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Expressing and Identifying Emotions

I remember the first time my daughter recognized and expressed that I was upset. She was 22 months old at the time. She looked at me and said “Mama, mad”. It was heartbreaking to hear, but also so amazing. She was recognizing emotion and that was HUGE! She wasn’t even 2 yet and here she was able to identify emotion and name it correctly.

It’s now 5 months later, and her capacity for understanding emotion has grown immensely. For the past month, she’s been able to express to me how she is feeling, and I am, yet again, blown away by her maturity and understanding of this difficult concept.

Instead of throwing a fit or a tantrum, she will sit or lie down on the floor, put her head down and say “I’m sad”, or “I’m mad”. She cries at times when this happens as well, but there is never an all out tantrum and loss of control. She is very much in control and can talk with us about the situation. I think a lot of this has to do with her being able to recognize how she feels. As a result, we can immediately address her feelings, empathize, discuss everything, and explain the situation to her.

In addition to recognizing when she’s sad or mad, she expresses when she’s happy or excited!
“Daddy, I’m so happy you’re home”.
“I’m so excited for the playground”.
“I had a great time with you”.

Yes, these are all sentences that my daughter has said, all on her own. I’m amazed every time she says something like this, and it is even more impressive now that I’m writing it all down.

Her ability to understand conversation has also grown. She says please, thank you, and I’m sorry. She’s really starting to do this on her own, unprompted. I am hindering her most likely just out of my habit of prompting her to say things, so I am actually trying to work on giving enough wait time to allow her to come up with these phrases on her own first. She’s doing great!

The part that really amazes me, however, is that she can tell me WHY she is sorry or thankful for something. I knew it was a high expectation but, since the moment she could talk, if I ever asked her to say she was sorry, I’d ask her to say what she was sorry for. At first, I had to tell her “you should say you are sorry for not listening”, etc. When she says “please” and is asking for something, we ask her to “say the whole thing”- meaning she needs to say “Can I have more grapes, please”.

For almost 2 months now, she’s been able to answer these questions all on her own. If she says sorry, I ask her to tell me why she’s sorry, she knows exactly why and tells me. She has also expanded on her thank you’s! “Sorry for not listening to Mama”, “Sorry for throwing the block”, “Thank you for taking me to the park today, Mama”, “Thank you for taking me to school and dropping me off”, “Thank you for making dinner”, and on and on.

I am beyond impressed with this. She’s 2! I thought my expectations were high and that I’d be helping her answer for quite some time. She has totally taken over and does all of this all on her own now. She has a clear understanding of why she should be sorry, or what she might have done wrong. She is able to express her feelings so well and tell us all of the very specific things she is thankful for.

In addition to all of this, she recognizes and identifies emotions that she sees in other people. She can tell if I don’t feel well, she can tell if I am upset, or happy. She takes the time to ask me if I am ok, and how I am doing. She even tells me when something is funny.

In her playtime, she is often doing pretend play now. She talks for the characters, has them say please, thank you, nice to see you, and sorry. She has them ask each other if they are ok, and more. She has the characters help one another, they cry, and they laugh. She acts out an entire conversation- the feelings, the actions, the apologies, the hugs and kisses, the laughter and the fun.

I love sitting back and watching all of this unfold. I feel like I am raising a little adult already. She seems to grown up. If this is 2, I can’t wait to see what 3 brings!

Other Posts of Interest:

Problem Solving: 22nd Month Hurdles (first time she recognized I was upset)

Saying Thank You

Little Echoes (teaching compassion)

6 Things My Barely 2 Year Old Does That BLOW Me Away

2 More Things My Barely 2 Year Old Does That BLOW Me Away

MONTH 26 Schedule and Milestones

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