Toddler Development

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    As a baby, Brooke Greenberg would grow at a normal rate one month, and then stop entirely the next. Born one month prematurely and weighing just four pounds, her unpredictable growth continued until she was 5 years old -- that's when Brooke stopped growing altogether. For nearly two decades, doctors have remained baffled by her rare condition, ultimately labeling it "Syndrome X." Sadly, the young woman died last week at age 20 and although, physically, she was the size of a toddler and had the diminutive facial features of a young child, her family says she had the heart of a giant. 

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    There are lots of things we can do as parents to help our children get through those really awful, irrational tantrums they have about 10 times each day. We can try to ignore them so that our kids won't associate attention with their behavior. We can distract them, enact a time-out rule, or even teach them how to calm themselves down. What should we probably not do? Laugh at them, ridicule them, and teach his or her siblings to do the same. Which is more or less what this dad did on video for kicks.

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    I didn't set out planning to breastfeed my son until he was 3 years old. In the beginning I thought I would nurse him until he self-weaned, which I assumed would happen sometime around 18 months. But just like all those back-labor techniques I thought would work but didn't, self-weaning did not happen. Eighteen months came and went. Two years old. Two-and-a-half. Still no weaning in sight. Meanwhile, I was DONE with the breastfeeding. So I had to initiate plan B: Weaning the toddler. Here's what I learned.

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    When you're the parent of a toddler or little kid, you never can tell what they'll run toward and what will send them running for the hills. One day they're begging you to buy up all the balloons in aisle six of the supermarket; the next they're screaming bloody murder at every children's birthday party they attend. Their fears come and go as quickly as any other phase they go through -- still, you have to wonder what runs through their little minds. How can you love ice cream and hate the Ice Cream Man? And just why do they have obscenely strong opinions about male facial hair at age 2?

    Here are 10 things kids should either like, or at the very least feel neutral about, that can actually fill them with terror. 

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    The day my daughter gave up naps was a day I will forever mourn. Well, until she's a teenager and she naps all day, avoiding chores, homework, and ignoring anything mama needs to tell her. But those toddler naps were golden even if they were just an hour. I had it down to a precise science on how many things I could get done in that time. Her twin brother, however, is still a champion napper. So technically I still have somewhat of a break when he naps.

    Apparently those daytime slumbers aren't just important for me; naps are vital to strengthening our kids' brains. According to some research, it's my napping son who is going to be the smarter one. 

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    If you've ever tried arguing with a toddler, you know there's simply no winning. They have a logic all of their own and simply cannot be deterred once they've made their mind up about something. They're fairly brilliant in their tactics too, as ruthless as they may be.

    Take 3-year-old Adela in this video for example. She's at the toy store with her dad, on a mission to buy a birthday gift for a friend. Adela, however, has another idea -- more My Little Pony stuff for her. When her initial requests don't work, she gets serious and resorts to extortion. "If I don't get any ponies or any horse, I won't be able to wuv you anymore," she tells him. "I'll only be able to wuv my mom."

    You have to watch to get the full impact of her persuasive powers.

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    Within the last few months, my daughter has begun stuttering. She talks a lot and is very expressive (even puts her hand on her hip all sassy like) and it tends to happen when she is very excited about something and wants to tell someone all about it. Sometimes it's just a word she gets stuck on; other times it's a phrase repeated. Of course I'm worried. Is this an issue that we need some speech therapy to fix? 

    I spoke to one of my friends about it who has a daughter with a different speech challenge and she told me that her doctor assured her not to worry and that's it's something most kids grow out of. That made me feel a little better, but then a study came out suggesting there is a link between children who stutter and verbal and non-verbal scores.

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    For all of the ugliness and fighting we saw this week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, there was one moment that was incredibly sweet and pure. Jacqueline Laurita had been out in California getting a tummy tuck and some other plastic surgery, while her husband kept their sons at home. She was worried that Nicholas, her 3-year-old who has autism, wouldn't even miss her while she was gone. 

    She had nothing to worry about though, because it was one of the most heartwarming homecomings you could imagine. He was clearly excited to see his mom, smiling and returning her expressions of love. It was a really special moment to witness.

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    Okay parents, tell me if this sounds familiar. 1. Your child does not want to wear pants. 2. Your child hates clothing tags because obviously tags just tear up your skin and cause permanent nerve damage and scarring. 3. Wrestling your child into their pants feels remarkably like wrestling with a full-grown adult. Yes, it's time for another episode of the hit YouTube series Convos With My 2-Year-Old, in which the role of 2-year-old Coco is played by a grown man. 

    This time we get to watch the dad try to get a pair of pants on "Coco." Why is this such a monumental task? Oh, I think we know why.

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    I almost didn't read this story: "What Happened When My Son Wore a Pink Headband to Walmart." I kind of figured I already knew what happened. People were jerks about it and maybe made a few snarky comments to her, she went home and wrote a blog post about it. And now we feel defensive on her behalf. The end. We've all heard stories like this before -- the boy in the princess costume, Jenna Lyons painting her son's toenails. I read the story anyway ... and my jaw dropped. It's so much worse than I thought it would be.

    Kathleen Carpenter, (writing as Katie Vyktoriah) wrestled her 2-year-old son Dexter and her 5-month-old baby into the car to pick up a few necessities at the store. Moms have to pick their battles, so she made Dexter leave behind the huge stuffed bear he wanted to bring, but she let him keep the pink lace flower headband he was wearing. Maybe she expected a few looks, I don't know. But she certainly didn't expect her son to be grabbed and threatened by a full-grown adult.

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