Maybe everybody knows this already but I recently figured it out and it’s making me happy.
So you know when toddlers learn to ignore you? Like when you ask something and they pretend you are not there? And you say it 15 times more and they act like you don’t exist? And then you get angry and acquire an annoying didactic tone? Maybe you don’t but I’m a college professor. When I open my mouth, people shut up and start taking notes. I’m not mentally equipped for being ignored.
I went on the FB mom page, and everybody has this problem, but nobody offers a solution that doesn’t sound like it’s fit for military barracks. So I thought about it and realized: if she’s ignoring me, this means she doesn’t need me. And I’m free to do whatever I need while she concentrates on something other than me for a change while building a crucial life skill of being alone with herself and her thoughts. Why am I trying to be needed when I don’t even like it? So I stopped trying to get myself noticed, and it’s been a huge relief.
This is the best thing I’ve discovered since the life-changing idea to stop saying things like “Time to get dressed / brush teeth / put on shoes, etc”, which are invariably met with a firm “NO!!” and instead ask “which toothpaste do you prefer today, Elmo or Mickey Mouse?” Getting her up and out of the door in the mornings now takes exactly 10 minutes. (Another hack is never to let them sit down for any purpose on the way between bed and car seat in the morning. Once they sat down, you’re screwed for the morning.)