Toddler Behavior and Getting Over Separation Anxiety

I’m pleased to announce that a troubling toddler behavior that Norton had displayed is done.  He seems to have recovered from the trauma of becoming a big brother.

You see, when Eudora was born, I was in the hospital for several days after having a c-section.  After we got out, the husband and I were sick for days with some kind of stomach thing.  While I was in the hospital and the husband and I were ill, Norton stayed with Grandma and Grumpy.  This, of course, had an impact on his toddler behavior since he’d never been away from us for so long.

The most troubling manifestation of this newly developed toddler separation anxiety was when we’d drop him off for his toddler language delay play group.  The screaming when we’d left him behind was something awful.  I felt horrid when the speech pathologist running the group had to pry him off of me so that I could leave.  I’d hear his screams echoing as I left.

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Toddler Behavior and the Best Day Ever

A couple of weeks ago, I was lamenting being a mom to “that kid.”  It’s hard work, and it often leaves me feeling like I’m failing or doing something wrong.  Toddler behavior can be unpredictable and difficult to manage with even the most malleable of children; part of being a toddler is developing autonomy.  This time, though, I didn’t feel like the mom to “that kid.”  I wasn’t embarrassed, ashamed, or wondering if I was doing something wrong.  In fact, Norton’s toddler behavior made it the best day ever for us.

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Being a Mom to “That Kid”

Being a mom is never easy.  Anyone who says it is an easy thing must have an army of nannies and maids around to help out.  Yes, of course, being a mom is a labor of love and it can be infinitely rewarding.  But “rewarding” and “easy” are most definitely not the same thing at all.

Then there’s being a mom to “that kid.”  You know the kid I’m talking about.  Every class, every play group, every event where there’s a group of parents and children has at least one of “that kid” in its midst.  The kid who is more likely to poke his neighbor during the Christmas concert instead of singing along.  The kid who runs through the library screaming.  You know, “that kid.”

I’m beginning to realize that I’m the mom to “that kid.”  And it’s a painful realization.

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Toddler Behavior and Unintended Trauma

I had expected some change in toddler behavior when we brought home Eudora.  After all, Norton has gone from essentially being an only child (yeah, he’s got a big brother, but big brother lives far away) to having to share attention.  I thought that having to share time and attention with the puppies would be enough to lessen the impact on Norton’s toddler behavior, but I clearly thought wrong.

It turns out that I’m pretty sure we traumatized Norton with the way the bringing home baby thing worked out.  Or the way the whole “having a baby” thing worked out.

Oops.

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Oh, the Subtleties of Toddler Behavior

It’s amazing.  For a kid who doesn’t talk much (thank you, toddler language delay), Norton has little problem with getting his point across.  Sometimes toddler behavior can tell me more about what he wants than any amount of words or screaming.  While toddler behavior can often be perplexing, it’s pretty awesome when he leaves little to no doubt as to what he’s looking for.

For quite some time now, Norton has insisted on fastening his own high chair straps when he’s put in for food.  And he’s known to go to his chair when it’s meal time so that one of us can put him in his high chair for even longer.  It’s the routine and it’s one that works for us.  This week, Norton has figured out something else: he’s figured out how to climb up into his high chair all by himself.  I have to admit, being the kind of mom that I am, my first thought was safety: he’s going to fall off, smash his head on the table and break his skull.  Or some other horrifying thing that involved blood and tears, culminating in a panicked trip to the emergency room.

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Facing Parenting Fears – We Went to Toddler Time

A couple of weeks ago, I meant to go to toddler time at the library, in spite of the parenting fears associated with it.  The last and only time we went before?  Yeah, I spent hours at the hospital due to a toddler injury.  I felt like a bad parent and didn’t want to ever, ever experience that again.  But still, I got us ready and was determined to suck it up… only to have the husband not show up to drag us out the door.

But on Wednesday, I got brave.  I was determined to face my parenting fears and face down toddler time at the library once more.

It would only be thirty minutes.  We would not stay a second past story time.  I would bring Norton’s toddler leash with us to prevent any form of trying to run through the library like a little screaming savage.  We could handle it.  Right? [Read more…]

Sucking Up Parenting Fears – It’s Story Time

Today is toddler time at the library.  I’ve been saying that I was going to go back every week for the last month now… and I never do.  I always chicken out for one reason or another.  Quite simply, I’m letting my parenting fears hold me (and Norton) back.

I know the cause of my parenting fears.  The last time we attempted toddler time at the library, it wasn’t all that pretty.  Norton tried to run away from me in the stacks.  Norton hurt his arm and we ended up at the hospital for five hours.  And then, of course, there was the wonderful damage that this trip did to my parenting self-esteem.

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Adventures in Toddler Parenting

Toddler parenting is always an amazing thing.  Even though we don’t go out as much as we should, every day is different because every day Norton gets up to different shenanigans.  Some of them are funny, and sometimes he pops out with gross things that makes toddler parenting a little less fun than it could be.

I’d heard this particular bane of toddler parenting from some of my mommy friends online… and I’ve always been silently grateful that Norton had never done such a thing.  Until tonight.

Norton pooped in the tub.

Gross.

To make it even better, he realized that he didn’t want it in the tub with him… so he threw it out of the tub.

*gags*

You’d better believe that this particularly gross instance of toddler behavior will never, ever be forgotten about.  And now I’m wondering how long until we can get him potty trained.

Toddler Talking and Hope on the Horizon

It Takes Two to Talk

So, yeah.  Earlier this week, I worried about Norton’s lack of toddler talking.  I’d gotten some helpful things from It Takes Two to Talk, but it turns out that the book was more helpful than I’d thought.  While I did learn that part of the “problem” is with Norton’s communication style (he is very happy to play by himself and only starts an interaction when he wants something) and how I respond to it, and I got some ideas on how to work past it, I was still getting nervous about the lack of toddler talking.  I’d received more than one message through various mediums that maybe our toddler communication issues were a sign of something more serious… and while I didn’t think so, I did find the possibility to be worrisome. [Read more…]

Who Knew a Library Trip Could Cause So Much Parenting Stress?

For two weeks now, I’ve really wanted to go to toddler time at the library.  I don’t have much in terms of real life mommy friends, and we only know one other couple with kids around Norton’s age.  I’m pretty introverted, so I’m perfectly happy to skip doing social things.  But Norton needs to go.  He needs to be around other kids, and so forth.  Yesterday things worked out and we finally got to go.  I anticipated songs and “dancing.”  I did not anticipate untold amounts of parenting stress, parenting stress brought on by trying to wrangle my kid.

A few times, trying to manage Norton got to be too much during that thirty minute toddler time. We almost left, but each time the activity would change and he’d be cooperative. I’m not sure that he knew what to make of the singing and such; I don’t really sing at home because apparently my singing is offensive to my kid. He screams at me if I sing while I clean the house. But we survived. And once it was over, I felt a surge of relief. I wasn’t sure if we were going to ever do this again, in spite of the fact that I knew darned well that we should. Besides, it would get better with practice, right?

We left toddler time and I tried to return the books we checked out last week into the book drop. It took longer than you might think since Norton kept trying to take off. I ended up holding a squirming little boy in my arms when I tried to get the books in the book drop. I carried him upstairs to the level with the “grown up” books to see if I could quickly find some natural childbirth method books. When I put him down so that I could look up the call number, he took off.

sigh

All I wanted was to find was just one book to help me figure out the differences between the birth methods out there.  That’s it.  Just one book.  I didn’t want to spend the day leisurely browsing through the library.  And even if I did, I know that it’s not possible with a toddler in tow.  I’m nothing if not realistic.

The computer catalog was slow as molasses (or maybe it just seemed that way because I was trying to get Norton to come back without raising my voice).  I got down on one knee and opened my arms, so he came running back to me to throw himself into my awaiting arms.  When he got to me, the results were in, and I knew the section I wanted to go.  I could relax.  We were almost done.

And then I felt my parenting stress levels rise once more as he took off.  I could not manage my toddler’s behavior.  If he could just hold it together for a few more minutes….

Finally, I caught up to him in the foreign language books.  I was getting angry.  I held his arm since Norton is too little to hold hands and won’t do it, and marched him over to the right section to find my book.  Once we were on the aisle, he tried to wrench his arm free.  I felt a pop as he hurled himself to the ground and began screaming uncontrollably.

It didn’t even occur to me that we were dealing with a toddler injury at this point.  I figured he’s my kid, so that means that things will pop just like they popped with my mother and still do with me.  All that I knew was that I had to get him out of there.  I was embarrassed as all eyes stared at the idiot mother who can’t manage her kid.  I was beyond embarrassed; I was mortified and humiliated to realize that I had become “that mom.”  I tried to muffle his screams somewhat (without actually limiting his ability to breathe) as I carried him out.

Needless to say, we didn’t get any books.

And Norton?  Well, he was going straight to bed for a nap when we got home.  I’d had it.  We’d gone beyond parenting stress at this point; my nerves were completely shot.  The screaming only stopped for brief intervals on the way home.

And I’d decided that I was just going to have to buy or check out books on my Kobo rather than ever return to the library.