We often say Harper is a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any time. She sure keeps us on our toes. Since she turned one girlfriend has been TOUGH. She’s been fussy with eating, impossible to run even the smallest errand with. I struggled so much for the majority of the summer trying to figure out how to ease her anxieties about getting into her stroller, car seat, high chair, even having her diaper changed. She doesn’t like to be confined.
Expressing my insecurities as a mom who has a toddler going through a rough phase with all of you made me feel like I wasn’t alone. Instagram is such an incredible platform for moms to connect and share their stories and what’s worked for them. I’m so thankful for all of you. I’ve taken so much of your advice, and it meant the world to me.
I still don’t have it all figured out, but through trial and error there are things that have helped diffuse or completely avoid meltdowns, especially in public.
1. Distraction. Harper has hated to have her diaper changed since she came home from the hospital. What’s worked for me to have an easy change lately is giving her a book to read while I clean her up. We change in her nursery so first thing I do is grab a book off of her shelf and let her look through it while we change. It’s gotten to the point where if i forget to hand it to her when I put her down she says “book!” Total distraction from an otherwise tough situation. Worked like a charm.
2. Snack cups. And all the snacks. I carry veggie sticks, yogurt raisins and Annie’s cheese bunnies (Harper’s favorites) wherever I go. We invested in snack cups so she feels like a big girl handling her own food. One thing about our girl is that she likes to do everything on her own, already, at 15 months 🤦🏼♀️ It helps letting her have control!
3. Having a lovey. Harper has recently taken on a love for baby dolls, one in particular she calls “Bobby.” Cute story – she at first tried to say “baby” with such enthusiasm that it came out “Boooooooobbbbby” so it became baby boy’s name. She brings Bobby wherever we go and he helps keep her calm. She gets so excited to hug, kiss, and share (yes share food) with him.
4. Music. Harper has been obsessed with nursery rhymes the past few months. Her favorite to listen to is on the channel ABCkidsTV (now called Coco Melon) on YouTube. It’s sung mostly by a baby boy (which I think is where she got her love for babies) and she actually calls it “baby” when she wants to listen. She dances to the music in the car and at home. It keeps her calm and her vocabulary has expanded so much since we found it. She sings alone with almost every song.
5. Having some screen time. This is a little more controversial and not every mom will agree, but he iPad helps a lot in the car. We’ve taken so many road trips this summer and having her play educational apps or watch Moana or her favorite Disney junior shows has helped her enjoy the ride a lot more. She’s not huge on tv but what she likes, she loves, and it’s a good way to keep her happy on daunting drives.
Knowing her signs for being exhausted or hungry help also. We taught her to tell us when she’s hungry, to say “water” or “bottle” to let us know which she needs. She tends to say “bye” when she’s exhausted because she knows she’ll rest in the car. It allows us to get her ready for that next nap. Making sure she gets her naps in is key too. If she doesn’t have her two a day – she’s still on two – she’s a monster.
Giving her time during the day to get all of her energy out. Especially on vacation. Planning out the day so that we have things for her to do incorporated with meals at restaurants when we know she’ll be confided to a high chair. Before we go anywhere we’ve learned to plan out where there will be a playground, park, or even a Target she can walk around, anything to let her stretch her legs and play. Yesterday we stopped off the road while she was having a meltdown at a random Carters in hopes they would have a table of toys she could play with. It worked like a charm. She has so much energy she needs to get out, and if she does she handles everything else so much better.
We’re learning more and more about our girl every day, and we get to master the meltdowns, these things have helped beyond measure for us over the last few months.
If you’re feeling helpless, please know you’re not alone! I beat myself up for months over Harper’s actions and speaking with other moms and trying all different things helped me so much. I hope any of these tips help you!