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I kind of dropped the ball with my Mind + Body After Baby updates, huh?  That’s because, well, time suddenly felt like it was moving at the speed of light, and I could never remember to take our monthly pictures. Also, I felt like I had nothing new to say about my ‘mind and body after baby’ because after eight months or so, things pretty much went back to normal.

 

But now – I think it’s time for an update about Mr. Henry.

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Henry is such a joy.  He’s funny and friendly, happy and curious, and craaaaazy.  Oh man.  Henry is so nuts!  He is not a sit-still-and-look-around kind of baby.  He’s been walking now for five months (how?!) and is very, very good at running, darting, dodging, dashing, and escaping.  People always say things like, “Man, he’s nimble!” or “Future soccer player!”  And I kind of nod and smile before I have to turn around and sprint after him.

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There’s so much to say!  I think I’ll break it into categories.

 

Sleeping:  Henry sleeps from 7:15 PM to 6:15 AM every night.  He rarely wakes up in the middle of the night.  I don’t remember the last time that I had to go up into his room in the dark.  He takes one nap, beginning around 10 AM, and sleeps for 2 to 3 hours.  He’s a very, very good sleeper – something that I never thought I’d say when he was four months old and up 4 – 6 times a night.  I love that he’s down to one nap!  One nap is soooo much better than multiple short naps. His naps are my only chance to work, and I manage to get a lot done while he sleeps.

 

Eating:  Food is… okay.  Henry is just not super food-focused, as some other kids are.  This can make mealtimes very frustrating because I know he should be eating and needs to eat, but sometimes, he’s just not interested at that moment (and is then screaming for a sandwich in thirty minutes). He gets better with solids every single day, and I’m no longer super nervous that he’s going to choke on harder foods.

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He eats three square meals and two snacks.  His favorite foods include:  eggs, hummus, potatoes, broccoli, smoothies, peanut butter sandwiches, sunflower butter straight from the jar, and beans.  We give him a DHA, B Vitamin, and D3 supplement every day per the advice of his doctor.  He loves to take his supplements and sticks his tongue out to say, “Ahhhh!”

 

Words:  Learning to talk has been SO MUCH FUN.  I thought that Henry might be a little delayed on language because he walked so early, but nope – he chats up a storm.  The words really picked up in the last two weeks or so. 

He can say:  dada, mama, baba, ball, cat, dog, meow, hi, bye bye, rock, bird, block, up, no, and duck.  He can also say the following words in “Henry speak” (i.e. I understand him but a stranger probably would not): applesauce (“app)”, fish (“ffff”), two (“ta ta ta” – as part of me saying one, two, three), and diaper (“dip”).  In terms of non-verbal communication, he can wave bye, blow a kiss, give a kiss, give the sign for “up,” and give a hug.  I can tell that he gets easily frustrated when he wants something, and we can’t understand him.  That’s normally when this happens…

 

Behavior Issues:  About six weeks ago, I started to see the first signs of toddler-ness.  You know.. temper tantrums, hitting, and biting.  All of these things are completely normal developmentally, but man – it is so hard to handle, because the behaviors frustrate the heck out of me, I don’t want him to hurt anyone, and it’s hard to watch your child be upset.

 

I’m working hard on being the parent that I want to be… not necessary the parent that I regress to when I’m cranky, tired, or worn out.  Especially how it relates to stuff like hitting and spitting.  Henry would hit when he was happy, sad, mad, bored, tired, or excited.  He would smack me hard in the face or hit the dogs (I was more concerned about the dogs than me – our dogs are so forgiving… but you never know).  After weeks of quickly correcting the behavior with a stern “No hitting!” and a mad face, the behavior was only increasing, and Henry suddenly started to mimic me with non-stop “no, no, no” to absolutely everything.  I realized then how often I was saying, “NO X, Y, Z!”  So I’ve decided to try a gentler technique and have been saying lots of “Ouch, that hurts momma; mommas are for hugging, not hitting.”  We’ve been doing this for a few days, and I wouldn’t say that he’s been decreasing his smacking, but at least I don’t feel like the No No No Queen.  You know what I mean?  (I’d love other parents to weigh in on this issue… I really value advice and feedback.)

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Oh, and regarding the bottles… Remember I asked a few weeks back about getting Henry off bottles? So many of you said not to stress out about it and to let him naturally give them up… I decided to follow your advice.  So Henry’s still using the bottles, but I’ve got him down to only three a day before naps.  That’s a big improvement! 

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Fun:  On a lighter note, here’s a few of Henry’s favorite things:  going to swim school, reading books, going to the park and going down the big boy slides, hanging out with the ladies at childcare at the gym, playing with the cat, digging in the dirt, playing in his sandbox, cleaning alongside his momma (he has a baby vacuum and likes to mop the floors with a rag), and brushing his teeth. 

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I love Henry so very much, and I love being his mom.  It’s so much fun.  He’s such a joy to be around, even during challenging moments.  He pushes me to be a better person and mother.  Being a parent is everything I thought it would be and more, from the quiet, sweet moments when we’re cuddling before bed to the big, crazy moments when we’re laughing and screaming happily.  Henry has helped me see the world through his eyes, for that, I’m eternally grateful.

 

Now… if only I could find time to shower.  Smile

{ 86 comments }

 

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  • Mandy @ Eat Pray Grow August 8, 2013, 12:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing this – I’ve been following your updates since you were pregnant with Henry, and now that I’m pregnant myself (for the first time), it’s nice to look ahead and see where others are down the road! I don’t know how I would handle the “toddler testing” behavior, but I think you have the right idea with a gentle, firm approach and redirecting to positive behavior. Keep up the good work, mama!

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 8, 2013, 12:51 pm

      Yay! Congrats!

      Reply
  • Tricia August 8, 2013, 12:53 pm

    Caitlin! I’m a school psychologist with tons of preschool experience. This post was right up my alley. I’m also expecting my first baby and I realize that how staff deals with a child at school/daycare is very different than how a parent deals with a child at home most of the time… but it doesn’t need to be! You’re giving so much attention to the negative behavior. You have to play up the positive alternative… i.e. if he hits, you say something like, “If you’re mad, stomp your feet.” Or whatever works for you or the situation. You have to give him a replacement for those feelings. But it is all completely normal :) As long as you’re not taking the awful approach of hitting/biting him back like some parents, then you’re all good :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 8, 2013, 12:55 pm

      Oh I like the idea of stomping my feet to show him what’s okay to do when he’s angry.

      What do you think I should do when he hits the dogs and laughs? Ignore?? Redirect??

      Reply
      • Tricia August 8, 2013, 5:22 pm

        I would ignore his behavior and shower the dog with positive attention. However if that becomes amusing for Henry, I would ignore it altogether and redirect with the feet stomping, etc as normal. Also when he stomps his feet or whatever instead, validate the emotion and praise the heck out of the positive response.

        Reply
    • Jamie @ A Healthy J.D. August 8, 2013, 1:25 pm

      “As long as you’re not taking the awful approach of hitting/biting him back like some parents, then you’re all good” Omg, parents really do this!? Wow…

      Thanks for sharing Caitlin! As a mom to an 8 month old little man who, like Henry, is non stop energy (he’s starting to walk already too!); I love Henry updates because I see a look into my not so distant future. And your advice (plus welcome of advice from other moms) is always so helpful.

      Reply
      • Tricia August 8, 2013, 5:19 pm

        Jamie, yes!!! I’ve seen it first hand and cringe every single time. I’ve also witnessed a mom who had her older child return a bite from a younger child. Wtf will that do?!

        Reply
    • Stacy @ Every Little Thing August 15, 2013, 11:04 pm

      I take the same approach as a social worker that works with small children. Also, use positive language so you don’t have to say NO all the time! “Hands to yourself” or “quiet hands” or “hands down” or whatever tells him what TO do, not what NOT to do. Also, NO attention for the “hitting then laughing” behavior. Take the dog and walk away and praise the dog for keeping “paws to himself” – seriously! :)

      After doing this, when Henry is calm and/or away from the situation, talking LOTS about how hitting hurts and tying it to feelings.

      Reply
  • Jessica August 8, 2013, 12:57 pm

    He is getting so big!! What a cutie!!

    I have a 15 month old and am (is it bad to say?!?) relieved to hear that Henry is doing a lot of the same behaviors my son is–that we struggle with. My son does the hitting stuff too, and just like Henry it can be when he is upset or happy. He also likes to throw his food. We used to ignore the bad behaviors, thinking giving no attention positive or negative would help to end it, but it didn’t. At our 15 month appt our Pediatrician encouraged us to start doing time outs when his behavior is bad, and to ignore tantrums. She says consistency is key, and it may take up to 30-40 (!!!) times of reprimanding him for him to realize not to do the behavior. So we are trying time outs, and maybe it is helping a teensy bit so far. But honestly I do believe this is somewhat normal behavior for their age and so I try to not get too anxious or frustrated about it and just be consistent in addressing it so he hopefully will realize not to hit. Surely they will outgrow this? Right?! lol.

    Reply
  • SaraJoan August 8, 2013, 1:04 pm

    I know I read somewhere, early in my parenting so around 2002-03, that at this age telling a childe don’t do this or no doesn’t work because they haven’t fully grasped the idea of negatives. Don’t and No are just noises that don’t yet have meaning. So instead of saying “Don’t hit,” we encourage our kids by saying “Use gentle touches!” Instead of focusing on the unwanted behavior, it reinforces the desired behavior. And then “catch” him doing the desired behavior, being gentle with you and the dogs. Just my 2¢. :-)

    Reply
  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut August 8, 2013, 1:04 pm

    Have you read The Happiness Project? There is a section where the author discusses effective ways to speak to children, like using more effective approaches than saying No like you mentioned. I found it to be very interesting and I don’t even have children yet!

    Reply
  • Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries August 8, 2013, 1:06 pm

    Love this. :) Thanks for always being so open, honest, and REAL about it all! Motherhood is truly the best but also the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve already learned so much and feel like Hunter has helped me grow in more ways than I knew possible in four months.

    Reply
  • Julie August 8, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Haha I remember when my daughter was Henry’s age – it got to the point where I knew when she was doing something she wasn’t supposed to because she would say “no no no!” while she was doing it! :P

    Reply
  • Dori August 8, 2013, 1:13 pm

    Henry is adorable! Your post reminds me of a story my mom likes to tell all the time: When I was 2 I stopped eating, and basically didn’t eat for a while year. She brought me to the doctor concerned, and the doctor told her not to worry. He said that when I needed to eat, I would eat. And then I turned into an excellent eater. So don’t worry!

    Reply
  • Stephanie August 8, 2013, 1:13 pm

    Thanks, as always, for sharing! As I look forward to becoming a parent soon, these are my favorite posts!

    Reply
  • Rebecca August 8, 2013, 1:23 pm

    What a cutie!!

    Max is a bit older (almost 20 months) and he never likes to sit still ever. Except last night during a big thunderstorm where he sat on our bed clutching his blankie going “whooooaaaa” everytime he heard thunder. He just sat there staring.

    Reply
  • Tiffany August 8, 2013, 1:26 pm

    I definitely do not have all the answers, but have gone through similar things with my daughter (she’s just turning 2 now). We told her that it hurts and you need to say sorry and give a hug. Then we make a big deal over her saying sorry and giving a hug. She’s a little older though so not sure if that works at 14 months! She also went through a phase of saying NO to everything a few months ago, but it went away on its own. Just a phase!

    Reply
  • Jesse @OutToLunchC August 8, 2013, 1:27 pm

    Henry is so cute and such a great sleeper! I really like to idea of redirecting the emotions into another actions. I think its really important to express all of your emotions and not label some emotions as “bad” and others as “good”.

    Reply
  • Emily @ The Good Era August 8, 2013, 1:28 pm

    This is so sweet! I’ve recently started to feel the beginnings of “baby fever” and these types of posts make me SO excited :) Glad to hear Henry (and Mommy!) are doing so well

    Reply
  • Kendra August 8, 2013, 1:34 pm

    Love the update! Henry is so stinking CUTE! We use 1-2-3 Magic with our toddler and it works very well. It also teaches the parent how to remain calm and to avoid “adult tantrums.” I don’t think there is any special secret to make the tantrums stop there are just tips and tricks for how to handle them for both your child and yourself. I’m sure you are doing a great job!

    Reply
  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun August 8, 2013, 1:35 pm

    What a precious little boy! I can see he brings your family so much joy!! I love the stage he is in…they want to get into everything but they are so inquisitive and so much fun! Enjoy!!

    Reply
  • heather August 8, 2013, 1:37 pm

    We got a set of books that I love with our first and are using them with our second. Each book talks about an emotion, Sad, Happy, Scared, and Angry. I especially like the “Angry” book because the message is that it is okay to feel angry or frustrated, but it not okay to hurt others in our anger. You’d be surprised how quickly a toddler picks up on the concept. We started reading the books regularly when our first was one and have already started around 11 months with our second (now almost 14 months). When the baby acts out aggressively, I look her in the eyes and say “not nice” and redirect her. We also say “hand are not for hitting” or other phrases, rather than “no”. We really try to limit how much we say “no” because we want there to be power in the word and feel using it too much makes it meaningless in a lot of ways. As for tantrums, we pretty much do not engage a child throwing a fit. If we are in a safe place, we ignore it. At first signs we might be headed towards a fit, we try to redirect first. When it is obvious things are going to go downhill we verbally communicate that when the child calms down, then we will listen/give attention. We do not listen to unkind voices or words. If we are not somewhere safe (public) we will remove the child to somewhere safe, but not speak to her or any way acknowledge the behavior more than necessary to get them somewhere safe. We don’t scream or otherwise punish in the moment because we feel that it escalates the situation because once a baby, toddler, small child, has lost their mind there is no reasoning to be had until calmness is restored. We have always had people comment on our oldest’s behavior because she isn’t a fit thrower, is not aggressive, and very rarely raises her voice. People tend to just attribute it to her having an agreeable personality, which honestly is a bit annoying because her dad and I have worked very diligently to model the behavior we want from her (we don’t yell, hit, scream, or throw fits ourselves) and we have diligently and consistently responded to negative behavior. Our kid is awesome, but she is a normal kid!! LOL. We also try to keep tabs on triggers. Our baby has some very specific things the will trigger a fit, number 1 being hunger. Our oldest’s biggest trigger was over stimulation. We also acknowledge that sometimes it is our fault (planned too much, didn’t allow for a nap) and in those cases we really try to be very understanding. Now, the youngest is just under 14 months so I’ll have to report back in a few years as to if our current model works for her (she is definitely a different personality than our first) or if we have to try something new, but so far she is responding and negative behavior is very rare with her. Although, she got bit yesterday so we are kind of expecting her to bite someone any day now.

    Reply
  • ErikaMC August 8, 2013, 1:39 pm

    We have been going through the hitting stage too – here’s what we are doing… depending on the actual hitting situation we either do a time out (no longer than a minute) and then discuss it and talk about his feelings as to why he hit, always turn our attention to the “victim” and not giving his negative action the attention or sometimes we just ignore it. The hitting is getting to be less and less but I’m sure we’ll have other issues come up :)

    Reply
  • Grace August 8, 2013, 1:51 pm

    Henry is such a cutie! I confess, I read your blog and other blogs mainly for the babies… maybe because I’ve got a toddler and that’s where my mindset is? Henry reminds me so much of one of my BBF’s little boys- physically advanced and always on the go!

    As for the hitting, I would recommend reading some childhood development books, because it’s really helpful to remember that at his age, he doesn’t have the mental capacity to control impulses. Behavioral control starts at age 18 months (at the earliest!) and continues to 3-4 years old. So at Henry’s age, he literally can’t stop himself from hitting. Redirection is the key at that age. “No” isn’t a good tool – another blog I love said that “no” leave a big hole to be filled with another undesirable behavior. :) Giving a suggestion on a positive behavior to replace the negative one is much more effective (stomping feet, giving hugs, giving high-fives, “gentle touches” etc. are all good ideas). Your reactions and level of patience will have the biggest impact on him while he navigates the toddler years. I love the blog nurshable.com – she has fantastic, concrete and practical advice on gentle parenting for toddlers.

    Another great resource for eating is “Child of Mine”- it’s a great book that lays out the framework of how to create a good eater w/out setting up your kid with bad food habits. I love it, and I can’t recommend it enough! Remember, too, that toddlers regulate their food intake over a week, so if he has a day when he doesn’t eat a lot it’s not a big deal at all.

    And a dumb question – you say that he’s down to one nap, but then you say he takes three bottles a day, before naps…? Did you mean he takes a bottle in the morning, before his nap, and before bedtime? That’s when my daughter nurses.

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 8, 2013, 2:01 pm

      Oh I guess that was confusing. Upon waking, before nap and before bed.

      Thanks for the resources!

      Reply
    • K August 9, 2013, 4:20 am

      Grace – I love that you love Nurshable, I’ve literally read every post!

      My LO is only ten months old but something I’m hoping to hold on to is that toddlers don’t throw tantrums on purpose, they throw tantrums because they don’t have the words or coping skills to deal with what they’re feeling. With big highs come big lows and I hope that I’ll be able to deal with the ups and downs of toddlerhood with empathy and understanding.

      Reply
  • Erica August 8, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Toddlers are tough – strong willed and indepenent and I agree that saying “No” all the time doesn’t feel productive!

    My husband and I watched this video on Positive Discipline about 2 months ago and we are still working on it, but it’s a process for all of us. It’s an hour long, but I really recommend it!
    http://www.isisparenting.com/page/onlineclasses#posdisc

    Reply
  • Emily K @ Leaf Parade August 8, 2013, 2:01 pm

    This is such a lovely post. I’m not a mother myself and I sometimes have trouble relating to parents when they speak about parenthood. However, hearing you talk about Henry makes it easy for me to imagine loving another person as much as a mother does a child. It’s a beautiful thing :)

    -Emily K.

    Reply
  • Lee August 8, 2013, 2:15 pm

    He’s such a cutie!

    I’m 13 weeks pregnant now and posts like this are definitely interesting to read as I imagine myself down the road with a child.

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 8, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Yay!!!

      Reply
  • Jackie August 8, 2013, 2:16 pm

    I don’t know if this is common, but the biting & hitting has tapered off with my 17-month old in the past month or so. And we didn’t really do anything different. (We’ve always done the “when you hit mama, it hurts” approach.) So maybe give it a couple months?

    Reply
  • Claire August 8, 2013, 2:19 pm

    Have you heard of the Nurtured Heart Approach? We use this as the school I work at (I’m an art therapist for students with Emotional Behavioral Disorders) and it works wonders. Although I work with extreme cases it can be used on any child to improve behavior (and overall confidence and well being of the child). The gist of it is only giving attention (because attention is a reward) to positive behaviors and ignoring negative behaviors. Henry may be learning that when he hits and bites he immediately gets your attention, and not only your attention but your highly focused and emotional attention. Baby wants nothing more than for Momma to be extremely focused on him, try giving him your undivided extremely focused attention when he is being an angel and when he hits and bites give a succinct correction with very little actual attention or emotion attached to it.

    Hope this helps! He seems like an absolute joy, don’t get too worried about behavior it comes and goes. Don’t take it to heart (this is what I repeat to myself daily…can’t “win” everyday!).

    Reply
    • Whitney August 19, 2013, 8:18 pm

      I was just about to write about nurtured heart! I have been using nurtured heart in my kindergarten class (I’m the special education cooperating teacher so I also have several autistic and other specially-ambled students) for the last four years. It works like a charm. I would get the book by Howard glasser, but to sum up:
      You are Henry’s favorite toy. He wants to see what gets you wound up. And right now that’s hitting. Whenever he hits he gets lots of mom time. Flip that on its ear! When he hits he should get no relationship from you. You tell him to re-set (this is like a micro-time) and for the next few moments he is invisible to you. You need not explained that hitting is wrong or that it hurts. He will very quickly realize that hitting=no mommy time. Whenever he is not hitting tell him exactly what he is doing that makes him a great kid! “Henry, you are petting the dogs so gently you are showing you care about them!” “Henry, what an awesome hug you just gave mommy! You are letting me know you love me!” “Henry, you are putting food in your mouth! You have great aim!” but be specific! Better yet, just get the book! It’s a fast read and soooo worth it! I fully intend to use it on my girl as soon as I need to (she’s only 7 months).

      Reply
  • Nic Dempsey August 8, 2013, 2:23 pm

    With the hitting he just doesn’t get that other people (and animals) have feelings or feel pain. I don’t have children but have nannied a lot and my approach is to take the toddler away. A mini time out if you will, no big emotion or drama but a firm “we don’t hit people ’cause it’s not nice” and take him away from the animals or whatever. When he does good stuff, go all in on positive reinforcement, make eye contact, clap, praise, hug etc but when he hits etc, deal with it but don’t do more than tell him it’s wrong and remove him from where he is. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but he’ll learn that good behaviour gets him good things and bad stuff doesn’t get much of anything!

    Reply
  • Michelle August 8, 2013, 2:24 pm

    Let me start off by saying I am not a mom, this is an outside perspective of a friend’s method of dealing with these types of behaviors. When we first started hanging out with this fam and their son was 18 months old, I noticed the redirect and logic method (ouch – that hurts mommy) type of methods and thought they were such a great idea and really a departure from the “NO” negative mentality. I still think they are good plans, but that plans need to be reevaluated regularly and need to decide when that plan is no longer working, when discipline and maybe sterness needs to be considered so they begin to understand consequences etc. I say this because the little boy is now 3.5 years and these problems are still exactly the same, their response is exactly the same and now the boy has learned “if I do this (scream and reach up while screaming/crying), mommy says this (“im sorry, did you mean to say ‘Up please’?”, i parrot it back to her (“uppeeeze”), i get what I want (picked up).” Same thing for hitting, kicking etc. Kid does the bad behavior, mommy says a phrase (sorry sissy for hitting), parrot phrase and then get praised for the parroting… when mood strikes – hit again and repeat process! All by way of saying I think the positive spins like redirects and corrections are great, but don’t find one you like and stick with it forever. Eventually, there is a very high chance that even sweet loving kids like Henry will understand the reasoning and feel the need to act out and do it anyway (even though you have effectively communicated that its not ok, and not nice and hurts mommy etc) and the plan will need to be changed and you might have to step into the idea of teaching consequences and discipline – just saying this to be aware that I hope you find a positive way to do this now, but have a plan to reevaluate every so often etc.

    Also – the corn pic is sooo cute!! That one and the one you posted a long time ago with broccoli on his face are some of my favorite baby eating pics. :)

    Reply
  • Zulkey August 8, 2013, 2:26 pm

    It will be interesting to see how Paul (almost 1) will start responding to the ways we discipline him. I’m so use to saying “Ah-AH!” to the dog when he’s doing something naughty that we do it to Paul too. The only times we really give him a big “no” or “Ah-AH” is when he’s touching the gate at the stairs or our freestanding mirror (which, I know, we just need to get rid of or something.) I don’t know, this will probably come back around to bite us in the ass somehow as he gets more mobile/willful.

    Reply
  • meredith August 8, 2013, 2:30 pm

    I remember those days of trying to find the 2 minutes to shower! Ah memories…goes so fast!

    Reply
  • Barbie August 8, 2013, 2:32 pm

    My little one is 3 and we really had to work on this. Your ‘gentler technique’ is spot on. Now couple that with LOTS of praises for the good stuff. A lot of times negative attention is still attention from attention-seeking kiddos!

    Reply
  • Becky August 8, 2013, 2:37 pm

    If it helps, I’m a special ed preschool teacher, so I’ve dealt with my share of behavior issues! What you’re doing is a step in the right direction. Eventually the word “no” starts to lack meaning and kids can rebel against it. You could also say, “You’re hands are for loving, not for hitting.” It gives a meaning and purpose for his hands, other then the undesired behavior. Keep at it!

    Sorry I went all teacher…it just kind of happens.

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  • Kay August 8, 2013, 2:38 pm

    Non-parent chiming in! I’m a children’s librarian and I spend a lot of time with kids either at the library or during programs at the library. I’m a very big fan of telling kids what they should do instead. The problem with saying “No biting!” or “No running!” or “No hitting!” is that your expectations of the alternate behavior are not necessarily your child’s plan :D (especially when your child is very little.) So, at the library, when I say “No running!” I’d like to see walking and what I generally get is skipping or jumping or hopping! We say “Could you please walk?” And then praise the heck out of them when they do. :) “Thank you so much for walking. That makes me feel really happy.” (Showing cause and effect and that their actions impact others. When you walk and listen to my directions, I feel happy.) Basically, just like a lot of life, we can’t expect kids to know how to behave if we’re not teaching them.

    We also acknowledge why they might be behaving the way we do: as in, “I know it’s exciting to see friends but instead of wrapping your arms around them and carrying them, why don’t you say “hello!” and wave instead.” “I know it feels like it could be fun to run but I don’t want you to fall down and get hurt so please walk.” We also acknowledge emotions and then offer an alternative behavior or a redirection. If I child is getting mad, screaming and banging an unopened glue stick on a table, I say “It seems like you’re frustrated that you can’t get that glue stick open. How about I help you open it.” or if two kids are running around, I say “It seems like you two are bored. Instead of chasing each other around the library, how about you play with our legos? Or maybe I could help you find a book.”

    Also, I think your “that hurts momma” is a great start but could I recommend saying “that hurts *me*” instead? I read an article talking about the first person vs. third person when talking to toddlers and the author said that talking about yourself in the third person causes confusion for toddlers. If you can use a 1st person voice, your toddler will connect with you directly.

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    • Kay August 8, 2013, 2:42 pm

      And obviously a lot of this is stuff you would say to older kids but I think it’s helpful for toddlers and they do seem to understand it. Good luck! Your Henry is a cutie!

      Reply
  • Kim T August 8, 2013, 3:36 pm

    As a mom of a 13 year old and 11 year old, the toddler days seem both a long time ago and just yesterday. For that age, behavior corrections seemed easier when you praise positive things and redirect from bad. My 13 year old was and is an attention hound. She also walked early and was busy, busy, busy. I found correcting her just increased bad behavior, because it got my attention. So it was much more effective for me to say a quick no, or ouch, or that’s not nice and then get her interested in something else – a book, a toy, going somewhere, etc. Also to remember to always point out when she was doing something good. To make it quick and specific. I.e. good job patting the dog softly. Or thanks so much for the soft touch. Saying just good job, without saying exactly what was good, seemed a little more confusing. Hope that helps. This is a technique we’re still using today in the teen/preteen phase of life. Nothing is fool proof. And remember you know your child better than anyone. And most of all remember, this too shall pass. Henry is adorable and looks like a ton of fun.
    Take care.

    Reply
  • Melissa August 8, 2013, 4:05 pm

    Henry is so adorable and it’s so fun to watch him grow up through the photos you post! My mom nannies an almost 11-month old and it’s fun to hear her talk about all of his milestones and to see how he’s grown over the past several months.

    Reply
  • Kim August 8, 2013, 4:06 pm

    Super cute! While I’m not a mom and can’t give you any good words of wisdom on the temper tantrums, I really like the direction you are going in by rephrasing the “no, no, no” into something productive. Being a child who always asked why all the time (driving my mother crazy), I imagine this new approach is much gives Henry a reason why he shouldn’t hit, bite, etc. Good luck and I hope you get some great input from other mommas out there! :D

    Reply
  • elizabeth@ourcrazysweetlife August 8, 2013, 4:38 pm

    My daughter is a bit behind Henry (11m now) but I’m finding “The Whole Brain Child” to be a really fascinating read, especially the sections that discuss what a child of X age is and isn’t physiologically capable of understanding. Good luck!

    Reply
  • Rebecca August 8, 2013, 4:51 pm

    I’ve seen a few different parenting styles between my family (seven cousins, all married, all with at least one kid) and church families, and sometimes I wonder why some people use the techniques they do. One parent at church tried to get their kid to stop doing something by saying they’d headbutt the kid if they didn’t stop, which made no sense to me. And the kid kept doing the thing he wasn’t supposed to for like three more “I’ll head butt you” comments.
    The parent who sort of impressed me a few weeks later, though, was one who, when trying to get her kids to leave, continued to say “Goodbye, [kid]” and headed for the door. Her older kid didn’t understand that he needed to also leave his baby brother alone and just go with Mom. Eventually she grabbed the older boy and pulled him through the door with her, leaving baby brother to realize they were actually going to leave without him if he didn’t come now. I think it worked.
    Follow-through is important. If you say you’re going to do something to “punish” them and don’t, they’ll learn that you’re just making it up and they can actually get away with the behavior. I babysat a couple of kids whose parents had no follow-through whatsoever and the kids were mostly a nightmare. Never babysat them again. I still worry about them a little–but I think they’re getting better at behaving properly. I think their dad having medical issues kind of helped them realize they need to behave and help Mom out more…

    I just asked my mom last night while watching that commercial with the mom with the kid who keeps stripping his clothes off if my sister or I ever did that. Nope. We were mostly well-behaved, and I remember one time I asked my mom for permission to do something at a family gathering and my cousin asked Mom how the heck she got her kids to be so polite! (Of course, that politeness has caused a few minor problems occasionally…) And when we threw temper tantrums, they went ignored. Eventually we both figured that out and stopped throwing tantrums to try to get what we wanted. But I think that was when we were a little older than Henry–at his age you probably don’t want to ignore because the behavior is almost his sole communication method. But when he’s a little older and if he throws unnecessary tantrums, you can probably ignore them.

    Looks to me like you’re doing a pretty great job parenting!

    Reply
  • Amanda August 8, 2013, 5:00 pm

    Awwww he is beautiful!! And those eyes! Gorgeous! Loved reading about him!

    As far as the hitting thing. I think your gentler approach is the way to go. Anytime you tell a child no in front of x,y,z, they only hear the x,y,z so they mute out the no part. So when I was teaching (taught pre-k, kinder, and 2nd grade), I would try to focus on the behavior I wanted to occur. For instance, soft hands, soft/gentle touch. Etc. And letting them know that it hurts like you are doing is great. I’m sure it will just take some time and patience to get through this hitting part. You seem like you are doing great though!

    Reply
  • CM August 8, 2013, 5:12 pm

    As a former Montessori pre-school and kindergarten teacher, this is what we (pretty effectively) did:

    Biting: oh, bite a cracker, not a person! And give the kid a cracker (or sub any other food, obviously)

    Hitting: oh, hit a ball, not a person! And give the kid a ball. You get the idea.

    It takes away the embarrassment of the kid’s misstep and re-directs, allowing him or her to still follow their impulse, but without hurting anyone.

    Reply
  • Vanessa August 8, 2013, 6:13 pm

    Like you, I moved from saying “NO!” to “that hurts” or using more “expressive” language.

    And it didn’t work.

    What we’ve just started doing with my son is telling him what we want him to do. So instead of saying “Don’t throw your blocks!” I tell him “Let’s stack your blocks” or “Let’s build the tallest tower EVER!”. It distracts and then emphasizes what we should do with the blocks instead of what we don’t do.

    “Don’t throw your toy car” becomes “Hold on to it tightly!” or “Let’s race our cars!”

    {My son throws things a lot}.

    When he does something that hurts (scratch or hit), I still tell him “No. That’s not nice.” and then move on to re-directing him.

    It hasn’t been easy, but he has been responding well. Our tantrums are few and far between. When he has a really bad meltdown at home, I make sure he’s safe and let him go. He’ll roll on the floor and cry but after a few minutes I’ll ask if he’s done and give him some water. Once in awhile we all need to just have a good cry!

    What it comes down to for me is that I don’t want to punish my son for being upset but teach him acceptable reactions/responses to his anger and frustration. He can cry and stomp around, but he cannot scream (in public) or hurt anyone. Sometimes he can’t get over the crying and screaming but that’s usually when I’ll step in with a cup of water and a hug.

    Good luck, mama! It’s tough but oh so worth it =)

    Reply
  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) August 8, 2013, 6:34 pm

    Thanks for the update! He is soooo cute! I love the video – little balls, adorable!

    Reply
  • Taylor @ Single-tracked Mind August 8, 2013, 6:41 pm

    Oh showering, who needs that? :)

    Reply
  • Lauren @ Sassy Molassy August 8, 2013, 7:18 pm

    Henry is such a cutie. I can’t even imagine how tough that would be. Sounds like there are a ton of interesting ideas in the comments here. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Jen August 8, 2013, 8:05 pm

    My favorite parenting book so far is Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham. So good.

    Reply
  • Jenea Mason August 8, 2013, 8:36 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading about your life with Henry. He sure is a cutie and he’s growing so fast!

    Reply
  • Miranda @ Miranda Runs August 8, 2013, 9:29 pm

    Ahhh I love this!!! I love how every kid is so different!

    Reply
  • Samantha August 8, 2013, 10:12 pm

    My oldest is now almost 6 (and has two younger siblings!) and we used alternatives to “no” with all the kiddos. My go-to was “please STOP” in a firm voice. Much harder for a little one to repeat than the “no”. And it’s not so bad for a toddler to tell a friend or parent “peas ‘top!” when they disagree.

    Reply
  • jessica August 8, 2013, 10:41 pm

    The eleven hours he is sleeping seem like a perfect time to take a shower. My baby (9 1/2 months) sleeps between twelve and thirteen a night and after she is in bed is when I get stuff done that I wasn’t able to accomplish during the day. Our days are hectic but my evenings are my own time and since you have a similar window it seems like a good time to get stuff done as well – especially a shower :)

    Reply
    • Amanda August 9, 2013, 8:36 am

      Every day, as soon as my son (14 mos old) hits the mattress and is asleep, I hit the shower. The ONLY time I have to do it. He wakes at 530/45 every day, only sleeps 10 hours at night. So brutal! I really need to make myself a bedtime earlier than 1030/11. :)

      Reply
  • Marni Sumbal August 9, 2013, 5:59 am

    Such precious pictures of Henry! Enjoy everyday…he’s growing up quickly!!

    Reply
  • Linz @ Itz Linz August 9, 2013, 9:50 am

    Great post! And the hitting and biting are so very normal
    As both my nephews went through this! You are a fabulous momma!

    Reply
  • Karen B August 9, 2013, 10:46 am

    I lost my best friend over a toddler that hit, punched, scratched and attacked other kids, mainly my kid. His mother would take him into a time out and gently and sweetly talk to him every time he did it and we (all of her friends) could tell that her behavior was encouraging the hitting! He got special, sweet time with Mommy every time!
    It may sound mean but treat him as if he is anyone else hitting you. Turn away immediately and shun him until he gets upset then get an apology from him, every time. If he hits you when you are holding him, immediately put him down, turn away, do not talk to him or acknowledge him in any way unless he is getting into trouble, then do it silently with a stern looking face. He needs to know that it’s socially unacceptable and dangerous to hit others.

    Reply
    • CMC August 9, 2013, 2:09 pm

      This!
      I have worked in daycares and it really bothers me when toddlers hit their mom or pull their hair and the mom just gently says, “no hitting.” Put him DOWN, turn away, and ignore. Some moms even giggle while going, “ow! No!” It’s a major peeve of mine.

      Reply
  • Reenie August 9, 2013, 10:56 am

    Henry is absolutely adorable. :)

    Reply
  • Jill August 9, 2013, 1:19 pm

    Honestly? I know the blog doesn’t show much of Henry, but he seems to be the most adventurous, fun, alive and healthy baby on the blogging block. NO joke. He just seems so happy. A future Olympic swimmer perhaps :)
    So if he had to choose between a PB sandwich or hummus sandwich or egg sandwich, what would be go for? And do you give him GF bread or any kind?

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 9, 2013, 1:20 pm

      thanks ;) he hasn’t had hummus or egg sandwiches, yet, he just eats it straight. and he has udi’s bread. i’m keeping him gluten free until i know he doesnt have my sensitives.

      Reply
  • Rachel August 9, 2013, 1:22 pm

    Thanks for the update. I’m not a mother so I have no first hand experience, but I really like your idea of changing it from “No” to “That hurts”. I could see how that could help.

    Reply
  • susan y. August 9, 2013, 9:30 pm

    As a mom of four kids ages 17-27, I can tell you that young children really listen to/hear the last word you say. I always had great success saying something as simple as, “gentle” or “easy” and also mimicking the appropriate gentle/easy touch reinforces what you want the child to do. Good luck with your cutie pie.

    Reply
  • Erin August 10, 2013, 10:16 am

    Caitlin,
    What brand supplements are you giving Henry? Are they single drops or a dropper full? I had to give my oldest an iron dropper and he hated it. I’d love to find DHA drops for the baby. Would you mind sharing? Thanks

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 10, 2013, 10:44 am

      You can email my husband at kboyle@holisticcharlotte.com. Although Henry’s doc told us to put him on those supplements, Kristien gives him physician-grade options that are not available in stores. But we will happily ship to you!

      Reply
      • Crystal August 10, 2013, 4:21 pm

        What are physician grade vitamins? I was under the impression there was only prescription vitamins that have been evaluated by the fda and otc stuff.

        Reply
      • Amy August 11, 2013, 11:17 am

        What is the difference between physician-grade supplements and what you get in the store? I thought your husband wasn’t a physician.

        Reply
        • Caitlin August 11, 2013, 12:01 pm

          Physician-grade supplements mean they are given to you by a medical professional and not available in stores like GNC. There are several companies that only sell through professionals, whether that is a medical doctor or an acupuncturist, and do not sell their products OTC or online, etc, because although they are not prescription drugs, they are powerful supplements that should be given and taken under the care of an educated professional. It has nothing to do with being a doctor or not; it’s just a term that means you can’t get it over the counter. Hope that makes sense.

          Reply
          • Trudy August 12, 2013, 2:52 pm

            So the new chapter organics brand supplements you sell on your website are different from the ones on Amazon? Are they more potent or something? I buy that brand from Amazon but obviously there isn’t a physician or anything involved (just me and the ole internet) and so I am thinking yours must be a different quality? I’ve been using Amazon because it is a bit more cost effective for me (on a tight budget!) but if yours are better I’d like to know!

          • Caitlin August 12, 2013, 3:00 pm

            new chapter supplement are not in the category of physician grade supplements as we’re talking about here, but the amazon ones are the same as the ones we sell on our site.

  • Leah August 10, 2013, 5:36 pm

    I love your update posts about Henry! He’s adorable.
    My husband and I just found out that we are expecting our first and I’ve enjoyed going back and reading your pregnancy updates!

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 11, 2013, 12:01 pm

      congrats!

      Reply
  • Carrie August 11, 2013, 2:41 am

    He is SO cute!! It’s amazing how fast they grow. My daughter- and every toddler on earth I presume- went through some tantrums. She is super head strong so disciplining her is tough. I’ve found that time out works best for her. We don’t do it often, but she really seems to get it ( they do it at her daycare as well). Sometimes we do it when she’s not even being naughty per say, but just can’t get control of herself and is crying like a crazy baby over something little. It really seems to calm her down. It’s so hard.. I think with her she is stubborn and needs a more dominant approach, but some little ones might need a softer approach. It’s like she feels the highest of highs and the lowest of lows!

    Reply
  • Kerry August 12, 2013, 10:19 am

    I didn’t have time to read through all the comments, so someone may have already suggested this. My son is 5 and when he was that age he would do the same thing. It seems to me they are learning “cause and effect” at that age and smacking something usually results in a BIG effect. (Mom getting mad). What worked for us was whenever he hit us, I would immediately put him down and walk away. Too many explanations at this age are lost on them. They get the mom/dad is gone thing. Realistically, he can’t hit the dog hard enough to hurt him, and if he stops getting a reaction from adults, I bet he would stop doing it. We didn’t have dog hitting, but had to learn how to be gentle. If he was petting our dog too hard, I would hold his hand and show him how hard and in what direction to pet her while saying only one word, “gentle”. I am no expert but what worked for us was less words, more action.

    Reply
  • Kerry August 12, 2013, 2:59 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I am a Mom who typically trusts her instincts but when my tactics aren’t working or a need a different perspective I check out this site: http://www.janetlansbury.com/
    I think you will find some gentle, kind methods of redirecting Henry when you are getting the opposite of what you are striving for. My rules of thumb are simple words, simple faces, and calm tones. I have held my child’s hand down after she has hit me in the face and said “I will not let you hurt me. We don’t hit things.” I may try to acknowledge the emotion of excitement or frustration if it is obvious too. I reserve “NO” for the very dangerous situations.

    Reply
  • Lekki August 12, 2013, 8:55 pm

    Thanks for your honest parenting updates! Especially with gentler parenting I hear so much ‘my kid did Y and so I did X and it magically got better IMMEDIATELY”. It never goes like that in our house and this made me feel better.

    Reply
  • heather August 14, 2013, 9:23 pm

    Hi Caitlyn! I really love these posts, I have a 10 month old boy and it is so helpful to hear about your experience. And that Henry is such a cutie, love watching him grow. You mentioned that he loves going to the childcare at your gym. Has that always been the case? I have been taking my son to my gym since he was about 5 months old. He has always cried and CRIED! They have a routine of putting him in a swing and giving him his bottle and sometimes he cries off and on a little bit. At home he would never want to be contained in a swing, but they say he won’t sit and play without crying. Maybe at some point they will try again. I try to bring him most days for consistency, although as of late he had been sick and we went on vacation, so I am back to square one. It is hard to focus on working out knowing that he is not enjoying himself at all. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 15, 2013, 8:14 am

      I’m sorry he’s having trouble. I think it’s probably just important to power through and keep taking him and only pull him out if it’s really bad.

      Reply
  • Lauren T August 16, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I’m really late on this post and it doesn’t have to do with Henry, but I’m just wondering if you could give us an update on your IUD. You got the copper one right? Are you still liking it? And also, do you still use the diva cup?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 16, 2013, 3:32 pm

      Yes to diva but no I hate the IUD. I really liked it at first but I think I’m in the small percentage who gets really bad pms as a result. I love the concept of it but I’ve been unhappy with my worsening periods. I can’t be sure it’s because of v the iud but I do suspect it.

      Reply
    • LMN August 19, 2013, 1:17 pm

      not to get into a huge discussion, but i LOVE my IUD. i have a mirena and it is GLORIOUS. no periods, no pms, nothing. my husband felt it a couple times so they clipped the string shorter. it is crazy wonderful. caitlin, bummer that the other one hasn’t worked for you! :-(

      Reply
      • Caitlin August 19, 2013, 8:20 pm

        i know, im so disappointed. i like the functionality of it so I may try mirena.

        Reply

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