Tools for Taming my Toddler

I read a book on my trip- The Happiest Toddler on the Block. I loved The Happiest Baby on the Block when I read it 2 years ago- great tools, tricks, and ideas for whatever the baby challenges were (probably mostly to do with sleep. to be honest, it’s hard to remember now). We have done some of these things to a degree, but it is timely to have a bunch of ideas now, as it’s becoming harder to figure out what to do with our increasingly rigid (albeit lovely) girl.

I find it hard to actually retain the info, so I took notes. Unless you have a severe case of boredom, you will probably not read this. I just want to organize and jot them down for myself.

-The “Fast Food Rule”- repeating what I toddler wants to back to her so she knows that you hear her. This will help her process the fact that she can’t have it. Using “Toddlerese” as a substitution for rationalization.

-“Time-ins”- rewards for good behavior: attention, praise, and play. “Feeding the Meter”- short periods of focused attention (5 minutes) throughout the day= better behavior overall (i.e. child will “let you win” sometimes if she feels she is “winning” most of the time.)

-Feed the meter after giving warning.

-Types of praise: “gossip”- telling a relative, friend, or even inanimate object like a stuffed animal about how well she did. Helps if she believes that you don’t know she can hear you. Hand checks for good behavior, etc. Count them up at bedtime. Or a star chart.

-Concrete blocks (short- 5-10 minutes) of “special time”- playing, cuddling, etc. Can have a concrete beginning and routine end (like hugging and saying “bye bye, special time”) interspersed between parents getting other things done while child plays alone.

-watching tv isn’t special time.

-Laying the next day’s clothes out the night before in the shape of a person on the floor.

-Using fantasy as a response to an unreasonable request: “I wish I could give you 100 dolls! But we aren’t buying any today”

-Teaching “magic breathing” (using deep breaths as a tool to soothe and calm oneself, like meditation is for adults)

-toddlers love things that are “magic,” “secret,” and “special”

-“bedtime sweet talk”- retell good deeds/experiences from the day. describe how it made you feel as a parents. talk about tomorrow.

-Keep corrections positive when possible- tell what to do rather than what not do do (“chairs are for sitting”) A more respectful way.

-“Playing the boob”- being silly

-Race- who can put on shoes first

-The expectation for toddlers is that we get just baby steps of cooperation. 90/10 rule at first. Suggesting a hard bargain (eating 10 peas) will make eating 3 seem reasonable to her.

-Reverse psychology: “Don’t help me clean up! My turn!”

-Clap-growl for “red-light” behaviors

-“Kind ignoring”: when child is being unreasonable and stubborn (not hurt, scared, or sad). There may need to be an extinction burst.

-Made-up bedtime stories to parallel a lesson she’s in the process of learning.-“Red light acts”- Dangerous, aggressive, or breaking key family rules

-Forcing doesn’t work because it’s humiliating. Avoid battles.

-Ignoring good behavior will lead to bad behavior. Toddler would rather be yelled at than ignored.

-Count to three and show fingers after echoing feelings and correcting/saying no.

-Time out with timer “so you can get calm again”- 1 minute per year (timer lets the amount of time be up to the timer)

-It is okay if time out in room leads to play. The point is to get calm again.

-Show her how door lock works.



Daddy-Daughter Weekend

I went to my cousin’s wedding in New Jersey with my parents and sister this weekend. Daddy and Erin had a fun-filled Daddy-Daughter weekend!


pizza at Superstars


ice cream #1


making muffins


stroller walk


dinosaurs at the children’s museum


dinosaur slide




ice cream #2

Mommy had fun too!


Daddy is tired 🙂


Our Big 2.5 Year Old

Erin had her two and a half year doctor’s appointment today. As I was trying to make a list of any questions I could ask the doctor, I was reminded of how stressful her first visits as a baby were (especially pertaining to her weight gain). I looked up my old list of her weights.

Birth- 10-7-10:  5 lbs. 13 oz.

10/9/10: 5 lbs 3 oz.

10/10/10: 5 lbs. 2 oz.

10/11/10:  5 lbs. 4 oz.

10/21/10: 5 lbs. 7 oz.

10/28/10:  6 lbs. 2 oz.

11/4/10:  6 lbs. 15 oz.

1 month- 11/11/10:  7 lbs. 13 oz.

11/18/10:  8 lbs. 7 oz.

11/22/10:  8 lbs. 12 oz.

11/29/10: 9 lbs. 9 oz.

It took her 3 weeks to reach 6 pounds! And now she’s a big girl at 32 pounds (75th percentile) and 38 inches (90th percentile).

The best part of today’s appointment was no shots and no tears. With the lollipop afterwards, she may add the doctor’s office to her list of fun places to go!


reading while she waits

Eight Minutes

When we were about to board our plane back to Richmond, one of the gate agents (upon noticing our toddler-in-tow) informed us that we had eight whole minutes before we needed to board. Only someone who has recently been responsible for a toddler would understand the value of that time.


On Sunday, Matt and I got to go to the last day of the Masters in Augusta. Matt’s parents watched Erin. We left early because it start to rain, and we watched the (recorded) end on TV that evening. Well, as the camera panned towards Tiger Woods on the first hole, whom should we see but ourselves!  It’s difficult to make out, but in the very bottom right corner of the picture, you can see a few people wearing red shirts. That is Tiger’s mom, Lindsey Vonn, and a couple of their friends. Matt and I stumbled upon them as we were walking. Just as Matt said, “I wonder if Lindsey is somewhere around here,” I noticed a blonde ponytail and a knee brace. I’m wearing a dark shirt and khaki pants. You can really just see the back of me.


Does this help?


Then, when we were waiting for our bags at the Richmond airport, we saw Tim Gunn!


We went on a quick and fun trip to Atlanta. I didn’t take as many pictures as I normally do, but here are some:



saw this shirt at old navy and thought it would be fun for papa to see when he picked us up at the airport.


pollen-bottom: what happens when you go down a slide in spring in atlanta.

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visiting great grandpa


bumble date with Claire and Harrison

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