Why? – Strange Things Toddlers Do

I was introduced to the world of professional wrestling, WWF (World Wrestling Federation – later) at a very young age by my uncle (shout out to Uncle P!). I was the first grader walking around demonstrating the signature moves of D-Generation X, in particular, Triple H (Hunter Hearst Helmsley). If you have no clue, YouTube it and you’ll see the amazingness that is this mid-90s to early 2000s group. My adoration for the athleticism and performance of these individuals often left my teachers and parents saying – “Why?”

“Hannah why are you pretending to jackknife [XYZ person]?” My answer would always be, “Why not?”

Now that I have two kids and one has discovered his true toddler sass, I hear the phrase “why not?” on loop. Also, as a boy mom, I hear this more often than most – at least I’m assuming mothers and fathers of boys are always walking around looking puzzled because their son(s) has decided to do something crazy.

Along with questioning my children’s (keep in mind they are three and one) need to have an impromptu wrestling match like that of the classic Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant from Wrestlemania III in the middle of the living room (YouTube it), my list of “why” based moments is extensive.

Here are the top ten most recent reasons I’ve had to say “why?” and slowly shake my head in confusion.

  1. Mom – Why did you aim your penis at your face when you went to the potty?
    Three-year-old – Because the pee wanted to go up!
  2. Mom – Why are you chewing on the baby teether?
    Three-year-old – Because the baby teether is for people not babies!
  3. Mom – Why are you licking the wall?
    Three-year-old – Because I needed to mom!
  4. Mom – *Gives son a new toy* Where are you going?
    Three-year-old – To hide it!
    Mom – Why?
    Three-year-old – Because the worms will get it!!
  5. Mom – Why did you flip over the play kitchen?
    Three-year-old – Because the whale shark was coming, and he wanted popcorn!
  6. Mom – Why are you rubbing petroleum jelly all over your face?
    Three-year-old – Because I can’t breathe! *He thought it was vapor rub*
  7. Mom – Why is your play grill in your bed?
    Three-year-old – My blanket was cold!
  8. Mom – Why are you standing on the coffee table?
    Three-year-old – Because I need to dance!
  9. Mom – Why are you screaming at the drain?
    Three-year-old – The orca won’t stop yelling!
  10. Mom – Why are you not wearing underwear?
    Three-year-old – He needs to breathe!

So, here’s what I know, he watches too much Octonauts (which I secretly love), he’s extremely tactile, and he has a strong understanding of his body. With this said, all I can say is “WHY????”

What is something your kids have done or said that left you at a loss? Let me know in the comments below.

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4 Ways to Teach Your Kids Patience

What is it they always say – patience is a virtue?

I am the first to admit, my patience level is nearly nonexistent. While it has improved over the years, especially with the addition of children (God bless my kids for bringing me down a notch), I am always keeping myself in check. I’m like the Energizer Bunny always on the move and in a hurry, so don’t get in my way.

I am slowly starting to see my lack of patience in my children. Could it be my unfavorable characteristic is now reflected on them or general toddlerdom? We may never know, but what I do know is that I am constantly working towards self-improvement and providing my kids with the tools they need to be patient individuals.

Here are four ways to promote patience –

  1. Parents Practicing Patience – I’ve already admitted my faults, but we should lead by example as parents. My kids are my driving force to actively show what it means to be a mindful and patient person. If mommy can do it, they can do it too!
  2. Slow and Steady – I don’t know if this can be said for all toddlers, but my boys are always on the go. A moment of Zen is very rare and achieved when they are asleep at the end of the day. A great way to establish mindfulness and patience is to introduce activities like coloring, building with Legos, or baking cookies. We want to slow down the soul and enjoy the outcome of taking our time to complete the task at hand.
  3. Celebrate – What kid doesn’t love praise? When our kids practice patience let’s acknowledge them with a job well done. While we should tackle moments of impatience, complimenting them is of the upmost importance. A reward doesn’t hurt either. We have a mindfulness chart at home where my son fills the chart (with stickers) every time he shows patience. When all 12 slots are filled, he can then select a prize from the treasure chest.
  4. Start the Clock – A trick my parents used when I was a youngster – the egg timer. I have found my oldest responds well to the clock. He will sit there and wait for it to ding before he moves to the next activity. “We are going to park in five minutes,” “You can watch your iPad for two more minutes,” or “we will be home in 10 minutes,” are all examples of establishing expectations through time. It eases anxiety and helps when the anticipation of what’s to come.

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. – Leo Tolstoy

Do you or your kids struggle with mindfulness? How do you address patience? Let me know in the comments below.

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Bye Bye Bad Dreams

My three-year-old started waking up in the middle of the night claiming pink monsters were going to attack, his dinosaur bopped him on the head, and some other creature under his bed was determined to take him down. It’s normal for the imagination to kick in and warp the blissful reality of dreamland, but when it started to impact everyone’s sleep, something needed to be done.

The other night, our son was inconsolable. He abruptly busted into our room sobbing crocodile sized tears. He was so upset and unable to formulate his thoughts and tell us what was wrong. My husband took him back to his room and eventually fell asleep on the floor holding his hand. Yes, it was a sweet moment between father and son, but we didn’t want to establish this as the norm.

As parents we have the power to embellish – transform any household object into a magical token or make bold claims like vegetables give us super powers. Just like our children, so much is possible when it comes to the imagination. When the nightmares started to plague his dreams, my imagination took over. Here is the story about a little boy – the bad dream buster.

Before he lays his head to sleep, the little boy grabs his green magic stone (i.e. flattened marble his mom found when cleaning out her jewelry box). He gives it a kiss and whispers the word “lucky” into the stone. He gently places the stone in a mystical container (also known as a pill box) and carefully places it under his pillow. The fluffy bunny that occupies his bed, watches over the magic stone as the little boy goes to sleep.

He then grabs his magic elixir (one cup of warm water mixed with a few drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle) known to many toddlers as “monster spray.” He lightly sprays his bed, royal subjects (i.e. stuffed animals), and royal throws (blankets) with the magic potion. If a monster catches one whiff of the elixir he is banished from the kingdom FOREVER! The little boy was very generous in his distribution of the “monster spray.” He likes to cover his bases.

Finally, the little boy seeks out the keeper of light (also known as his Miffy night light). She turns even the darkest corners of the kingdom bright with his warm glow. With the flick of a switch, she casts a beam of light around his room, ridding it of any monsters who may be lurking.

Once the little boy feels that he has successfully demolished all the baddies, he softly closes his eyes and enters dreamland. Legend states, he starts to dream of adventures on board the Octopod with Captain Barnacle and the rest of the Octonauts (*cue dramatic music).

What a story, would you believe me if I said it was true, minus some of the colorful additions? This may seem like an entire production, but it works, for right now. He has full ownership of his nighttime routine, which I believe helps eliminate some of those pre-bedtime anxieties.

What are some tricks you use to help your kids go to sleep? Let me know in the comments below.

Sweet dreams!

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Parenting Through Disney Songs

Fun fact about me, I have never met a Disney movie I didn’t like. What’s even stronger than my love for animated magic is the fantastic songs that accompany each featured filmed. You will often catch me singing along with the Disney Spotify channel at the top of my lungs while driving in the car, cooking in the kitchen, or working from my desk. Lucky for me, my oldest son is just as obsessed.

As we were belting our best rendition of You’re Welcome from Moana, it hit me, most Disney songs have a lyric(s) that reflect the life of a parent. Here are 10 Disney lyrics that capture what it’s really like to be a parent.

  1. Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas) – You think you own whatever land you land on. I think it’s a known fact that toddlers think they own everything. We are just here for their enjoyment and to be at their beck and call. In response to their incessant sass I say, if you listen to me You’ll learn things you never knew, you never knew.
  2. Un Poco Loco (Coco) – I’ll count it as a blessing that I’m only un poco loco. You know the moment when your kids flip from acting the fool to becoming the sweetest children on the planet? You look into their cherub-like faces and think “thank goodness you’re cute and only make me a little crazy (un poco loco).”
  3. I’ll Make a Man Out of You (Mulan) – Heed my every order and you might survive. This one is for all the boy moms out there [represent]. Boys may be less drama than girls, but it’s harder to keep them alive. When it looks like your son is about to fling his body off the swing set or headbutt his sibling, repeat the wise words of Li Shang.
  4. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King (Lion King) – I think it’s time that you and I arrange a heart to heart. When your kids are on the verge of going to time out, but you want to play nice cop, so you take a note from Zazu’s playbook. It’s either a heart to heart or the time out chair my friend.
  5. Almost There (The Princess and the Frog) – There’s been trials and tribulations. You know I’ve had my share. But I’ve climbed the mountain, I’ve crossed the river, and I’m almost there. When you’re talking to your parent friends about potty training. If you’ve ever seen a war movie and the main character is hobbling out of the trenches, that’s what potty training looks like for a parent. We’ve seen things we can’t come back from.
  6. Let it Go (Frozen) – Let it go (go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go). When my kids are having a “moment,” I often meet and exceed their volume with Queen Elsa’s anthem. Not only does it mute their complaints, it redirects their feelings and puts them into a state of confusion – they are confused as to why mom is actin’ the fool. I’m willing to assume that role if it stops the craziness.
  7. You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Toy Story) – You got troubles, and I got them too. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you. We stick together, we can see it through, ‘cause you’ve got a friend in me. As baby brother bites his leg, I keep reminding my oldest he will be your best friend one day. You are born into a friendship with your siblings, but it’s one that will last a lifetime.
  8. You’ll Be in my Heart (Tarzan) – For one so small, you seem so strong. My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm. This bond between us can’t be broken. I mean…this song just violently yanks at the heartstrings. I think the moment I became a mom and held my son in my arms, life truly began. There is something so special between a mother and a son. My boys are my world.
  9. Be Prepared (Lion King) – Yes, our teeth and ambitions are bared. Be prepared! This applies to both parent and child during one of the most excruciating moments in their life…teething. Have you seen the YouTube video where they time lapse a child’s teeth coming in? Search it; it’s absolutely horrifying. As you frantically search for the perfect solution to ease your child’s achy gums, maintain determination and prepare to get through it together, because neither of you will be sleeping.
  10. What’s This? (The Nightmare Before Christmas) – What’s this? What’s this? There’s something very wrong. What’s this? The age-old question of is it chocolate or is it poop can be summed up with the simple phrase – what’s this? Dare you even try to figure it out. Only the bravest of souls try to crack the mystery. Are you one of those people?

With hundreds of whimsical songs, there is bound to be one that fits every moment of parenthood. What song would you use to define your current state of parenting? Let me know in the comments below.

Toddler Time – Monster Marshmallows

Growing up in a household with one parent in the medical field and one parent in the field of science, we were encouraged to do activities that expanded our minds and increased our curiosity. I never went to your “typical summer camp” where you lived in a bunk house and participated in kayaking and archery. My parents put me in marine biology, chemistry, and physic camps. It’s not what you would envision an elementary schooler participating in, but it was the best thing they could have done for me. My desire to learn more, I believe, encouraged me to participate in different courses and electives throughout my school career. I was excited about learning!

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I say this because it is never too early to get your kids excited about STEMS. When we got our hands on DK Publishing’s Maker Lab book of 28 kid-safe projects and crafts, it became the perfect introduction to the world of science for my toddler.

This wonderfully delightful book has step-by-step experiments, ranked from easy to hard, designed for 8 to 12 year olds. Even though this is designed for older kids, there are plenty of options for a mom and her toddler to get their science game on!

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I am constantly looking for ways to engage my son outside of his iPad on the weekends. When I came across the Monster Marshmallow experiment I knew I had found the perfect experiment for my two and half year old. What toddler doesn’t love delicious, gooey, and sticky marshmallows? I, myself, could go for a s’more right now!

All you need for this yummy experiment is a marshmallow(s), microwave safe plate, microwave, and an appetite.

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I had my son pick out his marshmallow and place it on the plate. Together we moved the plate with marshmallow to the microwave. I punched in 30 seconds and he hit the start button. About 15 seconds into the cook time, we saw our marshmallow expand and grow! He was in awe and learning about how “air heats up, and the pressure it exerts increases and the pockets grow bigger!”

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This wasn’t just a 30 seconds experiment for us, we did it over and over and over again. If you’re looking for a way to let your kids have fun and learn at the same time, DK Publishing’s Maker Lab is the book for you. I know we will be cracking this book open again very soon!

Get your copy of Makers Lab here >> https://www.dk.com/us/9781465451354-maker-lab/ << and let me know what experiments you try with your kids in the comments below.

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The Five Minute Rule – Parent Style

Have you ever been the middle of doing five million things at once? I’m constantly prepping for the next day, cooking dinner, answering work emails, and trying to stay sane – on any given day. This is my norm and I’m use to it, but I must add, in addition to all of these moving pieces, there is a small toddler standing behind me screaming at the top of his lungs “MOMMY!!!!”

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Listen, I love my little one, but he sounds like a broken record when he says my name.

Insert Family Guy meme of Stewie screaming Mummy on a continuous loop at Lois

I want to share every moment with my kids, but sometimes as parent, we have to get things done, so that we can have more time to play. To a two-year-old that means nothing. Your attention as a parent is demanded and expected to be given at the drop of a hat

I have learned since my oldest became a toddler and stepped into his role of “emotional tiny human” to use what I like to call the “five-minute rule.” When he demands my attention with pleas of “up mommy, peas,” “mommy more cwackers,” or “again, again!” I ask him to give me five minutes.

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Folks, it’s amazing! Giving my child a timestamp has turned into my personal sanity saver! Now, he doesn’t fully understand the concept of time, but does accept the fact that I will be there, present and accounted for, when I am able to complete my tasks at hand.

Have I abused the five-minute rule in the past? I wouldn’t say abuse per se, but I have extended the five minutes to ten from time to time. With this said, I am always ready to leap into mommy action whether it’s five or ten minutes later. I have never neglected my children’s needs. Time is going by too fast and I want to be there for everything, but sometimes I need a moment to gather my thoughts and finish my work, so I can be there, fully present for my kiddos.

Have you tried the five-minute rule? Do you think you’ll give it a try? Let me know if it works for you!

Storytime: A Toddler in Ikea

Am I the only one who fantasizes about living in an Ikea? I would float from room to room chowing down on Swedish meatballs and lingonberry spread without a care in the world. No. I’m the only one? OK, no problem!

As an adult, there is something truly magical about Ikea. The countless opportunities of different things you can do with your home is what dreams are made of. I work from home about 80% of the week, so having a workspace that is just mine and not that of my kitchen table, is extremely important. With this said, we went on a mission; a mission called “Project Get Hannah a Desk.”

I packed the diaper bag full of snacks, bottles, and juice. We loaded the ninos into the car and made the drive to the mega store also known as my future homestead.

PSA – Do not attempt to take two small children to Ikea by yourself. I am so lucky my husband was there to help.

When we arrived to Ikea, my toddler’s attitude changed right before my eyes. He went from a happy kid to that of an emotional mess. He lost his mind when we attempted to put him in the shopping cart. As he clung to my body, I made the decision to hold him throughout the store for as long as my arms could carry. As a parent, I have to pick my battles, and this was not a battle I was willing to take on.

Rorie at Ikea

About thirty minutes into the trek, he decided he was a big boy and would sit in the cart. The following 10 minutes were great and then he demanded his freedom from the metal entrapment. Listen, I don’t want to be that parent who let’s their kid run free throughout a store, so we kept him very close and of course, he hated it! What mother would I be if I didn’t frustrate my child at some point in his life?

So, we made it through the display floor of Ikea (applauds self), but it was the warehouse where everything really went South. My toddler sat on the furniture push cart as we maneuvered through the aisles grabbing the furniture we would take home to build.

Spacing on the cart was limited, and we had to take him off of the cart to load my new desk, but we were going to put him right back on. Well folks that’s when it happened – the meltdown to rule all meltdowns. He was inconsolable. The fact that we had put something on the chart threw him over the edge. We tried to reason with him, but the yells of frustration just got louder and louder, until finally I threw him over my shoulder and took him out to the car.

Every patron watched and stared as I marched out the front door into 95-degree weather, with a screaming toddler and sleeping baby in the stroller. You want to know something, I didn’t care. Of course this was a frustrating moment as a parent, but I did my best to remove us from the situation and tackle the problem while in the car. Of course, he calmed down once we got into the car and was sad he had to leave Ikea. We talked about why we had to leave and if he wanted to go back what he needed to do. He was as receptive as a two-and-a-half-year-old could be. I’ll take it as a small victory during the battle of tantrums.

Oh the mood swings of small child. You never know which way they are going to go! The lessons here folks are to first, reevaluate if you should take your small children to Ikea and two, keep you cool and help your kid process through all of the crazy emotions raging through their bodies.

Where were you the last time your toddler lost his/her mind? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments below.

Miffy Takes Her Adventure to Walmart

As my children age, their demands to have toys of their favorite household characters increases tenfold. Now my two-year-old would be happy with a cardboard box, but it’s always heartwarming to see the joy on his face when he receives a figurine set or stuffed plush of the characters he loves so much.

When my oldest was introduced to the delightful little white bunny, Miffy, he was hooked. He developed tunnel vision for Miffy and her friends. Trying to separate him from his “shows” and bedtime stories is an act of congress (he sleeps with his Miffy books at night). So, when we learned Miffy would have her own line of toys at Walmart, we were ecstatic!

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Miffy’s adventures now penetrate beyond animation and illustrations on a page, she is now a physical character my son loves. The MIFFY 6” Miffy Plush and MIFFY Little Blue Car are carried from room-to-room. They are attached to his hip and are showcased in my son’s personal show and tell productions.

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The MIFFY 6” Miffy Plush is extremely affordable and wonderfully soft. She is the perfectly sized companion to join my son from his car seat to the living room and finally to his bed at night. My son gazes with much affection at the little white bunny and gives her hugs on the regular. Before going to bed at night, he takes Miffy around the house and has every member of the family gets a goodnight kiss from Miffy herself.

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Get your MIFFY 6” Miffy Plush >> HERE <<

We recently added a scenic roadway rug to our kid’s playroom, and my two-year-old likes to drive his plastic toy cars along the streets and paths. Miffy’s adventures, both big and small, take to the streets on my son’s playroom floor with the MIFFY Little Blue Car figurine set. “Vroom, vroom” (as my son would say) Miffy goes speeding by as my son drives her from the mountains to the coast. Miffy has become a world class travelerwith my kid behind the wheel.

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Get your MIFFY Little Blue Car >> HERE <<

This new, and exciting Miffy product launch is what this mom, and her son’s, dreams are made of. I am able to reduce his screen time, and give him more playtime with Miffy and her friends. Check out this wonderfully and affordably made toy line, now available at your local Walmart and online >> HERE <<

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Make every day an adventure, be it big or small!

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May 2017 Favorites: Baby and Toddler Edition

May has been a month of growth for my family. Our newborn is plumping up and growing like a weed. Every day his personality changes! I can’t get enough of his red hair, gummy smile, and sapphire blue eyes. He is a truly a joy to be around. My toddler is stepping into his role as big brother, and lets just say, it looks good on him. This sweet boy is filled with a plethora of toddler emotions, so we’ve had to combat tantrums, but together we are learning how to work through the frustrations. The stereotype of redheads being hotheaded, can be applied to my newborn and two-year-old, but I love their passion and determination!

During these beautiful moments of change, we all have our must-have, go-to, lifesaving items for keeping our kiddos happy and content. I should also add, we look to these items for a glimpse of sanity and peace as parents. As our kids develop, their demands change and so do the products we call to in times of need.

Here are our May 2017 Favorites:

Munchkin Baby Formula Dispenser: After what I consider a valiant effort, we had to move from breastfeeding to formula. I made countless calls to lactation consultants, I altered my diet, I incorporated gas drops, etc., but my breast milk was not settling well with my newborn. Since my milk dispensary is out of business, I have to make sure I have enough formula with me at any given moment to feed my adorably glutinous baby boy. The Munchkin Baby Formula Dispenser is perfect my feed on demand little one. I fill it up with the appropriate amount of formula and throw it in my bag without hesitation.

Munchkin Baby Formula Dispenser

Photo courtesy of www.munchkin.com

Fisher-Price Bouncer: My boys, both as newborns, loved to be rocked and bounced. The Fisher-Price Bouncer has been a favorite for both of my boys and has been a huge help for me as I work from home with a newborn. The base of the bouncer vibrates and aids in putting my little one to sleep as he smiles at the detachable toy bar. If we have another baby (I’m looking at you husband), I will make sure we have our Fisher-Price Bouncer ready to go!

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Photo courtesy of fisher-price.mattel.com

Originator’s Endless Reader App: My two-year-old loves his IPad. I know what you’re thinking, “you let your two-year-old have an IPad?” Yes, yes I do. He does far more than watch his favorite episode of Bubble Guppies or Peppa Pig. We have packed his IPad full of educational Apps perfect for the developing toddler. The one App that stands out the most is Originator’s Endless Reader App. He is presented with sight words, one for each letter of the alphabet, that are helpful in forming his vocabulary. Each letter is sounded out, the word is stated and then repeated, used in a sentence building activity, and finally applied in a relatable scenario with illustration. We have purchased the levels following Level One, and have seen an abundance of growth.

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Photo courtesy of www.originatorkids.com

Beautycounter Soothing Baby Oil: I’ve written about this product in multiple blogs, and I’m about to do it again. We LOVE Beautycounter’s Soothing Baby Oil! It has really made a difference in our post-bath and pre-bedtime routine. I use this product on both my newborn and toddler. When our baby had a mild case of cradle cap, it helped clear it right up. I rub it on my toddler’s shoulders and chest before reading his nightly stories. I’ve even used this product to help take off tough makeup at the end of the day. This is truly a family-focused product. I should also highlight that it’s nontoxic and gives me full confidence when using it on my little ones.

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Photo courtesy of www.beautycounter.com

Disney 5-Minute Snuggle Stories: As a child who grew up on the Lion King, Aladdin, and Little Mermaids of Disney, I am thrilled my son loves Disney just as much as I do! I can’t wait for the day we take our boys to the “most magical place on earth.” We enjoy at least one of these delightful stories each night before bed along with one or two more of his favorites. No matter how many times I read Scaredy Cat Sleepover, a story about Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck, this collection of tales never gets old.

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Photo courtesy of books.disney.com

These products work for our on-the-go and perfectly chaotic family. We don’t use or settle for just any products. Our May 2017 favorites help to relax a restless baby, make bedtime cuddles even more precious, and assist in our children’s overall development.

Let me know if you try out these products. What do you think? Do they work for your little ones? Post in the comments below!

When in Doubt, Pull the Bubbles Out

If you were a superhero, what super power would you have?

We’ve all been asked this question at least once in our lives. I used to say I would fly or have the ability to read minds, but now that I have children, I want the power of anticipation. I want to be able to anticipate when my toddler is about have breakdown; a full-fledged meltdown.

Tantrums can be tricky. As parents we are constantly walking on eggshells during our children’s toddler years, because we never truly know when a tantrum is about to take place. For instance, the other day my son had a stage-five breakdown.

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Try to follow this scenario, if you can. I’m still scratching my head as to what happened. My son ultimately wanted to carry his Little Tykes basketball hoop. Cool. Fine. No problem at all, except for the fact that the he kept losing his balance. The inability to standup with the hoop was only the surface-level problem. The true dilemma was when he couldn’t decide if he wanted the post in or out of the base. My poor husband would dissemble and reassemble the basketball hoop over and over again and my son would scream and cry out of frustration. How could we not understand what he wanted? How?!

All aboard the hot mess express!

Now when things like this happen, I have a set of strategies I rely on to tame the tiny beast that is my son. First, I always try to talk him through his feelings. This technique works about 80% of the time. He can be easy to reason with, when he wants to be; however, when reasoning doesn’t work, I turn to the “switch.” The method of “what can we do instead of [insert activity]?” If a trade-off is unacceptable in his two-year-old eyes, I turn to one thing and one thing only – bubbles!

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Who would have thought a bubble wand would be my go-to tool in my tantrum artillery belt? It is a known fact that a liquid sphere containing air can transform anger into bliss. I can understand what my son sees in those reflective soap balls. I too smile when I see a bubble. Let’s be honest for a moment, if you don’t smile at a bubble, I will and should question you as an individual.

I may never have the power of anticipation, but I have one the weapon I know will change my kid’s mood instantaneously. Shout-out to my friend bubbles! You’ve always got my back.

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What do you say, do, or use to tame your kid’s moments of insanity?