For a small child there is no division between playing and learning; between the things he or she does "just for fun" and things that are "educational." The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.
A preschool child does not emerge from your toddler on a given date or birthday. He becomes a child when he ceases to be a wayward, confusing, unpredictable and often balky person-in-the- making, and becomes a comparatively cooperative, eager-and-easy-to-please real human being—at least 60 per cent of the time.
Your preschool child will chatter endlessly to you. If you half-listen and half-reply the whole conversation will seem, and become, tediously meaningless for both of you. but if you really listen and really answer, he will talk more and what he says will make more sense.
True spoiling is nothing to do with what a child owns or with amount of attention he gets. he can have the major part of your income, living space and attention and not be spoiled, or he can have very little and be spoiled. It is not what he gets that is at issue. It is how and why he gets it. Spoiling is to do with the family balance of power.
Grown-up people do very little and say a great deal.... Toddlers say very little and do a great deal.... With a toddler you cannot explain, you have to show. You cannot send, you have to take. You cannot control with words, you have to use your body.
Your toddler will be "good" if he feels like doing what you happen to want him to do and does not happen to feel like doing anything you would dislike. With a little cleverness you can organize life as a whole, and issues in particular, so that you both want the same thing most of the time.
Guilt is the most destructive of all emotions. It mourns what has been while playing no part in what may be, now or in the future. Whatever you are doing, however, you are coping, if you listen to your child and to your own feelings, there will be something you can actually do to make things right.
Loving a baby is a circular business, a kind of feedback loop. The more you give the more you get and the more you get the more you feel like giving.