Friday, July 17, 2015

Review: What to Expect The Second Year

What to Expect The Second Year, Heidi Murkoff 

Non-fiction, reference, parenting

Sometimes it feels like my daughter went from a sweet, immobile little baby to a full blown toddler over night. Suddenly, she's throwing food on the floor, getting into every nook and cranny she can find, and mimicking us saying "nonono" as she does the exact thing we'd tell her not to do. At first, it was a little overwhelming; just when we thought we had the whole baby thing figured out, we were back in uncharted territory.

I picked up WTE The Second Year from the library looking for some comfort and guidance. It's always reassuring to know that my kid is perfectly normal and that it's all a phase. I already knew that, of course, but it always helps to see it in print! I was particularly interested in a few specific things:
  • Dental hygiene. We were already brushing before bed most nights but I wanted to get into a more consistent, twice a day routine with an upgrade from her baby brush.
  • Eating habits. Between the food throwing, the lack of interest in cow's milk, and the 20th percentile weight she's been maintaining for a looooooong time, I had some concerns.
  • Behaviour/discipline. I know how to deal with teenagers since that's my job, but I wanted some tips on setting a good foundation and managing behaviour at this age.
The book addressed all of those and much more. It was actually very reassuring to know that we are mostly doing the "right" things, we just need to keep going. As fas the behaviour aspect, I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of what I already do in the classroom with teenagers applies to toddlers as well, just heavily simplified.

It was really helpful to learn how toddlers think at this age. For instance, they have a hard time sharing because they don't understand the concept of ownership yet. The book explains how their understanding of those concepts develop and gives some strategies for helping them learn. That stuff was very interesting to me and I feel that having a better idea of where A's frustrations come from can help me manage expectations and potential tantrums a little better. In that sense, I came away from this book feeling more confident and prepared.

The WTE books seem to get a bad rap, especially the pregnancy one, but I have to admit that I don't mind them. Their format can be obnoxious, sure, and they are written as if they are Cosmo articles in book form. But the information is good and thorough, which is the most important thing to me. That's why I keep coming back to them. WTE The Second Year is a good reference for this stage of development and worth checking out.

For more insight into toddler tantrums, I'd also recommend Dr. Harvey Karp's The Happiest Toddler On The Block. I'm not planning on a separate post for that because I didn't actually read the book. My library only had the dvd so I watched that instead. It was also very helpful. We don't really do the caveman thing with A, which is the main "gimmick" of this book/video, but there is a lot of useful information about the toddler mindset and managing tantrums. 

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