Monday, August 29, 2011

Toddler Food, Part II

Yep, this is my second post about my toddler and eating habits. There will probably be a third, a fourth, and a tenth on this topic as eating is a huge part of our day.  Constantly coming up with healthy options for her can be a struggle.  And by struggle, I mean the main course dinner and lunch options. Breakfast, and side items like avocado are a piece of cake- it's the big ones that are so hard!

Since she is Miss Independent still and not quite able to use a fork or spoon on her own, I have to find foods that she can feed herself.  Right now she will allow me to feed her applesauce or Yo Baby Yogurt with a spoon but sometimes she refuses and wants the spoon herself, which we all know is not going to happen!

So, on my last toddler post I wrote I was going to purchase the Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food cookbook and try out some of the recipes she has to trick your child into eating their veggies.  My problem with some of the main entree recipes though, was that they were geared more to older children who can pick up a burger and eat the whole thing all by themselves, or eat a chicken salad sandwich with crunchy, choking hazard celery in it.  My toddler? Not quite there yet.

After researching more and more recipes online, I have found there is some serious lacking of younger toddler food ideas. Why? I'm guessing because there are 14 month old toddlers who are still having choking hazards, and there are 3 year old toddlers who can use a fork and spoon. And it's much easier to find foods for 3 year olds.

I have finally found a few recipes. I took some of Seinfeld's recipes and tweaked them, here and there and also changed a few family favorites that my child will eat! (if you have any more suggestions, please comment below):

-Chicken and cheerios: Cut chicken into strips, salt and pepper them, then place the Chicken in a Ziploc bag filled with crushed Cheerios so that they are covered. Bake the pieces on a cookie sheet at 375 for 30 minutes. Then cut up into bite sized pieces.

-Turkey Meatballs: You can use ground beef in these too, but I am not a meat eater so I use turkey :) I also eat these with my husband as our meal, and they freeze well too!  Mix the package of ground meat in a bowl with 1 egg, 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley, 3/4 cup of bread crumbs (homemade or store bought), 1 clove of garlic minces, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese.  Roll into balls, and then heat some olive oil in a pan. Turn them to brown on all sides. Then add your pasta sauce of choice to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with your child's favorite pasta shape.  I of course cut up the pasta and meatballs into bite sizes and let her go to town on her highchair tray!

-Veggie Spaghetti: Heat up your favorite pasta sauce in a saucepan, and also start cooking their favorite noodle. I then finely chop zucchini, broccoli, peas and butternut squash (or whatever veggies your child will eat) and add them to the sauce, cook until soft and serve with the noodles.

-Pizza pockets: Take some ready to pop open biscuits or crescent rolls, and place in greased muffin tins (make them like little cups so you can fill them). Then fill the center dough with your child's favorite bite sized veggies such as broccoli, and peas, a dab of pasta sauce and some shredded cheese. Seal the dough up by pinching closed and bake according to directions on package. Yum!

-Quesadillas: This one is adapted from Jessica Seinfeld. Mix together pureed butternut squash and shredded cheddar cheese.  Place a tortilla on a heated skillet, spread with the squash and cheese mixture.  Then add black beans (or your child's favorite bean) with a little salt and pepper on them, then add shredded cooked chicken on top.  Add another tortilla and press on top, cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat, then flip over and cook another 3 minutes or until heated through.  Cut into bite sized pieces.

Other ideas:

-Annie's mac and cheese with peas (or whatever veggie your child will eat)

-Veggie dumplings in my grocer's freezer section, cut up into bite sizes

-Grilled cheese sandwiches; peanut butter and honey sandwiches on whole wheat bread

Ok moms, any other great ideas??  I'm always at a loss in this awkward eating phase!
Friday, August 26, 2011

Sharing is Caring

After my affection post yesterday, I realized that I also need to start really modeling altruism for my toddler too.  We all want our little ones to learn how to share, and it's been a constant struggle at this young toddler age since they don't quite get it yet.  Toys are always being taken away from each other, well, grabbed is more like it and then the tears come!

Sigh, what as a parent can we do to teach them how to be caring towards others and learn to share while they are still in diapers?

Let's start with the definition of Altruism: a genuine concern for the welfare of other people and a willingness to act on that concern such as sharing, caring, cooperating and helping others.

A far as expecting your toddler to know how to share right now, they're just not there yet to completely understand and be able to reciprocate, but there are tips you can do to help encourage them and teach them how to be altruistic:

-Researchers have found that as a parent, if you use more physical acts to discipline wrong doings, such as moving your child away from their infant sibling as they try to swat them, or using verbal statements such as "I said stop that!" then you will tend to have a less compassionate toddler

-To encourage your child to be more on the highly compassionate side, parents need to use more 'feelings explanations' when disciplining hurtful actions. For example, if your child hit another child over a toy, tell them, "When you hit Matt, you made him cry, it's not nice to hit our friends" or "it makes Ava sad when you take her toy" or "it's not nice to bite, it hurts her arm"

Using these 'feeling explanations' are a form of empathy training.  When the parent disciplines the child, it will cause them distress, which then causes them to pay attention to the discomfort of another person.  They learn to associate their own distress with that of the victim=empathy.  Make sense?

-To go above and beyond, teach your child how to care for others by volunteer work, making contributions to charities, etc. Look up some local charities such as a food drive or planting a garden, and take your child so they can learn from you how to care for others less fortunate

Remember to keep in mind though, that toddlers and preschool aged children are in the egocentric stage: they are more self centered and concern is mostly focused on themselves. I know, it sounds super selfish, but remember that it is a stage that all preschoolers go through. They have to go through this stage to reach the next one. Kind of like they have to learn to sit up before they can crawl, then walk, etc.

Just keep modeling for them and they will learn from you! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Showing Affection

The picture above? She went up to a child sized, cloth mannequin the other day and started dancing with it! I called the sales clerk over and she said she had never seen any toddler go up to the little kid mannequin before and it was so cute!  My little baby was trying to be friendly and show a little affection!

So, then my heart just melted even more on Monday when I witnessed my little 15 month old at a playdate, go up and give another child a hug and then puckered her lips up to kiss him! Without any prompting what-so-ever on my part.  I was so elated and shocked at the same time, wondering if I was really witnessing the cutest thing ever!

She was showing affection to another child!!  And where was my camera?

I had never seen her do this before, except to me and my husband, and most recently our dogs.  So to see your child try to do this to another child her age was the cutest thing ever.  And after she hugged the boy, she then proceeded to go up to a little girl, and instead of trying to swat at her face like she normally does to other kids, she hugged her and kissed her cheek!!

To test out her new found skill, I then turned to another little boy that she knows well and asked Luna if she could give him a hug and kiss too.  She went right up to him and did it!  Now, I know what you are saying- "I thought you said not to force kids to give affection!" Well, yes, for the most part that is true. But at this age, they are still learning what a hug means, and what a kiss means, so by modeling and teaching them what is appropriate is the best way to teach them.

Exactly how do you do that?

-Well, for starters, she has learned affection from witnessing my husband and I when we give her lots of hugs and lots and lots of kisses :)  We tell her we 'love her' as we model this as well.  I am also constantly hugging my dogs and giving them kisses too, so she has gotten a few extra lessons from that.

-I also have been modeling 'soft touches' on her baby dolls by showing her how to touch them, give them hugs and kisses as well, instead of hitting or swatting at someone. She's been at that tricky age lately where she will touch and sometimes hit another child's face.  It's that 'exploring' phase of learning how to interact with others.

-Another good idea to start is to continue to give hugs and kisses to your child, to stuffed animals, pets, etc. and tell your child that by giving hugs and kisses means we love them and like them a lot.

-And during this early learning phase, it's okay to ask them to blow grandma a kiss, give their friend a hug, etc and while doing so, telling them again, "we give hugs to our friends because we like them and it shows we care!"

-If you want to teach your older child boundaries better and to just give hugs to friends (no kisses), then continue telling them that 'we give hugs to our friends to show them we care or when they are feeling hurt or sad'.  And, "we give kisses to really, really show we love someone like mommy, daddy, (sibling, grandparents, etc)"  This can help teach appropriate boundaries, but again, probably better to teach this when they are closer to age 2 and can understand a little better.

Do any of you have cute stories??  This reminds me of teaching our kids to be altruistic, so I'll save that for the next post!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Toddler Emotional Development

As I was scanning one of my many parenting books yesterday, I came across the topic of emotional development with toddlers.  The book had a few suggestions on how to support your child's emotions and for the most part, most of them were pretty good tips.

Sometimes I read parenting magazines and books and come across articles on how to tame tantrum and behavior problems that are written by an 'experts' or even psychologists, but a lot of times I feel they miss the boat completely.  I don't always agree with some of their suggestions, because a lot of times they go against the whole philosophy around Child-Centered play therapy.  Mostly denying their feelings or giving commands.  But this article I read yesterday really gave some excellent tips that taught great emotional support for your toddlers.

Here are some of the ideas they had (that I tweaked a bit) to encourage and support healthy emotional development :):

-Acknowledge your toddler's feelings, even if their behavior is not acceptable. The behavior is what you focus on limiting, NOT the feeling. Example: "I can see how angry you are right now, but I am not for hitting."

-Help your toddler identify and label their feelings by describing them. For example: "You look really frustrated right now as you stomped your foot down!"

-Express your own emotions honestly, but appropriately.  Toddlers need to learn from their parents and labeling your own feelings helps them get there faster. For example by telling them: "I am pretty upset right now and angry, so I need a little break to help me feel better."  Also, remember to label the happy feelings too so they just don't see the negative ones. For example: "Mommy is so happy right now that we are playing and singing songs together. See the happy smile on my face?"

-Give your child alternatives to emotional outbursts such as "I don't know what you want when you cry, please show me what you want so I can help you" or"use your words to tell me what you want."

-When possible, help your child avoid fears by using night lights for fears of the dark, and having consistency in routines (so they trust you and know what to expect next)

-The article also mentioned one tip that I just have to comment on.  They suggest not to use controlling statements or guilt provoking statements, which I agree with.  But, BUT what was hard to read was the horrible emotionally abusive example of what NOT to say to your child: "It's hard for me to love you when you don't do what I say". Yikes. Talk about hurting your child's sense of self-esteem and sense of faith in your unconditional love.  Statements like that will cause your child to end up in therapy for sure, not to mention maybe even having borderline personality disorder at the age of 16!  I know none of you would use statements like that, thankfully.  I hope I never have to hear something like that as I am out in public, because having to resist saying anything to that parent is going to take a lot of restraint!

The tips sound easy enough and straight forward, but sometimes practicing them can be a challenge as we forget.  Especially when our children are constantly engaging in negative behaviors, and having to repeat "I can see how angry you are, but we do not play with the dog food" over and over can get exhausting!  You just want to say a quick, "no!" and be done with it.  So if we tell ourselves to practice it half the time, that's a good start :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Most Eligible Spoiled Kids

Photo courtesy of Lou Brooks

Last night I got the pleasure of watching a new reality show called 'Most Eligible Dallas' on Bravo.  It was entertaining at first and then it just got bad, really bad. I just had to watch it because I live in Dallas. But after 10 minutes of watching it, saw that most of the places they were hanging out at were about 40 minutes north of here in a town called Plano, TX.  And the cast? I can't even go there to comment. You just have to watch.  Let's just say it makes Dallas look bad. Really bad.

But one thing that caught my attention as a parent was how 'spoiled' these single people were. Most were in their 20's (and let's just say I almost had a heart attack when the girls said their ages- it makes it look like all of Dallas just sits in the sun every day and ages like crazy!)

But back to my point, most of the girls and boys were living off their parent's money. Big time. Can you spell S-P-O-I-L-E-D? One of the cast member's parents are worth 325 million dollars.  And another lives with her parents in their mansion in an affluent area.  Both of them said their parents worked hard to get where they are, starting their own companies over 30 years ago. Case in point- their parents, not them.

I have been having this opinion for awhile lately about kids in their 20's, 30's and even 40's who have a completely different work ethic than our parent's generation.  My parent's generation had a mind set of working hard to do better.  A lot were immigrants or blue collar workers, veterans, etc and our parents tried hard to succeed and provide for their children more than their parents did. Which sounds good to me. Shouldn't we always strive for that?

I feel like this new generation (mine included) is a spoiled generation where we 'expect' things to be given to us and just handed over like a job, a car, a house, money, luxuries, etc.  And this is also the first generation that has not had a mandatory war draft since the American Revolution.  Wow.  We have it so easy.

A lot of my friends have commented on how they know people in their 30's who grew up in high society, wealthy neighborhoods and are now moving back into their parent's guest homes and living the high life.  No plans to move out any time soon.  Again, we would never have seen as much of this back in the 1960's and 70's when our parents were getting out of school and getting their first jobs.

The 'Today Show' said it best a few years ago, that today's generation isn't starting adulthood until age 26 (vs. 20 back in the day).  That is the age when most kids are now finishing college, getting their first jobs and on their own.

My friend Heather Baker (her blog is sent me a good article that kind of touches on this point titled 'How to Land Your Kid in Therapy'. Click here to read more about it. Basically it discusses how young adults are entering therapy because they are depressed- depressed that they are too happy, have everything, and have a hard time finding satisfaction.

As parents we want to provide as much as we can for our children and be there for them.  My opinion is that we also have to let them learn natural consequences!  This means:

-We have to let them get a skinned knee

-Don't call the coach to change his mind because your child was not picked for the baseball team

-Realize that your child is NOT going to be invited to every single social event and sometimes feelings do get hurt- that is OK. It's a part of life

-Don't get your teenager their dream car

-Don't call your best friend and make them hire your son out of college because they 'owe you'

Get the idea? Now, most of these are extreme examples, but the point is that we have to let our children experience rejection, hurt (physical and emotional) and pain.  They need to learn how to succeed on their own or they will have too many failures.

The article also touches on giving choices to children.  I have talked about giving choices as a form of discipline here.  But the article discusses how a lot of parents are giving too many choices-and not for discipline.

And I could not agree more. When giving choices as a form of discipline, you give them the limit: "You can choose to have one cookie for dessert, or no cookies, you decide" as your child demands the whole bag!  But so many parents are giving 4-10 choices just to be nice, such as "Do you want to see this movie today, or this one, or this one?" Or  how about, "do you want this Cinnamon Cereal for breakfast, or French Toast, or Waffles or Eggs?"  See the difference?  I love how the article states that back in the day, you just told your child you were going to the store, you didn't give them a choice of where, how and when.  You just put them in the car seat and went!

Thoughts, opinions, questions?
Monday, August 15, 2011

Sick Mom

As moms, we have helped our babies through their sicknesses since they were born. For my child, her illnesses have been pretty mild so far with just 2 fever viruses.  I have nursed the little thing by taking her temperature constantly, making sure she was comfortable, giving her medications every 6 hours, applying cool washcloths and the best remedy of them all, giving her hugs and snuggles.  I HATE seeing my little girl sick, and will do what I can to make her feel better.

But this time around, I was the one that got sick :(  This was the first time I was truly sick and not able to take care of my little girl.  I was stricken with the 24 hour stomach bug (well, really 48 hours because I was super weak the whole next day too).

I thought it was going to be just a mild case and because I ate too much that night at a friend's birthday party. But no, not so much.  I had not been this sick in over 6 years.
I will spare you the details but let's just say the bedside trashcan became my best friend.  And how horrible is it that you are feeling so dehydrated and can not even keep down water?  And nursing a fever. No fun!

I immediately called my mother to come over and help because I did not want my husband to have to take care of our toddler, take care of the house AND take care of me.  I felt so helpless.  Thank goodness my mom was there to help because my husband also had to go into work for the afternoon.

Getting this sick has always worried me now that I have a child.  As a mom, you worry about who you can call to come and help and what they can do. I was down for the count, could not get out of bed, could not even sit up.  Even watching TV was making me dizzy. So needless to say I had no time to blog or even get on the computer.

I have to hand it to the single moms out there who are alone and are doing it all on their own.  I am so thankful I have family here to help and a wonderful husband.  They really stepped in and saved the day.  Not being able to just get up and tell them something or show them how to do something with Luna was hard, but they did a great job! I'm now seeing how it will be whenever I have a second child, at home from the hospital and not able to get up and do much the first few days.  Postpartum doula?

And since I am still breastfeeding, I knew I had to feed my poor child, especially because they say that your body will produce antibodies to fight the infection for your child, so she in turn will not get the illness.  So my mother had to bring her to my bed and I nursed her laying down on her side like I used to when she was a newborn.  I hated that it was my only interaction with her all day, as I missed being with her and playing with her :(

I started thinking of all the little things I could not do while sick, like rocking my child to sleep in the rocking chair.  It made me really appreciate my health!  I realized how much I take for granted and need to cherish being healthy and these priceless moments I have with my child.

All I have to say is that I hope my poor baby (and family) don't get sick as I don't wish it on anyone.

Now that I am getting my strength back, the dishes and laundry are calling my name. Oh and another thing, why there are so many drug store remedies for colds, fevers and flu and NOTHING for nausea?  I was nauseous for 12 hours straight, and nothing I took made it go away.  It's 2011, there has to be something over the counter by now!  Just a thought.

How about you? What have you done to help your family if you are on bed rest, had surgery or too sick?  Any suggestions?
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cocktail Playdates

Did any of you catch the 'Moms Enjoying Cocktail Parties' segment on Good Morning America last week?  I am a Today Show regular myself but turned on GMA to see footage of the Bachelorette (I know, shameful)!  So I was sitting there watching the play date segment and thinking, Mommies drinking during playdates?

My play dates usually involve muffins and coffee.  But alcohol?  I mean, don't get me wrong. I go out to eat with my husband and our child and have a nice glass of wine at the restaurant. Heck, I served champagne spritzers at my child's First birthday party. But there is just something about serving alcohol at a playdate for children.

As a mom, you go to these playdates so your children can learn to play and socialize with other children, AND it's for the moms to socialize and relate to being a mommy!  We trade tips on what to do for naps, teething, babysitters, etc. while the children run around and play.  I love them and look forward to them, but I see play dates as my day time job for my child and is part of being a responsible parent and stay-at-home mom.

GMA also referenced a book I had read while I was pregnant called Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay.

The author is a famous comedian named Stefanie Wilder-Taylor who discusses how crazy her life had turned since she had kids and has laugh out loud funny moments like meeting new moms at the neighborhood park and feeling like she was in high school again with the clicks and trying to 'fit in.'  She also discussed how she would unwind at the end of the day with a glass of wine.

And then I read in my Parenting magazine the other day that she recently admitted she became an alcoholic (3 children later).  So the poor mother/housewife/comedian was downing alcohol to get her through the day. Seems harmless as I have unwound myself at the end of a tough day with a nice glass of wine!  But her one glass had turned into three and then into an every day drinking affair.  As a counselor I have seen how hard it is to admit to being an alcoholic as a lot of people live in denial and don't see it as a problem.  So I have to say how awesome it was for her to admit it, especially being a celebrity and discussing it out in the open.

I think a lot of moms can relate to the drinking-taking-the-edge-off-kind of thing after dinner. But going to an 11 am play date with your child, driving I might add, and getting tipsy while your child is playing next to you, then driving home? I am picturing an episode of Mad Men here, with mom Betsy drinking her hard liquor and chatting with her neighbor friend while their 3 tots are running around the house.

Trying not to judge, but I am not a fan of these Cocktail playdates.  Thoughts?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sleep Deprivation in Children

I know, another sleep post, but this one is a little bit different.  How many of you suffer from sleep deprivation?  If one of you reading this did not raise your hand, please let me know your secret, because I think every mother out there (and any non mom working adult for that matter) suffers from lack of sleep!

But as adults we know the signs and symptoms of lack of sleep, how to help our selves and what we need to do to get more sleep.

With children, it's a whole other issue.  I see SO many children suffering from lack of sleep. Babies, toddlers and school aged kids.  Some of the symptoms mimic other disorders.  A lot of school aged kids are misdiagnosed as ADHD because they are distracted and hyper from lack of sleep, not because they have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Right now my child has been fighting her afternoon naps so I am thinking she is moving towards one a day. But I am still trying to figure out if it's just because she reached a new milestone of walking or just ready to transition. Our doctor said normally they transition to 1 at 18 months, so who knows.  Either way, I want to make sure she is getting enough sleep and I'm not sleep depriving her.

I was reading Dr. Oz's baby book (You Having a Baby) yesterday as I was trying to find answers about naps, and he said it best when discussing sleep deprivation in babies:

Signs of sleep deprivation are nearly invisible in babies and young kids, so it's   virtually impossible for parents to see if sleep deprivation is causing any damage.  The harm actually becomes visible around the age of two, when a child who's been tired for 2 years becomes defiant, non compliant, and ready to color Grandma's house with his crayola 64!

What does general lack of sleep look like in kids?

-Hyperactivity and irritability

-Crankiness and fussiness

-Crying and whining

-Increased illnesses (lack of sleep leads to a poor immune system)

-More accident prone (because less sleep leads to motor skills weakened)

-Bad moods (moods are a good gauge to whether a child is getting enough sleep or not)


With my child being a toddler, she isn't old enough to express she's tired, so how do you know what it looks like in a non verbal child?

  • Since toddlers are notoriously moody creatures, the tantrums and meltdowns that might clue you in are often taken for granted as typical toddler behavior.

  • Toddlers often act less tired as exhaustion sets in. Hyperactive behavior, fidgeting, and loudness are not signs of excessive energy; rather, they are the wiped-out toddler’s last-ditch effort to keep himself awake.

Exactly how much sleep should your child be getting?

Age Nighttime Sleep (hours) Daytime Sleep (hours) Total Sleep  (hours)
 1 month 8.5 (many naps) 7.5 (many naps) 16
 3 months 6-10 5-9 15
 6 months 10-12 3-4.5 14.5
 9 months 11 3 (2 naps) 14
 12 months 11 2.5 (2 naps) 13.5
 18 months 11 2.5 (1-2 naps) 13.5
 2 years 11 2 (1 nap) 13
 3 years 10.5 1.5 (1 nap) 12
 4 years 11.5 0 11.5
 5 years 11 0 11
 6 years 11 0 11
 7 years 11 0 11
 8 years 10-11 0 10-11
 9 years 10-11 0 10-11
 10 years 10 0 10
 11 years 10 0 10
 12-13 years 9.5-10 0 9.5-10
 14 years 9.5 0 9.5

But not all sleep deprived kids are getting less sleep because they are going to bed too late or waking up too early.  Sleep problems or disorders may include having difficulty falling asleep, regularly waking up during the night, nightmares, sleep terrors and sleep apnea.

So what to do?  Here are some tips I have found to help get your child back on track:

  • Check with your doctor to make sure they do not have a sleep disorder first, and rule out any illnesses that could be causing less sleep.

  • Make bedtime a special time.  It should be a time for you to interact with your child in a way that is loving, yet firm. At bedtime, spend some special time with your child. Use a simple, regular bedtime routine.  It should not last too long and should take place primarily in the room where the child will sleep.  It may include a few simple, quiet activities, such as a light snack, bath, cuddling, saying goodnight, and a story or lullaby. The kinds of activities in the routine will depend on the child’s age.

  • Put some thought into finding your child’s ideal bedtime.  In the evening, look for the time when your child really is starting to slow down and getting physically tired. That's the time that they should be going to sleep, so get their bedtime routine done and get them into bed before that time. If you wait beyond that time, then your child tends to get a second wind.  At that point they will become more difficult to handle, and will have a harder time falling asleep.

  • Try to move their bed time earlier.  You will be surprised as to how easy it is for them to fall asleep sooner.  If they go to bed at 8:30, move it up to 8pm- which means starting their bed time routine at 7:30pm.  I know that for working parents, you want to spend a lot of time with them in the evenings so it's hard to put them down earlier.  But you will see a remarkable change in their behavior and a happier mood!

  • Keep to a regular daily routine—the same waking time, meal times, nap time and play times will help your baby to feel secure and comfortable, and help with a smooth bedtime.  Babies and children like to know what to expect.

  • Make sure the sleep routines you use can be used anywhere, so you can help your baby get to sleep wherever you may be.

  • Some babies are soothed by the sound of a vaporizer or fan running.  This "white noise" not only blocks out the distraction of other sounds, it also simulates the sounds babies hear in the womb. Small, portable white noise machines with a variety of different sounds are now available.

  • Make sure your kids have interesting and varied activities during the day, including physical activity and fresh air.

  • Use light to your advantage.  Keep lights dim in the evening as bedtime approaches. Light helps signal the brain into the right sleep-wake cycle. We use black out shades to help our child take her daytime naps too, and not wake up too early in the morning.

How about you guys? How does your child act when they fight sleep or don't get enough?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


'All Aboard!!!' photo (c) 2007, Jason Burrows - license:

Last month I blogged about how to handle your child saying, "no" and what to do here. But today, I had the lovely experience of doing exactly what I tell parents not to do when trying to avoid a bunch of "No's": taking your child to an overstimulating place like Toys R Us or Target.

I guess I thought my child was still young enough to go down the toy aisles at Target without her wanting everything in sight!  Remember those days when your child was young enough and you could take her anywhere?

Target was having a 75% off toys sale and I thought, "ooooh, let's go see what they have so we can stock up for Christmas gifts."

Big mistake.  Now that my child is also signing, "more" which really is meaning "I want", she wanted everything in sight.  I guess I was wrong when I thought she would be able to handle her self-control when seeing a TON of toys from top to bottom.  Can you blame the poor thing?

I definitely got my practice in with the limit setting today.  I got a lot of practice saying, "I know you really want that ball, but it has to stay in the cage today."  "That toy is not for touching," Or, "That really looks like a fun toy, but today we are just going to look at the toys."

She was able to follow my lead thankfully and listened to my limit setting. Yay, it worked! But she still looked at me like I was crazy.  For a 14 month old- being told a toy is not for touching, and redirecting her is not exactly easy for the "I want, I want" aged child.

I also came prepared though and gave her one of her own toys from my diaper bag and  some snacks. Whew!

But, I learned my lesson. To only shop for toys when she is NOT with me. When she is past this stage and older, then I can take her back (hopefully). But at this young age when they are not able to exhibit self-control as much and they don't understand why they are not allowed to have it ALL. It is really best to steer clear of all the enticing fun toys and stores!

I know, I should have known better. But I guess this is what my blog is all about. Learning as I go and having fun with all of the parenting mistakes a counselor makes!