Toddler Discipline

Parenting a toddler is what I imagine being bipolar to be like. You're never quite sure how much that bump will hurt and whether it will elicit a cry, and at what point redirection will cease to work and major meltdowns will ensue.

To be sure, with each new developmental stage, parenting (and disciplining) a toddler feels most like being out at sea, never quite sure exactly which direction you should be heading in next.

Look up toddler discipline, and you'll get all sorts of directions. Brazelton has his way. Sears has his. There are time outs (which I honestly can't imagine for this age). There are "secret" methods. But all agree that consistency is key.

My approach, before I had kids and before my kid was a toddler, was simple. It involved a two-pronged attack of Redirection and Choosing Your Battles.

But, as my son tries harder and harder to gain independence, he has stopped listening. He has started testing limits. And I have started raising my voice and not wanting to get up 50 times to redirect (both of which I am working on).

With potentially dangerous and gross things like toilets and the fireplace, I've tried smacking hands or his butt. With the hands, he is completely unphased. And he is fascinated by his butt, so he thinks it's funny and when I say "I'm gonna spank your butt" he puts his butt out, pats it and says "butt". Which I think is funny.

I am learning right along with him. I try out one tack to see what works and even though I am supposed to speak with some sort of authority, some days I feel completely at a loss for what to do next - totally in the middle of the ocean.

How about you? What do you do?



19 Months

19 months!

And we have entered the stage where he's so adorably cute one second (that little voice singing in the back seat or trying to say every thing I say - you should hear him say his name. or haircut. or the letter "F".)

And then the next moment, you're out to dinner and he's an unholy whirlwind of terror, threatening to hit his head on every living surface in the restaurant (glass tabletop! tiled walls!) or pierce the ears of fellow diners with his fitful crying.

But mostly, the cute thing.

I love love love love this kid! I love love love love being his mother. It's the most awesome job in the whole world, crazy bits and all!


"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury