Do all toddlers suffer from multiple personality disorder? I am seriously beginning to think that they do! The sweetest, most cuddly child can go from quietly looking at a book to beating his best friend over the head with said book for no obvious reason. There's the little girl who is carefully playing with one of the younger children, then as quickly as if someone flicked a light switch, she becomes Little Miss Bossy, telling everyone (including the teachers) what to do and how to do it. Another child appears to be my best friend is suddenly hitting and scratching me because I needed her to move a step so I could open a door. This same child can adore a person one day and the next day be too shy to even speak to the same person.
If you can imagine a personality type, chances are a toddler has it hidden in there somewhere. They are very unpredictable creatures, you never know quite what you are going to get or when you are going to get it. Chances are if you expect that a situation will cause a scene and are prepared for it, it will go by unnoticed. And then, when you least expect it, some insignificant little thing will cause a melt down of epic proportions.
When it comes to toddlers, you have to always be on top of the game, prepared for everything - ready to give hugs and kisses to kids who adore you; ready to deal with outbursts from kids who feel like they hate you; ready to redirect behaviors; ready with firm words and time outs; ready to be a doctor for boo-boos big and small, real and imaginary, new and old; ready for anything you can imagine and a million things that you can't.
And don't expect to figure them out - ever! Because even with more than 10 years experience with toddlers, I haven't figured them out. Every time I think I'm getting close, a new one comes along and blows everything I thought I knew about them out the window! There is never a dull moment in a toddler program . . .