It’s Not All Mary Poppins


(Read this first, for context, then come back. I’ll wait…

Okay, done now? Good. You may proceed.)

“Baww! Baww! Baww! Baww! Baww!”

“I can’t play with you right now, hon. I’m changing Timmy’s diaper, and then I’ll have to make lunch.”

“Baww! Baww! Baww! Baww! Baww!”

“Oh, all right Nigel. Just take your ball and go play, please.”

“Gank oo.”

© 2006, Mary P

September 19, 2006 Posted by | manners, Nigel | 5 Comments

We Are Having Directional Difficulties

Seems I need to invest in larger pieces of paper.

© 2006, Mary P

September 18, 2006 Posted by | crafts | 11 Comments

Supercharged with Sweetness

Okay, so you all know I’ve been in the Kidbiz for a couple of decades. While I wouldn’t call myself jaded, it does perhaps take just a little more than standard issue sweetness to provoke an “Awww” reaction from me.

This post got that reaction. All eight times I listened to it. Plus the two more times when I got my kids to listen. (My 17-year-old son broke up smiling all over at exactly the same point I did.)

“Good ni–ight!”


© 2006, Mary P

September 17, 2006 Posted by | the cuteness! | 6 Comments

Radio Show

Guess who’s going to be On the Air next week? Any of you who are interested, check out World Talk Radio on Tuesday, September 19 at 4:00 Eastern Time. Someone out there stumbled over Partners in Parenting, and invited Laura and me to chat. How’s about that?

Or maybe I don’t want you listening in at all. My first step to public acclaim or my most recent opportunity to publicly humiliate myself? I’m a bit conflicted…

© 2006, Mary P

September 17, 2006 Posted by | Partners in Parenting, random and odd | 13 Comments

That’s My Girl!

How did she get to be so wise, at such a young age? She knows how to make her momma smile.

© 2006, Mary P

September 16, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Raising the bar on Nigel, Part Two

So you all now know how I decided to take it to the wall with Nigel. How he was NOT getting down from the high chair before he said ‘please’. How, at time of writing, we’d been head-to-head for 23 minutes and counting.

You know all that. You marvelled at my persistence. Persistence which has been honed through years of such interactions, persistence which has been forged on the anvil of toddler-iron, sealed with the heat of toddler passion. Persistence which is essential to the job, to my sanity. You couldn’t survive in this career if you can’t out-stubborn a toddler.

The stand-off (sit-off?) continued. My every attempt to get a “please” out of the boy was met with distraction – “wass dassss?” “where kitty?” – or silence. Distraction was accompanied by wide-eyed smiles. (“See how sweet? Too sweet to resist!”) Silence with glares of reproach. (“Damn you, woman!”)

I’d wander off to reduce the tension and let him get bored. I’d come back, perky and full of smiles. “Ready to get down now?”

A little bounce of enthusiasm. (“She’s come to her senses!) “Yeh!”

“Okay, then. I’ll get you down as soon as you say “Please”!!”

“Wass dassss?”

And in the end? At the end of this half-hour-plus standoff? My reward for my persistence, my good humour, my refusal to give on this point?

He fell asleep.

Of course he did.

So did I win? Well, I didn’t lose.

He slept for three hours. All that mental resistance takes a toll on a tot.

And today? Today we will back off the p-word. Oh, we’ll get there, of course. I’m just planning my strategy and picking my day. Because I’m stubborn that way.

© 2006, Mary P

September 15, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Raising the Bar on Nigel

Nigel is developing into a chatty little dude. He has a fair number of words, which are, typical for his age, coming out in one- and two-word declaratives. “Telegraphing”, it’s called, because minimum words are used to convey maximum information.

“Kitty! Ball!”

“Yes, the kitty is playing with the ball, isn’t he?”

Nigel has all kinds of words, and we hear them a lot. All except ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Hmm. Now, I usually have more success with ‘please’, so I’ll often start with it. (Why is please easier? It’s all in the motivation. “Want this cookie? Say ‘please’!” You can see how it’s easier to get out a ‘please’ than a ‘thank you’ – he’s got that cookie stuffed into his mouth to the tonsils: why is further communication necessary?)

The boy has a good vocabulary, and is all about chatter these days. It’s time for some pleases around here.

Nigel is in his high chair.

“Up! Up! Up!”

“Would you like to get down, Nigel?” (Yes, I say ‘down’, he says ‘up’, but we know what we mean.)

“Yeh! Up! Up! Up!”

“Okay. I’ll lift you. Say, ‘Up, please’.”

“Up! Up! Up!”


He gives me a long, level stare.

“Say ‘please’, and you can get down and go play.”

“Wass dass?” Smart kid. It’s the old “Look behind you!” trick.

“That’s a cup. Now, do you want down?”

“Up! Up! Up!”

“Up, Please.”


“Okay then. When you’re ready to say ‘please’, I’ll let you down.” I move into the kitchen. I can hear him through the open doorway. I listen as I do a sink of dishes.

“Out! Out! Out!” Guess he figures it might work better with a different word. Maybe he won’t have to comply with the ‘please’ stuff, if he uses a dif–

“Out, please.”

Nuts. That didn’t work. He opts to just struggle against the seat belt. I can hear him grunting, and then…

“Tuck! Oh, Mah-wee! Leg tuck!”

I pop my head around the kitchen door. In his efforts to free himself without resorting to the dreaded ‘please’, he’s wedged his foot in the chair and is indeed, ‘tuck’. I free the leg.

“Ready to get down?”


“Say ‘please’.”

“Wass dass?”

“Never mind ‘what’s that’.” Let’s try a little motivation. “Do you want to ride the horsie?” The hobby horses are his favourite toys these days.

“Yeh! Hoh-sie!”

“Say ‘please’.”





Silence. I remove myself. Put Timmy down for his morning nap. Read George a story, while Nigel stares reprovingly.

“Done! Down! Up! Down! Out!”


“Where cat?”


“Where Ah-ma?”


“Wass dass?”


Twenty-three minutes…

© 2006, Mary P

September 14, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 17 Comments


My sweetie and I jostle in the kitchen. A little coffee slooshes. A drop lands on my sock.

“Good thing my socks are black,” I note.

“Yeah,” he says, ever the optimist. “If that’s the worst liquid you get on you today, you’ll be doing well.”

© 2006, Mary P

September 13, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 9 Comments

So Sleepy…

…because I was up late writing a post on sleep. Heh.

Very silly, I know. Make it worth my while, go check it out!

© 2006, Mary P

September 12, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stop! Listen, What’s that Sound?

Do you hear it?

Not the bird chirping, nor the washing machine humming its spin cycle, nor even the whir of the laptop fan.

It’s nap time, and what I’m hearing is…nothing.

Remember my concern over Timmy, who was to start full-time at the beginning of this month? His fretfulness, his lack of resilience, his clingy-ness? My belief that this was sleep-related, and that with some decent sleep under his diaper tabs, he’d cheer up?

Well, I was right.

Yes, I am smiling smugly. I think it’s justified. If I hadn’t been right, I’d be back to banging my head into walls. I was pretty sure then, and I’ve been proven right now, but hoo, man, I’m relieved.

How did we accomplish this? I know you’re all dying to know.

Day One: Timmy arrives, smiling, at 8:20. By 8:40, he’s rubbing his eyes. Up he goes to bed, where he’s bundled, rolled in the flannel blanket. This makes him grin. A wee baby burrito. I sing him a song as he lies swaddled in my arms. He beams up at me. I place him down, pat his back as I sing a second verse, then leave.

He was NOT impressed.

Some experts suggest you stay in the room, others say go in at intervals, still others say cold turkey. Obviously, option one isn’t an option for me: I can’t stay in the room and leave the other children untended. Of the other two choices, I do what seems to work best. I like the idea of reassuring the child of my presence by visits of decreasing frequency, but I’ve learned that this just enrages some kids and makes them cry harder. No kindness in that. Timmy proved to be of the enraged school of response. He liked it when I touched his back and spoke soothingly, but when I left again?

“GET YOUR ASS BACK IN HERE, WOMAN!!!” And he’s right back to his original outrage.

Okay, then. That nap took 32 minutes. The afternoon nap took 15. Wednesday morning, 6. Wednesday afternoon, 4. Thursday and Friday, a squawk or two as he settled, but then quiet. Today, first day back after a weekend, a bit of regression: 4 minutes this morning, 90 seconds this afternoon.

The rest of the day? He’s smiley, he’s responsive, he’s active. He plays with me, he plays with the others, he plays with the toys, he plays on his own, he tries to play with the cat. He explores, he vocalizes, he puts day-old dust-covered Cheerios in his mouth. (Where is he finding them??)

In short, he is the very picture of a bright and sunny 12-month-old.


Related posts:
Later and Later Bedtimes
Setting the Stage for Healthy Sleep (PiP)
No-Cry (Gentle) Method (PiP)
© 2006, Mary P

September 11, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 16 Comments