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Toddler Anger and How to Redirect It - Dreams and Caffeine

Toddler Anger and How to Redirect It

Before children, I wouldn’t have thought a post would exist about adorable & funny toddlers and anger.  However, as a parent in the trenches of toddlerhood, toddler anger and I have become BFFs.  I have been blessed with two amazing children that are sweet, loving, cute, and super funny.  They are also both strong-willed and determined.  Once something doesn’t go according to their plan… toddler anger rears its ugly head.  Sometimes, it’s not a huge deal and it is easy to redirect.  Then there are other times, that is not the case.  So, with a ton of trials and FAILS, I have come up with two techniques that work very well for my two kiddos, and thought I would pass them along to you.

1.  Give a Hug

Stop everything, get down at your child’s level and give them a big hug.  I am talking about a full contact, full of love and understanding, kind of hug.  Sometimes, especially when a toddler is emotionally charged, they just need to stop and see that you are not the enemy and that you are trying to help them.  It also stops the situation from escalating.  Once things have settled down, you can talk with your child about their feelings and provide options to help them control their emotions.  Of course, consider the child’s age and abilities when providing options.

The hug option has served me well, especially when my daughter had a limited vocabulary.  It was like a reset button to the situation and then we could give it another go, maybe from a different angle.  As she has gotten older, and her vocabulary and cognitive abilities have increased, I tend to go with the second technique first, and then end with hug to keep things positive.

2.  Smell Your Flower, Blow Out the Candle

Yes, that is what I meant to type.  This is a breathing exercise to help relax and calm your child.  I was introduced to this technique by a teacher I worked with.  Basically, the phrase, “smell your flower, blow out the candle,” is used to help the child understand what you need them to do.  A lot of children at this age won’t understand if you just simply tell them to relax and breath.  However, by utilizing the statement above, they have a better understanding of what you’re asking them to do.

I suggest getting down at their level and demonstrating.  Take your hand and hold it under your nose (like you are holding a flower) and take a deep breath in to “smell the flower,” then move that same hand out in front of your face (like you are holding a candle) and “blow out the candle” to exhale.  Have the child do this exercise three times or until the child is calm.  Once the anger is under control, and the child is calm enough to talk, proceed to discuss the situation that just occurred.  Then I end with a hug!

Research & Results

These two techniques have served me well with dealing with toddler anger.  The American Psychological Association states that, “Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help soothe angry feelings,” (http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/controlling-anger.aspx).

We all know that when we’re angry it’s because something is not going as we wanted it to.  As adults, it is easier to control our feelings when this happens, because we have had years of practice.  A toddler, on the other hand, is just learning how to navigate these new situations and feelings, so it can sometimes be overwhelming.  Remember, it is important for you as the parent to stay calm and know this is not about you.  It is your responsibility to guide your child through their emotions and help them learn to deal with them.  The earlier a child learns to deal with their emotions, the better equipped they will be to deal with life’s ups and downs.

I hope this helps those in the trenches and maybe prepares those getting ready to enter.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week is off to a great start!



Goodbye Binky - A Success Story - Dreams and Caffeine

Goodbye Binky… a Success Story

Yes, you read that correctly, we have successfully gotten rid of the binky.  I have to admit, it’s kind of a sad day, another milestone is met with success, but it just means that my tiny little baby girl is growing up.  I’m not quite sure how we went from the hospital for delivery to her now going without a pacifier… where has the time gone?!

As you will remember (if not, check out this post), a few weeks ago I posted a list of ideas of how to get rid of the binky.  It was full of various fun ideas to say goodbye to the binky… hopefully making the transition not too traumatic for my little one.  After much discussion, we decided to go with the Build-a-Bear Workshop.  We felt Miss Sassy Pants would have the most fun with that idea.

After we had the idea, we set the timeline… one week.  This would give me time to plan out a fun-filled day as well as to spend the week talking with Miss Sassy Pants about getting rid of her binky.  During the discussions I had with her, I just let her know that it was time to get rid of the binky, because she was such a big girl.  Now I do want to point out that Miss Sassy Pants only used a binky for nap time and bedtime and it was not allowed out of the crib.  So if your child is using the pacifier more frequently, you might want to reduce its use before taking it entirely away.

Saturday arrived and we were ready to go.  We of course wanted to keep it as relaxed as possible to prevent any additional stress for her.  I also had her pick out her four favorite binkies to put inside her bear that she was going to build.  I put them in a special bag which went in her backpack, giving her full control of the situation.

When we arrived at the Build-a-Bear workshop, I let the very helpful employee know what we were doing.  We took lots of pictures throughout the process… mainly because Miss Sassy Pants loves posing and I figured anything to keep her in a good mood would be beneficial.

Miss Sassy Pants selected Tender Heart (a Care Bear) and headed over to the stuffing station.  The lady controlling the stuffer was absolutely amazing.  She offered a little cloth heart to include in Tender Heart’s belly along with her binkies.  She had Miss Sassy Pants kiss each of her binkies as she put them in the bear and then before putting the cloth heart in, she asked if she could rub it on Miss Sassy Pant’s cheeks so Tender Heart would have a smile like hers… to say the least, my daughter absolutely loved the idea!

After Tender Heart was all put together with favorite binkies inside, we let Miss Sassy Pants go shopping for an outfit and any other items to wanted for her special bear.  In the end, she selected the cutest blue jeans, blue t-shirt, and red rain boots.  She also got a little brush to keep Tender Heart’s fur nice and fluffy and a birth certificate.  All in all, it was a super fun activity that she really enjoyed.

Once we were on our way home, we talked more about why we did the Build-a-Bear workshop and why we put her favorite binkies inside Tender Heart.  I didn’t want to lose the focus.

The first night was a little difficult because she thought she could get the binkies out of Tender Heart when she wanted them.  It was heartbreaking, but my husband and I both stayed strong and just comforted her and explained why she couldn’t have binkies anymore.  The second night was much easier!  She still needed some comforting, but she never asked for a binky!  We are still binky free and falling asleep has gotten much easier… almost back to normal.

Here are some suggestions that worked for us when getting rid of the binky

  1. Reduce the use of the binky prior to removing it all together.
  2. Make it fun… find something your kiddo will enjoy, hopefully making it less traumatic.
  3. Take the time to talk to them about it… explain why it’s time to get rid of the binky and how and when you’re going to get rid of the binky.
  4. Try to make the first day as stress-free as possible. The event of getting rid of the binky is stressful enough.
  5. Be patient, provide lots of comfort, and stay strong. As a parent, it can be so heartbreaking to see your child hurt, but in the end it’s in their best interest.

That’s it folks!  Happy Thursday!


Potty Training and Fancy Resturants - Dreams and Caffeine

Potty Training and Fancy Restaurants

Well my friends, today I am here to tell you the tale of potty training while dining in a fancy restaurant in hopes that you may learn from my mistakes and never have this happen to you.  About a week ago, my friend called and invited our family out for her birthday.  A fancy new restaurant opened and she thought it would be fun to celebrate together, so I marked it on the calendar and went about my day.

Miss Sassy Pants is pretty much potty trained with the exception of nighttime, so dining out is really not a big deal.  Once she wakes up in the morning, we take off the diaper and puts on undies for the rest of the day, minus naps.  Even if we leave the house, she wears her undies and I pack her little potty in the back of the car along with a slew of other potty training must haves.  We’ve dined out many times and have never had an issue.  If she has to use the restroom while we are out, I just run her out to the car and take care of business then go back in and finish doing whatever we were doing.  This is a great routine, unless you forget something.

About an hour before we had to leave I started getting the kiddos ready to go to dinner.  After getting them dressed, I got all of my potty necessities together and organized.  When my husband got home, I had Miss Sassy Pants use her potty, and as I was helping her pull up her pants, my husband suggested using a diaper to ensure we wouldn’t have an accident at the restaurant, which I thought was a great idea. We then grabbed the diaper bag with the kiddo’s stuff and headed out the door, forgetting her portable potty.

Once we arrived at the restaurant, I quickly got set up and began feeding Moose his bottle.  I couldn’t believe how well I had planned everything… it was working out quite nicely.  Everyone ordered dinner while I finished feeding Moose and just as I was setting him down in his chair our meal arrived.  The food was divine, and even Miss Sassy Pants was eating well!

FYI… you should never pat yourself on the back until the job is completed!  The mood of the restaurant was great and the view was impeccable, and since we were celebrating a birthday, we couldn’t pass up dessert.  As everyone was finishing up, Miss Sassy Pants said she had to use the restroom.  As I was getting up to take her out to the car, I realized we had forgotten her potty at home and she had a diaper on (making using a public restroom slightly harder).  Just as panic was starting to set in, my girlfriend jumped up and said she would help me.

As we were finishing up in the restroom, I (being ever so careful) dropped the diaper on the floor.  I quickly went to grab the extra undies out of the diaper bag and realized I had left them on the bed where I had been packing the diaper bag.  Not only did I forget a change of undies, I also forgot to put in an extra diaper. I decided I had nothing to worry about, that I would just have her pull up her pants up with nothing else on and we would quickly finish up and head for home.  After all, we were only going to be another 10-15 minutes!

Just as we were finishing our dessert… IT HAPPENED!  Miss Sassy Pants looked at me in a panic and said she had to use the potty again, but before I could even get up, I heard the sound of a faucet pouring, not in a sink, but on the beautiful restaurant floor followed up with an “ah oh” in her adorable little voice.  I calmly looked over to see a ginormous puddle on the floor and sat frozen for a second.

Luckily, mommy mode kicked in and I quickly tossed Miss Sassy Pants to my husband to take her out to the car and change her, then I loaded up Moose in his car seat, and I waved over the waitress to request items to clean up the mess and disinfect so the staff wouldn’t have to do it.

So here are some suggestions to those in the midst of potty training and would like to dine out:

And lastly, stay calm, write the incident in their baby book, don’t forget to laugh, and leave a GENEROUS tip for the waitress whether or not you know them!  To all of you in the trenches of potty training… good luck!

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A Challenge for Moms Dreams and Caffeine

A Challenge for Moms

Let me paint you a picture…

It was a hot sunny day and my toddler (under 2 and half years old), my infant (under 6 months old), and I were all tired from playing outside and had come inside for some nice cold water and relaxation on the couch while the fan and breeze from open windows cooled us down. I was holding Moose and Miss Sassy Pants was running around our living room playing and screaming and having a good old time. Eventually, she found one of Moose’s toys that had fallen off his rocker and was playing with it. It was a soft stuffed snail that had a rattle in it and ribbon that was sewn to it with Velcro on the end. Soon, Miss Sassy Pants started playing keep away with me and Moose. She would run over to us, dangle the snail in front of us and I would pretend to try to get it, and when I would miss, she would scream with delight and run away. We did this for quite some time and then I snagged the snail and started playing keep away from her. Eventually this game evolved and I started spinning the snail, letting it wind around my finger, then spinning it the opposite direction it all while Miss Sassy Pants would stick her finger it in causing both her and Moose to giggle. We played this game until daddy arrived home. It wasn’t until later that night, after everyone had gone to bed that I was relaxing on the couch and I thought of this moment we had created that afternoon. It was such a pure moment of mommyhood bliss! I started to tear up when I thought how much fun we had playing a silly little game and that’s when it hit me…. I am finally where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I get to be a mommy to two amazing kiddos and a wife to my adorable hubby!

We are so busy making sure our houses are clean, groceries are bought and put away, dinner is ready, paying bills, helping our little ones grow up, and sticking to a schedule that we sometimes forget to stop and enjoy these precious moments that make mommyhood so amazing. I am realizing, only too quickly, how fast time flies. I can’t believe I have a baby and a toddler…I swear, just yesterday I was begging God to grant me a child all while googling what to do about infertility (Infertility…My Journey to Mommyhood coming soon), and that day, I was privileged enough to have a moment with my kiddos. I am very humbled and thankful to my husband for figuring out a way for me to get to stay at home and raise our precious littles.

As life passes by, I am beginning to recognize the importance of these moments and how special they are to enjoy and I am thankful for each and every one of them. These kinds of moments make me realize I was made to be a mom. Every time I hear my name called, or a cry that only I can soothe, or a snuggle meant just for mommy, my heart melts with joy. I will be the first to admit that sometimes these moments get lost in the hustle and bustle of life and the pure exhaustion from being a mom. So today, mommies, I challenge you to throw away your list of to-dos and grab your littles and go make a moment!

Cheers to Mommyhood,