18 MONTHS- Holy Cow!

I try not to "air dirty laundry" on here or any social media for that matter- it is just not for me. However, I am having one of "seasons" with Milly that I think might give some of you encouragement that you are not alone! I have now officially had 3, 18-month-olds and can I just say- Holy "Shoot". That period from 18 months- 2 years is INTENSE!!! She can't say what she is thinking, she is not old enough to do a lot of what her sisters are doing- so she is frustrated... A LOT!!! I literally lay that strong-willed, strong as an ox, wild, fun, hilarious, ornery, opinionated, independent, precious child in her crib at night and every bone in my body aches..and I feel like I either need an ibuprofen or a glass of wine- one thing I need for sure...silence!
She has recently decided that she would like to do all of the following (and by "decide", I mean has a full body melt down WHEN each does not happen for her!): brush her own teeth, sleep in a queen sized bed, sit in a booster seat in the car, potty train, stop eating all healthy food, only wear flip flops, wear the same red tutu every day, drink out of a cup with no lid, sit in a barstool not highchair....of course all things her sisters do and she thinks she is big enough to do as well (and she is not big enough to do ANY of them)! So here are some things that help me get through the day!!

10 Ideas for Surviving THRIVING with an 18-Month-Old!!! 
(NOTE: this is what works for ME, you might not agree and I am great with that! Since this is my blog, I am telling you what works for me!!)

1. When she is having her full body melt down or if I am asking her to come somewhere and she is not coming- I count down from 5- "5,4,3,2,1". This gives me time to breathe- it gives her time to learn that when mom gets to 1...she no longer has a say. I actually continue this through toddler years, I never have to get past 4 with the big girls before they are RUNNING. (at 1, there is a consequence)
2. Every day is a new day! Lets not have "bad days" but "bad moment's" that we can turn around at any time (thanks to my friend Lori for teaching me that!) When we decide it is a "bad day" it shoots the day- let's say "NO", this was a B-A-D moment but this day will still be great because THIS is the day the Lord has made!
3. The end result always has to be: mom/dad wins. If I start letting her have her way (on important stuff like car seats, beds, etc..) at 19 months old- she would literally run the house, and that is not how God set up the family unit- "children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right" (Eph 6:1) I let her "choose" on the little stuff- what book we read, what toy she plays with, goldfish or graham sticks, if she is excited about a certain tutu that is fine, etc.. but there are certain things that she does not receive a vote on...and on those...I win. period.
4. I know the whole "Love and Logic" idea is great- and a lot of mom groups LOVE this. I cannot speak as someone who has read the book- but I have heard the "pitch" at a mom's group and in my opinion, they do not need to be given these choices for a LONG time. They need to first learn to obey the authority of #1 Jesus Christ and #2 their parents- and as they become more responsible...they should gain the additional responsibility of choice. I just think we might be hearing the L&L plan a little early- I don't believe an 18-month-old should be asked "do you want to do this...or this".
5. For me, naps are not optional- I have heard a lot of people who let their kids choose to not take a nap anymore- FOR ME, naps are important for her (she is much happier with sleep) and for me. I need to recharge and be ready for the second half of the day of "training"! When mom says its nap time...its nap time
6. I wrote all my ideas for dining out {HERE}, this is the age where you have the choice a) do we stay at home and get take out or cook b) do we eat in the car or c) do we dine out and "train". I love to dine out, I love to take my girls with me ...so for me, I will not fear the training! I believe, when you have a strong-willed 18-month-old, the minute you give in at a restaurant and do the "walk around" where you either let them walk around or you have someone who walks around with them- you will have to really fight to undo that! I have been known to take the child out of the restaurant and have a "stern talking to" but make no mistake, when we leave the table it is not "fun time". I do like the "train them at home so you don't have to do as much training in public" idea. But of course, children are not perfect all of the time and doggie bags are delightful for the "quit while you are ahead" moments.
7. Time Out- this is the phase where she gets a time out for bad behavior- looks different for everyone. For my #1 she needed to be put in the crib or pack-n-play, removed from the room and confined. For my #2 all she needed was to be sat on a chair and she would be devastated. #3 can be sat anywhere as long as it is away from the "party" she cannot stand to miss the action! Can I gently say one thing about discipline- I don't believe that taking a picture of a child in the middle of a consequence is sending a good message- they see that mom/dad gets the camera out when they are doing cute, fun, good things- so when you are snapping away during a consequence...what is that saying? Just a thought!
8. The "hand squeeze" is still big- firmly squeeze the hand, especially if she has done something with that hand like hit or touch something that is off limits. Some people put breakable things away, I figure they will eventually be somewhere where someone will not hide everything from them- so lets teach them what is not okay to touch from the start. (this comes in handy at stores) If Milly approaches something that is breakable I say "Milly, pat pat" which tells her gentle (I had to show her the pat pat several times) then if she is rough with it or picks it up, I VERY firmly squeeze the hand. If she continues, I remove her from the situation.
9. Praise Baby videos are delightful!
10. I read Shepherding a Child's Heart  when Ellie was a baby and frankly, it didn't sink in too much. However, now I wish I would have studied it a bit more. Just paying attention to the heart issue as opposed to the behavior issue. It is great to start identifying the sin/heart issue as they grow and start helping them to identify the behavior. For example call selfishness what it is- they might not understand for a while, but it starts the process of identifying their own sinful behavior. I think helping a person to identify their sinful behavior from a very young age is a gift- IN LOVE, not holding it over them but helping them see what that is. I am always trying to be more aware of the sin in my life for example tonight I was convicted by the "slow to anger" command...lots of "bad moments" and I might have blown up a time or two! I am grateful that His mercies are new every morning and His grace is endless- these times give me good moments with the girls to tell them that mommy needs Grace as much as they do!
Bonus #11. I go look at them when they sleep! It will remind you of the peaceful, kind, sweet and innocent baby you love- before they wreck you the next day, haahaa!

Those are my 18-month ideas- I thought I might write it down now...because, this is the VERY LAST 18-month-old I plan on having! This is definitely not the most challenging age, but I would bet it is one of the most exhausting! Hang in there mama!!!


  1. I'm a new mother of a three month old with 15 years of nannying experience. Your philosophies are like picking and choosing from the families I cared for and selecting the best and brightest decisions and discipline styles. I'm pinning this post so that I can refer back to it in a year or so. I really appreciate your guidance and honesty - and I love #11. Thank you.

  2. My daughter just turned a year old yesterday and we are expecting baby #2 in January (bit of a surprise but trusting God's perfect timing). I'm so afraid of what January will look like with a newborn and an 18 month old. Thank you for your insight. I'll be coming back to this in about 7 months! And I too love #11!


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