Monday, May 28, 2012


There are just a few things that toddlers, and all children for that matter, have control over:

1) Sleep

2) Potty Activity

3) Eating

We can't make our children sleep.  We can tell them, "you can lay down and have rest time" but you can't tell them to go to sleep and force it.  We can make them stay in their bed, well, for the most part we can, but that's a whole other issue.

We can't make our children go to the bathroom either.  We can have them sit on the potty, but they control what comes out :)

And eating.  We can't control what they eat and force it down their little throats.  We know how that can end if we keep it up.

Pushing some of these things can only go so far.  We can try and ask, but in the end they are the ones to make the final decision.  It depends on your parenting style, but we know if things get pushed too much, hello temper tantrum!!

So what to do?

Not an easy answer.  Yikes, this can really turn into a full discussion of over 100 pages worth, like, "well, if I fix one thing for dinner and they don't like it, then what do we do?" Lots of decisions and what to do.  Or, "what if my child won't stay in her bed and leaves and comes out each night and won't sleep.  Then she'll be sleep deprived and a monster at school."

Yeah, like I said, not an easy answer.

But I think that setting a limit to your standards and sticking too it, is the best way to go.  You have to look at your parenting style BUT, try what you can to not get into a power struggle.  One of the reasons children misbehave and want a power struggle is for more control.

I always go back to the 'feelings' part of disciple, like in the book, How to Talk So You're Kids Will Listen...  Acknowledging their feeling, so that they are heard, setting your rule, and then letting it go.

For instance in this example this can be with an older child or a toddler: Fix them dinner and then if they eat most but refuse some:

"I can see how you are feeling frustrated because I am asking you to eat your broccoli, and I know you don't like it.  But I want to make sure you eat some veggies to make you healthy and strong!  Maybe tomorrow night, you will like some of the veggies we will have for dinner."  And not push it. You can also give them choices as well, since I LOVE choices, but stick to 2.  That way they have some control.

And not to get into a huge topic of eating problems, but research has shown that parents who are too too controlling, have been shown to create more eating disorders in children.  These kids have no control in their life so they do the one thing they CAN control, eating.

And pushing the pooping issue, is not a good thing either.  They will keep it in, and it can cause constipation issues, not to mention the power struggles it comes with it and prolongs potty training.

But back to control, the best thing to do is put yourself in your child's shoes. Yes, they may only be 2, but they are still little beings with feelings.  We need to think, hmm, if someone forced me into bed and told me I better sleep! how would I feel?  Not so happy and pretty upset with that person.  So keep that in mind, reflect, reflect, reflect those feelings, give choices and set limits accordingly.  Easy enough? Yeah, I know, but then again who said parenting was easy :)
Monday, May 21, 2012

Family Changes

With the upcoming addition of a new baby, it makes for a TON of changes.  Now, I'm not going to get into all of the psychological parts of it, but let's just say it gives you a lot to think about before your baby arrives.

Most importantly you worry about how your child will react to the new baby. I've been getting a lot of strangers telling me, "just wait, your toddler's whole world is going to be turned upside down." Or, "your daughter is really going to be going through a lot of changes." Hmm.  Okay.  Thanks for the advice.

I've talked about how to help plan for a new arrival before here, and there are different ways to help for different ages.  For instance explaining about the new baby coming to my just turned 2 year old, who doesn't quite get it, is completely different than a 4 year old.  But my little cutie knows that the baby is my belly and it's super cute when she comes up to rub it.

My new bundle of joy should be here this week (maybe even as soon as tomorrow) as they are going to try to induce me due to a couple of things. Long story short, I will still try to go to the birth center to deliver and if not, will be moved to the hospital next door.  My last birth came in the middle of the night and was super fast in 1.5 hours at the birth center, but this one is a little different.

With the knowledge of knowing exactly when this baby may come this time around, it makes it more special in spending time with my daughter before we become a family of 4.  We had a good family day with my husband yesterday and my daughter and I spent a lot of time playing today.

Knowing my last days are nearing with just us, it makes it even more sentimental and really cherishing the storytime, rocking her in the chair, and our special play time :)  Because I know very soon, it's going to be a little crazy around here!  It's going to be a good thing, but still a little crazy.  I've learned the specialness of quality time with one child and really hope to make sure we all spend time together, but also to have some separate time with my new little one and still have some mommy and me time with my first :)

I can't wait for our new family to be here and to introduce our first born to her new little sister!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Again, I have to apologize for not posting in awhile.  Baby Girl #2 is almost here, and I have been running around trying to get everything done.  Nesting big time.  But it's made me think with all of my planning, ordering things for the nursery and getting errands done, that I have been connected to my computer and iPhone more than usual these days.

It hit me today though that maybe I should really put up the communication devices and give my toddler my undivided attention, since it will be a family of 4 soon and not as much mommy and me time.

I am usually pretty good about not having my iPhone around when my child and I are playing, and I can't email or check things on my laptop because my child wants it and starts typing on it, or wanting to play with it.  A major sign I shouldn't have it out in the first place.  This is why I stay up later at night just to get things done.

But today, I was checking my Ebay status on an auction item I was bidding on for a stroller accessory, and my toddler came over and shut my lap top. Uh-oh.  Yep, that is a big clue that I am a little more connected to technology than I should.

When I used to nanny for kids, it was before texting phones were popular and not many people were emailing all day long. There was no Facebook or Myspace either.  I would go and babysit and give my undivided attention to the child and if someone needed to reach me, it was on my home phone. I could check my Voicemails from their landline while the child napped, if needed but not very often.

I got my first texting phone in 2007 and then my iPhone in 2009.  I also got my first lap top in 2008.  So, my point? It really was not that long ago that things in my life were so accessible.  AND, the whole 'push notifications' on your smart phones makes things more quick than ever to get an alert.

And as a mom, and soon to be mom of a newborn, I want to teach my children that life does not revolve around phones and computers as much as possible.  I miss the days of not being accessible to things and not having to give an answer back to someone immediately.  Remember those days?  It was not that long ago.

And when my mother comes over to visit my child, her cell phone is always ringing and the texting alert is going off.  She turns it off since she is there to see her grandchild and to give her that attention, but it makes you realize how much people try to reach you and expect a reply quickly.  What did people do before cell phones?  Or computers?

I know, ironic because I am blogging and at my computer now, but my child is fast asleep.  My goal after the new baby is to be less connected and more in touch with my children. I may be a little late and delayed getting back to you, but it might be because my child is wanting to play :)


Monday, May 7, 2012

When to say no?

With limit setting, it's always hard to be consistent.  Just like I've talked about before, when your child begs you for the candy at the check-out lane, and he begs for it 5 times, and then you give in, he knows that it takes 5 times of begging his mom and then he'll get what he wants.

But sometimes we are in public and we just want to please them and give in, so we can get our errand run and then get the heck out of there!  But when do we say no and when do we let it go?

This morning for instance, my child wanted another one of her chewy vitamins, (we do the whole Juice Plus chewable thing), and I just give her one of each. I mean, you don't want to go over the recommended dosage of a supplement, right?  I set the limit as usual (limit setting described here).  But she was crying hysterically for another one, even though she knows she just gets one of each.  It would have been easy to rationalize and give her one more, because, they're good for her and she is almost at the age where she can have 2, and it would have started our morning out easier, right?  But I stuck to my word, didn't give in and got her out of her high chair and ready for the day, she cried but was over it pretty quickly.

And then there are the struggles right before bed time.  Sound familiar?  My child is slowly approaching the, 'just one more' stage of one more book. And I can see where she will be at the stage soon where she wants an extra glass of milk before bed, or one more snack, or one more hug, etc. just to avoid bed time.

We always read 3 books before bed, and last night I had given her the warning that, "after we read this book, mommy is turning out the light and we are going to sing a lullaby and go to sleep." When I was about to turn off the light, she said she wanted 1 more and when I told her she had already read 3 she started wailing crying.  I thought to myself, okay, I could just read one more, come on, they're books and good for them right? And if I don't she will cry and won't go to sleep well.

It's all about good sleep in this house, so I gave in.

Yikes! Yes me, I gave in.  So tonight we will work harder on letting her know 3 and that's it.  I think I will make her pick all 3 out first, set them in a special place and then read them and giving the reminder after each one.

It's constantly asking yourself, "okay, do I set a limit here, or is it really not a big deal?"

So even though I know how to set limits (acknowledge the feeling, set the limit, give alternative), it's sometimes hard to know when to call the shots too. I usually keep my limit setting rules simple and set limits for:

her safety, the safety of my house, the safety of my toys and me! and for consistency in routines (like bed time) :)

But sometimes I will watch her do something like climbing on my sofa and jumping up and down on it and I'm like, hmmm, I know that I don't want her to go to other people's homes and climb on their sofas, so I don't want her to learn a bad habit, but yet, I climbed on my sofa as a kid and didn't see the harm in it, right?  BUT she could get hurt.  Could I tell her to only do it on our sofa? Right, like she has that self control.

I've learned it's hard to be in the middle on things.  You don't want to set limits left and right and be the strict parent and have them end up OCD and afraid to play, or have them end up the opposite and rebel like crazy.  Yet, I don't want to give in to too much as we all know where that will lead!  I think it takes just going with the flow and being matter of fact about it, not making a big deal about the limit, stating it and making sure you follow through!  And planning what are going to be ongoing house rules at your home and sticking to it.  And speaking of 'ongoing', I have a feeling this dilemma of wondering whether to set a limit or not, is going to be an issue on up through the teenage years!

Oh, and one thing to always keep in mind, remember to not sweat the small stuff :)