Trying to get a toddler to do ANYTHING: an exercise in creativity.

Words that don’t work with my 18-month-old daughter:
Come here
Olive Rose
This is our new rule
Please eat
I need a minute
Hold on
Keep walking
Give me some space
Watch out
Excuse me
Don’t touch your poop, ew, gross, please Olive… ugh.


We dared to put a tutu on her... she was not pleased.

What does work:
I’m gonna get your feet! (while she’s laughing, change that diaper)
Where’s Olive’s belly? (stops her in her tracks, lets you move her away from the dangerous item she was nearing)
Let’s go see Papa! (frequently a lie, the only thing I can say to get her to keep going on the street)
Olive do you want to draw? (aka Redirection 101)
Come sit in my lap (it’s amazing what food she will eat from my lap that she rejects in her high chair)

The hard thing is, those techniques are only really available to my husband and I when we are well rested and have a reserve of patience. However, Olive has not been sleeping/napping/eating well lately, so she’s crankier than usual, and so are we. It’s hard to rise above. But if you see me singing to Olive a very strange little song about why she needs to take a bath, it may not mean that I’ve finally lost it. I’m just trying to get the kid clean, and acting like Mary Poppins 90% of the time is the only thing that actually works! But no way am I wearing her hat.

5 thoughts on “Trying to get a toddler to do ANYTHING: an exercise in creativity.

  1. I like that olive hates tutus especially when I think of the fact that I lived in one during the preschool years. Also, I sometimes like to think that while at work- I identify greatly with your child rearing work- I like to apply ” give me some space” and ” where’s your tummy?”- totally wish it worked!

  2. Parenting is all about being creative, and tapping into the power of our craziness!! You are an amazing mama Rhea!!! We know where Olive gets her awesomeness from!!! (and Joel too of course)

  3. I love love love this post! The best part is lying about going to find Joel. Hilarious. And yes, the zany energy tactic may just work, but sometimes you just can’t gather the effort to make a game out of everything, like when there’s a time element. Liam does not understand “Use your fork,” “we are going to be late!” or “please put some underwear on!,” in addition to all of yours.

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