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My Favorite Things

  • Naptime
  • Caffeine in various forms
  • Italy
  • The Beach
  • Family camping trips
  • The gym
  • Storytime at the Library
  • Rachael Ray
  • Running

Monday, May 10, 2010

Toddler Discipline and Other Oxymorons

For the first year of Captain Destructo's life, she was an angel. If she crawled somewhere I didn't want her to, I simply turned her around and she would crawl away with nary a sound. Then, she turned one.

Now I know she's only one. I know all of you with two and three year olds are saying "oh, just you wait!" I know, okay? But oh, my, gosh. The switch from baby to toddler happened so fast and so completely that I'm still a little bit in shock.

Captain Destructo started walking the week before her birthday. I clapped and videotaped her first steps and was genuinely excited. For about 6 seconds. Then she toddled past my open arms and into the kitchen, and I realized my life was over. We had done our best to babyproof the house but she quickly proved that it wasn't enough.

Whoever designed my house has clearly never had kids or hates all moms, because the switch for the garbage disposal is on the side of the island about 2 feet off the ground, perfect Captain reaching distance. The first time she flipped the switch, I was across the room and heard the sound. "Captain Destructo, no ma'am," I said as I moved her to another room. 10 seconds later, I heard the disposal again. "Captain, NO." I said, and again moved her. You can imagine the rest.....the garbage disposal switching on about 15 more times and me saying no more forcefully each time. This scene happens nearly every day. I've tried taping over the switch (she pulls it off), clapping while saying no (she laughs), and even popping her on the hand (she looks at me, smacks her own hand while saying "no no no"). So basically I am at a complete loss. Now she will walk to the switch, look at me, turn it on and immediately hold her hand out to me, as if to say, "go ahead and punish me, it's worth it."

In my desperation I read the book The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp. Happiest Baby on the Block saved me during her infancy so I had high hopes for this one. The book likens toddlers to cavemen (which I totally get) and encourages you to growl at them to get them to understand no. Umm...ok. Willing to try anything at this point, I growled....and she growled back. The next suggestion is starting time outs at age one. I admit I have yet to try this as it confuses me so much. I was a teacher and a master of time outs for gradeschoolers. But I can't get her to stay in one place for more than 10 seconds, even when bribed with toys and snacks. How do you get an active 15 month old to sit in time out? Really. Not rhetorical.

So that leaves me where I am today. I am trying various mean voices/loud sounds while saying no to try and keep my daughter from grinding my fingers in the garbage disposal. Can't wait for her to turn 2.


  1. growling???? really?? hey whatever works!

  2. It's all about repitition. My first timeout experience with C she just laughed at me. I held her against the wall until she cried and knew that was not a fun place to be.

  3. oh my goodness, Kristin, I LOVE your blogs! I laugh so much! partly b/c I am pretty much going thru the same thing, but also cause you just make things so darn funny!! thanks for the laughs!! are you actually hanging up running all together? or just really cutting down?? i have decided to stop running every day and just run about 3-4 miles every other day.. just to keep in shape for now... I am enjoying my every other day break... so yeah i am in the same boat with the whole NO thing so when you figure it out, let me know... does molly respond better to your husband telling her no?? I have found out that Kyle's voice is much more effective in getting his attention and making him listen (if even for 10 seconds).. which stinks. I have tried to deepen my voice when i tell him no, but that isn't quite working either...

  4. Hey Misty-I'm actually trying to get pregnant again and having some trouble. I think it's b/c I was running so much so I'm just cutting back. I actually haven't run at all since the race (just cross training) but plan to do about 15-20 miles a week once my achilles tendinitis heals and then throughout pregnancy if my stupid ovaries ever work :) M loves Daddy so I think she actually listens to him less then me :)

  5. Have you ever heard of Love and Logic? It is has some amazing strategies for things just like this. We started using "time-ins" with our little one at 14 months or so. Instead of putting him away from us by himself, we sit with them in silence in the corner of the room. I would highly recommend reading their books for parents of young children. They are great!

  6. I'll have to try growling - maybe it will work for my WeeMan but I doubt it.

  7. I have to admit, that when I'm dealing with my 15 month old son, sometimes I do sound like the dog whisperer. I say a really quick "tshh!" to get his attention turned away or to stop him in his tracks. It doesn't always work though.

    Just this weekend I tried a time-out with him. I sat down beside him on the couch, put him back down on his bottom when he tried to climb over the arm, and then waited for him to 'get it'. He kinda did. He calmed down at least. Then I said why he was over there (like he remembered doing anything bad 20 seconds ago) and let him get back down. To my amazement, he didn't go back to what he was doing that was bad! We'll see if it works again.

  8. Hi Kristin, for toddlers we used the high chair for time out. Kids were strapped in with the safety buckles and we left the food tray off and moved it away from the eating area so there was no confusion between food time and time out. Worked really well as they couldn't escape. All learned VERY quickly to avoid time out!