Thursday, April 9, 2009

Meet Jen Singer!

YAY! I have an internet connection today! I tried to write a blog post last night and kept getting kicked offline. I'm so not computery; I really hate when that happens. How are you supposed to know if it's your internet service, your router, your browser, or your computer? I have no clue! Instead of trying to figure it out, I just got all depressed I couldn't connect to the cyber world and sulked off to bed. I guess that's one way to get me to bed before 2:00AM. And despite the fact that I got in bed at 8:30 last night and fell asleep before 11:00, I still had a hard time dragging my butt out of bed at 8:00 this morning. I will just never be a morning person. My parents really gave me the wrong name.

Anyway, I've recovered from the 15 radio interviews I did on Tuesday. I managed to get up at 5:30 AM and by 10:00AM I was almost completely awake. I locked myself in the bathroom to do the interviews in peace and quiet and I didn't throw up even once, so they went well in my book! Now I've got a few writing assignments I absolutely need to get done this week so I've got guest posts lined up for today and tomorrow. Please bear with me. I'll be back in full force next week!

Today I have a guest post from Jen Singer, from MommaSaid, Good Housekeeping's Good Grief Blog, and author of STOP SECOND-GUESSING YOURSELF, The Toddler Years (A Field-Tested Guide to Confident Parenting)

Jen, tell me, what’s the hardest part about transitioning from babyhood to toddlerhood?

Mobility and your toddler’s increasingly strong urge to ditch Mommy and go check out that butterfly/puddle/cupcake/dog/etc. It’s a never ending effort to balance your child’s curiosity and learning with safety and the attempt to get places on time – and without a temper tantrum. In short, the toddler years are a lot like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride: harrowing, yet often amusing, and always full of surprises.

Mobility! Yes, that's highly over-rated. I remember urging and coaxing my first son to walk. I couldn't wait for him to take those first independent steps. Things changed by the time my sixth baby came along, however. Every time she attempted to stand up, I pushed her back down.

What’s the biggest mistake that parents of toddlers make?

Attempting to get through Target at naptime is one of them. Not expecting the unexpected is another. After I found myself at a Halloween party attempting to change one toddler’s diaper, even though he was in a dragon costume without snaps, while monitoring another toddler who was reaching for a plate full of cupcakes half a room away, I learned to lower my expectations. Toddlerhood was still a crazy, exhausting time for me, but at least I knew it should be.

What do moms say is the most difficult part of parenting toddlers?

Potty training is the most labor intensive milestone of toddlerhood, by far. You have to be involved and entertaining and helpful without pushing your toddler into total disinterest in potty training. It’s part science, part art and all up to your toddler, no matter how hard you work. Knowing how to walk the fine line between using rewards and encouragement and letting your toddler take the lead is the key to successful potty training. That, and a whole lot of patience.

Oh yes! Potty training! I've certainly become more relaxed about that over the years. I figure Brooklyn will be potty trained by the time she leaves for college...

How can you run a playdate or playgroup without all the mama drama?

If you’re hosting a playdate or a playgroup, understand that, like it or not, your mothering skills are on display for all the other moms, and vice versa. But you can nip the urge to compete in a mothering competition with a few simple tips, including:
1. Hide your toddler’s favorite toy. That way you’ll avoid a tug-of-war (and its ensuing meltdown and your apology.)
2. Don’t rush in to referee. Toddlers have amazingly short-term memories. If you wait just a little longer than you’d like to, one toddler just might find another shiny new toy and forget what she was in a tizzy about in the first place.
3. Keep it short. An hour or two is long enough before everyone starts to get cranky (moms included.)

Good, sound advice, Jen! I was just going to suggest serving margaritas.

How can you run errands with a squirmy, active toddler in tow?

Remember that timing is everything. Think about it from your toddler’s perspective: it’s hard enough not having any say in what you do or where you go, but getting dragged to the furniture store at 9:00 p.m. on Friday night? Also, front-load the most important stops in case you have to cut your outing short due to crankiness.

What do moms need to know about keeping their toddlers safe?

Our generation of mothers has taken safety preparation to all new levels, though not all of it is necessary or even useful – like the toilet latch my toddlers broke into like Houdini. I’m a fan of safety gates, particularly at the top of stairs, and of moving your breakables and anything smaller than your elbow (a.k.a. choking hazards) out of reach throughout toddlerhood.

How do you keep your toddler entertained?

The first step is to realize that you are not your toddler’s entertainment director. If you feel guilty for folding laundry because you’re not entertaining your toddler, something’s wrong. (I know. I’ve been there.) The sooner you teach your child to entertain herself, the better it is for her – and you – down the road. One of my favorite ways to get a toddler to entertain herself is to lay out the Tupperware on the kitchen floor and put her in the middle of it. Sure, it requires some cleaning later on, but it’s worth it if you’re able to get something done – or even to sit down for a while.

How do you handle the Terrible Two’s?

Here’s a secret: Sometimes Terrible Two’s starts before age two. Sometimes, it hits at four and sometimes not at all. In general, toddlers are an unpredictable lot. They can go from sweet to sour (and super-cranky) in no time flat. The key is to predict and diffuse. If, for instance, you know your toddler is going to have a canary because his cousin just touched his favorite Elmo doll, swoop in and distract him with something better, like a new and, therefore, more attractive toy, a snack, or when all else fails—dare I say—a video.

Here's my question - when do they grow out of the Terrible Twos because I know a certain 14-year-old.....

What are some of the “Milestones You Don’t Want to Share with Grandma”?

These are the things nobody told you about – and you probably don’t want to tell anyone about. Some of the most typical include: Opens, Closes, Locks, and Unlocks Doors, Stuffing Things up Noses and into Ears and Toilet Games, where the commode doubles as a boat landing or toy flusher. Take heart: These are common, and you can handle them, once you learn how. I cover these and five others and what to do about them in the book. One tip: Keep a key to the house and your cell phone in your pocket or a key hidden outside in case your toddler decides to try the lock when you step outside for a minute.

If you could give mothers of toddlers one bit of advice, what would it be?

Don’t assume they can’t reach the middle of the kitchen table.

I have a copy of Jen's new book, STOP SECOND-GUESSING YOURSELF, The Toddler Years (A Field-Tested Guide to Confident Parenting) to give away to one lucky reader! Just leave me a comment here and I'll choose a winner on Monday! Good luck!

102 comments:

Leah said...

LOVE this post! I have a 9.5 month old son & feel like I have my hands full most days. I NEED this book!

Lynn said...

Toddlers really are a blast.

Colleen said...

Love it - would love to read the rest of the book. I have a 3 year old and a 16m old and often feel like I'm ready to pull my hair out.

Mom First, Everything Else Second said...

Great advice... my baby will be reaching toddler stage soon and I could really use it! Thanks!!

Triplet Mommy said...

Oh, good grief, do I need this book! I have 2-year-old triplet girls!!! Of course, I've already learned that thing about the middle of the table... :-)

Raechel said...

OH hands down I want to try to win this book! My toddler is quickly making me consider a permanent birth control of the surgical type.

Jacqui F said...

That's some good advice, especially about the key. Being locked out of the house in your pj's in February in 9 degree weather, not so much fun.

Meredith said...

I love it. Wish I had heard some of it before my first child who locked me out of the house on occasion. I think my fave advice is the safety. I do believe we overreact sometimes. My husband and I put locks just on the cabinets we knew she shouldn't be in, but kept enough open that she never even tries anymore for the others...picked up breakables and everything else is just like it always has been. I have friends that think I don't care, it isn't that I don't care...I just try not to panic!!!

Jo - To a Pretty Life said...

Thanks, Jen, for the tips and advice! I think this is exactly the book I need! My library doesn't have it in yet, so I'd love to win it. My daughter is 21 months old, and drives me crazy sometimes...and then she smiles and says "mommy pretty," and asks for a kiss.

Joni said...

Oooooh, pick me! Pick me! My 11-month-old son is just entering these years, and I NEED this book!!!

Joni
jonitapp at gmail dot com

Rachel said...

This book sounds GREAT! We are smack in the middle of the toddlerhood craziness.

HELP! :)

Meanest Mommy said...

Pick me! Pick me! :)

MeanestMommysRules at gmail dot com

Sara said...

I have a 3 year old and a 20 month old. What I really need is some sanity, but this book may help!

Jill said...

Dawn, I love your blog. Also thanks for introducing me to a few other refreshing mom blogs and guest bloggers. I have a 25 month old and I love getting practical mom-tested advice. A copy of the book would be good too:)

Stacy said...

I've got two toddlers and would love any advice I can get!

Jennie Gee said...

Oh as soon as I read this post I realized how much it makes sense and how I reallly need this book right now with my toddler. I'll cross my fingers to get picked!!!!

Shere said...

I'd love this book thanks!!! MY toddler was such a sweet baby..I should have known this was coming! She's almost 3, but I have a sneaking suspicion her "Terrible Twos" will last for awhile longer..

Thanks!

Shere

Valerie said...

Awesome tips!

Tara M said...

Great Post! I have 3 under 5. need I say more???

Laura G said...

My first boy is now a toddler, what a handful compared to the girls. Would love to win! Also, am loving your book, Dawn, and have to be careful when I read it in bed after my husband is asleep, because I never know when I'm going to burst out laughing! Loved the entry about the child who sneaks in your room at night and puts their face close to yours until you wake up. I have one of those, and I'm sure she's heard a few expletives when I wake up!
Happy Easter, Laura

Kim said...

Mine is almost 3 and I can relate to many of these things. I really hope I don't lose my mind before he is 6.

Gail said...

My toodler is a 5:30AM er !! Tried everything, even setting the clocks forward so the house is a time warp. She's always been up early. Oh well.

Anyway, would love the book !!

Happy Easter ! He arose !

Mel said...

I remember vividly my daughter throwing herself on the floor in a tantrum at 11 mnths of age and being completely horrified - "You're not supposed to be doing that, you're not even 1 yet!"

Little did I know that 6yrs later, she'd still be doing it..... ;)

Becs said...

If we can't have a full post by Dawn, she is a great guest blogger! Looks like hte book is great! Happy Easter!

Kim Williams said...

I would love to win a copy of this book! Sounds like Jen has some great advice and is a practical mom (especially the part about too much safety).

Thanks for a chance at this one, Dawn!

Lindsey Wolfe said...

Too funny! Always enjoy your posts!

Vicki said...

I'd love to win this to pass along to a friend...I think she would love it. (twins one on the way...she will need it!)

Thanks!

Vicki W.

Jennifer B. said...

Potty training is the worst.

AbbysMama said...

That sounds GREAT! I would love to read this book! Have a Happy Easter!
~Lauren

Amy Helm said...

Great post and I will definitely be checking out this book. Jen has a lot of great advice, Thank you!!

Jen Singer said...

Thanks Dawn, for letting me guest blog. I loved your running commentary.

I hope that "Stop Second Guessing Yourself" helps all you moms of toddlers out there who are pulling their kids off the kitchen table (how in the world?!) and, like my sister-in-law, finding toy trucks in the fridge.

Best!
Jen Singer
MommaSaid.net

Adrienne said...

Hi Dawn! Jen's book sounds like it has some great advice from a mommy who's been there!!! I'd love to win the book to see what I've gotten myself into, since I have a 5 month old!!!

J said...

Wow, sounds like a great book! I'd love one! ;)

Jenny L3igh said...

What an interesting guest post! Of course we love hearing from you, Dawn, but you always get such great guests that I think we'll survive til next week:)

Hally said...

I'd love to be entered. I've got a couple of toddler boys, and my friend has a couple of toddler girls. We could use these tips just to make it through the day!

Julie said...

Toddlers are bundles of non-stop fun!

Chawksgirl4ever said...

i need this book about to have our third and thiss one is a boy!aaahhhh i still have my handds full with my 3 year old

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn,

That was a fun interview! I had to chuckle at your little smarty-pants remarks interjected! You are a hoot!!

This book sounds really interesting. Jen's advice is realistic, funny and helpful.

Thanks,
Lisa Kiesling, Dallas, Texas

Sheila said...

Sounds great! Would love to have a copy to read.

Thanks! Happy Easter!!

Jessica J. said...

Super cute post. I love the idea of guest bloggers, thanks for doing this, and and sweet to give a book away!
Enjoy your two day break from the blog (try not to work too hard). :-)

Caroline G. said...

Great advice! I'd love to have this book, as I'm sure she has much more to offer.

mandy said...

Hello Dawn

i would love this book. I would love to give it to a friend who has a 4 month old. It would be a great gift for here.

Kecia said...

I love what you said about entertaining your baby, or rather, letting them learn to entertain themselves. I needed that reminder this morning! I would love to read more!

Duck's Mom said...

Love this post, need to check out the book! About reaching the middle of the table? Also applies to the top of the stove. We had recently moved into a new apartment and still had boxes around. Our not yet 3 year old monkey, I mean son, moved a box from the living room, into the kitchen, climbed it, then onto the stove top all because he wanted the salt and pepper shakers.

Anonymous said...

Would love to have this book - i can so relate (almost 2 and three year old girls).
Thanks

Lu

lesan said...

Thanks for always giving me a laugh! With a 17 mo old and now twin sons due at the end of summer, I need all the laughter I can get.

nydancer226 said...

My 3 year old son has just started the "scream his request really loud and high pitched over and over again when he doesn't get what he wants the second he asks for it" phase. This coupled with my 6 month old daughter who is in the "curious about everything aka put EVERYTHING in my mouth" stage is driving me insane. I would love this book to read if I ever get a second for myself...LOL...Ah, the joys of being a SAHM!

JenT said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I love to read parenting books.

Goldibug said...

Some good tips there. I think the one that shows the most is LEARNING. I think a lot of moms out there forget that we're learing along with our little ones and that makes for a huge amount of frustration. Patience is also to be considered. I'm seriously lacking here. Any tips on how to gain more?

Gloria said...

That tip about the key is a good one. I've been locked out a time or two--once by my little sister and a couple of times by my own kids. Being locked out is definitely not a good feeling.

If I happen to be selected, my daughter will love the book.

Bethany said...

Wow, now I can't wait to have kids. :)

Jen S said...

I'm heading into these years with boy/girl twins... I could really use this book!!!

Luann said...

I have a 4 year old, a 2.75 year old and a 20 month old

I SO need this book.

Murmer said...

looks like a great book! I know I would enjoy it...especially as my lo is reaching the toddler years

Layna (aka Willow) said...

Sounds like a good read....our newborn is no work at all, compared to our two year old!

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

Sounds like a great book! :)

Lindsey said...

I love her down to earth, common sense remarks. This book sounds like a good read.

Kelly said...

Daddy forgot to engage the kid lock on the front door ONE day, when I got home from someplace I'd been (and by myself, too!) Imagine my surprise to see my son standing in the driveway to greet me because he'd seen my car coming down the street from the front window, and thought it would be a good idea to greet me. He also let the dog out with that stunt, so not only was he in trouble for opening the door by himself, but he didn't tell anyone the dog snuck out and we didn't realize it until we looked around and asked 'Where's the dog?'

Even I've let the dog out by accident, so he didn't get in trouble for what the dog did...

Dawn said...

I'd love to get this book for my niece, who's son just turned 2 and is due with her second in 2 weeks.
dawn in Michigan

Anonymous said...

My sister needs this book.

Sandi said...

this sounds like a book I need! although I was somewhat successful in raising 2 children through the toddler years, the third one is giving me a run for my money.
case in point.....27.
I just retrieved 27 Matchbox cars from the toilet. he sure is showing an interest in potty training;) lol

Miranda said...

My sister has twin 18 month olds. I know she feels crazy on a regular basis. I would love to give her this book!!

khull05 said...

Love this post! Can't wait to read this book, since I am a first time mom of a 2 year old and spend most of my life second guessing myself!

labdogs42 said...

The book sounds great! I'm almost finished reading your book, Dawn (loving it!), so I'll need something else to read soon!

Sara said...

i love to read...so I would love the book. but i would also like to share it with my friend who just had her first baby a week and a half ago.

as always...love the blog!

KatLuvsShoes said...

Great post! My son is 3 right now, but it seems like he'll be stuck in the terrible twos forever!

BrassyMom said...

Oh, pick me! Pick me! I've heard that having a dog is like having a perpetual toddler (our little spawnling isn't toddling yet, so I am only experienced with the dog side just yet). However, I always figured there was a big difference... I can crate train the dog. :)

Michelle said...

Loved the interview and especially your comments! Would love to read the book. I coordinate a MOMS group of over a 100 women and this book could provide some great discussions between us. Love it!

Bethany said...

This book sounds great, I would love to have it to get some tips about my early toddler.

janice said...

Pick me!! I would love this!!


c66mom@hotmail.com

Reader Melly said...

Love the post! Could have used some of these tips before we hit 2. Definitely agree about the kitchen table and potty training!

Tammy said...

Sadly, I tried to buy your book but they are back-ordered in Canada. :( My husband works for Chapters/Indigo/Coles and he looked it up. Tell your publisher to hurry up and ship copies to Canada!

Linda said...

Great post and the book sounds wonderful!

Linda

Cernin4 said...

I would love to have a copy of this book. I've already gone thru the terrible two's with my daughter, but feel my 19 month old is going to be worse! I would love the advice!
Thanks!

Nina said...

full toddler mode (18 months) here...im trying to invent a house that has higher than a toddler can go level while still within adult reach...i feel like a shaker - hanging everything from the middle of the walls so my floor is empty (well of dangerous to HIM things - i'll probably die tripping on some dang toy) :)

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE this book! Hope it's meant for me :) Shelly B.

Sheri in TX said...

So far my almost 2 yo daughter has put green lentils, ground turkey, and sunflower seeds up her nose (at 3 different times). If Jen has some advice, I'd LOVE to read about it in her book.

Darlene said...

Love your blog Dawn, It keeps me in stitches. I have two grown children and I am now taking care of my 20 month old grandson. It's been 20 years since I've taken care of little ones. It seems I've forgotten so much. I really need this book. Potty training is on the horizon. Please pick me...

Karen R. said...

Love reading parenting books!! Anything helps, right?

Tabatha Rochell said...

I absolutely LOVE your blog. I will be getting your book next month and I cant wait to read it... I remember your e bay auction that started it all, plus I have been reading your blog for almost 2 years now, so I can only imagine what I am in for with your book! Thanks for the awesome daily read!

Mel & Seigo said...

This book looks fantastic and just up my alley with a 2 year old, about to start potty training.

Thanks always for your funny blog and all the giveaways! :)

Melanie
melbray79(at)hotmail(dot)com

Tina said...

My kids are 4, 2, 2 and 7 weeks. I smiled and nodded my way through this post ;-). Thanks for another great giveaway!

TwinsanityMom said...

I would love this book! Two year old twins, a momma needs all the help she can get!!! :)

Brianna said...

We are RIGHT into the toddler years. I would Love a copy of this book!

-Brianna
aria_cora0708(at)yahoo(dot)com

Carrie said...

I loved this post. Especially "Don't assume they can't reach the middle of the table." SO true!

Eileen R said...

I'm sending my niece a link to this post, she's got a two year old & a six month old. It brought back some great memories to me too (now that they're adults themselves, and less likely to lock themselves in the bathroom;)

heather said...

I picked the perfect day to read this. Within a span of 10 minutes the 11 month old was suspiciously quiet-until she spit the two quarters out of her mouth.
Then, she went swimming in the dog bowl. But hey, the floor needed mopping anyway. Which she took care of by crawling around it in her wet clothes. (I was gonna get around to mopping it someday...)
I can only imagine what the next few years will bring. Fortunately, I'm learning everything I need to know about parenting from Dawn. I don't sweat the small stuff. If Brooklyn can survive on ketchup for a day, surely my kid can survive on avocado, strawberry and cheese for a day. Thanks for making me a calmer parent!

Donna said...

We wanted a little over 5 years for our second child, and so I feel like I lost all memory of what my son as a toddler was like. Not too mention that I went back to work full-time with him, and with her I'm working at home. I think I'll need to read this book - of course, after I'm done with your's, Dawn.

Carol said...

I would LOVE to win this book! It feels like toddlerhood is NEVER going to end.

M. Biddle said...

Hi!

I hope I win for having the shortest comment.

Love you!
M

Michelle said...

I love those questions and answers... having fortunately gone through most of those stages :) Sometimes sailing through and sometimes drowning. And yes, terrible twos are still ongoing with 3 1/2 year old Little Miss!

I think I may need to buy this book for my newly pregnant friends!

Lisa said...

Any help this could give me with my 21 month old would be greatly appreciated!

Lesley said...

I have 2 toddlers....I need all the help I can get!

Anonymous said...

sounds like a great book! I haven't gotten to read anything since my daughter turned 2. I have a 13 mo old and a 2.5 year old...I could use it!!

Becky

Michelle said...

Ooh Ooh Ooh, I have an almost 2 year old, franticly working his way into the Terrible Two's. I need this book!

Becca said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the post!

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a book every mother needs!

Jen Singer said...

A shout out to all you moms who made it through the holiday weekend with a toddler (or several toddlers) in tow. I watched my cousin's 15 month old stick her hands in anything chocolate and eye level, and my 2 1/2 year old nephew squeeze himself between the couch and the tipsy table of breakables. And I'm tired!

So to all you moms out there keeping your toddlers from diving head first into the desserts and knocking over Grandma's fine tchotchkes, I bow to you.

And to Dawn for doing it six times over!

Jen Singer
MommaSaid.net

Amanda E said...

nOT SURE IF YOU'VE PICKED A WINNER YEST SINCE IT IS mONDAY RIGHT NOW, BUT i THOUGHT i'D LEAVE A COMMENT JUST IN CASE THE RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR FELT GENEROUS TOWARDS ME TODAY!
THANKS!

2boystwingirls said...

This was great!
I would love to win a copy of the book. My own kids are moving out of *toddler* and into preschool age but I do daycare in my home and always have little people around.
Hope I'm not too late with a comment to enter!
Michele

Anonymous said...

I just shot coffee out of my nose, that is the funniest thing I have read in a good long time!

I love the part about not being an entertainment director. That is our motto - Well, that and a healthy dose of fear is good for a child!

SSO question: When did your kids start to walk?

-Coury

Tokyo Biker Mommy said...

I've received 2 great pieces of advise about the toddler "no." 1) It is the only way they have of taking control in a world that is completely out of their control. 2) They are testing everyone they tell "no" to in order to figure out the shape of their universe. In my own 2 1/2 yr old, it is his way of buying a little time to figure out what he really wants while the adults impatiently tap their toes and try to bend him to their will. It's amusing when i can stand back and look at it as if i'm a sociologist.

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