The Happiest Toddler On The Block

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a huge reader. I love mysteries and suspense novels, modern day fiction, historical fiction, the classics, biographies and that wildly popular vampire series. I have also been know to read a self help book or two.

Almost the minute I found out I was pregnant, I bought what I assume every mother to be buys: What to Expect When You're Expecting. I read it religiously throughout my pregnancy and many sections out loud to my husband. I loved the question/answer format.

I was either given a lot of other books or bombarded with recommendations on which ones I just had to read, but I stuck with What to Expect... and then signed us up for a dozen parenting classes.

Come to find out, nothing really prepares you for a newborn like having a newborn. We learned by doing and still are, but in those early days, we kept hearing about the five S's... swaddling, holding in side position, shushing, swinging and sucking

When Lucas was born, our neighbors had a one year old and a newborn two weeks older than ours and were singing the praises of the book, The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp, M.D.. It also has a companion DVD. We watched it, read it, tried it and it worked. Those five S's literally changed our life!!

Recently, my go-to parenting book has been What to Expect the Toddler Years, but it was starting to let me down in the - dealing with tantrums - department, so I was thrilled when one of my Twitter friends (I'm sorry, but I cannot for the life of me figure out who now) said that she had experienced a breakthrough with her tot and tantrums by reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One- to Four-Year-Old.

The good doctor wrote a follow up. God bless him!

I am only 35 pages into the book and I'm already enlightened. Dr. Karp's techniques are very respectful to your child and allows for them to feel like they are being heard.

Karp's basic premise is that toddlers are little cave people: the right side of their brain, which deals with language and logic, is not very developed, while the left side, which is very emotional, calls most of the shots. He talks a lot about how parents have to be an ambassador: keep relations happy, while putting their foot down when it really matters.

He divides toddler behavior into three categories: "green light" behaviors, which are positive and should be encouraged; "yellow light" behaviors, which are frustrating and annoying but not completely unacceptable things toddlers do (whining, for example); and "red light" behaviors which are unacceptable because they are either dangerous or they disobey a key family rule. I don't know about your house, but we have a lot of "red light" behavior in ours. Karp gives a great deal of advice on how to deal with each of these three types.

I'll be reporting back to let you know how this advice works for us. Fingers crossed and a BIG thank you to my Twitter friend. I really want to figure out who it was and send her flowers.

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