Sour Patch Toddlers: They’re Sour, Then Sweet.

Sour Patch Toddlers

My husband and I have noticed more and more that our 22-month-old daughter is more and more like her mommy every day. She looks like me from my baby pictures, she’s way more sassy than she should be, and the similarities just get scarier from there.

I noticed this while we were on a recent trip, and took Zoe out to dinner. She had slept through her afternoon snack, so by the time we got there, she was starving. When I get hungry, I am no longer myself because, at a certain point, my hunger is no longer “hunger.” It is “hanger.” Well, the same goes for my daughter. Those Snickers commercials are painfully accurate.

Our Zoe was hungry and mad.

We tried everything: singing to her, distracting her, giving her crayons to color with (which she threw on to the floor and smashed into pieces), but nothing worked. She was probably thinking, “My parents are just plain ridiculous. Can’t they see that I’m famished?” Both my husband and I took turns taking her out of the restaurant a couple of times to calm her down.

Finally, the magical before-the-meal bread came and she ate the entire loaf. IMMEDIATELY after she popped that last bite into her mouth, she was smiling and flirting with everyone in the restaurant, like nothing had ever happened. There was sweat rolling down the side of my face and toddler snacks all over the table and floor. It looked like a war zone, but now she was happy. People were walking by our table and telling us how cute she was. She was blowing kisses to my husband and my mom and to the surrounding patrons of Outback Steakhouse. This was not the same baby from five minutes ago. Was I taking crazy pills? Where did this sweet little girl come from?

She is a Sour Patch Toddler: Sour, then Sweet.

Another example of my little Zozo acting “sour then sweet” is when she does something that she didn’t mean to do. Most of the time it involves hurting myself or my husband by accident. Honestly, my husband bears the brunt of the physical abuse from our toddler. One night she hit his head pretty hard, and I told her in a loving voice to “say sorry to Daddy”. She started to cry and climbed up into his arms to snuggle. She is very sweet when she knows that others are hurting. Sometimes, she isn’t sour on purpose. And when she isn’t, she always follows up her incident with some sweetness.

Sour Patch Toddlers & Trigger Points

The toddler mood change can be so frustrating to moms. These crazy little creatures throw a full on fit one minute and are completely fine and playing the next. I often ask myself, “Why does this madness have to happen?” How did we turn into “that” family in 30 seconds? Plus, it always seems to happen in public, which is just the icing on the cake for mommy.

In an effort to avoid the drama, I am starting to pay more attention to these episodes and learn what makes my sweet baby turn so sour… and then so sweet again. 

Some of her triggers are:

  • Daddy leaving the room
  • Hunger
  • Not giving her toys
  • Not letting her watch Sesame Street
  • Extreme silliness (In the words of my mother, “Someone is going to get hurt!”)

Now, I try to avoid these triggers — but I also don’t feel like I should give in to my child’s every wish. Daddy has to go to work, and we aren’t going to watch Sesame Street all day. She wanted a Reese’s Christmas Tree this morning. That simply was not going to happen, for so many reasons (one of them being that Mommy needs her chocolate). However, I do try to avoid her getting too hungry, to distract her when Daddy leaves, and to hand her something different when I need her to put down a certain toy.

But, like I said, my toddler’s actions aren’t always so different than my own. As a mom, my moods are not the most stable either. There are always a million things to do and never enough time to do them. This leaves me feeling overwhelmed and easily rattled. So, like my toddler, I can become quite sour sometimes, too.

The difference is that adults sometimes are not as quick to become sweet again. Adults remember what happened five minutes ago and aren’t easily distracted by a furry, red monster named Elmo. Wouldn’t it be easier for everyone if, when something made us upset, we just let it roll off our shoulders and became sweet again? I’m not talking about blowing kisses to people who cut you off in traffic or snuggling up to your most irritating coworker, but it would be so freeing for me to let more things go instead of dwelling on the negative parts of my day.

My New Year’s resolution for 2016 is to take a lesson from my sour-then-sweet toddler and have a little more sweetness in my life.

Will you join me?


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