advice for a mama

8 01 2010

I would love some advice on 2 baby issues:

1. What do you do about baby temper tantrums? They’re a brand new and unlovely phenomenon for us. This week our small happy person has frequently morphed into a small frustrated person who howls (and shrieks) with outraged, red-faced, furious tears when denied some object of his desire – like a hot plate, or a computer cable, or the fireplace. Our usual soothing rituals are fine as a response (i.e. they soothe him into hiccuping calm), but we need an earlier intervention.

2. Potty training. Book suggestions? You know you’re a mom when you only discover the baby poo smeared on your pants twenty minutes after the epic morning diaper wrestling session. And you think, YUCK! but oh well: just another costume change. Unlovely.

And when the quality of a child’s silence draws you speedily from the next room to check on things?

I found Bebe’s little face perched at the window

watching a snow day

staring quietly at the giant clusters of snowflakes as they tumbled down. He turned to me and said, “Mama,” and signed “snow.” So lovely.

snow day

All week, Bebe has also been laughing every ten minutes, cutting new teeth, and sometimes wrestling with the results of a major cognitive leap (i.e. the temper tantrums). Bing! Light bulbs are turning on in that toddler head.

choosing a book

With his language understanding, he is responding to and requesting more communication in both sign language – “Please bring me the ball/shoe.” “Where are your pajamas?” “Time to read a book/take a bath.” Etc. – and vocalization. He chatters and burbles and coos and he talks: Bebe language is numinous and associative and barely untranslateable into Adult. Today we talked about snow – and birds in the snow – for the whole morning.

talking about a snow day

He has been using his toys & objects to explore the concepts of Under, On Top of, and Next to. And how do buckles really work? How do doorknobs open? Does the world change when I bend over and put my head upside-down on the floor?

time for a book

So today he flips through books while Mama tells stories. While Bebe tells stories, Mama knits. I’m working on a little vest that I started ages ago, before the holiday crafting took over. First time with complex cables, yarr! Another 2 or three hours and Bebe will have a new knit-by-Mama. Lovely.

natural lime wip - front

Please: share any advice you may have on tantrum intervention & potty training books. I need a little help here.

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22 responses

8 01 2010
the mistress

Lovely photos (as always)!
While I know nothing of bebes, after having talked with friends who have children I have learned a thing or two. The one piece of advice that I can give you is to never give in to the temper tantrum. Once bebe figures out that a temper tantrum will get him what he wants, there will be many more to follow.
One of my friends who has 3 children and no dogs swears by the calm assertive energy of The Dog Whisperer. He insists that the technique works with his kids and I insist that it works with my dogs. Interesting…
Best of luck to you!

11 01 2010
perches

Hey, La! I’ve been thinking about the old operant conditioning lessons since Bebe was born (*laughter* in the sense of making sure we aren’t being conditioned), and this current behavior has brought them to mind again. I think I’m going with the extinction consequence, while Mr. P is going with our usual soothing routines. We’ve talked about it a lot over the weekend to make sure we get on the same page on our responses. Mrah!

And I love the Dog Whisperer – it’s a treat to watch whenever we visit a friend who has cable TV.

11 01 2010
the mistress

Being on the same page = VERY important!
Sounds like you guys are managing this parenting thing well. =)

8 01 2010
Virginia

Re: temper tantrums- Distraction and redirection. That’s pretty much what worked for me. A good dose of “ooh, shiny!” works too.

will be back…

8 01 2010
Suzanne

raising the spirited child is great for getting to know your child and understanding the route of behaviour. as for potty training my little guy just up and did it over the holiday all on his own day and night. we’ve been referencing it to him for probably about 6 or more months now. we had a book called the potty train, we bought a small potty and always just gave him the option until one day, he did it! good luck

11 01 2010
perches

Congrats on your little guy’s accomplishment! That must have been so exciting for all of you. We’ve just gotten a little potty and are trying it out. I’ll look up the book you mentioned, thank you so much.

8 01 2010
Jo

Tanties are all part of growing up. Don’t give in to them, they need to learn that they can not have everything they want all of the time. Tantrums are just a way of expressing themselves. I’ve found with my little miss, if she is frustrated and letting it all out I do one of two things.

1. Re-direct her to something else
2. Leave her be, if she does not get a reaction from me she soon gives up and finds something else to do.

Good luck, it’s hard sometimes but so rewarding at the same time 🙂 because your little person is growing up.

11 01 2010
perches

Thank you, Jo, I really appreciate your input. I’m having trouble with the re-direct, but #2 is working so far. It’s just hard to do sometimes!

8 01 2010
Wendy

I found love and logic to have a ton of helpful information. My sister actually started putting her little guy into very short, very safe timeouts when he was less than a year. And I swear, that kid is one of the best behaved, most interesting kids I know. He’s now 3 and one of his favorite phrases is “Would you please join me at the table.” Cracks me up!

The best thing about this is that you rarely find yourself ever wanting to yell at him. Yes, he goes into timeout, and yes, he does have his moments, but they really are few and far between.

Kids are super smart and are quick to realize when their actions have pleasant consequences or otherwise.

Don’t distract and be consistent.

11 01 2010
perches

Thank you, Wendy – you’re right about consistency! That’s what we’re trying to fingure out right now. Your nephew sounds like a great little person. And you’re the second one to recommend the Love & Logic book, I’m definitely going to look for it this week.

9 01 2010
Virginia

As far as potty training goes, it was a lot of trial and error for us. It took a while to find something (or a lot of things) that worked. Probably the best thing for everybody was getting the potty chair early and letting Georgia sit on it while I was in the bathroom (because it’s not like I was going to leave her out in the house alone while I was in there… you know?). That helped her get the connection. We also used pull ups.

(and yeah, I’ve heard all of the “pullups are the worst thing to happen to potty training since Freud” arguments, but again, you just have to find what works for you and your kiddo. If pullups don’t, then don’t use them. If they do, great!

I’ve heard it’s easier for the same gendered parent to potty train a kid, but I don’t really have any experience with boys at all.

Lots of hugs! You’re doing great. And I totally hear you on the poo smear thing. Although now that Georgia is 4, I am now either smeared with some random food substance or snot. Yay.

11 01 2010
perches

Oh, you helped me laugh about this, thank you. We’ve gotten a little potty for Bebe and have started trying it out this weekend. Your “teach by example” suggestion makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Virginia 🙂

9 01 2010
Heidi

well as far as what to do with tantrums my advice is when you choose to draw a hard line to never EVER give in… It really sounds to me like he is really frustrated because he can’t clearly communicate, coupled with the tooth pain you have one cranky little man. I have done different things with different children, one of my sons responds best when I am completely calm and respond to his outbursts with a peaceful quiet whisper voice, and when I just scoop him up in my arms and hug him when he is out of control… my oldest son does better when I remove him from the situation and have him go to his room….when you choose a consequence/chastisement that is right for you be completely consistent.

Potty Training:
Before you begin really decide whether he is ready developmentally or not, I often see people try to train to soon and it is just a lot of frustration with a love of accidents….we have done different things for each kid, potty sticker charts, setting a fifteen minute timer then putting on the potty, 1 mini m&m for every pee, and 2 for a BM (sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do) potty videos, potty books…. The timer was really the best for me, I was the one who needed the reminder to remind the kid to go potty. Switching one of them to cloth undies rather than doing the whole pullup thing made a huge difference too.
I hope this is helpful. Heidi

11 01 2010
perches

Oh Heidi, thank you for your detailed advice! It is so helpful to have a variety of examples to try with our situation. How old were your children when you began potty training?

12 01 2010
Heidi

It varied with the boys, we started training Cole at 2 and it took 6 months, and he was still in a pullup at night until he was about 3.5

Perrin was trained at two, and once he figured it out he was totally done day and night trained…
Kahlan we started training just before two, and she also trained really quickly- she was my easiest one… and the one I used the timer method with.
it can be different for different children, just follow your what your instincts are telling you, you will know when he is ready. also putting undies on a teddy and letting him pretend play with his teddy on the potty is good too…

9 01 2010
TAWNYA

Tantrums – a big surprised breath in ” Oh! ” And then say “Look at How Lovely the Snow is Outside! ” Bring him to the window….. ” Do you see that tree? Who lives there, a bird? A squirrel? Do you see one? ”

Be excited. Smile. (REDIRECT).

Potty Training – I say dont waste the $$ on books. We put a towel down, and put the baby bjorn 1 piece plastic potty ($9.95 http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=74940&catid=26983) in the room we were using. He liked being able to walk over & sit on it by himself, an no extra parts were coming off of it, or moving. Make it available … all.the.time. He is 3 and we still keep one in the car. I asked him alot if he had to go, and if he didnt answer me, I didnt ask again, ust pulled down the pants & put him on the potty. When he went, we cheered and clapped, and he loved it. so he did it more. Potty trained by 2 1/2. Everyone says boys take longer….

11 01 2010
perches

Thanks for the redirect example, that’s very helpful. I’ve looked and looked for a bjorn potty chair, but they don’t sell them around here, so we just made the long drive to Ikea and got him one from there.

10 01 2010
quirkygranolagirl

Sounds like you and Bebe are busy busy. I’ll be watching for advice here 🙂

10 01 2010
Susannah

I also use the Love & Logic book with my children. We allow fits (’cause really they are out of our control) as long as our child has one in their room with the door closed. We say, “It’s okay to be disappointed but if you are going to continue to cry, you need to go to your room” Now if my children feel a fit coming on they take off for their room without me having to say anything. They get their fit out and I don’t hear it ~ Then we talk it out later when they are calm…
Good luck –

11 01 2010
perches

I really appreciate your book recommendation, thank you! I rely on reading material quite a bit since there aren’t really resources for classes in our area. I’m going to look for the Love & Logic book this week. 🙂

11 01 2010
Pat Parish

That picture you have of Bebe at the window looking at the snow — Save that, frame it. It’s a keeper! You might crop out the tiny bit of green in the lower left, but other than that, the only color is the pale tones of the bear. It’s perfect. Put it on the wall, and you’ll keep on treasuring it as he gets older. (Do you have a background in photography?)

(Say hi to Mr. P for me!)

12 01 2010
alihilani

hey :). you have loads of info on this from your friends. boys are nortiously stubborn about potty training. parents asked us daily at the peds office about directions. talk about it, but dont get frustrated, it hurts their self steem b/c its not something he can please you with. lil man i cant complai due to his med issues at the time, but i’ve help many and bebe was done in about a month. i just set the potty out in the living room and she used it as a chair and everyday i moved it closer to the bathroom. every 15-20 mins directthem to the potty. and loadsof liquids keep their bladders full. so they can try and understand the feeling of a full tummy to the action of where it goes. no doc i’ve ever known reccomended the candy as reward, just love and excitement of a job well done. b/c he’ll always expect a yummy reward for it. and daddies loved my game of shoot the cherrios! messy at 1st but fun!

lil man and bebe dont/didnt have tempertantrums, or whine a whole lot. i just picked them up and put them somewhere alone and safe, never a corner b/c its their frustration not that they are being bad. i just loved on them a sec then told them to come when they were done and walked away. same with whining, “i cant understand you, can you talk nice?” “yay!” etc. plus we dint baby talk alot to them so they couldnt mimick that trait of voice. and no matter how hard you try there will always be good cop bad cop with mommie and daddie in these situations.




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