In search of answers to Ellie's recent behaviors, I found the following information on a website from the National Network for Child Care, and it was really good -- especially the section on Ideas for Caregivers. I wanted to share it for other parents of two, almost/near two-year-olds. Ellie pretty much perfectly fits the model here. So, if you wonder how Ellie is doing -- this is pretty much right on target for where she is.
weight: 22-38 pounds
height: 32-40 inches
has almost a full set of teeth
walks up and down stairs by holding onto railing
feeds self with spoon
experiments by touching, smelling, and tasting
likes to push, pull, fill, and dump
can turn pages of a book
stacks 4-6 objects
scribbles vigorously with crayons or markers
many children (but not all) will learn to use toilet
walks without help
tosses or rolls a large ball
stoops or squats
opens cabinets, drawers
can bend over to pick up toy without falling
enjoys simple stories, rhymes, and songs
uses 2-3 word sentences
says names of toys
hums or tries to sing
enjoys looking at books
points to eyes, ears, or nose when asked
interested in learning how to use common items
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
plays alongside others more than with them
acts shy around strangers
likes to imitate parents
affectionate - hugs and kisses
insists on trying to do several tasks without help
enjoys simple make-believe like talking on phone, putting on hat
very possessive - offers toys to other children but then wants them back
needs considerable time to change activities
capable of frequent tantrums, which are often a result of his inability to express himself even
though he has ideas
can show aggressive behavior and the intent to hurt others
can be extremely demanding and persistent
destructive to objects around him when frustrated and angry
possessive about caregiver's attention; show feelings of jealousy
has fears and nightmares
has sense of humor; capable of laughter
shows interest in dressing, brushing hair and teeth
cannot sit still or play with a toy for more than a few minutes
IDEAS FOR CAREGIVERS
Baby-proof your house again. Two-year-olds are taller and more skillful at opening doors and getting into mischief.
Read aloud to children every day. Encourage toddlers to look at books with large pictures and sturdy pages. Simple story lines are best.
Try to expand a 2-year-old's knowledge of words and sentence structure. Let her hear the correct word order, but don't demand that she imitate you. For example, if she says "more juice," say "Anna wants more orange juice."
Encourage them to identify noises like vacuum, tap water, dogs barking, thunder, airplane, and car.
Let toddlers help you with simple chores such as picking up toys or putting clothes in the laundry basket. Encourage them to name things that you are using.
Add new information to what a child is saying. "Yes that's a blanket, a soft, warm blanket."
Give toddlers clear and simple choices. "Do you want to drink milk or juice? Do you want to wear green or blue socks?"
Know how to handle a temper tantrum:1. don't yell or hit the child,2. remain calm,3. talk in soothing tone,4. put your hand gently on child's arm if possible.
Provide newspaper, flattened grocery sacks, and computer scraps for drawing and painting.
Color books, workbooks, and ditto sheets are not recommended.
Avoid making models of clay or drawing pictures for children to copy. They learn more by working out their own ideas, and adult-induced items can actually hinder learning.
Do not expect toddlers to share or take turns. Right now they are focused on learning how to physically handle themselves and on learning to talk. Learning to share will come later.
Provide spaces where toddlers can spend time alone. An old cardboard box or a blanket over a card table works great.
Avoid pressuring children to be right or left handed. A few 2-year- olds will begin to show preference for one hand, but many children will continue to use both hands for a few years.
Provide safe outlets for physical activity and space exploration like small steps, boxes, barrels, tires, pulling and pushing toys, ride-on and ride-in toys.
Provide opportunities for learning about cause and effect by giving toddlers many opportunities to fill, dump, collect, gather, give, hide, and seek.
Play "parade" or "follow the leader." Sing sequential songs like "Old MacDonald" to explain sequences.
Encourage verbal skills by giving simple directions like "Close the door, please" or "Would you pick up the doll?"
Encourage a toddler's love for imitation by teaching fingerplays and songs. Play "you are a mirror." Stand or sit facing the children and have them copy everything you do. Reverse roles and let the child lead while you mirror the actions.
Encourage sand, mud, clay, and water play. Toddlers enjoy messy play and learn a great deal from mixing, sifting, pouring, stirring, and shaping.