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Toddlers and Growth Spurts

Toddlers grow at an incredible rate, but every so often a massive growth spurt would hit and I would be shocked at how much height my toddler had seemingly gained overnight. One day my child’s pants would fit, and the next day they wouldn’t. Luckily there are places out there to trade in your used toddler clothes! There was more than once when one of my kids would walk out of their bedroom, rubbing their eyes and looking cute as can be, but also looking definitively older. It’s hard enough to accept the fact that my little ones are growing every day, but when the growth spurts happen in the blink of an eye, it can be a jostling experience.

Growth Spurts and Tantrums: Correlation?

Here is something interesting I noticed regarding the biggest growth spurts that my toddlers experienced: the spurts always seemed to be preceded by some really, really bad behavior. This was particularly true for my son. Around two or three days before a big growth spurt, his behavior could only be described as perplexing. He is usually a happy, funny child, but at these times his moods would change. He would have temper tantrums that were way beyond anything I expected from him at this age. These were the times when nothing I said made him happy, he would cry at the drop of a hat, and kicking and hitting were his response to just about anything.

It’s Not Me, It’s You.

Each time this behavior came out, I would stand there and scratch my head. What was I doing wrong? Why was he displaying this aggressive behavior? Had I fundamentally failed as a mother? Was I indeed the worst mother in the world? Then he would come out of his bedroom the next morning, feeling chipper and looking about six feet tall. The bad behavior was gone, and we’d have to head out to the store to buy more pants.

Then, of course, I would forget all about it and the next time his behavior turned sour right before a growth spurt I would go through the same gamut of ideas about me being a bad mom, because why else would he act this way? Luckily, I’ve never made the claim of being the smartest mom on the block.

Tantrums and Naps

My daughter also had the same tantrums right before a big growth spurt, but after a big emotional brouhaha she would take to her bed and have an uncharacteristic nap. Considering she gave up naps cold turkey before she turned 2 (and was very proud of this decision, by the way), I would stand in her doorway watching her sleep and wonder, “Is she sick? Why is she napping in the middle of the day? Do I need to take her to the hospital?” Then she would wake up, tall as a tree, refreshed and totally happy. I’d slap my forehead and say, “Of course! A growth spurt!”

Toddlers are Amazing

My kids never cease to amaze me, just as I am sure I amaze them at my apparent inability to not overreact to their mood swings. If you have not yet started measuring the height of your toddler I suggest you do so. We put pencil markings on the kitchen wall when we measure the kids; it may not be pretty, but you should see how their eyes light up when they realize they are taller than the last time they were measured.


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