Birthday & Super Bowl Celebrations…and Bites Equal an Interesting Weekend

Last weekend, I put away the laptop and the work phone to spend some time with my family. My husband celebrated his 32nd birthday and we spent the weekend eating fatty foods and spending some much needed time together. We purchased a carrot cake from Craig’s Custom Cakes, which was absolutely yummy! I swear I could eat that cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As I mentioned before, Craig’s motto is “C4 yourself how good we are,” and I couldn’t agree more. Contact Craig Allen today at (248) 376-0767 or via email at

By struck of luck (on his part), my husband’s birthday always falls on or around Super Bowl, which means I spent that Sunday evening huddled in our friend’s home cooking all of his favorite foods: Sloppy Joes, Potato Skins and Banana Pudding. I was so proud of myself because I managed to get all of the ingredients for my dishes from Aldi’s…for only $30! Needless to say I was exhausted, but he was pleased. I didn’t see much of the game, commercials or even half time, so when I was done cooking and helping to set up, I flopped in a chair and watched everyone else eat.

Poor Sydney, who is just plain deprived of having interaction with other kids, was trying her best to play with a baby. She hugged her and kissed her and tried to play with her, but the baby wasn’t having any of that. Her family was packing up to go and Sydney was leaning over her and saying her final goodbyes when all of a sudden we hear a loud wail. My child, in her desire to hug and kiss the baby, bit the child instead.

I could feel the floor opening up and swallowing me whole. No one wants their child to be guilty of harming another child. I could hear myself saying inwardly, “Not my Sydney…oh no!”  I immediately removed Sydney from the situation, telling her that she was not to bite anyone and that we are supposed to keep her hands and mouths to ourselves. I established a timeout and placed in her in it. I wish the Supernanny could have seen me!  Deep inside though, it was all I could do from packing up our stuff and running out of the house. But, I remembered that she is a young child and doesn’t yet know that it wasn’t allowed to bite others.

Luckily, the baby’s mother wasn’t too upset…or else she probably would have pushed me in the hole.


The Battle of the Temper Tantrum

Here we go again. It’s time for the family to leave the house to go run some errands and Sydney thinks it’s the perfect time to take a bath.  Over and over again she asks, “Take bache Mommy?” At first I ignore her, hoping to avoid the result of my negative answer.  Finally, I can’t take it anymore and tell her no, but we can take a bath we come home. At my response, she promptly throws herself on the floor and proceeds to let out a blood curdling scream. Tears are rolling down her rosy cheeks and looks like I just stabbed her or something. I am sure that our neighbors below our apartment think we are abusing our child.

Make no mistake, Sydney could win an Oscar on tantrums alone. At the young age of 1½ , my daughter started acting out these terrible temper tantrums.  The episodes, which appear over her already active personality, usually begin over her not be able to take a bath, brush her teeth, go into the kitchen or when she has to put on her snow suit. I am usually able to get her to calm down by diverting her attention with a toy or scaring the living daylights out of her by getting in her face and telling her to stop it. The tantrums don’t last too long but since she has entered her “Adventurous Twos” (my Mother-in-Law’s term for it), these episodes happen more frequently.

At the end of the tantrum and everything is back under control, I wonder if she understands why she can’t have something or if I just subdued her anger until the next time she can’t have something.

Kimberly Clayton Blaine, author of The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children, provides 12 ways to keep toddler tantrums at bay:

1. Set limits and expectations all along the way.

2. Don’t let your own issues affect your discipline.

3. When your blood starts to boil, take a grown-up time-out.

4. Keep communicating.

5. Discuss your feelings about what you see.

6. Let children know that parents DO understand.

7. Give the child a good behavior to use in place of the bad one.

8. Redirect your child’s attention.

9. Do what you say you’re going to do every single time.

10. Make encouragement one of your top tools.

11. Take some time to talk it out.

12. Brainstorm ideas for better behavior.

I especially love #3, because sometimes Sydney makes me so angry, I am ready to pack a bag and walk out. Instead, I lock myself in our bathroom (the only room with a lock) and take some deep breaths. The rest of these will come in time because I don’t think that Sydney even understands or is able to fully communicate why she is upset. But by continuing to develop her vocabulary and including her in conversation, I am sure that in time we will be able to accomplish most of the suggestions listed above.

Do you have a suggestion to handle temper tantrums better?  I would love to hear from you!

Thanks Toast!

The Fourth of July weekend was awesome for our clan.  There was much relaxation, movie watching, family outings and great food.

Everything went well…except for our little outing yesterday. The hubby and I decided to go out to breakfast, something we haven’t really done since before Syd was born. Needless to say, everyone seemed to have the same thought.  Bob Evans Restaurant couldn’t have been more packed.  We didn’t wait too long, but once we got seated, we quickly got the little one settled with toys, crayons, paper and a straw to play with.

Unfortunately, we had the new employee as a waiter. He was great, just really slow. The amount of people didn’t help the situation either. As we waited and waited and waited for our food and silverware, I noticed that Syd started to get antsy. We gave her milk and played with her, but she clearly wanted to eat. By the time the food finally arrived, she was too upset to eat. And that’s when it happened. My sweet and innocent daughter turned into the “mini-hulk.” She screamed, she cried and turned red. She turned her head when we tried to feed her and smacked the table in utter disgust. She wasn’t interested in eating anymore; embarrassing us amongst the patrons of Bob Evans seemed to suit her much better.

I felt the heat of everyone’s eyes as we desperately sought to quiet our daughter down. But then I realized, this isn’t the last time that this will happen, but it has to be the last time that I freak out. I came close to her and looked her directly in the eye. “Calm down Sydney, “ I said.  “I know you are upset, but we are going to eat now and I want you to stop screaming.” Of course, she gave me a “Are you serious” look but at least she didn’t scream anymore. Looking around for something to give her, I turned to the toast that the waiter finally brought and handed it to her. “Mmmm,” Sydney said as she gobbled the entire piece up.

I cut the other pieces of toast up for her and then focused on eating my own meal. As my husband and I ate, we thought of a few things we need to remember  the next time we bring the little one out: extra snacks, extra toys and extra patience.

Toddler Discipline…an oxymoron?

The little one is getting older and perhaps a little wiser. She’s learning how to get what she wants and how to act up when she doesn’t.  She usually doesn’t go too far, but I am concerned on just how to discipline her. There are those who believe I should start spanking Syd, but I can’t do that in good conscience.  Partially because I don’t believe that she understands what’s going on.

But when she takes my recipe books and attempts to tear it to shreds, I can’t say that spanking doesn’t run through my mind.  Especially since there is only so much you can put on a top shelf and only so much childproofing can be done.

There are videos and books out there that are dedicated to toddler discipline.  Books like 1-2-3 Magic” and the like are really more change for way parents handle a situation than getting the child to change.  My favorite of the moment is ‘How to Get the Best From Your Children” by Jo Frost aka “Supernanny” .

Frost encourages parents to pay attention to what’s going on when a child is acting out.  Usually there are clues that will indicate what is going on with the child.

From Book Excerpt: Ask the Supernanny Part 1

When you’re right in the thick of things, separating fighting siblings every two minutes, or dealing with your toddler’s round-the-clock tantrums, it’s easy to lose your perspective. This is where a diary comes in handy. Refer back to it to see when and where problems tend to occur. Can you see a pattern emerging? Are there underlying issues that never get resolved?

If your kids squabble, bicker, or fight, what sets them off? Is sharing an issue? Are certain toys regularly fought over? Do your kids always act up when you’re otherwise occupied — on the phone, when friends come around for a chat, when you’re trying to talk to your partner? How do your kids behave outside the home?

The timing of outbursts can also be very revealing. When are your kids more likely to quarrel? When is your toddler most likely to have a meltdown? Small children who lose it just before lunch or just before the evening meal may well be hungry. Low blood sugar can make otherwise easygoing kids irritable. Bringing your mealtimes forward a little can help to ease the situation. In the same way, kids who are fractious in the evening may be overtired. An earlier bedtime could be the answer.

 All of this makes me think about what I am doing.  A lot of the times, Syd acts up when we aren’t paying attention to her or when she’s plain ole bored (Sundays come to mind). And don’t even get me started when she’s hungry. She will practically run into a wall if you let her. One thing I did change was the way I started talking to her. Instead of yelling, “No!” and “Stop that!”, I started to explain why I was turning what she wanted to do down and I started meeting her at eye level.  Once I changed how I handled things, I realized that she understood more than I thought she did and that she was running both me and her father ragged while she was getting what she wanted. Whenever we discipline her, she looks at me with a smile, laughs and then moves on to something else.

At least I got the screaming to stop.