Last year, I started reading Harvey Karp’s Happiest Toddler on the Block, which was supposed to decrease tantrums and somehow make your toddler more reasonable and pleasant. While I have found his tips and techniques to be helpful, I can’t say I use them all the time. I think Kate probably averages 1-2 tantrums per day. Maybe three on a really bad day. I’ve just come to accept this comes with the territory of having a toddler. Sometimes you can anticipate them. She does not wake up well in the morning or after a nap, so that usually leads into crying over something. Sometimes, the littlest thing will set her off. I just ignore her and within a few minutes, she’s over it and has moved on.
Prior to Kate’s arrival, if I saw anyone with a screaming child, I figured they were bad parents. I mean, why can’t they show their brats some discipline? This was even after I learned in my pediatrics class that the appropriate thing to do is to ignore a tantrum. While it’s easy to do at home, it’s much harder in public. Especially as everyone is looking at you and you feel everyone is judging you. Why can’t she show her little brat some discipline?
Kate and I flew to South Carolina to visit my parents last week. As there are no direct flights, we looked for ones that had the shortest layovers (I was going to do a red-eye, but would have had to wait over four hours at the connecting airport) and we ended up getting a 6 AM flight out of SFO. It was brutal. I woke up at 3:15, we got Kate out of bed at 3:50 and headed to the airport at 4:05. I had accidentally paid for priority seating (I thought I was paying my bag fees) which turned out to be a good thing as we got to speed through the security lines. Money well spent as Kate was squirming out of her stroller at that point. As soon as we found our gate, I headed to queue up at Peet’s to get some much needed coffee.
While we were in line, Kate started to ask for some milk. I tried to explain that I would get her some, but she wanted her blue sippee cup that I had left in the car. As I tried to explain why we couldn’t bring her cup through security* she started to meltdown. It was the mother of all meltdowns. She was laying on the ground kicking and screaming. I tried to pick her up, but she started kicking me and squirmed out of my arms. I buckled her into her stroller, but Houdini escaped moments later and was back on the floor. A security guard came over to tell her to get off the floor. I nearly gave out all my $5 Starbucks cards while we were in the line at Peet’s.
Finally, we made it up to the front of the line and Kate started eyeing the baked goods. I told her she could pick one, since she doesn’t often have such treats. She had significantly calmed down at this point. As I gave my order to the barista, she looked at Kate and said “Okay you, no more crying…” I was a bit irked, but I decided to let it go. Then when she gave Kate her donut, she said it again. “Here you go, no more crying!” It was the second time that pushed me over the edge. “Actually, it’s not for you to say that to her” I told the woman as she handed me my change.
To my surprise, I actually got some nods of approval from the other customer in the line, and a few came over to me to offer the “it gets better” reassurances. What I really wanted to say to everyone, “Look, I know my kid is being an asshole right now. We woke her from a sound sleep in the middle of the night, it’s 5 in the morning and she doesn’t want to be standing in a queue to overpay for some crappy coffee. Really, she’s just expressing what everyone else is feeling right now!”
*Technically you can bring milk for a toddler or baby through security, but you have to wait for them to test it. Last time we flew, I brought an empty sippee cup and bought some milk boxes from Starbucks. I thought we could make do with a milk box, but Peet’s only had Soy milk in boxes. I ended up getting a coffee cup of milk with a plastic lid, which of course spilled twice on the flight. Kate also asked for water during the drink service and of course, they don’t have any tops, so she spilled water everywhere as well. Lesson learned: don’t ever fly without bringing a sippee cup.
Weight: She was 37.4 pounds when she recently stepped on the scale.
Eating: Much of the same struggles still continue. Won’t sit in her chair; wants to sit one some’s lap and when she’s really being a WLB**, she’ll want someone to spoon feed her. She also definitely into the picky eater phase. My poor mom keeps earnestly asking “Will she eat this? Will she eat that?” And I have to reply “I have no idea!” She can eat one thing one day and refuse it the next time it is offered. Our go-to for these situations is Annie’s individual cups of Mac and Cheese. Even better, Kate has even learned to make it herself. She brings her stool to the fridge so she can fill the water, parents will help with the microwave, but she’ll stir in the cheese packet and we learned a trick from a friend to add a slash of milk. It helps it cool down quicker and makes it creamier. She still loves her milk and will drink multiple cups a day. We easily go through 2-3 gallons of milk per week. She’s currently on 2% milk, but after seeing how heavy she’s become, I may do the Folger’s switch and go to 1% milk.
** Whiny Little Bitch
Sleep: We’re still doing the thing where I sit on the rocker and read while she falls asleep. She may wake up once during the night at the most. It’s not too bad. While she’s good about napping at Day Care, we can only get her to nap if she falls asleep in her car seat. As much as I’ll cry once naps stop, it will be nice not to have to deal with the pressure of when is she going to take her nap. When we were visiting my parents, she slept in my bed a few nights. While I was wary as I feared it could become a habit, I did love the closeness of sleeping next to her.
Clothing: We’ve officially moved into size 4T. I’m slowly purging out all her 3T stuff. She’s a beast.
Potty Training: I think we’re finally there during the day. Yes, I know she’s going to have an accident immediately after I post this. When we were interviewing at her new Pre-School (where she used the potty a few times) I told them that we had gone through most of the month of February and March without any day time accidents. The next day she had three accidents at her old Day Care. When we did sign her up at the new Pre-School, we agreed to pay our deposit at the higher cost non-potty trained rate and they’ll refund us the difference if she does use the potty during her first month, which hopefully she will.
She’s started telling me if she needs to go potty while were in the car, and I know it sounds crazy, but I think she knows when I can and can’t pull over as some of her accidents have been while we were on a busy highway. I put her in a back-up travel diaper while we flew, but it stayed pretty dry as she would tell me when she needed to go pee, and fortunately we weren’t too restrained by the fasten seatbelt sign. Oh, she did have a major accident when I put her in her room for a time out. #momfail.
Our biggest challenge is going to be night time training. We’ve been using Hugg.ies over night pull ups and she leaks. Almost.Every.Night. We’re constantly washing her bed sheets. I tried using crib sheets, but found they really only delay the pee from soaking through, so I’ve been placing them underneath the mattress pad to try to save the mattress as much as I can. As I’m still delaying about getting a twin bed for her, I think I’ll wait until she is night time trained, then I can get rid of the pee-stained toddler bed mattress. Maybe we’ll burn it.
Someone recently suggested placing a pad inside her diaper at night, which I think it worth a try, although it brings back my PTSD of trying to chose a box of pads after my D&C only to discover that every pad has a wings, or is extra long and the basic Care.free pads that I remember from my ‘Growing Up and Liking It’ Starter-kit no longer exist. One source I read suggested doing a dream pee. You bring a potty into the room, place it under your kid while they are sleeping and make some ‘Pssss’ing sounds on the hopes that they’ll empty their bladders. I’m curious to try this only because I tried to get Kate to pee if she woke up during the night and one time she was still so sleepy that she almost fell forward off the toilet and face planted in the kitty towel litter box.
Milestones: She started dressing herself! It was a morning when we were already pressed for time. Kate was still wearing her hooded towel. I told her that I would go get dressed and then come back to get her dressed. I figured she would carry on playing at her kitchen, but when I came out of my room. I found her in her room, putting on her coat after she put on her undies, pants and a shirt. As for the color choices… it’s no worse than her father would do… Hey, she picked out her Warriors shirt and they did have a game that night. I was totally impressed. She even went out to the garage to get her boots and put them on in the house.
She’s really engaging in a lot of imaginary play. She likes to pretend “I am the mommy and you are little” and she’ll drop me off at Pre-school, or we’ll go to the park or the Zoo (she even found an old take out menu to serve as our ‘map’ to navigate the Zoo). She also enjoys playing ‘Circle time’ where she’ll place some of her dolls and stuffed animals (and will try to recruit Husband or me) in a circle and lead us through songs (I also learned she does her own version of Circle Time with her pre-school classmates).
Health Issues: She had an ear infection at the end of January, but otherwise she made it through one of the worst flu seasons on record without so much as a cold. (Ironically, she was supposed to get her flu shot on the day she was seen for the ear infection, which had to be delayed due to her fever) She may have caught a touch of the second flu wave that hit in early April. On the horrible 6 AM flight, it took over an hour to get her to fall asleep, and she slept for nearly two and half hours, which is really long for her, but I chalked it up to the early morning start. When she woke up in preparation for landing, I thought she still looked really tired and had that glossy-glazed look in her eyes. When I strapped her in to the stroller to get to our next gate, she felt really warm and I could tell that she had a fever. I was really tempted not to give her anything, thinking the fever could help her sleep on the next flight, but as the wheels in my Evil Mom brain we turning, she told me “I need medicine!” I gave her some Tylenol and she slept another hour (allowing Mommy to have a nice peaceful lunch in the airport) and she woke up bright and alert and was even charming to the fellow passengers on the next flight.
She seemed back to herself once we arrived at my parents’ house, and then suddenly started throwing up all.over.me. Ugh, it brought back memories of her newborn days when I would get showered in puke and it would soak through my clothes to my skin. Yuck. A few days later I got the fever and chills, but (so far) have missed out on the vomiting.
Activities: I’ve been really frustrated at her gymnastics classes. We started this new class that is much more structured than her old one and maybe it’s too much for her as she’ll either be really clingy (she’ll just want to sit on my lap) or she’ll be really defiant and won’t follow along, forcing me to sit with her in a time out. It just kills me as she’s the tallest and oldest in her class and the younger smaller ones have no problem listening and going through the exercises. I began to wonder if it was a bad idea to start her at the free range gym, but one of my swim team mates (who used to teach at the new gym and her oldest is a standout on their competitive team) suggested a fight fire with fire approach. “Take her to an open gym session on a Saturday and let her run around everywhere and get it out of her system. Then she may be more willing to listen during the classes.” (She also echoed that at this age, it’s not so much the gymnastics skills that are important, it’s learning how to listen to instructions) Husband agreed that it’s not a bad idea to try, but before I had a chance to get her in on a Saturday, I went with the Mean Mom threat. “If you don’t start to participate, we’re going to leave and never come back” That worked. Some times old school parenting is the way to go.
Looking forward to: We’ve attended two birthday parties this month and we have another one next weekend, which has prompted me to start thinking about Kate’s third birthday party. I had thought about doing a Pep.pa theme, but Kate is so over Peppa and is really into Dora right now (Plus we did Olivia last year, so it would be two consecutive years of piggies). So I’ve started thinking about purple backpacks for gift bags and creating a map… As much as I can’t stand the repetitive formula of the show, it easily lends to a party theme. Oh, after watching Kate just lick the frosting off cupcakes two weeks in a row, I’ve decided I’m not going to bother buying fancy cupcakes. I’m just going to open some cans of frosting and distribute some spoons. Have at it.