all entries with the category


A creche story that raises questions about a child's tendencies

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 28, 2012 06:00 AM

[Ed note: creche is the word used for daycare in some European countries.This letter has been condensed.]


I'm having a problem with my boy, Liam, who turned 2 on the 4th of August. He was home with me his first year and I then needed to start working so he had to go to creche. Of course this was harder for Mommy than him and surprisingly enough he was quite happy to go to school....

All of a sudden 3 months down the line (aged 1 and 3 months), he started changing. One night, I lifted my hand as to tap him on his butt -- I wasn't going to -- as he was doing something he wasn't allowed after asking him to stop. Now I've never tapped nor smacked my child before nor has his father and I don't leave him anywhere else, he then grabbed his head, his eyes went big, he was petrified, started shaking and went and sat in the corner and blocked himself from me. I then turned to my husband and started crying and said to him, what in the world just happened! Following that, he all of a sudden didn't want to go to creche again. When I'd drop him off, he'd go stand with his face in the corner, ...and run away from them. This reaction upset me terribly. I knew something had happened and ...I needed to protect him and decided to take him out. I then kept him home for two weeks.

My boy stopped sleeping through the night from 6 months old and his sleeping has just gotten worse.... I cannot blame this on the creche incident as he only started creche 6 months after. [But] after having him home for two weeks, he went three days in a row without sleep.

[Then] I found a creche three houses from me and started with baby steps, first, every second day for an hour, then just a little while in mornings, then he went full day... [He continues to not] sleep at night ...[In the mornings,} when we turn in the direction of the creche, he screams and turns around, I literally have to drag him there. Once we get there, he's crying terribly, they say I must put him down and turn around but this kills me....The lady says once I'm gone, he stops.

I can't deal with doing this to him every morning, it's been going on for 7 months. Now I don't work, I am home so I've made the decision to take him out and keep him by me. Is this best for him? I try make all the right decisions but feel as a mother, I'm failing at everything at the moment.

From: Debbie, George (UK? France? Debbie doesn't say)


Baby's stranger anxiety includes mom

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz September 24, 2012 06:00 AM

My 1yr. has been with my mom for 2 mos. When I went to visit her, all she did was cry. She didn't want anything to do with me. Why did she do that and what can I do to [re-establish] our relationship? My mom lives about 200 miles from me or I would visit, my mom took her because I was moving and wasn't sure when I would get a place. Now I am settled in and I want my baby back with us. What do I do?

From: Michelle, Lander, WY


Move to a bed was way too soon

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz August 1, 2012 06:00 AM

I put my 12 month old in a toddler bed, it went well for a month and a half. Now all of the sudden, she will not stay in her bed, she wanders to mine, I take her back in and repeat in about an hour. I have tried so many things and am lost now. She only is saying a very small amount of words hardly anything and doesn't understand like a 2 or 3 year old would. I hate to put the crib back up. I need help??

From: Jenna, Small Ville


Books for first-time parents

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz July 30, 2012 06:00 AM

In deciding what to give at a baby shower to my friend's daughter who is expecting for the first-time, it probably will come as no surprise that I'm choosing some parenting books. Here are my choices:

1. "Your Baby and Child," by Penelope Leach. The mom-to-be actually has this on her baby registry list and it made me smile to see that my friend Penelope, who I've interviewed many times over the years and shared tea with at the old Ritz in Boston, was still making a new mom's must-read list. I couldn't agree more!

2. "Your Baby Is Speaking to You," by Dr. Kevin Nugent. I love this book, I've been waiting to have someone to buy it for since it was published last year. This is not a typical parenting book, in fact, it's almost a cocktail table book with gorgeous photos by Abelardo Morell and an artsy format that you can dip into, reading only a page at a time. That alone is a sure sign that the author knows not only about babies but also about the life of a baby's parents. Nugent is director of the Brazelton Institute at Children's Hospital, Boston.

3. "You Raising Your Child, The Owner's Manual from first breath to first grade," by Michael F. Roizen, Md, and Mehmet C. Oz, Md. This is one of those big, all-encompassing books, and I like it for its combination of simple explanations, practicality and common sense.

4. "Put Yourself in Their Shoes,
Understanding how your children see the world," by Barbara Meltz. You didn't think I would have a list of books and not include my own, did you? It's not written for parents of newborns -- it kicks in at the tantrum stage -- but surely
it belongs on every parent's night stand, don't you think?

I hope you'll share your suggestions for books for new parents.

Fighting parents, crying baby: not a good combo

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz June 26, 2012 06:00 AM

Dear Readers, For those of you who read Mailbag regularly, forgive me for publishing this question about parents' fighting so soon on the heels of a similar question earlier this month, linked below. I try not to repeat but I hope you'll agree this is an important enough issue that it deserves an answer. BFM

Hello Barbara,
I'm embarrassed to ask this but I really need to know. I"m living with my boyfriend and lately we have been arguing and yelling and screaming and even pushing each other a lot. We have a cute son, he is only 2 months old. We do all those stuff in front of him and when I start to cry he just looks at me and makes a sad face then smiles at me and when he is sleeping and we start arguing in his sleep he starts to cry, ...and doesn't stop even though he is so small. Can he know what's going on?? Can that affect him now or even later on? Thanks, hope you can answer my question soon.

From: Bere, Des Moines


Stress can bring on sleep disturbance

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz April 10, 2012 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara-

I am a different Mom from Dracut with a sleeping question. Our son is 21 months old and we have been home for 4 months (we adopted) and he has always been a great sleeper at night. However he hates night time diaper changes but will wake himself and us up if he poops. In the past this has not be a huge issue, we change him quickly and assume he is just cold and then he goes back into his crib and he goes right back to sleep. He loves his crib and will ask for it if he is tired.

This past week, it has gotten worse and he is just a crazy little man. Last night was just awful, he was crying so much and shaking and just seemed very very scared. It took a lot of cuddles before we could get him to a point to change the diaper and then a lot of cuddles afterwards to calm him again.

Needless to say because he was so scared it scared us as parents and we don't want a repeat of the experience. There was one other wake up non-diaper related, but after a drink which he asked for he was good to go back to sleep for the rest of the night.

What do we do if this happens again? And yes there has been a change, we changed daycare facilities and Monday (today is Thursday) was his first day. All accounts from the teachers say he is doing fine he his happy not crying and taking his nap, and drop offs are good and he waves good bye and runs off to play. Pick ups are good too.

We changed daycare locations (same small local chain) because we will have a second child arriving in 8 weeks and we wanted one location for both children. And we wanted our older son to adjust to the new daycare before his brother arrives.

Do we just wait out the next week or two and give him cuddles and reassure him?

From: Toddler Mom, Dracut, MA


Help this mom (oh yeah, and baby) get some sleep!

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz April 3, 2012 06:00 AM

Dear Ms. Meltz-

HELP!!! I am desperate. I'm sure you get this sort of question all the time but I must ask it again. How do I get my baby to sleep through the night? I have read several books on the subject but either the advice seems too extreme or it doesn't work. I have an almost six month old and he won't sleep for more than two hours at a time. He was born a month early due to a kidney issue and he also experienced acid reflux which he just stopped taking medicine for. Due to the reflux, he couldn't lay flat so he slept in his car seat much of the time. I have tried for the last few weeks to get him on a routine but it still hasn't seemed to make a difference. I don't have much help at night from my husband which is a whole other issue, and I am wearing down fast. I also have a 3 year old who has never been a great sleeper either, and I work full-time. There must be something I am doing wrong or some strategy I am not aware of that will bring us all some much needed relief. Any advice you have would be very much appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

From: Desperately tired Mommy, Dracut, MA


Your first-born, post newborn

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz March 9, 2012 06:00 AM

Dear Barbara,

I am an avid reader of your column and could use some guidance. I have a 3 1/2 year old girl who has always been easy-going and adaptive. She's seldom been trying or had tantrums. 8 weeks ago, we had a baby boy. She loves him. I'd read in your column to carve out 15 mins a day to spend with the older child when a baby arrives. Most days, she gets at least that. My son isn't taking long naps yet, though, so he still needs a lot of my attention during the day. My sweet girl has been throwing several tantrums a day, usually when she doesn't get her way and often over trivial things. It frustrates me since I am trying my best and upsets me because I am falling short and realize that this transition has been tough on her. By bedtime most nights, my body aches from holding in all of this tension and I feel harried.

Are there things I could be doing to ease this major transition for us? How should I handle the tantrum and let her know that she can't always get her way or have my undivided attention all of the time? Also, when can I expect things to get better? (They WILL get better, won't they?)

From: Worn out mom of 2, Wakefield, MA


Read to your baby!

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz March 2, 2012 06:00 AM

Dear Barbara,
I keep hearing I should read with my baby, but am not sure how or why- he can't even talk! What do you think?
From: Curious, Boston


Is mom's eating history affecting her toddler's eating habits?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz December 27, 2011 06:00 AM

Hi There,

I'm the mom of an almost 2 1/2 year old little girl. She is a very happy, outgoing, joyful kid who has tons of energy. The reason I'm writing is because I'm having an awful lot of trouble getting her to eat at home, or I should say with her father and me. Whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner at home, or in a restaurant- she just doesn't eat much at all. She'll pick at a couple of things, or it'll take her upwards of an hour to eat the simplest things. I'm very afraid of giving her eating issues like I have, so I don't force her to sit in front of her plate till it's cleaned, nor do I make a big deal out of giving sweets or any food as rewards. However, when she spends the day at my parents house, or the homes of friends who help me out w/ babysitting from time to time, they all report that she eats non-stop! I've been told she'll eat 2-3 helpings of something that she'd never eat at home, if my parents take her to a restaurant, she eats everything AND picks at their food too. What gives? I joke that I'm just going to drop her off at different houses for meals just so she'll eat something. What am I doing wrong, or what can I do to get her to eat well when she's with us?


From: tlo, Meddford, MA


About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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Barbara answers questions on a wide range of topics, including autism, breastfeeding, bullying, discipline, divorce, kindergarten, potty training, sleep, tantrums, and much, much more.

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