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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Now Everyone is Crying

Uploaded: Nov 8, 2014
Like many kids in the Bay Area, our son and daughter share a room. When I was pregnant, we were concerned that our son wouldn't be able to sleep through baby's nighttime cries. It can be challenging enough to get a baby back to sleep in the middle of the night. Adding a toddler to the mix sounded overwhelming. Luckily, at least so far, our son has been able to sleep through her nighttime waking.

Nevertheless, we've had our fair share of both kids crying at once. Sometimes it was because both had unmet needs...he was thirsty and she needed to be fed. And other times our toddler cried immediately after baby started. The first few times this happened I was puzzled. Did he want attention? Was he jealous? Worried? Confused? Empathetic?

My heart sank hearing my two kids crying. So I mentally ran through all of the advice I'd read/heard while pregnant. I tried explaining that his sister wasn't hurt. That she cried to communicate with me. That it must be tough when I can't give him my full attention. After a couple of failed attempts, I was running out of ideas. So I decided to just ask him why he was crying. He immediately stopped. And matter-of-factly stated "Now everyone is crying!"

Once I had a better understanding of what was going through his head, it was so much easier to switch his interest from crying to a more helpful behavior (bringing her a lovey, pacifier, blanket etc).

You can read and listen to all the parenting advice out there. But, at the end of the day, what matters is what is actually going on in your own toddler's mind. However simple this thought was, I feel extremely lucky that my toddler was able and willing to share it with me. The next time I am puzzled as a parent, I hope I first turn to my toddler and ask questions before turning to others for advice.


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Posted by Mother of 4 , a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Nov 9, 2014 at 6:18 pm

I think you did the right thing and it is good that your toddler is able to voice his feelings, but that may not always be the case.

I remember our eldest reverting to baby behavior to get attention. Rather than ignore her or admonish her, I remember playing the game along with her. She wasn't as vocal as your son and couldn't explain why she wanted to revert to a more immature stage, except to say that it was fun being a baby for a while. If she kept the game going longer than appropriate, which did happen, I reminded her that babies couldn't eat snacks, or couldn't watch tv, as only big kids were able to do these things. She soon got the idea of being a big kid again.

Thanks for the memory, it is often when seeing other toddlers that I remember what each of mine were like at this stage.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Nov 9, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4 - Thank you for sharing your experience. Yes, our son also enjoys hearing that babies can't eat frozen yogurt or ice cream. So we've been eating a lot of desserts recently.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 32nd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 6. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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