I have a funny little girl. She’s forever trying to make us laugh. Even when she does something that goes against my parenting interests, it’s hard not to accidentally encourage her.
We were out having dinner at Buca di Beppo with the family of one of Mr. W’s oldest friends, and Allie insisted on getting out of the booth where she was trapped between Mr. W and me in a booster seat. I acquiesced because she’d been in there for hours. The moment her feet hit the floor, she took off. I went around the tables after her and she giggled, but took my hand and led the way back to our table. Before we got there, she suddenly slid into the booth of another table, in front of a startled-looking young man whose date or girlfriend had left momentarily. “Allie! That’s not our table!” I said, pulling her off the seat.
“I’m funny!” she said, continuing on our journey.
“That’s not fun– Hey! That’s not our seat either!” I pulled a self-amused grinning Allie out of yet another booth, although this time thankfully the booth was empty.
“I’m funny AGAIN!” she announced.
The same week, Mr. W and I were with her at a Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria where Allie was munching on a dinner roll as we waited for our food to arrive. Suddenly she chucked a chunk of bread at me.
“Allie!” I said sternly, surprised at her uncommon misbehavior. “That’s not nice. We don’t throw food.”
Wearing a huge smile, she said, “I’m funny!”
“No, you’re not funny. Don’t do that again.”
The smile only faded a little as she insisted, “I’m funny a LITTLE bit.”
Mr. W had the luxury of being able to laugh since she had her back to him and was facing me. I had to keep my face straight and serious.

I see the 2s as an age when her emotions have developed enough that she feels things very strongly, but her immaturity and inexperience keeps her from being able to evaluate what is an appropriate level of response to a situation or stimulus. Hence, tantrums. For example, she sees a glass item that catches her eye and she wants to hold it, examine it in her hand. We don’t want her to hold glass, so we don’t allow it. Her response is to instantly wail because she is SO disappointed and she wants it SO badly and she’s SO curious about the item. Anyone would feel the same way, but as adults, we are able to say that in the realm of things, this isn’t a big deal and thus we aren’t heartbroken over the denial. She doesn’t have a range of experiences to know that this is small beans, so it’s a BIG DEAL. However, I have yet to discipline her because I’m usually able to reason her out of things. I lower my voice and say to her very seriously, “Allie, listen to me. This is made of glass, and glass is not for little kids. If you drop it, it will break, and you will get hurt.”
She’ll usually stop wailing to listen to me and she’ll acknowledge with a head-shake and a, “That’s not for little kids. No.”
I’ll offer a compromise. “You can look at it, but you can’t touch it. Okay?”
“Yeah.” She’s instantly mollified.
I pick her up to look at it. She examines it visually and sticks to her word. Sometimes the compromise is, “You can smell it, but you can’t put it in your mouth.” “One last video clip, you get to pick, and after that we go take a bath, and you don’t cry.” “Eat the last carrot, and I’ll go get you more cheese.” She’s pretty much always reasonable and trustworthy when she agrees to something.
The largest hurdle these days on the wailing front is leaving somewhere she’s not ready to leave yet — the house, the grocery store, the park, a shop in the mall. She’s too upset to listen when we explain it to her so we just have to pick her up and carry her off loudly protesting. “Nooo, I don’t wanna leave! Dada put me down! Stop, dada, stop!” And then she’ll try another strategy. “I wanna walk! I wanna walk!” We’ve learned that before she’s out of the protest mode, not to put her down or she’ll just take off back to where we’d dragged her out of. So she’ll try, “Mama hold Allie, not dada! Mama wanna hold Allie! I want mama!” And then she’d try to wriggle out of my hold, hoping I’m less resistant than dada. If she’s bad, we just won’t address her crying anymore and ignore it. If we’re somewhere private like in our house or in our car and she’s strapped in safely in the carseat or high chair, I’ll tell her, “Okay, you go ahead and cry, I’ll wait for you to finish and when you’re good, I’ll come back/talk to you again.” Then I’ll break eye contact and placidly step away or look away. The tantrum hasn’t lasted more than 10 seconds after we do that. It ends with her saying, “I’m all done now. I be good. Mama are you happy?” Today in the car, she wailed her protest about not wanting to go home. After talking to her went unheeded, I told her I’m going to wait until she’s done before I address her again and I looked out the window, ignoring her attempts to get me to pay attention to her again. That fit quickly ended with, “I’m almost good. [3 more seconds of wailing] I’m good now. [smile at me]”
“You’re all done?”
“I’m nice now.” And she was.

Funny girl.