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Health & Parenting

The Crazy Things That Toddlers Do

WebMD unlocks the mysteries of toddler behavior, from running around naked to snacking on Fido's food.
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Good Touch, Bad Touch continued...

Roberts remembers how her toddler thought "poke the pee-pee was the funniest game in the world." He and the other boys would be fully dressed and giggle hysterically as they pointed out that somebody had a penis.

Kids at this age, Briggs says, are fascinated by the concept of "same and different" in gender. If your child is getting hands-on with other children, explain calmly: "Sweetheart, we don't touch other people's private parts, just as nobody touches your private part."

How should parents deal with this type of toddler behavior? Stay calm and deliver your comments in the same voice that you use for an explanation of how to tie shoes, she says.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Toddler Behavior

Beatrice DeArmond in Gallup, NM, says her 2-year-old granddaughter Isa can't get enough of doggie treats and Charlie the dog's water bowl. As soon as she could crawl, Isa would head straight for the kitchen, where the dog's food and water are stored.

"She sticks her face in it like she's bobbing for apples and then sticks her tongue out and tries to drink like the dog," she says. "The family tried a lot of tactics, including putting up barricades and eventually taking Charlie's food and water from him during the day."

Karp says that toddlers are little scientists, wanting to try everything out firsthand. "They want to interact," he says. "They want to touch, feel, roll, taste, smell, see, and experiment with the properties of objects. That's how they are observing and learning about the world."

Briggs refutes the bad reputation of "the terrible twos." "Your toddler is caught in the middle" she says, "between this incredibly exciting and exhilarating feeling of independence -- 'I can walk, I can talk, I can feed myself, I can dress myself, the world is mine' -- and on the other side, just a year away from not having been able to do any of those things. There's that tension that the child is feeling between thinking they can be on their own and feeling like Mommy's little baby."

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