Tuesday Tips and Tricks #3 Sock Duty

I have a two and half year old little boy. He loves to be into anything I am doing. I mean anything. If I am in the kitchen cooking dinner, he wants to be in there with me tinkering with something in the kitchen. If I’m in the bathroom, he’s sitting on my stool digging through the drawers of my vanity.

He has a really fun play room filled with toys and yet he’d rather be with me wherever I’m at. Look at this thing! Wouldn’t you rather be playing in here than cleaning house? He just doesn’t know what he’s missing out on.


Don’t get me wrong. I’m feeling the love, but sometimes I need to get things done that won’t turn around and get destroyed a minute later by my adventurous toddler.

{Cue the laundry pile I’m working on folding}

mountain of laundry

I know you’ve all been there. As quickly as you’re getting the clothes folded, your toddler is unfolding them just as fast. It can get pretty challenging to get a load of clothes knocked out. Like. Ever.

Last time I did a load, my son was wanting to help. So I put him on sock duty.

Sock duty?” you say. “What exactly is sock duty?”

I am so glad you asked. This is what I do. I match a pair of socks in the living room and I send my son off to put them away.  He runs off to his appointed task and I have about 1 minute 42 seconds before he returns shouting, “I did it mommy! I put the socks away!”

I congratulate him and send him off with another pair. “Put these in mommy’s drawer,” I will say. And again, he bounds off with socks in hand to accomplish his task.

At this rate I am able to accomplish my folding a little faster than with my toddler underfoot.  And! None of the clothes were dismantled in the process!

Now. I know what your thinking. My child doesn’t know where my socks go. My child wouldn’t put them in the right drawer. Neither does my little boy most of the time. But from where I’m standing, I would rather reorganize the socks than re-fold the same load of laundry 10.2 billion times {slightly exaggerated}.

putting socks away

Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you. I’d love to hear how you get things done with little ones underfoot.

Life is Beautiful!


Intentional Summer Fun {week 4}

We had a fun week.

We started off Monday with a trip to the chiropractor. Dom’s been seeing Dr George since before he was born!
Later that afternoon we had fun with shaving cream, finger paint and cookie cutters.

Building at the dr’s office

Tuesday morning we were out the door pretty quickly for the mall. We started with a brisk 40 minute walk (3 laps) around the mall. Dom loved hanging out in the stroller and waved at a lot of people. Afterwards, I took Dom to the mall playland. He had fun and even made a friend. Kinsey showed Dominic the ‘ropes’ of the playground. It was too cute.

Every lap I got faster!!

Wednesday, if we are in town, I’ve been going to my workplace to do some planning and get ready for next school year. So while I made mad progress, Dominic played with his friends and Mrs Becky. He had so much fun that he passed out in the car almost immediately.

Later that afternoon we played outside for a bit.

Fun times

Thursday, we had fun going to the zoo with my friend Stacy and Dom’s little friend Phoenix. We went to the Dallas Zoo! It was lots of fun. We saw the elephants, the giraffes and the cheetahs. We also went on the monorail for a fun tour. Afterwards we rode on the carousel and played in the Children’s zoo. We saw goats and fish! And a really big rabbit! It was really fun!

On the carousel

That night Dom and Marshall met up with our lifegroup at In and Out. I was at a dinner meet up with my co workers. We both had fun and came home bubbling with stories.

And today, Friday, has been a cleaning day. Lots of laundry and catching up on things that this busy week has over looked.

So a pretty fun week!

We hope to get back to the library story time next week and check out one of our local splash pads, too!

How was your week? Enjoying your summer?

Toddler Testing Days

Dominic is almost 17 months old. This absolutely blows my mind to think that this child of ours, who this time last year could barely even sit up, is not only walking but running and climbing! He’s babbling like crazy. He says ‘abu’ for dog. ‘Brr’ for bird. ‘Dada’ and even ‘momma’ on occasion. He says something that sounds like “Jesus” or “Cheezits” too.  And he understands so much more than he can say.

And he loves to shake his head ‘no’.

Which leads me to the reason for this post. Dominic has crossed the threshold of cuteness into the time in toddlerhood that I affectionately refer to as the Toddler Testing Days. He’s testing us. If we say ‘no’, he does it any way with a smile on his face. If we offer him something we know he loves, he’ll shake his head ‘no’ and refuse.

We’ve been scratching our heads for a bit now. We are not big on spankings but we didn’t want to turn into kid controlled parents either. {cue gloomy defeated music}

We are masters at redirecting but we’ve begun to realize that Dominic is at the age where redirecting only makes him want to do what he shouldn’t all the more. {and people say children are born inherently good…nope I sense a sin nature from the beginning}

I digress.

So we did pop his bottom a few times; didn’t seem to phase him, said ‘no’ a lot and then between some trial and error tactics and a book called Love and Logic we stumbled upon our mojo for discipline. {at least in this season}

Love and Logic in a nutshell introduces your child to choices and consequences for those choices. It’s a little deeper than that and covers much more than discipline but, in this stage of Dominic’s life, that’s where we’re livin’.

What does it look like? I am so glad you asked. For us, it looks like this:

Dominic does something we don’t want him to do, we say, “Dominic, I need you to stop {insert wrong behavior} If you don’t stop {insert wrong behavior}, I guess you don’t want to do {the activity} anymore.”

If he makes a good decision. We applaud him. If he doesn’t we sadly say, “I guess you don’t want to do {blank} anymore.” And promptly remove him from the activity.

So here are some examples of when we’ve tried it and how it’s going.

Scene 1:

It’s bathtime. Dominic L.O.V.E.S. bathtime. But he’s gotten in the habit of standing up in the tub. At first we would just correct him and sit him back down. Then thanks to L&L we introduced Dominic to consequences.

We started saying, “Dominic, it’s bath time. We need you to sit down. Are you done? If you still want bath time, you need to sit down.” After he would stand up a few times, we would say, “I guess you are done with bath time.” And would immediately take him out of the tub.

He was never too upset about it, but we felt like we were making a statement.

Then just last week, Dominic stood up in the bath tub. I said to him, “Dominic, are you done with bath time?”

And he immediately sat down!!!

This wasn’t a one off either. Dominic has learned to stay seated in the bath tub. Occasionally he still stands up but it only takes one reminder for him to sit down quickly. He even stands up now to let us know that he is done!

Scene 2:

It’s meal time and just like every other toddler on the planet, Dominic loves to throw his food on the ground. It was cute of course but after having to clean up after this child three meals a day the cuteness diminished and in a hurry. So we’ve started a modified L&L with mealtime as well.

We give him his food and if he throws anything on the ground we say, “Dominic, we don’t throw our food. Keep it on the tray if you don’t want it. If you throw it on the ground, you’ll have to help mommy clean it up.” If he throw his milk, we usually give him one extra chance and say to him, “Dominic. Do you want your milk? If you throw it, I guess you’re done.” If he throws it again, we pick it up and say, “I’m sorry Dominic. You threw your milk. I guess you’re done”, and we put it back in the refrigerator.

So back to the food on the ground. When he’s ‘all done’, I get out the dust pan and the little sweep brush. I pull him out of his high chair and then stand behind him putting the brush in one hand and the dust pan in another and I literally guide his hand to sweep up the mess he’s made. I say to him, “Dominic, you made this mess. That’s why you have to help mommy clean it up.”

At first he thought it was pretty neat but today at lunch time, he whimpered a little. I think he’s starting to connect that throwing his food means he has to clean it up. And when I put his milk in the refrigerator, he was not pleased {read: VERY UPSET}.

Our hope is that the consistency of the consequences of losing his beloved milk and having to ‘clean up’ will help him make the connection that throwing food is not acceptable.

Of course we don’t have this one mastered like bath time.

We’ve tried this L&L technique out and about too. Today, I was pushing Dominic in the stroller while doing some shopping. He had a toy that he was really enjoying but on occasion he found it entertaining to throw it. First time I handed it back to him and said, “We don’t throw.” Second time I said, “Dominic, we don’t throw. If you throw it again I guess you don’t want to play with it. Mommy will have to put it away.” When he threw it {Of course he threw it again…toddler testing days, I tell ya!} I said, “Dominic, I’m so sorry you threw your toy. Mommy has to put it away”.

And I did.

He was okay with it and he didn’t get the toy back until 30 minutes later when I was strapping him into the car seat.

Small victories but I am finding that when we follow this approach, I don’t get upset. And I know what to do! I’m not at a loss for how to ‘control’ my child. In essence, my child has the control in choosing to enjoy the activity or face established consequences.

Now Love and Logic is not just a book about discipline but also a book about instilling in your child the common sense to make decisions for himself. It’s a lot about choices.

That’s the part we need to work on. And we’ll get there.

So stay tuned to our adventures in Toddler Testing Days {cue echoing announcer voice}

Next episode: How we overcame Dominic’s insatiable urge to stand on the fireplace ledge. {we haven’t overcome it by the way}


So what are your thoughts on discipline?

Any tried and true tactics you’ve used that you’d like to share?

Feel free to share your struggles too. This parenting thing is hard!