Lit Love Preview: Tantrum Edition

I’m posting about a book before I finish it because I want to see if anyone has any more recommendations for me! Parenting books are something I’ve been a little intimidated by, so thus far in my parenting journey (all 19 months of it) I’ve avoided them. I guess it’s just such a vast category of reading that I was overwhelmed, and up until this point, most books that were aimed at Ella’s age level were about sleep-training and she’s (thankfully) been a pretty good sleeper since around 6 weeks. So I figured ignorance was bliss as to how much I was screwing up my child, and we went on our merry way. 


But in the last few months, Ella’s become……a toddler. And man was I woefully under-prepared for what that would bring. Refusing to eat, refusing to nap, refusing to stay in a stroller or a shopping cart. And the meltdowns. Oh, the meltdowns. I knew that terrible twos was a thing, but terrible ones???


I finally realized I needed to get things under control when we noticed that we were bending to Ella’s every wish and order rather than rock the boat and cause a potential tantrum. I think it was the night I realized that I was actually putting jelly beans on her highchair tray as part of her dinner that did it for me.


I don’t mind being flexible, but Ella can’t grow up thinking that she’s the boss. That has to be one of those “entitled generation” traits you keep reading about that will make your kids unemployable. So I’m waving the white flag. Or not white, what color means, “I don’t give up but I admit that I don’t know what I am doing?”
I can always count on my friend Lauren for some toddler solidarity and she recommended, The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp. It was published originally back in 1970, so it’s been around for a while but it seems to be reasonable stuff so far. The premise of his book is that toddlers are not just mini adults or mini versions of older kids; they have primitive brains that are dominated by emotion and impulse rather than balanced by reason and logic (that seems very accurate based on a 30-second observation of any toddler). So the way that we communicate with toddlers needs to take that into account. So when you hear parents say things like, “Johnny, you need to share with your friend. It’s his turn. Give the ball back and say you’re sorry,” that does pretty much nothing except make the parent feel like they tried. 

I am still in the portion of the book that explains toddler’s brain development (which is actually really interesting) and have yet to get to the part that actually explains how to communicate, but the author keeps referring to toddlers as “little cavemen,” so I felt perfectly reasonable telling Ella, “cereal. good. eat.” this morning. If she ends up entering kindergarten talking like a caveman you’ll know that I never actually finished this book.
Anymore recommendations for me? I’ve already got How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, And How to Listen so Kids Will Talk,” on my list. Help me help Ella turn out to be a kind and pleasant adult who doesn’t demand fruit snacks as a bribe for everyday tasks!