hit; it's not a good thing to do, and hitting makes people sad" and he will answer aggressively; "NO! We do hit. Hitting is good! It makes people happy!"
- He used to do puzzles (up to 25 or 30 pieces) super quickly - now it's like he's completely lost all interest in doing it and will just play with the pieces, at which point it just gets put away before any bits get wedged in-between floorboards/buried in the sandpit. I'm fairly certain he still can do them; he just isn't bothered doing it any more. His latest fad is singing and everything to do with dinosaurs.

His language is fine - whole sentences such as today's not very repentant-sounding: "Sorry Mummy for making silly noises! Silly noises make Mummy sad." (doesn't stop him making them, of course!) So no communication problem.
I know he is able to concentrate, as he will sit happily looking through his books for an hour and a half if I leave him to it. He adores being read to.
A lot of the time he is absolutely delightful - giggly, inquisitive and affectionate. He is actually quite compliant on the whole; I don't mean to put him down, as I love him to bits - it's just when we're out and about and have an audience, he always seems to put my parenting to the test.
I think I just want to know that other people are going through this. Everybody else's toddler seems so placid and non-aggressive by comparison. I've never been growled by another child at like my DS frequently does to other people!

Noqontrol Fri 03-Aug-12 22:22:03

Well my 2.5 ds sounds just as challenging as yours grin The only different thing is the puzzles, I don't think he can do ones as big as that. But as his sister interferes all the time he may have an opportunity to shine when shes back at school!

narmada Fri 03-Aug-12 22:33:06

Sounds perfectly normal to me. DD used to give people a very powerful glower when out and about. Also she had very particular ideas about who was allowed to do what, with what IYSWIM smile (the dinosaurs thing rang bells)

I think it's likely just a stage of him learning he can contradict you and testing his newly-acquired language to that effect.

bonzo77 Fri 03-Aug-12 22:53:34

Yeah. Normal for mine. Though yours is better at puzzles. DS tells me how to drive ffs; "two hands steering wheel now" and "beep beep NOW mummy" and best of all "no not like that. My turn to drive NOW".

trixymalixy Fri 03-Aug-12 22:55:48


HolyOlympicNamechangeBatman Fri 03-Aug-12 23:52:11

I think it's completely normal.

I did grin at.... 'No, I don't want the lady to play with those dinosaurs please"...at least he's saying please!

Ozziegirly Sat 04-Aug-12 06:43:25

Mine's a bit younger, but we do sometimes (privately!) refer to him as the tiny tyrant "No kisses mummy" "Play cars NOW", "sit there. No, THERE".

He also says No and occasionally adds a dismissive hand wave when nice people say hello to him out and about. It's odd because he is so friendly and lovely to us and people he knows.

TheOldestCat Sat 04-Aug-12 06:46:32

I nodded along to all your points, thinking of my DS, except for the puzzles.

Entirely normal toddler behaviour!

Jammofifi Sat 04-Aug-12 06:55:22

Yup, I was also worried about the babbling, mine has started to become a lot rougher too which isn't great with a new DD around, we get, PUSH mummy/daddy/ granny every time he wants someone to move, and throws things when I tell him to put them down. He's either delightful or horrendous, no middle ground LOL!

mumtocuddlebundle Sat 04-Aug-12 06:56:22

This makes me feel better, mine does these things too. He loves to disagree. Sometimes saying things like 'no, it's not okay, it's just fine!' And generally ordering us around.

exoticfruits Sat 04-Aug-12 07:13:43

He sounds like a very bright little boy making sense of the world. Completely normal.
They are very clever and they pick up body language, he will sense your anxiety when you are out and so is quite likely to play up and embarrass you!

missmapp Sat 04-Aug-12 07:27:22

Ds2 was the same with puzzles at that age, then went completely off them. Now, at 4, he is back to doing them again .

ohcluttergotme Sat 04-Aug-12 08:46:16

This sounds very similar to my own little boy who is 2.8, if you were to see us out & about you would see some similar behaviours! My elderly neighbour is always being so friendly to ds & he stares & growls at her yet to another neighbour he runs up & says hello. If ds wants somebody to move he just shouts 'move' & pushes you out the way. At bedtime for story he is very demanding to me & dh saying no daddy sit there or things. He is also a horror to his older sister but then she treats him like a little toy a lot of the time so I can see why! But like your ds he can be playful, giggly, adorable a lot of the time too! Sounds good what your doing with the consequences & don't feel bad about bribing I'd say negotiating for desirable behaviour.
I work with children with difficult & challenging behaviour and we would say to negotiate, use sticker/reward charts, use consequences
I'm also really really hoping that when ds turns 3 and goes to nursery he turns into this well behaved little boy may be deluded here smile

IWillOnlyEatBeans Sat 04-Aug-12 16:04:21

Sounds about normal to me...other than my DS (2.5) has just mastered 2-piece puzzles and I am very proud of him for that! grin

The ants in the pants comment really rang a bell, as did the denying what we say to him and being dictatorial ("No mammy, I want you to wear the WHITE t-hirt today please")

He is a BIG fan of tellimg me how to drive (as another poster mentioned).

He is not growly or shouty, but will either go all coy and charming with strangers, or ask loudly 'what is that funny lady/man doing/saying?' often getting their gender wrong to add insult to injury blush

Kalypso Sun 05-Aug-12 17:14:04

Phew, thank you all, glad I don't (yet) seem to have a budding delinquent on my hands! Love the 'tiny tyrant' description; I shall definitely steal that one to describe DS when he isn't listening!

IWillOnlyEatBeans: I wish DS would go all coy and charming with strangers - that's so sweet. DS often glowers, or turns his face away in what looks like disgust (at which point I start making excuses, "Oh, you're SO shy, aren't you, DS?"). He also gets gender wrong, usually when it's women with short hair wearing trousers, i.e. often elderly ladies trying to engage with him - very embarrassing!

Mumtocuddlebundle: DS has come out with almost exactly that same phrase!

Missmap: that's really interesting, thank you for posting. Of all the things, this one I found more worrying (along with the increased babbling) as I thought maybe he'd lost the skill. Funnily enough, though, yesterday he spotted a puzzle I'd bought a while back and put out intending to give to charity (I went on a puzzle buying spree when he was in his puzzle phase, so now the house is full of the bloody things) and he picked it up, asking to do it. I said that I was going to give it away to another nice child, as DS doesn't really enjoy puzzles anymore. He didn't like that at all! He immediately asked me not to give it away and started doing it properly hmm

Jammofifi: very relieved I'm not alone with the increased babble/silly noises. DS is also more boisterous now, with "smash", "bash" and "crash" being among his more commonly-used words! Funnily enough though, he's also incredibly affectionate with me. He really loves cuddling up and snuggling right in and giving me kisses.

I think sticker-reward charts might be the way forward as well; he adores stickers.

festivalwidow Mon 06-Aug-12 11:57:12

Normal. I call my 2.3 DD Stalin on a regular basis.
She has a lot of things that she can do but doesn't choose to, and is entirely unpredictable with greeting strangers or even family members ("No! I'm not going to say hello to Great-Grandma, I want to go hooooome...")
The flat-out denial rings a bell too (hence the nickname) "It's NOT time for a bath, I DO wear muddy wellies in the house, they're not YOUR house keys, they're MY keys.." Another trick is to say "I want" until she has actually forgotten what it is she wants.

I think it gets more tiring the more verbal they become. I once read that toddlers are adults with no social skills, and a lot of that is probably true: they don't have the concept of euphemism yet either which we use more than we realise! One example:
What we say: "We'll just stay for a quick cup of tea, and then we'll need to go home since we're expecting the plumber."
What we mean: "I'm setting a time limit on this visit so there's a chance you won't have time to go on about how the country has gone downhill since Margaret Thatcher was ousted"
What a toddler says: "I don't want to say hello to Great Grandma, I want to go hooooooome" grin

BrittaPerry Mon 06-Aug-12 12:13:39

Dh calls 2.5yo dd2 'Lord of the flies'. :-)

She is a little horror! Strips off at any chance, pulls any bobbles or clips out and rubs food paint etc into her hair, randomly throws things when she is bored f them, shoves toys in my face if she wants me to see them, has screaming, head banging tantrums in public, refuses to talk to people or hugs at kisses them at random, eats and drinks anything she shouldn't but not her dinner, etc etc etc.

Such a shock after shy bookish dd1.

She does puzzles too, and knows about half f the alphabet and numbers, everything about Thomas the Tank Engine and has a great vocabulary Tgat she just flat out refuses to use when I am trying to show off hmm grin

She is also very very affectionate an very funny :-)

Also with the babbling. Are they twins?

Bumpsadaisie Mon 06-Aug-12 16:25:05

Sounds normal. They get a bit more reasonable when they turn three. Still hard work but they are more fussed if you are upset with them etc and you can bargain with them more effectively as they have a better sense of "now" and "later".

Titchyboomboom Mon 06-Aug-12 16:29:51

Normal but oh my god testing! I have just started a pleading for help thread on the blind rage tantrums!

Kalypso Wed 08-Aug-12 17:51:51

I feel so much less alone grin

I have been hit several times over the past few days. A large number of DS' toys are now in confiscation on top of the bookcase.

BrittaPerry - with the babbling, it didn't occur to me it ever actually means anything. However, there's one babbling noise he makes which sounds like "Bee-il, bee-il, bee-il, bee-il" said in a weird way. I had a bit of a revelation today when he did it in time with the (somewhat funny-sounding) opening music of his Harry and the Dinosaurs CD, and I realised he was trying to mimic the sound. He sings the Harry song all the time 'properly', often along with his weird babbling - I never thought to connect the opening music with this!

I do have some other worries about him, which I'll post in a separate thread. I am really hoping they're not especially unusual too.

Kalypso Mon 25-Feb-13 21:44:31

Just thought I’d update. From a social perspective, DS (just turned 3) has really ‘blossomed’ in the past few months: he now happily approaches other children now to say hello and ask them questions – I think he’s realised that other children can be interesting! He is still not jumping, however, although I’d say that physically he’s getting stronger and more co-ordinated. I’ve been trying to help him develop on that front by taking him out a lot to places like soft play where he can climb on things and strengthen his muscles. He can now take his clothes off, and put them on with a little help.

So, is it time to take him to the GP with regards to not jumping, in case there is any underlying problem? He goes up stairs alternating feet, and can go down that way, although prefers to step down the more cautious way, with both feet on each step (this is understandable, as he is pretty small for his age and has short legs!). He still can't run very fast, although falls over a lot less often now. He never, ever hangs/swings off things by his arms - e.g. the monkey bars in a playground. I am not sure it's even occurred to him to try, although he seems to enjoy watching his cousins bouncing around. He can throw things, but isn't particularly interested in doing so, and tends to do so underarm, although will throw overarm if requested.

It still seems as if he’s happier to develop his reading and understanding numbers – he’s started sounding out short sentences and doing simple addition and subtraction in his head, so maybe this is why physical things are on the back-burner. His fine motor skills are good, by the way – the delay seems to be just related to gross motor skills.

I’m also wondering if it’s worth investing in a balance bike?

butterflyexperience Tue 26-Feb-13 20:32:53

Oh god yes my dd2 2.10 is like this

Keep boundaries in firm place I say and he will grow out of it in a year or two

lovelyredwine Wed 27-Feb-13 19:14:43

Sounds normal if my 26 month dd is anything to go by. In fact it's actually quite reassuring that there are other toddlers out there being as irrational, demanding and contrary as mine!

My dd will regularly say, 'no, mummy and daddy, stop talking.' and when we don't instantly obey, will keep repeating louder and louder until she is screeching it at us. It's great fun as you can imagine.

I'm hoping that 'it's just a phase' as people keep telling me!

lovelyredwine Wed 27-Feb-13 19:16:22

Sorry - just realised this is an old thread! Although it's great to see the update and see that they do grow out of these things.

cerysb Fri 15-Mar-13 14:48:11

Just come across this thread and it was so interesting for me. Your original post could have been written by me about my now 2y9m old DS, even down to the puzzles bit - he has completed stopped doing all his 25 - 40 piece puzzles which he could do in his sleep 2y6m a few months ago. Thanks for the update - it's reassuring to know I can hope he will come out of it soon!!!
Regarding the jumping - my son was also exactly the same my now 5yo DD could jump in her cot at 18m so I was a bit worried. Turns out my DS is hypermobile (joints move more than they ought to). Not necessarily a problem, as long as they use their muscles a lot to ensure all muscles are developed and able to control the joints fully. Lots of different kinds of activities (swimming, soft play, running etc) recommended by physio.
Balance bikes worked wonders for lots of my daughter's friends.

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