by Tracy Hogg, author of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers
The Angel Toddler was "good as gold" when she was a baby. Usually very social, this child is immediately comfortable in groups and can fit into most situations. She often develops language earlier than her peers or at least is clearer when making her needs known. When she wants something she can't have, it's fairly easy to distract her before her emotions escalate. And when she's really out of sorts, it's fairly easy to calm her before she gets to the tantrum stage. At play, she has a lot of staying power at a single task. This is a child who's easy and highly portable. Even when traveling, she can go with the flow and shift gears easily.
As in infancy, the Textbook Toddler is right on time with developmental milestones. You could say she does everything by the book. She's generally pleasant in social situations but can be shy at first with strangers. She's most comfortable in her own environment, but if outings are planned well, and you give her sufficient time and preparation, she won't have much trouble adapting to new surroundings. This is a child who loves routine and likes to know what's coming next.
True to her baby self, the Touchy Toddler is sensitive and typically slow to adapt to new situations. She likes the world ordered and knowable. She hates to be interrupted when engrossed. For instance, if she's deeply involved with a toy or a puzzle and you ask her to stop, she gets upset and is likely to cry. It's this toddler who is often labeled "shy." It's true that a Touchy toddler may not do well in social gatherings, especially if she feels pushed, and she often has difficulty sharing. But if she's left to do things at her own pace, she can mature into a thoughtful, sensitive thinker, a child who weighs situations carefully and likes to ponder problems.
The Spirited Toddler is extremely active physically, often willful, and may be prone to temper tantrums. She is very social and curious and will point to objects and reach out for them and for other kids early on. This child is the consummate adventurer; she will have a go at anything and is very determined. She displays a great sense of achievement when she accomplishes something. At the same time, she needs very clear boundaries so that she doesn't act like a steamroller, trampling anyone or anything in her path. Once they start crying, Spirited Toddlers have stamina and staying power, so you're in for a long haul if you don't have a good routine going. Given good guidance and an outlet for her energy, however, a Spirited Toddler can become a leader and very accomplished in whatever area interests her.
The Grumpy Toddler is angry, obstinate and needs things to be her way. If you force yourself on her before she's ready to be picked up, expect major squirming action. If you try to show her how to do something, she'll push your hand away. Because she likes her own company best, she's great at independent play. However, she may lack the staying power needed to learn or complete a task and is therefore easily frustrated. When upset, she's prone to crying as if it's the end of the world. Because this toddler often finds it hard to express herself, she also may become a biter or pusher. Grumpy Toddlers have to do things on their own schedule. The pushier you are, the more stubborn they'll be. At the same time, grumpy children are "old souls" -- they tend to be insightful, resourceful and creative, and sometimes even wise, acting as if they've been here before.