Attachment parenting was easy the first 13-14 months. BF, co-sleep, BW. For us, those were far easier than 'alternative' approaches. I almost felt like it was cheating!
Now I have a toddler with a mind of her own and that mind often wants to do things that I disapprove of. I've read books and I *know* what the AP approach to toddlerhood is all about but I'm left wondering .. if we don't spank, we don't do time out, and we don't admonish petty "behavior" problems ... what on Earth DO we do? All the books I've read have helped me to form an idea of what the goal of our disciplinary actions should be but none have provided concrete advice for what to do.
A bunch of us are in or are nearing the toddler days and I've seen some lurking BTDT moms. What disciplinary actions have you taken that you feel jive with AP? How about we start a scenario thread to help us all gain ideas of what to actually DO!
Example from today:
We're out to breakfast at a local pancake place. It says right on the sign "Jack's Family Restaurant" so babies are cool. Well, my baby wasn't so cool. Teagan decided that rather than eat she'd terrorize the blinds and dump salt on the table. I spent a good amount of time doing the toddler juggle. I could have grabbed her, put her in her booster and given her the evil eye, but I decided that distraction was the better way to go. She was clearly stimulated by all that was going on around her and was a bit excited to use a booster seat for the first time. So, I started pointing to all the interesting things in the restaurant and asked her to smile and wave at other kids. We read the menus and flirted with the waitress. Distraction and redirection. That's about all I've got right now.
Example from just about every other day:
Nursing a toddler has its challenges. Mainly, they stem from the fact that toddlers like to multi-task (ie, nurse will smacking, kicking, pinching, etc.). I nurse on demand so that can mean nursing 100x per day when Teagan is in need of lots of boob. I don't want her to get the impression that I'm going to cut her off or that I'm ignoring her desire to nurse but I will not stand for being attacked while she nurses. My first response is to play finger games with her or sing or otherwise try to distract her but sometimes she's just feeling extra smacky. I'm usually successful in making her stop by looking her in the eye and telling her that I'm going to put her down if she continues to hit me. I say it in a matter of fact way. That's usually enough to make her stop. If she does it again, I pop her off and put her down and tell her that she's getting put down because she hurt me. This usually makes her upset and she climbs right back on. I give her a big hug and a kiss and I let her nurse again. USUALLY, this works. After we're done nursing she gets another big hug and a kiss. To me, AP does not mean letting Teagan run rampant. AP most certainly does not mean letting my child act violently. I feel like reacting the way I do to her smacking and whatnot tells her that violence is not cool but still allows her to get what she needs from nursing.
This is a great idea for a thread!
I am going to say a couple thing up front... 1) I think we all have different strengths as parents, and I'm discovering one of my weaknesses- parenting a toddler! The baby stage was SO easy for me. I never felt tied down or resentful of how much she needed me. I pretty much enjoyed being with her all the time always, and I actually liked that she needed me. Well, the toddler phase is a whole different ballgame for me. Her I'm going to do everything on my own, but I need you to be right next to me always thing that she is going through right now is really hard for me. She used to play on her own really well, and now, I can hardly get a chance to stop and sit for a few minutes during the day without her tugging me away or climbing in my lap. It's really hard for me. #2 then, is that, I can see why a lot of AP parents space their children 3+ years! It's really hard to give Beni the attention I WANT to give her when I'm tired, cranky, and lacking patience- all of which I'm blaming on hormones. So... all that said, I really feel like I'm NOT parenting the way I would like these days. I'm making strides to pull myself out of the hole I'm in right now....and hopefully this thread can also help me with that.
Issues we face, and which I have no idea how to appropriately handle:
1) Won't lay still for diaper changes. We don't have a changing station- we have a changing pad, but it's just on the bed. As soon as you get one diaper off and her butt cleaned up if she was poopy, she will leap up and run away. If I try to fight her to staying lying down so that I can get her new diaper on, it can literally end up in bruises, because that is how hard I have to try to hold her to keep her still. Not cool. Lately, I have just given up the fight and let her run, and just sit there and wait, and she usually comes back within 5 minutes. Not a problem when it's the middle of the day and we have time... otherwise, it can be!
2) Her favorite thing to do right now is destroy anything and everything. Pull all the shoes off the shoe rack and throw them as far as she can. In her playroom we have those foam interlocking tiles on the floor... she loves to go in and pull them all apart, take the letter out of the middles... makes a HUGE mess, and is back-breaking work putting it back together. The worst part about this one (unlike the shoes) is that she really can't even put them back together again.
My biggest problem I guess is that I'm a SAHM, and although of course, it is my job to be with her during the day and take care of her, it is ALSO my job to take care of the house. So sometimes I really do need her to be able to entertain herself near me, rather than be directly involved with her. But it SUCKS and makes my job that much harder when during those times she just tears things apart, thereby making the list of things I need to get done that much longer.
Mara & Joel, 2009
Parenting a toddler is definitely HARD for me. I knew from childcare that the toddler time was going to be rough, but oh boy what an understatement! And we've just started this phases too.
Last week I was chatting on my BB and one of the girls was talking about different things to say other than "no." It reminded me of my years in childcare how as a teacher I had to ask myself "why not?" before I could ever say no. Many times just asking yourself that question gives you an idea of how to make what the toddler wants to do safer, more appropriate, etc. For example, we're packing up an apartment right now (moving in a week! eek!). Aiden wants to unpack the boxes as I'm packing them and throw random stuff into open boxes. I was getting frustrated till I asked myself, "why can't he help me?" So I was handing him one item and he'd place it in the box. I got a box of blankets, jackets, and such finally packed! Which was a great success since it was taking me ALL DAY to just pack one box. lol. The next day I was packing things I didn't want him to help me with (breakable, small parts, etc). He wanted to help pack of course, but this time I gave him his own empty box and let him put whatever he wanted to in there (mostly his toys and TV remotes lol). I got another box packed! Before asking myself "why not?" type of questions, I was spending my time saying, "no Aiden. Mommy doesn't need your help. Let's go back over to your books." And it never stopped! Definitely going to have to keep reminding myself to ask why not so that I can get our environment after we move back into a yes place!
Mara, we have one of those mats only it's just dots instead of letters. It was great until Aiden hit like 9 months old and learned to pull it apart into pieces. I now know why you can always find them for cheap at Ross out here. No body wants them! Ha ha!
Last edited by alwayssmile; 02-20-2012 at 05:57 PM.
We have one of those mats. We had it out for 5 minutes and Teagan tried to eat it. Its been in the closet ever since!
I like the idea of asking myself why not. It also gives me time to pause and figure out if its something even worth putting an end to. I like to pick my battles whereas DH is a bit of a micro-manager.
This is a great thread! Nice to know I'm not the only one struggling with this. BTW, this is the first time I've posted in this forum - I mostly hang out in September 2010. Anyway, Bowen almost 18 months and I have found that I'm better at parenting this age rather than the infant/baby age. I just love that he can communicate so much better. I definitely don't get to sit down ever without him grabbing at me or crawling on me and demanding boobie (by pulling on my shirt and grunting until I remind him that he has to ask nicely and then he signs for it). Which brings me to discipline. What I DO is not much, really. He's still really young and has little to no impulse control, so mostly I redirect. I try not to say, "stop" or "no" all the time. For example, he's really obsessed with my plants right now. I had moved them out of his reach for the past few months, but they're no longer out of his reach where I had moved them, so I put them back on a low bookshelf under the window. Anyway, he can reach them again, so I constantly have to tell him to stop. I figure he has to learn what it is ok to play with and what not to play with - I can't keep everything locked away and out of reach forever. So, when he goes over to the plants I remind him that, "we don't play with Mommy's plants, we look at them with our eyes." Then I usually have to remove him from that part of the living room and get him to play with something else. Sometimes I can just say, "Bowen, we don't play with the plants, find something else to play with" and he'll walk away, but sometimes he just does not want to cooperate and I have to pick him up and move him somewhere else. So, basically, I try to correct the behavior by telling him what I want him to do, rather than telling him what not to do, or at least not focusing on what not to do. When he starts being a booger while BFing, I'll just put him down. If he throws a major fit ... To be continued... The one of which I speak is throwing a royal fit and grabbing at my legs.
Ecoberry, hope to "see" you around here more!
One of my biggest frustrations is communication with DS. He doesn't say much other than mama and no and a lot of "tis." Babysigning has helped us out a lot, but he's been refusing to learn new signs for over a months now. This is why when I worked childcare I told them to put me in rooms where the kids can talk. I get frustrated and I'm not at my best frustrated. People thought I was nuts, but I preferred middle school kids when they were on break over any other age.
Anymore good examples out there?
Did I mention that I'm really not feeling like the best parent these days? So far I've only contributed issues, no solution to this thread.
Mara & Joel, 2009