Category Archives: Toddler

Q&A: Taking a baby to see fireworks? (aka fitting your baby into your life)

Lisa writes:

"As a new mom I find myself now thinking hard about all kinds of thingsthat were once no-brainers, like whether or not to go see the fireworks
on the Fourth of July. I have gone out to see fireworks as long as I
can remember and enjoy them, but now I have a son who just turned 8
months I'm concerned going to the show and keeping him out late at such
a loud and stimulating event might be a form of "sleep suicide" for
everyone (and that is only considering the late bedtime…we have no
idea how he'll react to fireworks). In our area, the fireworks don't
start until 10pm, and usually last about 30 minutes. I would definitely
give him a really late nap if we did decide to brave it. But the closer
we get, the more I'm having second thoughts about attempting this. So
do I listen to my gut, or do I practice "you never know until you try"?
And what do families do when they have a range of kids…like an older
child and an infant? Do they have to split up the family so one parent
stays home with the infant or toddler and the other takes the older
kids, or just take everyone and bear any consequences? Does it only
matter how much I value seeing those firework shows? Maybe I'm thinking
about this way too much, but if you'd like to throw this out there for
everyone to discuss I'd be really interested in any experience or words
of wisdom in making this kind of decision."

Well, number 1: Always go with your gut.

And, number 2: Yes, you are overthinking this particular issue, but it seems to me that this is just a stand-in for the greater question of "How do you fit your baby in to the life you've loved without sacrificing too much of yourself or too much of your baby's wellbeing?"

Balance is really hard to achieve. We touched on it a few weeks ago when talking about weaning, but it's an ongoing process. There are some things that are clearly good for everyone: eating vegetables, sleeping, dancing around in the living room to your favorite album from high school. But there are so many other situations in which you have to make decisions, whether big or small, about whose needs are prioritized.

There's no way anyone else can make that decision for you. You have to come up with your own process for making these decisions. In some families, everyone does it or no one does it. In other families they split up so kids get alone time with parents and to do special things only they enjoy. Some families have kids in bed at 7 pm no matter what, while others let their kids stay up hanging out with the adults talking long into the night. Privacy, communication, schoolwork–the list of things that are going to need negotiation goes on and on.

It might be worth your time to talk with your partner and see if you can come up with some guiding principles. Is it more important to you to keep his sleep normal now? Is it more important to celebrate the holiday the way you always do (bearing in mind that you should come home if the sounds freak him out)? Do you want to make a blanket policy decision, or play it by ear every year as he gets older? There are so many variables, so if you can isolate a few things that are more important to you than the others, that will help you make your decision.

How do you all approach making decisions like this? And what are you doing for the holiday weekend (in the US)? And did Canadians get the last few days off, too?

Q&A: tandem nursing blues

Lisa writes:

"I need some help to wade through a bucketload of postpartum tandemnursing emotions, and maybe some reader experiences and data points.
Help please!

My son is almost 2 1/2 and nursed throughout my
pregnancy, but at the very end would only latch for a few seconds at a
time, once or twice a day. Well, now that my daughter has arrived (2
weeks ago) and the milk is a-flowin, he's on me all.the.time.  I had
always thought I'd let him self wean (and even naively thought that
maybe it would be soon), and was game for tandem nursing, but now I'm
feeling really conflicted.

Some of it is just the sheer logistics of nursing two, especially
when he's so adamant and persistent and acrobatic.  He of course always
wants to nurse when his sister does, and trying to keep her latched in
the midst of his acrobatics is no small feat.  But a deeper part comes
from an emotion I feel really guilty about – he just seems so BIG now
compared to his baby sister and I feel resentful when he's groping at
me.  I love my son with every fiber of my being and I don't like
feeling resentful and annoyed about a nursing relationship that has
been so great for over 2 years. I've been trying to keep my cool but I
worry that I'm not going to be able to keep it up for long.

Not surprisingly, those around me think the obvious solution is
weaning him. But I think that pushing him to wean now is probably the
worst possible timing ever, with all the upheaval in his life.  But I'm
struggling to think clearly about how to change the behavior so that he
nurses a little less often, or a little less vigorously, or something.
Maybe it's the cluster of postpartum emotions + the figuring out of how
to be mom to two + oh did I mention his nanny had to leave us a few
weeks ago so I have no child care and am looking for a new babysitter
for him?  But I feel stuck.  Any insight?"

Then she wrote an update:

"The update is that I've started weaning my toddler by cutting out the
demand nursings; now we just nurse upon awakening, at naptime, and at
bedtime. Still too many for me but at least I can tell him "we only
nurse at bedtime" etc when he tries to attach himself mid day.

But I still feel the visceral resentment, and de-latching/detaching
him at the end of those 3 nursing times is getting increasingly
difficult. It's like he knows there are limits now so stretches each
time to the maximum possible. I'm going to keep on keeping on and
figure that my return to work at the end of maternity leave will be a
natural dropping of the naptime session and sometimes the morning
session too.

The piggyback question that this raises for me is re: the advice
everyone seems to give about making changes when siblings arrive.
"Don't move to a big kid bed/potty train/take away pacifiers when the
baby comes or the older child will associate the change with the baby
and this will fuel sibling rivalry." How true is this really? How long
is it true for? Keeping in mind that my son is exactly 2 1/2 so gearing
up in a big way for that half year disequilibrium.  We need to change
bedtime but I can't wait until he's three!!"

The first thing I want to say is that I never tandem nursed, but I have felt the feeling of wanting to jump out of my skin while a child nursed, and it's horrible. It makes you want to run away, and makes you feel guilty about wanting to run away. It makes you feel like a bad mother and bad person, because your child wants something and you resent giving it. It's a tough place to be.

But it's also natural. I'm not sure there are any women who've tandem nursed who haven't felt at least some of that feeling. I'm betting it also varies by the ages of the kids, and by how much the older one nurses and how often, etc.

Parenting is always about boundaries. And you can only prioritize your kids so much before it becomes unhealthy for you. One of the hidden gifts of nursing (that I never really figured out until I had an older child) is that you're forced to navigate the changing border of your needs vs. your kids' needs all the time, so that by the time things get really high-stakes you're already used to it.

FWIW, I never thought the reason not to change things when a new baby came was to prevent sibling rivalry. I thought it was because too many changes would overload your child and would make the changes less likely to succeed. So this is another case of a solution is only a solution if it's not worse than the problem–if weaning makes things better for you, and gives you more resources to parent both your kids, then that's the solution. If weaning causes you more stress (as it does for some people), then it's not a solution. Only you know which is the case for you and your family.

Plenty of 2 1/2-year-olds have been weaned when a younger sibling was born. Plenty of them have continued to nurse. Even more of them weren't nursing by that point at all. It's my strong suspicion that we wouldn't be able to tell the difference among them, and that their relationships with their siblings weren't affected by that at all. (If anyone's got any research confirming or negating that, please let us know.)

Your son is important, and your baby is important, but you are important, too. Raising good people is partly about teaching them how to respect other people's boundaries. If you can come up with a solution that makes all of you feel good, that would be a parenting utopia. But while you're figuring out who to prioritize here, remember that there's no wrong or right answer, and you and your son are going to get something valuable out of whatever decision you make.

Can anyone comment on tandem nursing? Suggestions or empathy? Virtual chocolate?

Q&A: hitting

Shannon writes:

"I have a 22 month old son (Henry) and a 7 week old son (Myles). Henryis a sweet, loving boy who loves to cuddle and hug. He has such a huge
heart, but he also hits constantly. It started about 8 months ago, and
he was hitting me and his Daddy, it has slowly progressed to him
hitting everyone. Sometimes its when he doesn't get his way, other
times (mostly with other children) just when he feels like it. He is
excited all day to see his cousin, and then when we get together, he
just walks around beating on her, and then watching her cry. Sometimes
he's hitting me over and over again when he is mad, and I feel like he
can't even control it. When Myles was born, Henry seemed to adjust
wonderfully. Lots of kisses and he always wants to hug his little
brother. But he can be so aggressive and I really have to watch that he
doesn't smother Myles, but as soon as I restrict him in any way, he
immediately starts hitting Myles. Or sometimes he'll just scratch his
face for no reason.
I feel completely lost. I don't know what to do anymore. I feel like I
have tried everything. Stern talking to, time outs, time ins, yelling.
Unfortunately, I have also been aggressive back with him, out of pure
frustration. I am brought to tears almost daily, because he has made
Myles bleed or tormented another child. Sometimes I loose sight of the
fact that he is my baby, that I gave birth to him and he is an innocent
child. I just get so upset and protective of his younger brother.
I feel like speaking with him gently and explaining that he loves Myles
and that he doesn't want to hurt him works to a certain extent. It
prevents further hitting for the time being, but it hasn't been a cure
all, and to be honest, it is so hard to be patient and soft after this
long.

What do I do? Where do I go from here? Nothing has worked, and
everyones advice that he'll grow out of it seems to be totally
inaccurate since we are coming up to almost a year of it. Any advice
would be greatly appreciated."

Henry sounds a lot like my second son. He has extremely intense emotions, and is the most loving child I've ever met. But his emotions are so intense that he has a truly hard time dealing with them, and that results in a lot of hitting (and sometimes biting) and now threatening with words. It's been going on since he was a toddler, and it seems to me as if his aggression just flares up when he feels misunderstood or thwarted and he doesn't know how to make himself feel better about a situation.

The only thing that seems to help is to talk out his feelings with him, to allow him to be angry but to express it verbally instead of physically. When he was littler and not verbal what helped was saying what I guessed he was feeling, about being angry or frustrated. He could nod his head when I hit the right emotions. Now I can say, "How does that make you feel?"

I've also started noticing that when I do a more general debriefing of the day at night and in the morning of what happened that day or the day before and how he felt about it, he seems to do less aggressive acting out. It's almost as if he knows he's being understood and will have his chance to state his emotional case, so he can control the lashing out a little more.

Have you ever felt like the world was on your last nerve? That must be what it's like to be a really intensely emotional child. Anything is going to set you off, and you won't have the emotional space to pull back. So I think trying to make your child feel understood, and taking the focus off the kids he hits and more onto his own emotions just might help. But it seems like a more constant process (of daily check-ins) than just stopping it at the time.

I'm going to try it out even more over the next few weeks, and if any of you with intense kids who are physically acting out would volunteer to try it out, too, we could see if it's a plan that helps. Because that feeling of not knowing how to stop your child (who you KNOW is loving) from hurting other kids is horrible.

Any comments?

Q&A: 2.5 year old screaming in the bath

Jessica writes:

"Several weeks ago, my 2.5-year-old son decided he wanted to try wearing underwear. He did it for a week, many accidents ensued, and by Thursday, he started holding his poop because he was afraid to have an accident. He held it all day, and finally, during his bath that evening, he couldn't hold it any longer. It wasn't the first time ever that he'd pooped in the bath, but it had been at least a year and he surely didn't remember ever doing it before. I tried to react in a
nonthreatening way. I got a little bit "OMG POOP" on him and told him he had to get out of the bath right away. Then I calmed myself so I could keep him calm, told him it was okay and that I'd clean it up after he was in bed. So we did the bedtime routine, got him in bed, and I cleaned it up. I thought that was it. It was the end of potty-trying for now, though. He's happily back in diapers. Which is fine.

But my question is not about potty training.

Ever since the poop-in-bath incident, N has hated his baths. I can't decide if it's directly related (i.e., he's afraid he's going to poop in the bath again) or if he's hit that developmental spurt and
suddenly has a bunch of irrational fears, and one of them happens to relate to bath-taking. (For history's sake, he's always had fun in the bath, spent 20 minutes or longer, and rarely initiated getting out.) Now, he's perfectly cheerful until we get into his room and start taking his clothes off, at which point he starts whimpering. By the time we get to the bathroom, he's saying he doesn't want to take a bath, and when his butt hits the water (if we can convince him to sit
down), he starts shrieking and screaming that he wants to get out.

He used to just hate the hair-washing but would calm down and play once we were done. Now, it's full-on screaming from start to finish. Doesn't want to play, doesn't want to color with his bath crayons, doesn't want to sing or read a book. Just "I want to get out!!!!" at the top of his lungs, shrieking and screaming and sobbing.

I've tried asking him what's upsetting him, but I don't think he knows, or he doesn't understand how to answer the question. He's extremely verbal, but he's still only 2 and a half, and I think
cognitively, he's just not up to answering "why" questions yet. If I make suggestions, he just agrees with me. ("Is the water too hot?" "Yeah." – The water was lukewarm at best. "Are you scared?" "Yeah." "What are you scared of?" "I don't know." "Are you scared that a green monster is going to come out of the drain?" "Yeah." – Well, obviously not because I just made that one up myself.) Last night I tried asking if he was "sad or scared." He said he was scared. I asked if he was scared of the water. No. The soap? No. The drain? Yes. I have no idea what's going on in his head. I tried explaining that the drain is too small for him or his toys, that only the water and the dirt would go
down. But I'm not really convinced that the drain is the problem, either.

I would try doing the bath somewhere else, but we only have the one bathtub and he's TERRIFIED of the shower – always has been, wants nothing to do with it. I suggested that maybe tonight we would try sitting at the other end of the tub, away from the drain, but somehow I don't think that's going to help.

So, how do I help him get over whatever it is that he's so upset about in the bath so we can have fun, peaceful bedtime baths again?"

And this, my friends, is why we need my mom to open the Toddler Boarding School. Because then it would be her problem and not ours.

There definitely seems to be some bath avoidance at 2.5. It's all part of the 2.5 phase. Remember the whole Ames & Ilg theory of equilibrium and disequilibrium at 6-month cycles? Usually equilibrium hits around the year mark and disequilibrium at the half-year mark (of course your child may vary), so 2.5 is a hornet's nest of all kinds of stuff going on developmentally and physically, and bath avoidance is one of those things. It could be exacerbated by the poop incident, too, which means it might be a more visceral reaction than just the normal fear.

You've hit the nail on the head with your assessment of why you can't just ask your son what he's afraid of. At this age they're not really reliable narrators, and are easily led. If only there was a way to ask a 2.5-year-old "WTF?" (in a nice way, of course) and get an actual answer, but there isn't. So you kind of have to let go the dream of understanding why it's happening and just try to get through it.

First, I'd assess whether or not he actually needs a bath every night, and if he doesn't, don't give one. That'll cut the stress at least a little.

Personally, in your situation, I would resort to my most lazy self and just try to bribe him to get the bath done. Cookies, hot fudge, Thomas DVD on endless repeat, whatever it took to get his necessary parts washed.

If you're not down with bribery, I think you and your husband are just going to have to shoot rock-paper-scissors for which one of you takes the hit and has to give the screaming bath on any given night until this phase ends or he forgets about the poop drama.

Does anyone else have anything for this phase other than bribery or grin-and-bear-it? It doesn't last forever, but it's so troublesome while it lasts.

Q&A: 18-month sleep regression redux

I got a question from Kelli a few weeks ago, and then an almost identical question from Kyo a couple of days ago, about the 18-month sleep regression.

If you all recall (and those of you with kids over the age of 18 months probably do), there's a big developmental spurt that happens right in the 18-21-month corridor, so many kids who've been fine sleepers suddenly stop sleeping (either at nighttime or for naps or both) around 18 months and it lasts for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

It completely and utterly bites, and parents can feel blindsided and insulted and very very angry about it.

So, what Kelli and Kyo were asking was what they should do about it. Their kids were waking up in the middle of the night either once or a bunch of times, and they were having varying degrees of success with getting them back to sleep using various methods. The big concern seemed to be whether they were setting themselves up for later problems if they did things like nurse the kids back to sleep or bring them into their beds or use other sleep crutches that they'd mostly gotten away from before the sleep regression happened*.

I think that, as usual, it depends on your kid. By the time your child is 18 months old, you've been through a few sleep regressions already. So think back to what happened when your child came out of the 4 month regression and 9-month regression: Did your child go back to sleeping the way s/he'd been sleeping before? (Some kids just go right back as if the regression had never happened.) Or did you need to ease your kid back into sleeping and wean off processes of getting to sleep that you'd used to hold down the fort during the regression? (Bitey Biterson, for sure.)

Whatever happened with those other regressions is probably going to happen with this one. If you've been reading me for any length of time, you know that I figure that people just sleep the way they sleep, and there's not much parents can do to change that. So the sooner you can figure out how your kid sleeps, the sooner you can figure out both what's realistic for you and how you should approach sleep issues.

The other thing to think about, though, is "Do you care?" I know that, for me, it didn't matter if I knew I'd have to spend a few weeks breaking a habit again as long as I could get some !@#$% sleep in the meantime. If that's the way you are, then who cares, and do whatever it takes to get you all the max amount of sleep at any given night.

But if it will kill you to have to undo something, and you're not so fried at this moment that you just need to sleep By Any Means Necessary, then take a little time to think about how you could replicate conditions that will help facilitate sleep without actually going back into the processes or crutches you don't want to use. Either that or schedule a solo vacation at a spa for a week and let someone else deal with it. (If only. Can you imagine?)

Anyone want to share any fond memories of the 18-month sleep regression?  I would, except I seem to have blocked out a whole lot of it. I can, however, remember standing over my older son's crib wondering how I'd morphed from awesome to completely incompetent in a matter of weeks. Parenting is hard.

* In general, I think sleep crutches of all sorts, from pacifiers to rocking to loveys, get a super-bad rap. No one has to bring their mom along to college to nurse them to sleep. And so what if you have to sleep with a white noise machine? If it bugs you when you're 30 you can break the habit your own self, and leave your poor parents out of it. So I'm only talking about breaking habits because some parents really want to get away from sleep crutches because they're adding more stress to their lives. If sleep crutches are working for you as a family, then party on with them for as long as they work, and then figure out the next thing.

Q&A: post-holiday tantrums

Theresa writes:

"Anyone else have a rough week last week now that the holidays are over? My son (6) was back to school, I was back to the miserable commute, the
babysitter (whom he loves) was back – and by Thursday we were in
full-blown tantrum mode (we haven't been there for a while).  From
Thursday through the rest of the weekend, we had multiple tantrums a
day.  I think the major triggers were interruptions on his time with me
(not so much his dad, who is more of the primary caretaker now that
I've got the commute from hell), but they could also start over being
asked to practice piano, being asked to finish dinner, stuff that is
never usually a problem.

So I'm wondering if this is just a temporary "end of holidays/vacation"
reaction or something more serious.  I'm also wondering how people deal
with tantrums generally.  I'm a bit at my wit's end right now (to the
point where yesterday, I just ended up resorting to pure bribery)."

Oh, what's a little bribery between friends?

Seriously, though, there's all sorts of stuff I never thought I'd do as a parent, including bribery, that I do without a second thought as long as it gets the job done and prevents those ridiculous, out-of-the-blue, sucker-punch tantrums that make you want to throw yourself on your sword.

And, yeah, we've been having some crazytime here Chez Moxie. I'd been attributing it both to the return to "normal" from the winter break and also to the kids having spent several days in a row with either one or the other of their dad and me (usually they see both of us on most days).

Now, I do think some of this with my older one is that he's almost 7, so I'd say definitely go read through the assessments of what being 7 is like in the comments from hedra and Sharon Silver especially.

But I really think it's just trying to get back to a regular routine after a few weeks of everything being different and more relaxed. Whether your child did better or worse with a less structured day, it's still stressful to go back to a routine and school. I think the key is just to stay consistent and calm (as calm as possible) and know that your child will adjust back within the next few weeks.

How has everyone else been doing? This is the second week back for most of us, so I'm imagining that things are settling way back down from last week. How did you get through the shift?

Q&A: 20-month-old scratcher

Kathy writes:

"I'm sorry about the long email but my husband and I are losing ourpatience fast. It all began with a recently trip to Jamaica. On our way
there, our 20 month old son refused to nap. By the end of our trip, he
was screaming, squirming and scratching at our faces. He's never been a
scratcher but we just thought he was deliriously tired and acting out.
While we were in Jamaica, he scratched our faces a handful of times but
again it was only when he was tired. Our trip back was an absolute
nightmare. My husband and I look like we got into a fight with a rabid
tiger and lost. Since we've been back 3 days ago, the scratching has
gotten out of control.

We've tried the serious voice and stern
"No scratching. It hurts mommy/daddy." He will either not care or claw
at us again. We moved to the "Ouch. That hurts" with a fake cry. His
response is to scream at the top of his lungs… not the I'm sorry
scream but the don't piss me off scream. We even tried the time out
thing today but he was perfectly content to just sit there. We try to
intercept his hand before it gets to our face but he's like a ninja. We
rarely see it coming.

The
scratching is sort of random. Sometimes he's tired or angry but other
times we're having fun together and he'll reach out and take a piece of
my face off. Everything that I've read says to be firm, consistent and
wait it out but I'm not sure if we can wait weeks or even months. We
won't have any skin left on our faces.

Any other tactics or advice? "

First off, I'd cut his nails and then file them down as far as you can without hurting him, just to reduce the efficacy of his weapons!

I have to say that it doesn't surprise me at all that your son is 20 months and is doing this. Remember how we've talked about the whole 18-month evil phase? The kids just get so frustrated and have no autonomy so they basically just lash out. And then something seems to ease around 21 months–they get more words, they seem to have more physical fluidity, and they just seem to be more in command and less stressed all the time.

What that means is that 20 months is the end of the build-up of frustration. I get dozens of questions from people about why their 20-month-olds won't eat, and that's all about controlling the one thing they can control. I think this scratching is the same thing–he can't control things and has so much anger and frustration inside of him. It's probably exacerbated by being back from vacation and feeling tired and off-kilter, and missing all the piƱa coladas and warmth of Jamaica.

I don't think you're going to be able to magically stop it, but I do think you might be able to ease it until he gets older and more able to deal with his conflicting emotions and urges. I think helping him express his feelings and wants might give him a little more space. So definitely start signing, if you haven't been doing any already. (And if you've been doing it but have tapered off, ramp up again.) People loooove the Signing Time DVDs, and you can also use the Michigan State ASL browser online (you need QuickTime on your computer to use it, but you can download it free if you don't already have it).

The other thing you could do is to verbalize his feelings for him. If you can tell he's getting frustrated with something, you can say "You're frustrated. That's making you feel angry and like you want to scratch something!" and then give him a chance to confirm. It's got to be so horrible at this age to have so many complex feelings and not be able to express them so adults can understand! If a grown-up gets what you're feeling and can tell you they understand, that makes things better, even just a little. Everyone just wants to be understood, no matter how old or young we are.

The part about it coming out of the blue is, I think, also just human nature. Think about times when you're carrying around something that's been bugging you, and sometimes you can only be angry about it or mention it when things are back to being calm or happy. And the person who has to hear your anger is blindsided by it. Same thing here, only with physical pain.

Aside from this, I think it's going to help you if you can think of it in terms not of your son acting naughty or trying to hurt you on purpose, but as a problem you need to solve together. Clearly he's feeling awful and angry and frustrated and is just lashing out because he's got nothing else. So whatever you can do to help him reconnect and feel like he's got some power over himself is going to help, and shutting him off (with time-outs or other "discipline" stuff that's really just punishment) is going to make things worse. But you knew that–I just thought it was worth reminding all of us of it again. (And again, and again. Parenting is hard, y'all.)

What else do you guys have for Kathy? Stories? I'm hanging on here by a thread with a chest cough and aching head, so I'm praying my younger one will take a nap (he's in the middle of dropping it) so I can, too.

Q&A: babies seeing ghosts?

And now for something *completely* different. Brenda writes:

"I have a question that used to bother me but not that muchanymore. (At least not for now until my younger kid gets a little
older.)

My question is: Do you believe that babies and toddlers can see
entities of another realm (as in spirits, ghosts etc.) that we can't?

My son is now 3 years old. He used to look at, point to and make
"eh eh" sounds at two particular corners of our bedroom. I have never
seen anything there that may interest him – no interesting patterns or
intriguing colours. Now he no longer does that but would sometimes walk
over to those two areas to take a look and briskly walk away. (I'm
getting goosebumps as I type this.) I know there's a school of thought
that says that some kids have the ability to see things that we adults
can't, and as they get older and start expressing themselves, they lose
that ability. This is how the "other realm" keeps itself separate from
ours. I have horrific thoughts sometimes and keep picturing scenes from
the trailers of the movie "The Messengers". I'm now just hoping my
7-month-old doesn't start doing the same thing as well.

Do you or your readers have any thoughts that you would like to
share on this? I know this is a rather sensitive and disturbing topic,
but I'm curious about other parents' experiences and what they have
done about it."

<Insert your own "I see dead people" joke here.>

You know, I don't think it matters if *I* believe they see anything.

So much truly strange, unexplainable stuff has happened to me in the last several years that I don't discount anything. But at the same time I completely understand how other people don't think strange stuff can happen. It's all your own personal experience. In my experience.

Is there a way for you to switch rooms in your living space so your kids don't have to be in that room as much? That might make you feel better about things.

Anyone want to debate whether or not kids can see stuff like that? Or talk about personal experiences with it?

Q&A: One side is tastier than the other

Look up for info about the service projects we're doing for December 2008.

Lisa writes:

"So this must be an odd question because I can't seem to find much ofanything about it anywhere online. The problem I'm having is that my
daughter (15mo.) is pretty much refusing to eat from my left breast.
The right one is fine and dandy, but she'll only nibble on the left
then back away and shake her head no. And I think the issue is that the
two taste different. Maybe this is gross to some people but I tasted a
drop from each breast and the right one is sweet as expected but the
left was kind of sour or salty. I couldn't tell exactly from the little
dribble on my finger but it was definitely different, and not in a good
way.

Do you know why this might be happening or what to do about it? I'm
stumped. I'm not pregnant (no chance), I started my period 2 months ago
and the timing kinda fits but not exactly, I don't think I've changed
anything in my diet, and I haven't been taking anything new other than
fish oil… and the timing might fit but why would it only affect one
breast? Any ideas Moxie?"

Yeah, I have no idea, but I do know this preference for one side over the other is not odd or unusual at all. It happened for awhile with my older son, and each of my boys showed a strong preference for one side over the other for periods of time.

(My first son liked my left breast better than my right for awhile, and I was convinced it was because I'm overwhelmingly right-handed, so maybe the right side tasted more gamey or something, like the difference between light meat and dark meat. Ah, sleep deprivation…)

I don't think there really is anything to be done about it, except to file it in the "Bodies Are Strange" file. At this age you don't need to be worried about your production, so you'll adjust and your right breast will produce what she needs. The biggest problem will be that your right breast might be larger than your left one until you wean. But since almost everyone is a little mismatched anyway…

Does anyone know why this happens, or have any stories, or remember where my original post was about this? I know I've written on this exact question before, but just couldn't find it.

18 months

I've had a request for a commiseration post for parents of 18-month-olds.

The suddenly not sleeping! The willfulness! The earnest and desperate desire to talk but the inability to say the words they want to! The slapping themselves! The battles over food! The way you've been feeling good about your skills as a parent and suddenly you feel both incompetent and angry all the time!

Yeah, I feel really bad for you guys.

So, if you're in the middle of it, complain here. And if you just came out of it, give them hope. And if you're long out of it, see if you can come up with any good stories to make us all feel better.

Also, does anyone know exactly what skills they develop during the developmental spurt that causes them to stop sleeping for those 4-8 weeks? I think it's definitely about communication and organization, but don't know if there's been anything written specifically about that spurt.