SEFF!, she cried.  SEFF SEFF SEFF.
May 10, 2011

Over the past few weeks, Charlotte has entered a new phase of toddlerhood and OH MY GOODNESS it is kicking my ass.  It is the phase of SEFF!, which in Toddler-glish means SELF!  As in: I can do it myself, mother, DON’T MAKE ME TURN FOURTEEN AND PUT MY EYES INTO A PERMANENT EYEROLL.

For the record, I know that this is a normal state of toddler development and I relish it in small doses because it means that one day, hopefully sometime before the century is over, my services will no longer be required at every butt-wiping turn.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t complain about the the number of apologetic text messages I’m forced to send out when we’re fifty minutes late because little hands refused to allow big hands to put little shoes on little feet, does it?  I THINK NOT.

For crying out loud, it doesn’t even take HER fifty minutes to put them on.  It just takes her fifty minutes because putting them on once is not enough.  She must put them on, marvel, take them off, marvel, put them on, marvel, take them off, marvel.  Then she’s so exhausted by the process that her tired little fingers can’t get the little shoes back on again, so she throws her body on the floor in one of those frustrated toddler death star tantrums and screams and wriggles and throws her arms over her eyes and then WAIT FOR IT, peeks to see if I’m watching or not.  Because if I am, she’ll keep it up a little longer.  But if I’m not, she’ll stop and try again.

Either way, though, Charlotte won’t accept my nimble-fingered aid.  SEFF!, she cries indignantly when I ask if she’d like me to help her.  SEFF SEFF SEFF! (self)  In Toddler-glish, that means ‘leave me alone, woman, I can clearly do this myself.  HAS MY FRUSTRATED TODDLER DEATH STAR TANTRUM TAUGHT YOU NOTHING?’

Weird thing, kiddo.  I thought it taught me that you’d mastered the art of MILKING IT.


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  1. By Elin on May 10, 2011

    Lots of milking it at our house lately, too.  Emmeline’s new favorite phrase is “I do it! I do it!“  We’ve learned that the incorrect reply to that is “No, mamma will do it!“

    It takes less time for her to do it than to calm her down from the ensuing meltdown from “Mamma will do it” or “Daddy will do it.“

    Ah, the toddler mind.  Isn’t it great!

  2. By Cynthia A on May 10, 2011

    I think this is soon to come in our home… Can not wait…!

  3. By Heidi on May 10, 2011

    bwahahahaha!  YES!  We are so there with our 21 month old and it’s downright exhausting. For both of us. I have consumed more wine than I thought possible since this stage started.  :)

  4. By Jennifer Karsbaek on May 10, 2011

    Yup, my 22 month old is there too. “Naniel do it! Naniel do it!“ (Daniel). Or, of course, when he just doesn’t feel like doing things his is completely capable of, “Mommy do it!“ Whomever he decrees MUST be the person who “do it.“

  5. By Alicia Stucky on May 10, 2011

    After Matthew started to actually master most things he tried, the novelty wore off pretty quickly, and he didn’t care whether we did it for him or we told him he needed to do it himself.

    So breathe easy—yet another phase that will go just as quickly as it came :-)

  6. By Julie on May 10, 2011

    Yep this is a fun stage. My daughter has been in it for awhile now. It has recently extended to going to the bathroom on the toilet. She wants to climb up and do everything herself with the door closed and Mommy outside. *sniff* I find myself saying outloud “but she’s only two and a half!“ lol

  7. By tracey on May 10, 2011

    Good Lord. It never ends. Trust me. Also? Shoes are overrated. Bare footed in the car is the way to go.

  8. By Cynthia Krajcarski on May 10, 2011

    Death star tantrum, great description.

    We learned that the correct answer, when we’re in a hurry, is “I know you can do it yourself, but Mommy will help you right now.“ She usually abides because we let her do it herself any other time.

  9. By Jasmine on May 10, 2011

    Sounds like you are doing an awesome job! She sounds like she is completely okay with autonomy- which, my God, is a great thing!

  10. By cambria on May 11, 2011

    These toddler years are so fun, but certainly have the frustrating moments. But the independence shows you are raising a strong little person - good job, mama!

  11. By Sarah on May 11, 2011

    I love the phrase” toddler death star tantrum” As I am beginning this phase with my 4th little, this description fits it perfectly

  12. By on May 11, 2011

    That Post from Michael regarding Wizpert is spam.

  13. By on May 11, 2011

    Mitzie - I deleted it.  Amazing how sometimes my spam folder catches perfectly reasonable comments by accident and then lets those ones slide by!

  14. By on May 12, 2011

    I too love the phrase “toddler death star tantrum”.  My son has a talking darth vader mask and one of the things it says is “Don’t make me destroy you”. 
    I can picture my 19 month old daughter thinking this when I won’t let her wash her hands for the 100th time in a day and she has one of those “toddler death star tantrums”


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