Friday, March 22, 2013

Toddler Land

Ayden is teething something awful with his molars right now. He is waking up a lot and is going through a terrible biting phase when he nurses. He has bitten me during every teething episode so I just keep reminding myself that it will pass. That doesn't make it feel any better when it happens, though. The best thing that I've found to do when he bites me is to do my best not to react and gently pinch his nose closed. Luckily, he has a pretty good idea that it isn't something he should do which makes him hesitantly and slowly add pressure, giving me a warning that it is about to happen. Most other things I have tried have made him smile or even laugh and making it a game is not in the cards.

2 hour nap today!
I joined him for some of it.
Look at those cute little legs :)
This is what I did during the rest of his nap. So good!
Paleo Sandwich Bread
Ayden has become VERY aware of our reactions to his behaviors recently. We will notice that he will repeat a behavior just to see if it achieves the same reaction from us. Since we have crossed over into the toddler land of testing and finding boundaries, we feel that it is our job as his parents to stay aware and react as intentionally as possible. It has also helped that we remind ourselves often that he is not being "naughty," but rather actively learning his limits and rules. Children actually confidently thrive with age appropriate rules and limitations. Toddlers are egocentric and don't posses the capacity for abstract thought or reason. This makes the process of testing and finding limits difficult and tiring for all involved; but every toddler goes through it in some way or another and we parents just have to push on through. Call it a right of passage, if you will. We are doing a lot of redirecting and making efforts to use short, easy to understand phrases. Our biggest challenge at the moment is with Ayden pulling Polly's tail. He hits the reaction jackpot with this one because Polly screams/hisses (she is declawed and therefore defenseless against him. This is a good thing for Ayden, but a bad thing for her...). On top of Polly's reaction, he has us rushing over to him, touching him and talking to him. Talk about reinforcing. Now he looks at us with a huge smile on his face, excitedly anticipating the consequence. Normally I would advise to ignore attention directed behavior, which is what this has turned in to, but we can't leave poor, five pound Polly to fend for herself when Ayden's got a two handed death grip on her tail. After reflecting on the problem this evening, I have decided that we are going to have to be more vigilant and take a preventative approach. If/when he does get her tail again, we need to remove him from the situation quickly and with as little contact, and therefore reinforcement, as possible. Only time will tell and hopefully I will remember to update in a week or two to see if we were successful. I should also note that we talk about gentle touches, petting nicely and such when the timing is appropriate and he does touch her appropriately sometimes too. I think taking a little time each day to pet her together and praising/giving a lot of attention for doing it right will be a good addition to the plan as well.

Working out with me today.

Here we go, folks. We are officially in toddler land and we are going to try or best not to get lost!

Daddy's biggest fan.  After me, of course!
What discipline tips and tricks for toddlers do you have in your tool box? Please share!



  1. It sounds like you already have a good plan. I guess my biggest piece of advice is to stick to your own plan and don't let others make you question your parenting style (because they will have an opinion even when it's not requested).

  2. I agree that your plan sounds like a good one. We practice the same method. Concise directions, ignore attention seeking behaviors and redirecting when necessary.

    With Polly I might try removing her rather than giving him the "acknowledgement" that's what we did when our son was too aggressive with the dog. At first we tried to show him how to play with her, but he started intentionally being rough to get our attention. That's when we started just moving her away and not addressing him a much. Seems to happen less often.