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Friday, October 8, 2010

Problem Solvers

As I write this, I see two sets of big brown eyes staring at me intently.

"No, mama.  No.  Go.  Go. GO!"

The problem with this picture, of course, is that my babies are upstairs.  My babies are upstairs, meaning they figured out how to hop the baby gate and clamber up, most likely in an unsafe fashion.  Climbing is their passion right now.  That and causing problems.

We have to remember, as parents, that a problem made for us, is a problem solved for toddlers.  We're simply coming at life from a different perspective.  A gallon of milk on the floor is a huge problem for me, but the mental logistics that went into getting that milk on the floor is a major accomplishment for my two year olds.

First, they had to find something they could easily climb onto.  They used their green bumbo chairs.  Which means they had to determine that a seat can be used for more than just sitting.  They are using their brains to assign different definitions to objects that I already gave them the definition for.  Then they had to climb on the back end of the chair and balance while reaching for the counter.  They had to use their gross motor skills in order not to fall.  Then they had to grab the milk, I assume because they were thirsty.  Really, the only part of this project that failed was that they couldn't get a cup to pour the milk into, and the milk was too heavy for them to do anything but drop it on the ground if they were going to keep their balance.

Once they figured out that chairs are not only for sitting, they were able to apply that to all chairs.

Exhibit A: The ottoman.  By turning our ottoman upside down and standing on it, they can turn the television on and off.  A problem made for me.  A problem solved for them.

Exhibit B: They climb the dining room table chairs with ease, giving them access to salt, and butter, and glasses and books and any other errant thing I've left there unwittingly.  How else would they be able to feed Elmo the butter he so clearly needs to survive?  Problems made for me.  Problems solved for them.

So, really, the more troublesome your toddlers, the better off they may be.  They're constantly accessing each situation and coming up with ways to solve their perceived problems on their own.  It only just so happens that the problem solving often involves a huge mess.


  1. I love this!
    Certainly explains that look of accomplishment little ones have after doing something like spilling milk all over the floor! I just never thought to think of it this way. :)

  2. I think if more parents looked at things this way, children would be better off.

  3. I love this post. It's such a great way to perceive what the kids are doing and why! Now, what about hitting, pushing and not sharing? :)



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