Monday, June 16th, 2014
Any parent who has an addict for a child knows the pacifier is like crack. With Fia the crack was also my crutch. It could silence her in crucial moments–like on a 5-hour airplane where no one wants to sit next to a wailing baby. Or occasionally at a restaurant if she was cranky. We didn’t make her get rid of it until she was 3. But she was a rule-follower and knew the only time she could use it was naptime or bedtime, unless I specified otherwise.
Until recently Emmett followed the same protocol. But I could tell he was more attached, or maybe just not as much of a rule follower as Fia. He started to periodically sneak into his room and grab it from the crib and go racing down the hall, looking behind him to see how fast we were on his heels. He laughed and treated it like a game. But the minute we would take it away, he would start to wail. Then hit and throw things.
Then he got a bad cold and I basically let him have it all the time, thinking it was soothing him. Little did I know it was turning him into a beast. When he got better and we went back to the old routine, he would constantly ask for it or try to sneak into his room to get it. When we wouldn’t give in, he began to throw anything he could get his hands on–trains, his sippy cup, a fork, you name it. His pacifier was creating a monster. Still, I was scared to give it up. Looking back, I was just as addicted as he was.
Last week we went on a family vacation to Colorado (crying picture while making a snow-ant). We took the paci on the plane and he was great. But once again, as soon as we landed, he began wailing for it. Every hike we went on or family adventure, he was begging for it, eventually crying and screaming. I know realize this is the point as a parent where you give in all the time because you think it will make your life saner–or, you decide to take charge and set boundaries. We literally watched our funny, sweet boy become a complete terror over the paci. We gave in, thinking it would make it easier. But instead, I think it just made him more headstrong. He became bratty–verging on a nightmare child who was constantly tantruming.
As soon as we landed back home, we put on the Sesame Street episode, Bye Bye Binky. We also cued up the song on YouTube and he watched it over and over. Then we explained that in 3 days we were sending the paci to TT (his grandma) so she could give it to another baby. That’s the same thing we did with Fia. This week, on day 3, we will have him help us wrap it up and take it to the post office to bid farewell. Leading up to day 3, we have only let him have it in his crib.
Just putting up these parameters has already made a huge difference in his personality. Literally in 36 hours I already feel–and can see–we are getting our boy back. It’s also been incredibly eye opening to realize what a difference it makes when you take back control and set boundaries for your kids. He doesn’t want to be fussy, but a 2 1/2-year old has no impulse control or emotional range to understand how to regulate his moods. The only person who can really regulate them is you: the parent. Basically everything I’ve read about this in regard to 2-year behavior is true: they want, and more importantly, NEED boundaries. Leaving them unregulated or with false threats not only makes your life incredibly difficult and frustrating, but theirs too.
Tomorrow we will happily say bye bye binky and at least until the next curve ball is thrown, have our good boy back.
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Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Monday, February 20th, 2012
Fia has been unusually fussy since her fever last week. Maybe she is still fighting a little something. Or maybe it’s just the whole transition with new baby coinciding with terrible two’s. At any rate, Phil and I find that if we take her off on her own to do something she seems to get less fussy and more focused on having fun–a welcome relief to all of us.
This morning I took her to a playground with a friend. She was playing well within my sight on a little foot bridge–those kind that sway when you run across it. There were two older boys–probably 6 years old–playing on it as well. Whenever older kids are around I like to pay extra attention so she doesn’t get hurt. The one boy was straddling the foot bridge, the other was beckoning Fia to walk underneath the straddling boy. She sat on her butt and scooted under him. She was laughing and so were they. She typically loves older kids.
By now I was right there with them, watching. The boy sitting next to her started to push on her chest. She tried to get up and he was holding her down. I immediately went into mama bear mode, telling him to stop it and grabbing Fia in my arms. You ready for this? He says, “We were trying to kill her!” I almost simultaneously slapped him and threw up. Who the f-ck says that? I know, it’s maybe the old adage “boys being boys.” I don’t give a sh-t. You don’t say that kind of stuff.
I looked at him (of course his parents are nowhere around) and said, “Listen: you don’t say that to anyone. And you don’t hold a child down either. Ever.” Then marched off.
I know, it’s just verbiage on his part. But it really threw me. Fia just looked bewildered. My friend told me to figure out which set of parents had these kids and tell them. And being a direct person who doesn’t shy away from confrontation, I should have. But by then Fia was in meltdown mode again (I don’t think because of that) and I was tending to her and just felt really weary by the whole thing.
My friend Cassandra wrote about a parent who does the “RIE” method–and about what complete b.s. it is. I don’t know if these kids were raised to “do and say whatever they want and work it out on their own” or if their parents would have been equally aghast. I should have said something.
About 20 minutes later, I looked across the playground and saw the two boys plus another one. They were rough housing and the mom of the third boy walked over and told them to stop it. They clearly all knew each other.
That’s where my story basically ends. Fia continued to fuss, I brought her home and she’s napping now. And I continue to stew. Is this just part of parenthood or was this scenario a bit of an extreme? Let me know your thoughts.
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Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Confession: I have swatted Fia a time or two. I hardly consider it “spanking” as it wouldn’t kill an ant. It’s not something I planned. It just came instinctually. Which perhaps I shouldn’t admit?? But it’s not when she tantrums.
When I swat Fia it’s because she is pulling Wayne’s tail. I yell at her to stop and she doesn’t. I try pulling her away and she grips his tail harder. This all happens in a matter of seconds and I know Wayne is about to lose his cool. Which would leave a scratch or a bite. So I do the lesser of evils. I swat her bottom, physically unpeel her fingers from his tail and yell “Fia, stop it.” At least this way she won’t have a scratch. The swatting is basically the distraction that causes her to let go. She doesn’t even react to it like a “spank.” No tears or whining. She just goes on to the next thing.
Like I said, it’s only happened twice. Maybe three times?? But does that put me in this “bad parents spanking” category? I don’t think so.
Parents has an article that talks about why the American Academy of Pediatrics says not to spank. Under any circumstances. But it’s more related to spanking when they tantrum. When she’s super upset, the last thing I would want to do is spank her. That to me doesn’t feel instinctual. It feels mean–and seems like it would only fuel the fire. I’m also lucky in that, so far, (knock on every piece of wood around), she doesn’t have huge tantrums. When they happen, they last for about 2 minutes. Max. I usually take the tactic of ignoring. Then she’s over it.
I’m curious: What do you guys think? And does the urge ever overcome you to swat your child, like I explained in my scenario?
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American Academy of Pediatrics, discipline, pulling cats tail, spanking, swat, tantrum, tantrums, terrible two's, toddler tantrums, Wayne, Wayne Sanchez | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations
Saturday, November 27th, 2010
From the beginning of her bottle life, Fia took it like a champ. So much so, that even after she turned one, I was apparently feeding her too much formula. Truth is, the bottle became my crutch. If she didn’t eat enough real food I’d get nervous that she would be hungry, so I’d give her one. It was quite enlightening when I recently took her to the pediatrician for her one-year appointment.
Here’s how the conversation with Dr. TJ Gold began:
“How’s her appetite?”
“Well, I’m still giving her about 32 ounces a day of formula. Real food is kinda hit or miss.”
A stern stare. I continue.
“She gets picky at the table and I worry that she’s not eating enough, so I fill her up however I can.”
Dr. Gold nods knowingly, as if saying, yeah, I’ve seen this before.
“And do you also run around while she plays trying to put food in her mouth?” she asks.
“YES!” I exclaim, thinking she “gets” it. She understands how picky babies are. I continue: “I run around the exersaucer chucking cheese into her mouth. I run after her through the living room, shoving saltines in. Anything I can get her to eat and any way I can do it.“ I beam, waiting for the sign of approval.
Dr. Gold clears her throat and she says something to me that was a game changer for me.
“Terrible Two’s happen because of parenting choices made during the 1’s.”
She continues, “And it’s much harder to reverse bad behavior than to just begin with good behavior.”
Look, I feel like I’m a fairly reasonable, somewhat smart and aware person. And I’ve read the range of babybooks—from Dr. Sears to Babywise. But in this scenario, for whatever reason, my mom instincts were off. I’m sure it stems from my primal need for sleep and my irrational fear that she’ll start waking up in the night hungry if she doesn’t get enough during the day. Whatever the cause, I’m so so so glad Dr. Gold stopped me cold in my tracks and reversed my behavior. It immediately made a difference, and continues to nearly a month later. Here is a recap of what I learned:
You feed your baby broccoli one day, the next day she flicks it off her tray and refuses to eat it. You try pasta, which you know she likes. And oops, there goes the flick again. She isn’t interested in any of the usual staples. Desperate, you scour your fridge. Yogurt and applesauce. The sweet stuff. You pull it out, try it on her, and voilà, she eats it. Guess what? You’ve just been had and your baby just won a major battle. Continue like this, and soon she’s the master. And you’re the servant, scrambling to find food she’ll eat.
“Picky eaters are formed by this exact scenario,” Dr. Gold tells me. They know if they flick food off, eventually mom will come running to their rescue with something sweet.
Then she gave me a very healthy warning. “This is also how you end up with a 2-year old who can’t sit still at a restaurant. And it’s how you start to lose your edge as a parent. “
“But, what do I do?” I say, wringing my hands. “If she won’t eat, then she’ll wake up in the night, and next thing you know, I’m dealing with a newborn schedule again!!”
Not true, says Dr. Gold. Mealtime is very specific. You put her in the highchair, TV off, time to focus and you feed her. If she flicks her food, you stop feeding. Take her down. Wait 30 minutes. Try again. She’s not going to starve. When she’s hungry enough, she’ll eat.
She also told me to switch to whole milk and cut down to 16 ounces a day max.
At the visit, Fia was in the 10th percentile for weight, 48th for height. While Dr. Gold wasn’t a bit worried, I swear Fi fattened up within 3 days following her instructions. It was a remarkable shift. And now, she literally eats everything. And lots of it. When she sees me setting her food out, she toddles up to her highchair and throws her arms in the air, begging to go in it. A far cry from me running around in circles, chasing her while shoveling bits of food in her mouth.
Every baby is different, so this might not work for you, but I just thought I’d share my own experience. My new and improved routine goes like this:
7am – She wakes up. I give her a 6 oz bottle of whole milk.
8:30-9am – Breakfast. Yogurt, toast with peanut butter, banana, etc. Sippy cup with water and a splash of OJ.
11am – Lunch. Chickpeas, rice, chicken, mac and cheese….whatever I’m eating. I just cut it up in small pieces.
1-2pm – Small bottle. Snack.
5-6pm – Dinner. Again, whatever we’re going to eat.
6:30pm – Bath time.
7pm – Book and 6 oz bottle. Baby sleeps through night.
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advice, appetite, baby, baby bottle, baby food, baby formula, bottle, eat, eating, flinging food, food, formula, hungry, hungry baby, milk, picky, picky eaters, poor appetite, terrible two's | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Tricks and Tips