What do you DO?

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TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
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What do you DO?

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!

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

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.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

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.

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

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. Sad 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. Smile 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. Sad

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

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. :banghead:

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! Blum 3 Ha ha!

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

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.

ecoberry1's picture
Joined: 01/08/10
Posts: 250

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.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

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. Lol

Anymore good examples out there? :mrgreen:

ecoberry1's picture
Joined: 01/08/10
Posts: 250

I don't remember what more I was going to add when I got interrupted yesterday. Pretty much just that there isn't a lot to DO at this age. I try to keep it as positive and simple as possible.

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

"alwayssmile" wrote:

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. Lol

Anymore good examples out there? :mrgreen:

I seriously found newborn/infant "communication" easier to handle than this crap DD is doing now. (I'm so short on patience!) She easily has well over 50 words in her vocabulary... but she uses those words to NAME things, not to communicate. I don't know what to do to get her to transition just from naming to communicating. Like she knows the word for water, but, when she wants water, she will just scream and pull me toward where a cup she can't reach or something is. I don't understand why she won't just SAY water, when she wants water! When I figure out what she wants, I always say, "Say (insert word)" and she just replies with, "Yeah! Yeah!"

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. Sad

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

It's okay Mara. Always good to know there are others in a similar boat getting frustrated and wishing for a translator!

Joined: 05/05/04
Posts: 435

I thought the baby stage was much easier too. Smile

I have a friend who always has creative solutions. If someone is hitting something then she'll give them a pillow. "I can see you want to hit. You can't hit my bookshelf but you can hit this" kinds of things. then she's trying to honor the desire as much as possible.

For diaper changes, one of the Pantley books mentioned having the diaper sing and stuff. That worked pretty well. Standing diaper changes (for pee only!) work well too. I remember being pregnant with Tom and being scared because Sam kicked so much during diaper changes. She was about 2.25 or 2.5 at the time, totally resisting potty training, resisting diaper changes, resisting sleep, you name it, she resisted.

At 7 she still has a strong personality Lol I keep reminding myself what my mom says - that she won't let anyone walk all over her.

My biggest struggle is to not use my size to overpower them. It's not nice. It gets the job done, and in a safety situation I don't mind scooping them up, but picking them up to move them just to dominate isn't nice. It's also not working as well with Sam anymore. She's VERY strong (she's in gymnastics and has been since she was 3.5).

When I feel like I want to just throttle them sometimes I can say "Mommy is pretty grumpy. Can I have a hug?" and then we both feel better after a minute. Sometimes I just need to leave the room though and I'll say that I'm too angry to talk right now and I need a break. Then after a couple minutes I feel human again and can go back.

As for the toddler ages, try to have as much room as possible that is a "yes" area - meaning there aren't things in it that they can't touch. We had a gate through part of our living room for a while, so that Tom had free reign over part of the room but then as it transitioned to the dining room he couldn't get over there. Then it was less stressful for everyone because we weren't always having to stop him from doing things.

In many ways a 3 year difference is good, but it can result in a whole lot of ripped up books when child #1 is looking at paperbacks and child #2 can still ruin a board book Smile

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Baby sign has helped us a lot too. Teagan doesn't have many useful words. Her "naming" vocabulary (as Mara put it so well) is exploding as of late. Pointing to pictures and yelling "TURTLE" is freaking adorable but hasn't helped with the whining. Teagan will sign "All done", "more", "water", "food", and "please". "Please" is really helpful. If she's reaching for something and whining I can ask her to sign please and she calms down, rubs her belly (so cute!), and looks at me. It gives her a second to realize that communication is awesome and ends the whining (if she then gets what she wants).

We abide by the "baby safe" zone. Our entire house is one big baby safe zone. It significantly reduces the number of "NO"s we use. When we're out she's remarkably conscious of asking before she touches things. I have no idea how we managed that. If I figure it out, I'll be sure to let you know.

Rheannon! Good to see you over here Smile Something I do with Teagan and plants is have her smell all the flowers. If thrills her, is stinking cute, and keeps her from ripping them out. Even if your plants don't have flowers, perhaps you can teach him that there's another activity to do with plants. I'm all about trying to find a way to let her satisfy her urges in a safe (and less destructive) way. Teagan has her remote control that she can throw/chew/jump on. We hand it to her when she grabs our new universal remote. If she hits the cat or one of us, we say no firmly and then redirect with petting and hugs. I feel like its important to let them know that there's a right way to do things rather than just informing them that they're doing it wrong.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Having that yes environment has been a BIG struggle for us since for 2.5 months we've been living in a temp apartment with bare rental furniture (and pretty much zero storage). We were living out of suitcases and boxes and had no way in the teeny tiny apartment to limit him to a toddler safe environment. I'm really hoping that once we complete this move, get into a house, and get our furniture delivered out of storage we can get back into the yes environment we had last fall. I know this has negatively affected us. *sigh* Only so much I could do!
Now if only we can survive the next few days with my ILs who believe that toddlers should learn early to not touch what isn't theres, sooooo definitely not a yes environment to say the least. Blum 3

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

I totally get the yes environment- but I can't very well remove the couches from the living room- and she's climbing on the backs of those in a very dangerous way. She has her own playroom- everything inside is hers and it's pretty much a fully "yes" space- except when she just starts tearing her own stuff up. I mean, ok they are her toys, and if she wants to destroy them... but really? We have made a very conscious effort (after someone on my BB brought it up over a year ago) to not even use the word no... we say, "That is dangerous" or "that is not yours." But, she doesn't seem to give a flying monkey's bum anymore.

This morning the diaper change became SUCH a struggle that I completely failed. I ended up throwing the diaper I was trying to put on her on the floor in an absolute rage, and walking away. I may also have vocally expressed my rage with some loud noise. She was scared- none of my aggression was directed at her, but she's never seen me so angry. She then ran around naked for probably an hour, which ended with her peeing, not on he floor, but on a cushion, and then splashing in it.

I am beyond frustrated and ashamed. If someone had caught that scene on tape, I would be mortified to have anyone see it. I keep trying to bring myself back to center and see her for who she is... a small child, only 22 mos old, finding her boundaries, and pushing those (people) she loves the most. But I find myself totally losing control and seeing her instead as some kind of evil little being. I am just not coping.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Remember you ARE doing a great job by just recognizing your difficulties and wanting to do better. Some days keeping them alive should be celebrated as a success. Blum 3
Aiden was trying to jump off the back of the couch before we moved. I'm not sure what the answer to that is other than having a place where they can climb safely. Which let's face it most of us aren't able to afford or have the space for toddler safe climbing equipment. I was trying to hit up the park when I could, but the weather didn't always cooperate. *sigh*

Where's that Toddlers for Dummies book?! Wink

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

:bigarmhug: Mara! You're an awesome mommy. Don't you forget that. We ALL have those moments. One night, Teagan was endlessly bothering me with constant nursing, whining, and kicking. After about 3 hours of that I got out of bed, yelled to my DH, "Deal with her. I'm going to the other room or I'm going to throw her out the window!" Having the occasional irrational rage moment does not make you a bad mommy. It makes you human. Just like how we have to accept that the rambunctious evil little munchkins controlling our every move are actually just very young little humans with young little human needs and limitations, we have to accept that we too are humans with patience limits, a limited supply of energy, and in your case, pregnancy hormones.

Jackie, you're so close to finally having your "normal" life back! Your ability to hold on to your sanity amazes me. I WISH there was a Toddlers for Dummies book but since they're all so different, we'd need Teagans/Aidens/etc for Dummies Smile

One thing we've worked hard to cultivate in Teagan since she first became mobile is a sense of caution. If something she's doing (say, rolling around on the bed or climbing the arms of the couch) isn't likely to result in serious harm, we let her. She's had a few minor spills but those spills have helped to teach her about things like gravity. We started teaching her how to get down off her bed safely when she was about 9-10 months old. She quickly mastered it and now we can leave her on couches or beds or playground equipment without constantly worrying and yelling "NO". If she's doing something carelessly I'll tell her "be careful" and she recognizes that as a hint that she might get hurt if she keeps it up. The tiny bumps and bruises she's received by taking this stance are well worth the comfort in knowing that she'll be OK if I turn my back. It also leaves "NO" for serious situations such as running full steam towards the duck pond. My DH likes to take this method a little further than I'm comfortable with. He'll jostle the shopping cart when she stands up (which makes her sit down but really is that necessary?) and keeps talking about giving her a controlled introduction to cactus. I'm not letting that happen on my watch!

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

And then there are kids like mine who still walk off the couch and bed. :banghead: I can count on one hand the number of times he's gotten down correctly of a high place. He will learn eventually, right????

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

Thanks ladies. I was very near melt-down yesterday, and called my DH sobbing at lunch time. But I am like that- I need to get things OUT- so after I did that, I was much more able to deal. But seriously, it's funny you said that about keeping them alive Jackie, because the thought that kept running through my head was like, "Only one of us is going to survive her toddler years!"

Beni has done her fair share of "learning falls".... while my ILs were here on day, she was standing on a chair at the table, which we let her do because she's too short to see much if she's sitting... but, she was leaning on the table and kept pushing the chair back with her feet. Next thing you know she pushed the chair too far and she went off the table backwards, somehow managing to sort of pinball her head off the table and then the chair seat (all wood mind you)....all right in front of my MIL. Awesome. It happened very fast, but of course I felt bad for her. Think she's stopped leaning on the table while standing on chairs? No. Although, I will say, she is more likely to actually just climb RIGHT ON the table now. Sigh.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Beginning to think our kids are twins Mara. Lol That story describes DS these days! He's totally leaned his chair back at the dining room table far enough back to fall! And then repeated it that same day!!!

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

Ok, here's a positive thing I can add, that is just helping ME keep my sanity. I am really trying hard to focus on and super appreciate the moments when DD does stuff that is SUPER cute. Recently, she's been pulling my books off the shelf (ok, no, that she's been doing for a long time actually) and "reading" them. I have one shelf that has mostly cookbooks and yoga books on it. She will pull a cookbook or a yoga book down and sit and study them for a good long time. It is adorable. Apparently, we may share some similar interests someday. Smile Also, eating is pretty standard, but, if I just stop and watch her, I am amazed how all of a sudden she eats with forks and spoons and she rarely drops food on herself if she's paying attention to what she's doing. She is so capable! And then there are the times when she displays her understanding/thinking that just blow me away.... sometimes I ask her something, or tell her something, and she just reacts in ways that I would't necessarily expect. Like, she knows what I'm saying, and takes things a step further.

She's driving me crazy, but, if I stop and make myself appreciate how amazing she is, it makes it a bit easier to get through the day.

Also, the one time when she still needs me like she ever did is at bedtime or when she wakes at night. So when she's half asleep and all she wants is to cuddle into ME (not daddy, not anyone else, ME) then I sit there and I just love her back. Sometimes the awake times aren't easy (ok, a lot of the time lately), but, these are the things that are helping me get through it all.

There, finally, a positive note from me. Smile

Joined: 05/05/04
Posts: 435

I think that's why I loved cosleeping so much and miss it. They're well-behaved when they are asleep. Smile

We all get crazy from time to time. A very peaceful zen-like mom friend of mine said one time in the middle of the night she ended up yelling, "why can't you just sleep, you " to her infant. I felt bad laughing but it's good to know we all get to that point where we just NEED TO GET AWAY.

The good part is as the kids get older they get it more. I can say, especially to my 7-year-old, I'm too angry. I need to take a break. We can talk later. Hopefully she learns from that and does the same thing! It'd be much nicer than her just falling apart and screaming (which she only does when she's hungry so it's a pretty obvious "tell" that she needs to eat but she hasn't quite been convinced yet).