The Fine Art of Toddler Wrangling

Why do they call it the “Terrible Twos?” Any mom or dad can tell you it starts before then and extends beyond that, too. Actually, according to a child behavior specialist I interviewed for a story for Alaska Baby and Child Magazine a while back, the “Terrible Twos” can extend until they are four and a half! Lord, give me strength.

I’ve mentioned before that my toddler has this very trying habit of screaming the entire drive home from day care. Screaming. So, we go through the check list:

Are you hungry?

Are you thirsty?

Are you wet?

Are you tired?

Are you just plain pissed? Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner.

My best friend suggested giving him a little sucker or something to keep him occupied/happy for the ride home. I may try that.


The minivan is a source of another battle of the wills: getting strapped into the car seat. Isn’t it amazing how these toddlers can contort their little bodies when they don’t want to do something?! I am a firm believer we should grow another hand every time we have a child. It’s just plain necessary. How can I wrangle this kid with only two hands?

Getting the boy dressed is… challenging. Ever try putting a diaper on an angry wet octopus? That’s what it feels like. Arms, legs, everywhere. Flailing. Crying. Oh, and he’s a handful, too. We’ve started dressing him upside down. He finds this funny. At least it gets the job done. This also requires more than two hands.

How are you folks handling your toddlers? Any good wrangling tips? Duct tape is out, my friends. But, I’m totally open to legal and humane ideas!



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KalleyC
    Dec 21, 2011 @ 13:28:44

    My daughter can be a pain in the morning to get dressed, so the only thing that works with her is making her laugh. When she starts to struggle, I start to tickle. At the end, she’s laughing and I’m laughing and she’s calm enough for me get her dressed.

    If I have to get two kids dressed, I know I need more arms.


  2. Lisa
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 08:58:48

    Not popular in this day and age, but when mine were two, we spanked. Consistency was key, and eventually they got the idea that we were in charge. Now that they are 12, 15, and 17 there seems to be no lasting trauma from said corporal punishment. They are happy, well-adjusted, straight A-B students. I know it doesn’t work for everyone though. I say, find what works for each kid…they are all different.


  3. My boys mom
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 09:55:15

    I have two boys 16 months apart. The younger one will be 3 next week. The older one is very thoughtful, polite and sweet and must have “lulled” us into having the second child. Need I say more? I agree with the spanking thing within reason. As for the car to and from daycare – I try to keep a small baggie with a little dry cereal for each- throw in a couple of “surprise” m&ms! This generally makes a large mess, but the silence and peace is well worth the vacuuming!!

    Distractions by cartoon or a toy in his hand usually helped me get the diaper on if I moved quickly. We have somehow finally gotten him potty trained, however still working on the call someone for help after you poop- don’t just pull your pants up and move on- thing. Yuck!

    I find that if I tell him that I am getting the “bugs” out of his teeth, that he will let me brush his teeth.(mostly)

    I am hoping and praying this is just a stage and not his personality for life! Do you ever worry about that or is it just me? Good Luck!!


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