My Parenting Ups & Downs…

I’ve been without our camera the last 2 days, so outfit pictures might be slim this week. Kev is busy being awesome and working on a photo shoot for work (we need to get another camera- wink wink)

I’m busting out all these new features lately, but I think it will be fun to go through my parenting ups and downs each week. Feel free to leave your own ups and downs in the comments or any tips you have for my downs…

1. Rowans new double hug. Whenever Kev is holding her and I come close, she wraps an arm around Kev’s neck and an arm around my neck and gives a big family hug. It is AWESOME!!!

2. Going to the YMCA in the morning with her. Awesome. We use to go at night when Kev got home from work, but by then I was exhausted and I feel like my work out suffered because of it. The morning is fresh, new and there are tons of kids for Rowan to play with in the kids center. It is good for both of us!

3. Bath time. She loves it. We love it. She is always so stinkin’ cute in there.

4. I feel like my love for her has grown lately. I have always loved her a lot, but something about lately I feel even more connected to her and how much I love our little family.

5. Rowan is becoming an expert at using a spoon. Every morning she has some greek yogurt with a spoon and she goes to town on it. She can basically eat the whole thing by herself. The mess is becoming less and less each morning too. Forks we aren’t so good with yet.

1. Rowan has learned the word “no,” it sounds more like “DOH” but still, it is no. She has decided that when she yells it, it also means she needs to swing her hand and hit something. I have yet to see her act out towards anyone other than Kev or I which is good… I guess?

2. Figuring out what will work best for a timeout. She won’t stay still anywhere. I have heard pros and cons to using the crib. Any thoughts? I know the whole “don’t confuse the place where they sleep” thing, but 2 friends have used it and said they had no problems. What did you do when your kid was 16 months?

3. I clawed her the other day by accident. I was sewing and she grabbed my seam ripper off the table. I freaked and quickly went to grab it from her and in doing so, scrapped my thumbnail across the side of her head and skinned her forehead just a tiny bit. I felt very bad. Bad Momma.

4. Eating. Ugh! I swear if you don’t feed her what she wants (crackers or bread) she will go days without eating. The doctor keeps telling me she will eat when she is hungry but she is very stubborn. I want to get a juicer so badly. She loves drinking.

5. The melt down she had in a tiny pizza place the other day when I had to put her back in her stroller. Not good. I was sweating bullets trying to keep my cool as I had to shove her in there to get the buckles snapped. Meanwhile, the delivery man was watching and waiting for me so he could get by. Ahhh!

  1. Thank you for posting these! I think this will be a great feature. I love that you are real and honest with what you share, I’m sure it’s very helpful for others out there going through the same things. Keep it up!

  2. Love this new feature! Am so impressed by how she keeps all her food on the tray. Mine is 12 months and we developed some bad habits when he wasn’t eating enough. Any tips on how to teach them not to throw food/sippy cups off the tray? BTW, mine sleeps about the same amount and everyone considers him to be a great sleeper.

  3. What a great new feature to the blog! You’re going to look back at these someday and be so glad you kept account of them. About timeouts: we also use a crib, and it’s worked perfectly for us. I know that Josiah would never sit still if I made him sit for a timeout! haha Also, Josiah is the same way about eating. He refuses vegetables unless they’re on my plate, so I’ve started making him smoothies in the morning. I have fruit, spinach, oats, yogurt, and milk (because he also refuses to drink milk lately, too). He thinks it’s ice-cream!

  4. My daughter is the SAME way about food. She is 18 months today and still regularly skips meal, choosing to only drink milk. Our doctor also says she will eat when she wants to (and boy, when she wants to–she chows down!).

    In terms of time-outs, I have heard it is really key to use consistent language, because that is what indicates a punishment to them more so than the place. At about 15 months, I started putting Austen in the same place every time we were trying to correct behavior. I would sit her down on the floor, get on her level, and just say “timeout” firmly but not yelling. Then get up and walk away. At that age, even if she doesnt sit there–she is still understanding that you are redirecting her from something negative. Gradually, she started to sit there longer and longer. Now, after 1 minute I will say, “you can get up, come here” and she will always walk over to me and I sit her in my lap and explain why she had to sit there and tell her that we don’t hit (or whatever the offense was) and instead, we do xyz. I know she doesnt fully grasp the reasoning for all of this but I can see her gaining understanding and I think its good to establish a strong foundation of discipline early so that she knows when you use certain language and tactics, you mean business.

    Hope that helps. sorry for the novel!

  5. That video is so stinking cute! I love those belly laughs. My little guy still does them too!

    As far as timeouts, I think she might be a little young to “get” what they mean? We didn’t start timeouts until our guy was over 2 and we sat him on one corner of the love seat for 2 minutes. He got what it meant and when he was really frustrated, he would want to stay there longer. Maybe find a chair that she won’t be able to climb out or hurt herself and stand close enough so if she does, you can stop her. Good luck! She is quite the cutie!

  6. Ah! Her little laugh just made my morning. So stinkin cute.
    The scratch story reminded me of our friends. She was playing with her toddler daughter one day and accidentally scratched her arm with her finger nail. Of course that happens from time to time… but the little girl went around for 3 weeks after going “Mama hurt me!” She was so embarrassed and felt so bad!

  7. my child is a stubborn beast about eating too. it’s such a disparity- meals are like my favorite part of the day, and she doesn’t care one lick about any food except macaroni, yogurt and sometimes oatmeal. the productions i create to distract her enough to sneak in a jar of veggies is truly obscene. i just don’t want her associating mealtimes and her high chair with drama and turmoil, so i try to keep it low key and if she doesn’t seem interested, i’ll try again after while.

    what i’ve read about timeouts at this age is that you kinda hafta hold ’em still, whether you hold her by the shoulders or sorta hover in front of her so she can’t run off. i think once she gets that she’s being kept from what she wants she can make the connection that she did something naughty and y’all can move on.

    i subscribed to Moms on Call, and one thing they advocate that I really like when a toddler says no is to calmly reply “not no; ‘yes ma’am’ and do it.”

  8. Oh the video of her laughing is so cute!!! What is she eating?! Looks delicious 🙂 and its so great you are going to the YMCA — you can get your work out on and she can socialize with other kids! Such a great idea!! And I bet she is adorable with her baths! So great she loves it! I miss being bathed in a sink…haha

    As for your downs, I’m not a mother, but I bet the whole ‘no’ stage has to be so stressful. And the time outs! She is such a cutie pie, and I, as a reader, love her to bits, so it would be so hard to discipline that little face but also teach her restraints! Oh man, wait till she’s a teenager…! I like Erin’s advice of correcting her with saying, “Not, NO. YES.” but more gently than in ‘caps’ of course… Or maybe getting to her level and looking at her and saying, “No, what?” And see if she could communicate better/clearly that way? She may just be excited about the new word (as I’m thinking about it, it would be so cute to see her on a couch and just saying NO for no reason and whacking the air). I wish we never had to learn No…

    My two nephews would go days without eating because they wouldn’t go #2 properly. They couldn’t/wouldn’t eat because they were so backed up. It was so sad. Is this at all Rowan’s problem? She’s probably just being picky about her foods, my mom let me be a picky baby and I swear I grew up on chicken fingers alone. Do you act excited about the foods you and Kevin have? Maybe a dip for crackers? Like puree some eggplant or sweet potatoes and let her dip crackers into them? Baby appetizers!

    And bless your heart for feeling bad about scratching her! It was an accident, but hopefully she’ll learn that the sewing machine isn’t for little ladies, but for big-girls. Oh man, all this baby talk makes me….no, wait, I need to get married first! 🙂

  9. That video is so cute!! She is adorable.

    Ohhh.. the word ‘no’ is just the beginning. Just sayin’. I would say it’s good that she hasn’t hit you or Kevin yet. Our kids (well, just the boys so far) went through hitting phases and I would show them the effect of their hitting (I would make a sad face, pretend I was hurt, etc.) and then show them that we only do gentle touches (pet a stuffed animal, etc.).

    As far as timeouts, I’m not sure if she would understand what that means at this age. We tried timeouts before each of our boys were 2, and it just didn’t make sense to them. Last year (they were 4 and 3), we tried timeouts again and they really worked. In fact, we rarely do timeouts now.

    Aww, don’t feel bad about the clawing. It happens to everyone! I pinched our oldest son’s belly with his high chair buckle one time. ooouuuch! Oh, and melt downs happen to every parent at some point. It feels awful and it feels like everyone’s staring (cause, generally, they are), but I just try to handle them gracefully and move on.

    Yay for mastering a spoon! I can’t wait for our daughter to get there. She’s 14 months old and has shown a ton of interest in it lately. She doesn’t let anyone feed her at all!!

  10. my boy just turned 2 and we are going through many of the same things! i use the crib for time out. there is no way my boy would sit still otherwise. 🙂 we don’t seem to have a problem with it. he cries when he is in there, but when i go get him, we talk about what happened, we say, ‘no cry’ and he is good to go. i also (before time out) try and give him choices. i read somewhere that this can help with tantrums going into the toddler stage. like – you can play nice with your toys or go in time out… or (he puts up a fight at bed time) do you want mama or dada to put you to bed? he usually chooses instead of just cries because he doesn’t want bedtime. my boy is a PICKY eater!! so picky!! and my doctor too said he will grow out of it, and get better, and he will eat what he wants/when hungry. yogurt, apple sauce (with veggies hidden!) crackers, peanut butter and fruit are some main staples for him.

  11. Oh boy! All the pros were so dreamy, then the cons! I’ll have to expect all of these lovely (and well, not so lovely) things soon!

  12. My babe’s 22 mos. and I’m still not sure what to do about the little naughty fits she throws. Figuring out discipline for little toddlers is hard! She’s also a bad eater – there are VERY few things she consistently likes – yogurt, usually pb&j/toast, milk, cheese, cereal bars, broccolli, bananas and that’s about it. I know she won’t starve, but she is also not getting all the nutrients she should be! Oh well – we’ll just have to ride this phase out I guess – can’t force her to eat it. (I’ve also scratched my girl on accident – oops.)

  13. I have a very independent little girl as well, and we had to start time-outs when she was 14 months. She was doing things like trying to climbing up bookshelves and on top of tables, which was super unsafe!! Like Rowan, she wouldn’t sit still anywhere, and I was afraid of making her crib the “in trouble” place, so I used her old activity-center (or exer-saucer). She had out-grown the activities, but we still had it around and it forced her to sit in one place for her 1-minute time-out. I suppose if Rowan still loves her activity-center, then this probably won’t work, but I thought I’d share anyway!

  14. We used the crib with no problems. I love what you did with her room.

  15. Jen, I love this new feature! My daughter’s 6 months old, so I always love reading about your parenting experiences with Rowan as they are a glimpse of what’s to come in a way. I can’t say anything about the time outs or the no’s, since i haven’t dealt with that yet, but I can fully comiserate with being in a public place when the little one has a meltdown and you feel like all eyes are on you and you’re just trying to grab everything and get out of there as quickly as possible 🙂 Ha! Been there, have sweated those bullets too 🙂

    I love all your parenting and family features on here, they’re what I really liked about your blog in the past too, so it’s nice to see them become a staple. Please share what you figure out about the time outs, I feel hesitant to use the crib because I would like that to stay a ‘happy’ place, but if it works…


  16. Mallory •

    so i don’t usually give mommy advice but i wanted to tell you what worked for us and “time out” for our little one.
    we called it the “naughty spot” and she knew where it was in our house (we used an office chair for a while until she learned to have fun spinning in it. 🙂 now we use a chair in the family room.)
    anytime that she would do something naughty i would take her to the naughty spot, explain to her why she was there, and then set a timer for how long she should sit there (usually about 1 min per year in age) when she was younger i would hang out near her and when she would get off the spot i would just quietly pick her up and put her back, and again explain to her why she was there and what she did that was naughty. after a while she got it, and just the threat of having to sit in the naughty spot would usually make her stop what she was doing.
    when the timer would go off i get on her level, have her explain to me what she did that was naughty (this only works when they are older, otherwise remind her what she did that was naughty) and have her say she is sorry….and then always follow up with love and hugs and kisses so she knew that even though she made a naughty choice, we still love her, and want her to choose to make right choices.
    i liked having a designated “naughty spot” so that she knew if she was sitting there it was a consequence to her actions.

    good luck! its a fun learning process. 🙂 and every kid is different. so what works for one kid might not work for another.

  17. I’m a behavioral therapist who works with children. Quite frankly, I would not be using time out at such a young age. I would use redirection and/or replacing the behavior. Young children don’t understand why they are being put in a “naughty spot” and are really looking for someone to shape their behaviors. If she is hitting when she’s saying no, anticipate that and show her a more appropriate way (though it is normal for children that young to be expressing their emotions and testing their limits – I’d say that’s a good thing!) Work on this especially when the child is not upset, and then follow through when they are.

    As far as meltdowns go, what set her off? Did she just not want to leave? Before leaving somewhere that is reinforcing to a child, give them some warnings – 5 minutes until we leave, 1 minute until we leave, etc. Young children don’t understand the concept of time, but they do learn the routine after a few times. If it still happens, don’t talk to them, don’t give them eye contact, just buckle them in and leave. If they get attention for a negative beahvior, they will continue doing it.

    I’m very passionate about this, as you can see. 🙂 I do strongly believe in redirection and replacing behaviors. If I can get kids with developmental disabilities and/or emotional disturbances to listen to me without corporal punishment or time outs when they’re young, I believe anyone can get their typically-developing children to do so as well!

  18. Being in early childcare for many years before my current career had taught me that the most appropriate age for “time outs” is about 2 1/2. If she is in trouble for doing something naughty I would say take her to an area and just hold her and just talk. They might not understand it all, but sometimes its effective. Sometimes little children can become over whelmed and start carrying on like their world is ending and they just need a calm place to cry/scream it out. This is when patience becomes a virtue. When I watched a child about her age and they needed to have a “time out”, I would quickly play some music and sit and talk with the child. I sat on the floor with the child in my lap, wrapped my arms around them and rocked. Most of the time they would calm right down.

  19. Oh and I forgot to mention, how cute your daughter is!!! That video is precious!! 🙂

  20. Ups:
    1. Liam laughs when I play peak-a-boo with him. Melt my heart!
    2. We started giving him oatmeal in the evenings and he eats like a champ. He loves it.
    3. He no longer screams bloody murder before nap times. He usually goes down pretty easily now. Thank God!
    4. Watching him in his jumperoo is the best ever! He is hilarious.

    1. For some reason he wakes up only an hour or two after falling asleep for the night screaming crying! The only way to calm him down is to nurse him.
    2. He still wakes up at least three times a night (sometimes as much as five times!). I’m exhausted.
    3. He’s going through a fussy period lately. He protests every time we change his diaper. He needs our attention 24/7. Trying to get anything done while he’s awake is a challenge.

    Oh these babies are so much work but so worth it, right?

  21. Hahaha. I loved reading this. Rowan is one funny girl! xo, rv

  22. I’m not a mom yet, but I can give you some advice on the eating part. I’m a pediatric dentist :)….It is very important to encourage your little girl to munch on different consistencies of food like crackers, apples, carrots, cookies, etc. for healthy bone growth and development :)……..p.s. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!

  23. I’m not a mama, but I hope to be someday. It’s so refreshing how real and honest you are about what it’s like. Thank you!

  24. aw the good thing is that the ups outweigh the downs! That double hug is adorable!! Ginger kind of does something similar with me and Matthew. She’ll jump into his arms and then start licking me. It’s cute! And yes, I know Ginger is a dog and Rowan is a human but for now that’s the mommy that I am 🙂 haha! Have a great weekend Jen!!! xox

  25. Jen, as far as time out is concerned, we use the corner by the door. Lily is now 2 and we still use it when needed. i never wanted to use the crib because i didn’t want to confuse sleep space with time out space. as far as keeping her there, just stay with her for a bit and keep telling her it’s time out. it takes a while but eventually they get it.
    the hitting and swatting… Lily went through it. i would just grab her hand and tell her “no”. flat out “no”. i always try to change things into a positive with her but when it’s no, it’s no.
    you will see that the older they get, the less they want to get in their strollers. just be patient and hang in there.

  26. I laugh hearing babies laugh. Nobody can laugh like a baby.
    Just a thought on the eating, you mentioned she likes to drink. How about making some nutritious soup?

  27. We use to put our 13 months old daughter in her crib when we need to get dressed in the morning… she likes to be in there for a bit. But I can’t say that she sleeps all night in there…!

  28. Oh #5 of the downs … I can’t even count the number of times I’ve left a store/restaurant/public place all sweaty and stressed because of my kids acting out … and they are usually well behaved! Just remember the ups usually outweigh the downs in the end … (but ARE super-stressful in the moment!)

  29. Time outs are so hard to get started. When I started using them around 20 months with my daughter I had the same concerns with using her crib as the spot. I finally decided on using our back up booster seat. It was a cheapy one we had bought when we were on a trip and realized there was no highchair or booster at my sister’s house. The booster had never been used after the trip. It was just sitting in the closet. I placed it in the corner of our living room and used the strap to keep her in place the first few weeks of time out. She’s now three and we no longer need to strap her in, she walks over and sits down until her time is up. She’s not always happy about it, but it worked.

  30. I think discipline is the absolute hardest part of parenting…I started using time-outs with my first two at 18 months…it “kinda” worked. Mostly I just use a stern voice and distraction at that age. I used Dr. Sears Discipline book and that helped…also Toddler 411 has some good ideas in it. Now that I’m on my 3rd kid I think that I have mellowed out a little bit….in a good way though. I just try and remember that they even though they are little they still have thoughts and feelings of their own. I always try and let them explain how they view each situation and how they feel about it. I have never used the crib as punishment. I always choose a boring place in the hallway or corner and that’s where they sit. It usually works best as just a place for them to cool down and think…the key is always consistency. 🙂

  31. Camille •

    She will not stop insisting on her favorite foods unless you stop offering them to her.
    Also, when she doesn’t want to eat anything you’ve prepared she knows you are going to go search the cupboards and fridge for other options for her. Don’t do it! If you have already given her a wide variety on her plate and she won’t eat it, take it away. If she gets upset you can re-offer it but if she refuses again just tell her meal time is all done. Then don’t give her anything to eat until the next mealtime. Toddlers make cause and effect connections very quickly. Consistency is very important.

  32. jen, i love this new post. we all have ups and downs of parenting but you don’t see it shared too often on blogs. your list made me smile. very relatable! the “downs” can be so hard and so hard to figure out what works for your family. certainly, one thing may work for some but doesn’t work for others. we didn’t use the crib as a time out but i have friends who did. mostly i didn’t want it to have any affect on sleep because we already had issues there! for time outs we would sit on the bottom step. i usually had to sit there too but eventually my children knew this was a time out and a place to think. i always tried to have patience and i never called them “bad” i always said your making bad choices because i didn’t want them to think they were bad children. it’s hard, but i tried to keep it positive. if they were making a bad decision i would say let’s not do this let’s come over here and do this. for example, we call jess” happy hands” because if she gets a crayon she runs to the wall and colors. we take her hand and say no jess we don’t color on walls we color on paper and we go get paper. i think (i hope) she gets it now! i’ve also learned disciple can take time. after a few rounds they get used to the new routine of things.
    honestly jen, you’re a great mom and you don’t have anything to worry about!!

  33. Hey Jen

    I wanted to give you a heads about a great article I read in the wall street journal today! It’s a little light bulb moment for me as a mommy… It’s Called ” Why French parents are superior” it’s sooooo good, talks about the balance french women have, saying a firm NO to their kids, etc… anyway, I preordered her book on Amazon “Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting”

    It sounds like it’s up there with Love and Logic, the book I recommended the other week. Can’t wait to read this new one! Anyway just thought I would share what is bound to be an interesting read!

    I love your YMCA idea, I will have to look into that! I want to start swimming as a work out and the added bonus of our 15 month old having a play date of sorts while I do that, would be awesome for her! Thanks for the great idea!

    have a great weekend!


    aka @GrayDayShop and tiptoethrough.blogspot

  34. A great book about feeding is “Child of Mine” by Ellyn Satter. My son just turned 3 and is now a great eater but when he was younger he would pretty much just eat bread and o’s. The book totally put my mind at ease and is full of great information.
    Love the ups and downs feature!!!!

  35. I am glad that you are looking both the good and bad sides equally. I wish I had your parenting skills.

  36. I totally understand where you’re coming from with eating (or not eating…). I just started juicing veggie/fruit combos for my girls and they drink it right up! I bought a relatively cheap black and decker juicer from amazon and just throw in whatever we have on hand and they spend all day chowing down on liquid green! Highly recommend it (for them AND for you! Yum!) Thanks for sharing your struggles, it helps to hear others having the same struggles I do!

  37. Sarah Jump •

    My little girl is 2 and a half and will eat a whole lot of what she likes (ham sandwiches) but pretty much nothing that she isn’t familiar with. It used to drive me crazy but eventually you start to realise that they really will eat when they are hungry and the more you push something the more they will run from it, quite literally sometimes. The food that you eat, and that you want your child to eat will always be in your house and your lifestyle and eventually they start to get this and want to be a part of it as well.

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Hi, I'm Jen!

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