Kids Motherhood

The Challenges of Toddlerhood

The Challenges of Toddlerhood
Written by Gina Kayembe

Ok, I’ve heard of the terrible twos and threenagers.  Is there something for a one-year-old? If not, I’m going to create a name. Let’s see….whiny one year old, testing toddler, sir whines-a-lot…

I have a legitimate question: How many snacks can a one-year-old seriously put in his stomach before dinner? On a nightly basis, I wonder how many times I say “THIS IS THE LAST CRACKER BEFORE DINNER!”

Legitimate question #2: How many times can he say “momma” in a day? And now he’s starting to say “mommy,” which sounds way too cute to get mad! I guess I should savor these moments because of how much he loves me. But, seriously, does he have to know where I am at every moment!

Annoyance #3: He gets so frustrated over the smallest things. If he can’t get one block to fit on the other…whine. If I take something away from him – dear lord, major whine. If I say no to climbing on top of the coffee table it’s like the world has ended! Might I add that he comes from some very stubborn parents, which makes matters worse.

Annoyance #4: He has to be by my side every waking hour (and some sleeping hours too – damn sleep regression). Last week I was washing my face in the shower, I open my eyes and find him sitting on the bath mat watching me. Creepy or loving? Since he likes to be by my side 24/7, I let him help me as much as possible. He holds the cord while I vacuum (I’ve only run into him a couple times), he throws garbage away, he puts his clothes in the hamper, etc. Why not make learning experiences and put him to work while he is attached to my hip? 

Now, on my end of the table, I’m mad at myself for how annoyed I get. I realize his neediness comes with this age. He wants to be with adults at all times because he needs us and loves us. He’s too young to play by himself for an extended period of time. Now that Jackson is starting to use some words and has the ability to show what he wants, we’re using this to our advantage. As soon as he starts to whine and show signs that he wants something, we’re asking him to show us/tell us and say please. When he has a tantrum, I won’t give in to him.

I need to get better at standing my ground and not let his cries or whines get to me. I desperately do not want my child to be spoiled and entitled, but I also don’t want him to be unloved and frustrated. There has to be a middle ground between “helicopter parenting” and “no rescue” parenting, right? I don’t want to give my child everything he wants, but I also don’t want to fail at giving him what he needs.

With all of these frustrations and questions, there are two things I know for sure: parenting is hard and I have the strongest love imaginable for this little guy. No matter how trying he can be, one hug or smile will melt my heart and make me forget how annoyed I am. I will forever be in love with him and a million times a day I will thank God for how lucky I am to be his mom. 

About the author

Gina Kayembe

Gina is an elementary school reading specialist of 10 years who loves writing and taking pictures on the side. She has been married to her Congolese-Canadian-Almost American husband for three years and is the blessed mom to 15 month old Jackson who makes her smile a million smiles every day. Her little guy gives her plenty to write about! Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Gina has a passion for running, sharing wine and laughs with friends, a clean house, and being the best mom possible. Follow her blog at

  • Aly

    Every time Gina is featured I am excited to read her words…either to let me know Im not alone or to gather wisdom to use myself. Love this piece especially!!!

    • Gina Kayembe

      You’re the sweetest! Thank you!!

  • Erika Wilson

    Gina, I so hear you, mama!! My 19 month old is soooo attached to my hip too and also having sleep issues but gosh, could I love that little sweet monster any more?? 😉 best of luck to you in toddlerdom and yes I agree it starts at one, not two!! Lol!

    • Gina Kayembe

      Thank you for your comment! I’m glad you could relate!

  • sosomom

    How are the ‘whiny ones’ not already a thing? Haha

    • Gina Kayembe

      Right?!! Haha!

  • Shelley Skuster

    I’m still LOL’ing at your comment about the “LAST CRACKER BEFORE BED!” Oh, the bedtime procrastination techniques of toddlers…they only get more creative 😉 My hubby and I remind ourselves that the teen years will be here, and then we’ll miss these moments!

    • Gina Kayembe

      He knows how to test me already! He’s so darn smart!