Word for Wednesday: Q is for querulous.

Any parent who has ever read the dictionary definition of ‘querulous’, will no doubt agree that there are times when it could actually be the living definition of toddler attitude.  I have to be fair to our little girl and say that most of the time we are blessed with a really lovely, sunny little girl.  But she definitely has her moments.  Quite a few of late!!  I don’t think it helps that although words are now coming thick and fast, they are still not coming quite fast enough for our little communicator.  She is clearly so frustrated!

Querulous (adj).

  • inclined to make whining or peevish complaints.
  • characterized by or proceeding from a complaining fretful attitude or disposition.
  • habitually complaining and whiny.
  • full of complaints; carping.
  • characterized by or uttered in complaint; peevish.
 Derivation: from Latin querulus from querī to complain.  First known usage: 1490-1500.


This photo shows the full querulous contempt of a toddler, getting the measure of her opponent.  Having purloined the apple from the fruit bowl, was she going to have the stolen fruits of her labour confiscated by Mean Mummy? Why had the apple not instantly peeled itself so that she didn’t have to deal with that pesky skin stuff?  And why wouldn’t Mean Mummy let her bang her head on the floor repeatedly out of frustration when she realised that she couldn’t avoid the skin on an unpeeled apple?!  Seriously, I am finding that toddler tantrums can come way out of left-field sometimes!

006a_836 copy

I try to hold a reasonable line in the sand, so that we don’t flip to a (totally!) child-run household.  But some days I just get to the point where I think ‘fine, I’ll help you down from your high chair before you throw yourself out of it in your determined bid for freedom. And then, despite all my misgivings, I will allow you to eat your dinner on the move, as you rampage round the dining room’.  Anything for an almost quiet life, a toddler with a full tum, and a full night’s sleep without her waking out of hunger!

The thing about young toddlers is that you can’t really do much in the face of their peevishness except take a deep breath and try to smile through it.  They are not stupid, but they are too young to properly understand that their behaviour is unreasonable, they are too tired/hungry/fed up to reason with, and rewards or punishments are an exercise in futility. This all holds true in our house anyway, especially by the end of a long day.  Please do let me know if you have a tried and tested magic formula for any of this!

‘Her tone was now querulous and her lip drawn up, giving her not a joyful, but an animal, squirrel-like expression.’

(Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace).

We are not even close to the ‘terrible twos’ age yet, but ‘querulous’ certainly suits the mood of our little lady on some days recently.  I am hoping it has been a passing phase, brought on by how much she evidently missed her daddy whilst he was away.  A true daddy’s girl; a true headache for mummy left behind in his absence! Thankfully he’s back now; let the good times roll!


10 thoughts on “Word for Wednesday: Q is for querulous.

    1. jenny Post author

      It makes for fun times, doesn’t it Norma?! I suspect most people probably don’t have to think too hard to come up with at least one toddler that fits the bill! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Leya

    I’ve tried and tried…but cannot find an about-page? Feel a bit querolous by now…just want to thank you for the follow and wish you good luck with this youngster…They grow in and out of this mood, don’t they? It’s easier having two – they engage in each other instead of bothering you!


    1. jenny Post author

      Oh Leya, thank you for trying, and I’m sorry I foxed you! It’s a bit of an oblique ‘about’ tag, under ‘a view from the riverbank’ at the top left. Your comment is helpful – perhaps I need to make it more obvious, so thank you for that. Thank you for the good luck!



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