Episode 10: Toddler Insanity or How To Drink Less Wine Toddlers can be crazy, is it any wonder we need wine sometimes? Grab a glass and sit down with Amanda to talk all about handling your boundary-pushing, sleep needing toddler! As always, if you need some help with your sleep, set up a discovery call with me below! www.babysbestsleep.com/15mins Hey guys, it’s Amanda and this is the final episode of Slumber Party for season one. Are you, I can’t even believe it. When they looked and they saw that we actually did 12 episodes, I, I’m pretty impressed. I really am actually. Um, I’m really excited to jump into this, podcast this week. Um, for a number of reasons. Number one, I don’t know if this is an all time high or an all time low, but I am recording this podcast underneath a blanket. I’ve been kicked out of my office and I don’t really have a good soundproof room that doesn’t create a ton of background noise. So I’m doing my best. Okay. I’m living my best life. I’m sitting in my kitchen on our little island underneath the blanket recording a podcast and it’s, it’s where I am in my life, so love me or hate me. It’s happening. I’m also a little bit sick, which is tough, but I’m getting through it. Um, okay guys, here we go. So we’re going to jump right into toddler insanity. Um, I, I always have a number of questions that come up about toddler insanity. Um, and I understand, you know, where it comes from because I always talk about how I was such a cocky mom and such a cocky first time mom and I had this little baby umm, this little nugget and it was so amazing. And, um, I remember I was, I was teaching at the time, I actually went back to work quite early with my first, I went back into at about four months and only now do I know how insane that is. But I was really lucky. I had a kid that eat and pooped, and peed and slept really well. So I, I did look out, I think the universe threw me a bone cause I really didn’t have any work to go back to. So, um, I think it was important that I did go back and I had a full time job and it was a dream job. It really was. And if you’re going to have to go back to work at any time, um, and any place, uh, going to work and teach in an all girls school with pretty much an all female, um, boss system. It was amazing. So really can’t complain. I’m getting a little off track, but um, yeah, I remember it. So that year I went back to work and I was so excited to have summer vacation and I would finally be the mom that I always wanted to be and it was like delayed MAT leave, like have we get two months off with my daughter and I was just, Oh my God, I was so, so, so thrilled about the whole thing. Um, and then, you know, she was 13 months and no, actually, sorry, she was 15 months. She was 15 months. And I remember, you know, setting aside my whole day to hang out with her and just being like, Jesus, this is so hard. You know, like I knew that she was heading into toddlerhood and I knew it was going to be hard, but I wasn’t, I wasn’t quite ready for how hard that would be. Um, because here’s the deal, guys at around that 13 to 15 month time, your little person realizes that they have some autonomy and autonomy just basically means like, “hey, I my own person and I can say no and I can push back” and my little girl has some zest in her. She’s got some fire. So when she said no, she really meant no. There was a lot of, you know, suddenly this perfect little smiley baby was having meltdowns and freaking out. And I was like, ‘oh my God, what do I do?’ Um, and then I got pregnant with my second and that was a whole other story. So, um, I really identify with toddler struggles. I, I actually, for the first little while when I started my business, I would shy away from toddlers cause I was, I was afraid of them. My, my daughter was a toddler, you know, my first daughter was a toddler and I remember feeling like, I feel like I’m just three, three pages ahead of you in the, in the textbook a little bit. How am I supposed to help these, these people? Um, but the great thing is I, I did, I could apply my, my training and my knowledge to other people and then when I saw the success in them, I was like, hey, maybe I can do this. Uh, and things got a lot better as in that always the way.Um, yeah. So let, let’s get into it. Let’s talk about why toddlers are so hard and why they’re kind of little maniacs. Um, first and foremost, I, I’d love to give it a shout out to my girl, Janet Lansbury, who I’m constantly shouting out on this podcast because, um, I actually came to her work a little bit late. Um, I came to her work, uh, I would say about three or four months ago as a sleep consultant. And when I found it, I was just like, oh my God, this is exactly what I’ve been saying to clients for so long. Um, I feel like I absolutely, I absolutely need to share this with the world. So Janet Lansbury is always talking about respectful parenting, um, and treating our little people like people. And I totally, I personally missed the mark on this with, with my daughter. Um, and it was all about power struggles and me saying yes and, and, or so me saying no, and it was yes when I said yes and it was tough. And I really think that a lot of Janet Lansbury’s writing, really speaks to my philosophy now and kind of informed my work with toddlers. So I, I’d like to recommend her, her podcast, um, and her podcast name is, oh my God. Unruffled I was ruffled for a moment. Um, and she has a couple of really good books. I’ve, Ive read, uh, both of them. Um, and she, she’s really focus, I’ll say this, she does talk about babies, but it’s mostly on the toddler and preschool years, which I don’t know, I think that we could all use. Um, the, one of my favorite books was ‘Elevating Child Care: A guide to respectful parenting.’ I really, I really liked that. Uh, it was really, really good. Um, and ahh ‘No Bad Kids: toddler discipline without shame.’ and that is actually, toddler discipline without shame is extremely, extremely helpful. Cause listen, your, your guys understand all of the sudden that they’re their own people in with that is actually overwhelming responsibility. Um, seriously. Um, and I think that when we have that, that overwhelming responsibility, kids don’t really know what to do with that. Um, and they’re kind of freaked out about it. Right? So, it would make sense that all of a sudden you’re this, you’re this little person and you know, you are, you realize that you’re separate from your parents and that can feel like a lot of, a lot. And generally that comes out in power struggles. So you know, for me, for the, for the longest time I had the best little sleeper, right? She was so frigging awesome. She would go to bed and sleep 12 hours. And again, smug parent, very, very smug parent. And then all of a sudden I would put her to bed and she would freak out. You know, I remember around 18 months putting her to bed one night and her saying like, “No mama, No NO NO!” Yeah. And I was like, oh my God, what is wrong? Like, are there nails in her crib? Like where is this coming from? I’m in. So I think it’s important to take a step back and actually ask yourselves what’s happening. So like anything that you’ve experienced, you know, we are, we’re always talking about that four month sleep regression. But this, I would say getting into 12 and 18 months. Um, these are, these are sizable developments in your child’s life and every time that there is a development, there is going to be pushback. There’s going to be a protest. Um, the difference now is that you’re 12 and 18 month old can stand up, they can shout, they can say Mama, they can say Dada. They can say no. And that’s horrible, right? When your child is looking at you with tears in their eyes, saying, “Mama, Mama,” you’re like, oh my gosh. Like now they really mean it. They’re saying Mama before they would just cry. But now they’re saying, Mama! Um, so I, I think that it’s really, it would make sense why we’re thrown by that and it is emotionally trying during that time. So I think that, you know, like all, all regressions and all developments, your, your child’s brain is rapidly developing, they are growing. And so, you know, that can mean a, a temporary disruption in some hormones in their brain that help them sleep, in, and they’re thinking about all of these new things all night long and all day long. Everything’s new, everything sucks. Um, and, and they’re just sharing that frustration with you. And so, you know, if we’re going to rewind back to Janet Lansbury, Janet Lansbury always talks about the expression of anger or frustration by your child isn’t always a bad thing. Number one, they trust you with their most vulnerable cells, right? So they are, they’re sharing with you like, “hey, this sucks and it’s tough.” That’s not a bad thing. Um, I always kind of tell my, toddler parents like, look, when our children cry, we’re constantly saying, “hey, stop, stop, stop. It’s okay. It’s okay. Don’t cry or don’t yell at me or don’t do this,” when we actually should probably be doing a little bit of that, that release and that frustration. Cause they’re, they’re going through a really tough time. So it would make sense that they’re frustrated by that and they are showing you that. And that is okay. We don’t need to actually stop that. Um, this podcast will never tell you and I will never tell you we need to stop our children’s expressions of frustration. I mean, how normal are they? Um, what we need to do is let them know that we’re there for them. And I know that feels like it does feel a little bit wishy washy to some like, yeah, yeah, yeah. My kids are fine. Like they know I’m there for them. Tell me how to get this kid to sleep, Amanda. But here’s, here’s the, the joke. When your child feels heard and when your child feels respected by you, they’re gonna push back less. And so you’re going to get what you want a little faster if you just take the time to, to kind of accept their insanity at that moment. So except that these, these developments are real, they’re frustrating and they’re hard. Um, they usually come with skill developments like language acquisition, walking. If you’re, if you’re close to the 12 month time, um, you know, understanding new concepts and relationships with others, and it can be confusing as children kind of stored out these new relationships, um, amongst themselves and with their peers and with their family members. So, you know, while your toddler’s brain is essentially resetting itself, um, sleep would naturally be disrupted. When we have a hard time, we don’t sleep. Right. The good news is all of this is temporary and I think that that’s really important to remember that because this is temporary. We don’t want to be reintroducing things that didn’t exist before. So around 18 months, a lot of peple will call me and they will tell me, my, my son or daughter started rejecting their crib. You know, they don’t want to be put in their crib. I go to put them in, they freak out. They, they hold onto the end. They don’t want to be in their crib. So I took them out of their crib. Or do you think that they should still be in their crib? 1000%. Yes, yes, yes, yes. They need to be in their crib. They need to be in their crib until they’re at least three. Um, and then all of my three year old plus parents are like, yes. But how do they stay in their crib? That’s another podcast season. Season Two, stay tuned. Um, yes, they need to be in there until they’re three. But I, I just really want to make sure that you understand that they can not, 18 month old is not capable of staying put. Um, if they have that freedom, if we don’t set boundaries, they will take it. So I highly recommend keeping them where they are until three. Um, and then so you’re going to say, well, they’re rejecting the crib so what do I do? You need to get down on their level. You need to listen to what they’re saying. So if that were me and am I, my son or daughter was really rejecting the crib, I’d take them out. I would sit with them for five minutes and I would say, okay, listen, tell me what’s going on. I see that you don’t want to be in the crib. Tell me what’s up. You know, are you are I’m here. We’re just going to take a pause and if they could talk to you about it, let them talk to you about it. If they can’t, maybe you just sit with them for five minutes and say, okay, it looks like you don’t want to do that right now. We’re going to take five minutes and we’re going to try that again and then you’re going to take your five minutes and you’re going to try again. At some point, you’re going to have to just talk them through what the process is. “Hey Buddy, listen, you need to stay in that crib and that is 100% okay. You’re going to be okay here.” Again, talk them through it. Let them know it’s okay. Tell them what’s going to happen. Listen, my daughter, my second daughter, when she hit 18 months completely and totally rejected her nap every day for exactly six days. Every day she, we would put her in her crib. She would stand, she would look around, she would scream. She would stop from it. She would scream, “MAMA, MAMA” the whole thing, just going crazy. We’d go and check, talk to her. “Listen, you got to have a nap.” We did that for six days, guys, six days. And honestly, if I didn’t have my training, I can understand where it would be very frustrating to just be like, forget it. I don’t care. We’ll do whatever it takes. I’m taking you out. Peace out. I’m done with this. Um, but we didn’t. And on the seventh day we put her in, she’s like, “all right, good night.” I think your kids just deserve an honest answer, about what’s happening. “Hey Kiddo, you need this sleep. So we’re gonna keep trying this until you get it. Okay. You’re okay. I love you.” We do not have to, um, you know, yell at our kids, tell them this is what’s going on. You just tell them in affirm, loving, gentle way with the boundary is, “look, you need to sleep. This is good for you. I’ll be back to check on you if you need it.” Okay. And you’re going to continue to check on them as needed. Um, as for, you know, as you get a little bit older into the two year age, this is where we can get into tricky things like ‘Mama, Dada,’ I want you to lay with me or just sit with me. And honestly, that sounds very innocent, right? Okay, well I’m just going to sit with my kid for a little bit tonight and if it calms him down now, fine. No problem. And again, if that was the long and short of it, I would also love that. I would love that option. Um, so here’s the unfortunate thing. That’s not the only thing that’s going to happen. Your, your child is really gonna probably start to like that you’re there. They realize like, “Hey, I did this thing and then my parent stayed and that was pretty darn awesome. So I would like to do that again.” And then the next Mama, Dada And then you find yourself lying in the floor of your child’s room every night. And again, if you’re up for that, if that’s your jam, that’s my jam too. I am happy for you to do that. But it is really important that you talk to your child through it. Tell them that they’ve, they’ve slept alone before. They can do it again. You have your own room and your own space to sleep and that your child doesn’t need you. Um, most, most kids will get that. Most kids will, you know, protest a little bit. Again, let’s go back to Janet Lansbury, protest is not a bad thing. Our kids will protest these boundaries that we put up. And for the first time you’re going to go from having a baby that pretty much did whatever you wanted all the time to having to negotiate and, and tell this person, this little human, listen, this is what’s going on and this human isn’t gonna like it all the time. Right? That would make sense to me. So when they push back, it’s not a sign that you need to change course or that you’re doing something wrong. When they push back, it means that they’re asserting their autonomy and that’s very age and stage appropriate. Their protest is very normal. Um, it would be abnormal for your child to say “Goodnight, mother. Goodnight father, I will see you in the morning.” Like that is more terrifying. Dress me. Um, so you know, your, your questions are generally, I mean, not that I, I didn’t want to do this podcast but I feel like you’re going to be disappointed with the answer. There’s no tips and tricks here guys. There’s no secret. You just got to stick with the plan. You got to keep them in their cribs. You got to keep the boundary firm. Um, and you need to keep yourself calm on a really like guys, I, I, I can’t stress how much your energy affects your child’s energy. If you’re frantically trying to tell your kids, “STOP YELLING AT ME!!!” while you’re yelling at them, they are not going to chill out. I say this from knowing from, from experiencing and then later on doing this work. But um, I I will tell you that won’t work. A couple of of specific toddler issues that can come up are, are crib hopping and that is pretty tough for, for all. Um, guys, when I tell you to use a sleep sack, this is why is sleep sack is really going to help keep your child from crib hopping later on. Um, and if you get one that’s, you know, just the right stretchiness so not too much and not too long. Your child is pretty much confined to their area. Um, so I would definitely invest in a, um, a sleep sack if you haven’t already. Um, that is, that is a really big one. Um, and, and the other is, you know, lots and lots of, of uh, negotiation before bed, you have to absolutely keep the boundaries firm. So a common issue for many of my clients is the amount of books that their child, children asked to read before bed. “I just want three books. I just want three. Can I have three?” Well, if you said two books and suddenly you say you’re going to have three, it sounds stupid, right? It sounds stupid that we have to be so strict on this silly thing, but you actually, it is important that you do do that. Um, because three books become four, four books become, lay beside me, lay beside me, becomes sleep in my bed. You know what I mean? It does. It gets out of hand quickly. It’s also things like if your door, if your child likes the door open and then they start dictating how open the door is, it sounds stupid. But if you say the door is open a crack, the door has to be a crack. And you’re going to notice that when you, you move your boundaries during the nighttime, your boundaries during the day start to shift as well. They start to get wobbly. So if you’ve never, um, if you’ve never like, oh, I don’t know, let’s say your child suddenly starts to want to be picked up everywhere. “Mommy, I want to be picked up. Mommy, I want to be picked up.” If the boundaries are loose at night, why wouldn’t they continue to push that boundary during the day? And generally when I start working with toddler clients, um, we start to see boundaries really firm up in all areas of your child’s life, like during the day with their caregivers before bed. Um, they get that you’re in charge. And here’s the other secret guys, your kids like it when you’re in charge of, when you say no, kids do not like to be in control. They act like they do. They’re trying things on. Um, but think about this and I know everyone has a moment in their childhood where someone asks for something or excuse me, you ask for something as a child and you said this, you know, “Mommy, Daddy, I want this thing”. And you begged and begged and begged and begged and finally your parents gave it to you. Did you feel good about that? No, it felt weird. It felt like, oh, these guys don’t have it together. You know, I don’t like when they do this or you know, even my daughter, I’ll be in the car and she’ll be like, is it my turn to pick? And we have very clear rules about who picks songs. By the way, clearly. And I’ll just be offhanded it’ll be like, Yep. And she’ll be like, “No Mommy, it’s Norah’s turn. And so she doesn’t like it when the rules are off. Right. And that’s just this silly like absentminded thing. “Oh yes. Shoot. You’re right. It is Norah’s turn.” So I think it’s really important that you, you acknowledge that, right? That your kids aren’t better off when you say yes, yes, yes, yes. It feels icky. They feel insecure. You don’t feel like the people in charge. And if you’re not in charge, who the heck is right? That that is literally what your, your child is thinking. Um, guys, I, I hope this was a helpful podcast. Um, I have some, some great, uh, blogs that I’m, I’m going to transition to, uh, later. Um, I do want to talk about transitioning to a bed and I do want to talk about keeping your child in a bed. Unfortunately that’s, it’s a very own podcast and a topic that I’m, I’m waiting until next season to discuss. Um, but for now I think that’s a great starting point. I, again, I’m going to direct you to those, those two books by January. Lansbury that I love, love, love, love, ‘No Bad Kids: toddler discipline without shame’ and Elevating Childcare:a guide to respectful parenting.’ Um, and just a heads up that if you have a toddler, chances are you might be thinking about having another child or there might be another child on the way. Um, I really struggled with my toddler with the birth of my second daughter. I feel like I could have handled our whole transition a lot better. We’ve repaired our work with that. Um, and Janet Lansbury’s books have helped with that. One of the books that Janet recommends is called ‘Siblings Without Rivalry’. Um, that was a really wow read for me. Um, and it’s actually changed my entire parenting with my girls and how I deal with their, their issues. And believe it or not, um, how you address your children and their sibling relationships start day one. So if you’re pregnant, if you have a young child, it is very easy. These, these strategies are really easy to implement right away. Um, and can actually help a lot with your toddler behaviour cause a lot of the toddler behaviour if there’s a sibling involved, could also, um, be a result of some sibling rivalry. Um, a lot when, uh, with the birth of a new sibling, the children’s brains go to a scarcity mindset, right? Where, “Oh, I had these two parents all to myself. Now I have to share you, what else do I have to share? Oh, God. Like I resent you because you’re taking these people away from me. Um, these are all really big things, really, really big things that can be affecting your child’s behaviour. I overlooked it for a really long time, you know, full disclosure and I’m glad that I’ve, I worked with some professionals and myself to kind of get, to where I would like to be in that regard. Okay, guys, this is wonderful. I think this is a great way to end the podcast. So much more coming next season. I have some incredible guests lined up for you. Um, more great topics. Keep these questions coming. Thank you for following me on Instagram, on Facebook. I have a pretty active Instagram. I love interacting with you. I love your chats! Thank you for messaging me. I love your questions on Instagram. Please keep it up and if you found something useful in this podcast, I love if you could share it with a friend. Subscribe and rate a few words just does wonders for me and, and this work. Um, okay guys, I think that’s it. Have a wonderful summer. We’ll be back in late August, early September with some new episodes coming your way to keep you sleeping. See you later, guys. Thanks so much.