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Help with Troublesome Tot Traits

Betsy is looking for insight from the urbanMamas:

Of course my 21-month old son is an absolute ANGEL most of the time (really, he's a good kid). But we're having two problems I thought I'd see if I could get some input on. 1) Diaper changes are a nightmare of kicking and tantrumy screaming. This is a problem as I am pregnant and don't want random blows to my belly. I'd do stand-up changes but his BMs are often still, er, not conducive to a good cleanup unless he's lying down. Distractor toys, songs, books only work some of the time. Any other suggestions? What's the 'logical consequence' of not cooperating with a diaper change?

2) Naptime has !poof! disappeared. He literally went from taking a three-hour nap one day to entering a phase - two weeks and counting - when he will not nap anymore. Our best nap so far in that time has been 1 hour. He has a pretty good routine - comes home from daycare at 12:30 and right up to bed, but it's not doing the trick anymore. He often can spend up to an hour or more hanging out in his crib *not* napping (but not crying), and sometimes he'll fall asleep eventually, and sometimes he'll start crying and make it clear that it's hopeless. By the time we give up, the afternoon is gone. Should I move naptime back, or give in and start skipping it and move bedtime up? (I should add that when he doesn't nap, the last two hours of the waking day are loooong with tantrums and rubbed eyes, etc., so I think he NEEDS them, he just won't take them).


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No insight on the diaper changing, but as for naptime, my vote goes to moving bedtime up early.

Well do I remember the dismay I felt when my 2yo gave up his nap. When was I going to write? The agony! However, without a nap, he changed nearly instananeously from a kid who used to climb the walls until 10pm or so, to one who was willing to enter dreamland at 8:30. It was quite a revelation for my husband and me to have an entire two hours to ourselves every evening. In fact, I believe that this turn of events is what led to the conception of baby #2...

Bedtime is already 8pm. By my calculations, he's gone from sleeping roughly 13-15 hours per day to sleeping 10 hours/day in two weeks (he's waking up early, too). That seems like a drastic drop

will he fall asleep in the stroller or car? my almost-3 year old has "decided" that he doesn't need naps, but he does. 'cos otherwise he'll try to sack out at 4:30 or 5 and that's too early for bedtime (no dinner yet and i'm not organized enough to get it to get it together by then, plus he wouldn't get to see daddy ever that way) and way too late for a nap 'cos he rarely naps for less than 3 hours. and *i* need those naps still, for my sanity!

i've taken to getting him the car after lunch, or timing errands just right, so that he falls asleep and then i can transfer him inside, or hang in the backyard by the driveway if i don't feel like moving him.

on days he truly doesn't nap, i do everything in my power to keep him awake until i can get some dinner in him and try to get him in bed by 6:30-7. (8 - 8:30 is the normal bedtime)

he's been waking up obscenely early lately too now that it gets light so early. time for some darker shades.

diaper changes...no clue how to help you there. I had to ask my now 2.5 yr old to help me sing songs to keep him distracted, but that only worked for a while. He stopped kicking after a while, but not sure what stopped it. I just kept trying to explain to him that kicking is an owie to Mama...not sure if it computed in his toddler brain or not.
Naptime. My son has that happen every so often, but goes back to the nap routine eventually. My amateur recommendation is to just stick with your routine and if he doesn't sleep, at least he's having quiet/rest time for a couple hours. Maybe he reads books or plays quietly, but it's still a decompression time for him? And sometimes he might actually sleep. But put a time limit on it. Meaning, if after two hours he still isn't sleeping, then "naptime" is done. During one of my guy's "no nap" phases, my doctor told me Einstein only needed a half hour of sleep a night...then I reminded him that sometimes Mom needs to rest, too! (darker curtains are a gigantic help, too)

I remember having a hard time with the diaper change thing, too. Right around 1 1/2 - 2 years. I think most of it was because Jackson just could not stay still. It seemed like his whole being was completely focused on fine tuning his gross motor skills and lying still for a diaper change did not fit into his training regimen.
At his preschool I noticed them changing poopy diapers with the kids standing up. At first, I found it a little strange; but, it seems to work for them and it made changing those poopy diapers much easier at home. So, here's how you do it:
Have your kiddo stand in front of you with his back to you. Then, ask him to put his hands down in front of him (basically downward dog). Then just take off the diaper, wipe and rediaper. I hope this helps!

Thanks everyone for your help, and Erica, thanks for that suggestion! I will try that when I need to pull the next trick out of a hat. Today I had some diapering success by giving him a 'task' during the change. "mommy needs you to hold this while we change your diaper." It worked two for two, so here's hoping. Also, the lil' stinker fell asleep in the car on the way home from daycare, but woke up of course and wouldn't go back to sleep. Took him for a walk and he dozed for 15 minutes in the stroller - very unusual for him - and that led to a quiet 1/2 hour in the crib. I think we'll stick with the attempted napping and see if this phase passes. Sigh.

Okay, it's getting to be warmer out and a GOOD time to let the diapers be OFF for awhile, and when he wants to poop, get him over to the potty! Good luck...just be persistant...and (although I did read this in a very strange mennonite publication, it sounded interesting) try hosing him off with the outdoor hose!

The outdoor hose option does sound strange-but-interesting! As a cautionary note, for anyone who tries this, please remember to run the water for a bit and make sure it's cold before training it on your toddler. Left over water can sit in the hose and become scalding on a hot day. (Hopefully this is just plain common sense, but I've read horror stories of parents who unintentionally disfigured their children this way.)

When my daughter won't lie still for diaper changes, I sometimes resort to pinning her legs down with mine: she lies on the floor and I sit with my legs apart and straight out over hers while I change the diaper. She doesn't like this and it may sound harsh, but the message is that kicking mama is not ok. I also think it's ok to let a toddler know he doesn't always have a choice, some things just need to be done when mama says. As for naps, good luck! In my equally amature opinion, I agree with Laura to stick to your schedule for a while longer and see if he starts napping again, or at least gets some quiet time.

I'm wondering if I can bump this topic up. My 2+yo is no longer napping at home, but naps beautifully at the day care lady's house. We're on week 2 of her sitting in her room for "down time," which is intended to let her read til she falls asleep, but amazingly my child can keep herself awake w/ books only for 1.5 hours... Any other ideas? I'm trying to keep from the movement-dependent methods [stroller, car] because I'm afraid of her becoming too dependent on those, but at some point I ain't too proud to go back to going for a spin...

Maybe she's just ready to give up the nap. I'm sure that's not what you want to hear...a few months after #2 was born, my then 2 yr old decided he wasn't napping anymore. I was dismayed. Their naptime was the highlight of my day.

On the plus side, I was able to move bedtime up from 8:30-ish, to about 6:30/7-ish (compensating for the 2 hr. nap he had taken). He is 5 1/2 now, and bedtime is still in the 7/7:30 range.

My 2.5 year old has the same issue...sleeps 1.5-2 hours at day care, but then only 45 minutes max at home, and then is cranky all the rest of the day. We have done days without nap and they are ok but I can tell she still needs one. I am sure it has something to do with wanting to maximize mommy time on the weekend, since she also sleeps more when I have friends babysit her during the afternoon. I do have to make sure she does not get more than 2 hours at day care, because then she is up at 5am the next day. I think she gets a total of 9-10 hours per 24 hour period which is not a lot for her age group. I think she is supposed to get 11-13? I just know that I am exhausted all the time, and I think it's worse than when she was an infant! I am hoping that I can get her back to sleeping until 6:30 or 7 when we have the next time change, just for MY sanity!!!

Oh, also, now that she is potty trained, even though she is wearing a pull up at night, if she wakes up at 3am, she calls for me to use the potty. She is still in her crib (big girl bed coming for her 3rd birthday in July) so she can't get in and out on her own (she has never even tried to crawl out of the crib, but when I tried to take the side off the crib, it was back on within 24 hours due to it being totally intolerable!). I almost want to shout out to her at 3, "just go in your diaper!" but I just know that is the wrong thing to do! She also uses the potty as a bedtime delaying tactic. She goes right before bed, but then yells for 20 minutes that she has to go potty. So now I just go in, wordlessly take her out of the crib, pull down pjs and diaper, let her go, and wordlessly put her back in the crib. Amazingly, the behavior isn't occuring as often anymore! :)

I'm not sure she's giving up the nap altogether, KMat, because not only does she nap at day care, but she naps *well* at day care. I do think Debby's onto something: My daughter doesn't want to nap when mom or dad are around. I've talked w/ other moms at the day care lady's place who have this very same problem; they all think it's additionally because none of us provides the same commitment to the same routine every day that the DCL does... Anyone have any techniques that have worked for them?

No ideas yet, but my little sweetie was up at 5:15am, then fell asleep for 35 minutes while I was at Portland Nursery today buying a Japanese Maple (I'm stoked about that by the way....) and woke up promptly before we got to the car. That's all she wrote. One thing I do is continue to keep her bedtime the same whether or not she naps, just not to mess it up any more than it's already messed up. It's times like these when I think you partnered parents have the advantage..."here, you take her. I need 15 minutes more of sleep...."

I've been combing this site looking for tips on how to effectively discipline a two year old. I am so frustrated with the tantrums, hitting, biting, screaming, door slamming, hitting the dog, etc - I know we need to find a consistent method of dealing with unacceptable behaviour but what we've tried does not seem to work. We put her in a time out and she laughs - she thinks it's so funny, she'll hit the dog, then say "time out!" and go sit in the time out chair. Spanking and that sort of thing is out of the question for us, but I want to feel like we have a plan so we're not just reacting every time things escalate. Help!

Have you read the Discipline Book by Dr. Sears? I also suggest Connected Parenting workshops with Lyla Wolfenstein and Emily Troper - look at Zenana Spa's website. Good luck!

I liked the Discipline Book by Dr. Sears too and I know lots of people who love the Love and Logic series. See if your daughter does better or worse with choices--some kids do much better when given a choice, like it gives them a sense of control over their world. Our son actually did worse when given a choice...he'd tell us he wanted the blue cup, and then when we handed it to him, he'd melt down crying, telling us he actually wanted the red cup for example.

For the most part, we try to just ignore the tantrums...I know, easier said than done! The irrationality of a 2 year old tantrum is so hard to deal with, but just be patient, it does get better with time. If you can, also try to avoid the tantrums to begin with--are they triggered by food or sleep issues? We always tended (and still do some days) to melt down when he was tired or hungry, so I tried to make sure he had a good protein filled snack later in the day, and some really calm activity or a walk around the block for some fresh air. Good luck, it does get better!

I also really like Sears, and the Love and Logic books. There's a Love and Logic book specifically for young children. Sears though didn't feel concrete enough for me at first, so if you're really looking for concrete help, it may not be your first choice. Love the philosophy, so don't skip it altogether. I also have gotten some use out of the Faber/Mazlish books "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk." It's a little silly, with cartoon pictures, but easy to read and some good suggestions. Do hang in there. It can be a challenging time when your sweet baby begins to show these colors. They have to do it, but still...

Oh yes, frustrated mama, I completely feel you on this one. My sweet but mercurial little boy (almost 4) has done most of those same things when he was in a bad place (usually the result of sleepy, hungry or some evil combo of the two). In fact, we recently, ahem, left a preschool because he was lashing out at the other students and teachers. But that’s another story and we are making progress..
I know you said you had a girl, but I found a technique at a website about boys (from the author of Raising Cain) that he suggested using for the hitting, specifically. When we started to see our 2YO girl hitting we began using the technique immediately and so far we have had good results. Here is the link ( http://www.michaelthompson-phd.com/questions.htm#q8 ). Sometimes it’s not about boy or girl – just use what works. We have also used Love and Logic and it seems to work better as kids get older. IMHO. Good luck, and know that I will be sending my thoughts into cyberspace for you.

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