What to Expect The Second Year Q & A with Heidi Murkoff

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'd like to share an interview with Heidi Murkoff, author of the What to Expect series. Here is a recent Q&A regarding her latest book, What to Expect The Second Year:


Q: You say "terrible twos" is a terrible misnomer. Why?

A: First of all, the timing's off. So-called terrible twos behavior- those trademark tantrums, that negativity, that you-can't-make-me attitude that's typically associated with two-year-olds - usually kicks off (literally) soon after the first birthday, sometimes even sooner, and it can continue well past the third birthday.

But more importantly, the name's all wrong. Toddlers aren't terrible - they're terrific. Their behavior may be challenging at times, pretty hard to take on some days - but take a closer look, and you'll see that it's an essential part of their evolution as an individual....as an ever more fascinating, interesting, interested, complex, complicated, sometimes maddening, always adorable little person.

Q: So what causes these behaviors?

A: Two words: growing up! From those meltdowns on the frozen food aisle to that picky eating to those bedtime rebellions - those behaviors are your little one's way of letting you know: I am toddler, hear me roar. For the first time in my life, I'm not an extension of your arms. I'm my own little person, on my two little feet. I'm nobody's baby. Toddlerhood is, essentially, a battle for autonomy, a fight for freedom, a struggle to define a fledgling identity. It's the first time you see those kinds of behaviors - but it's definitely not the last. You'll get another peek somewhere around age 11 or 12 - there's a reason why toddler is called "the first adolescence".

Q: Who's the little girl on the cover?

A: That's an adorable 14-month old named Gigi, who perfectly personifies what I like to call "joie de toddler" - that toddler essence, that bubbly effervescence, that absolute, unequivocal unbridled, unabashed joy. It's that something-something, that je ne sais quoi you wish you could bottle, splash behind your ears, save forever. Toddlers are small, but their egos, their personalities, their range of emotions (whether it's giddy excitement that buzzes through the their whole bodies, or furious foot-stomping) - that's larger than life. Other ages have their charms - but toddlerhood is magical.

Q: What to Expect books are known for their month-by-month format. Why did you choose a topic-by-topic format for Second Year?

A: One of the words that I hope best describes What to Expect - at least it's one of the top priorities I strive for in everything What to Expect is: intuitive. What to Expect is designed to "get it" - to get you as a parent. To anticipate your questions and concerns and needs - and to offer up the answers and reassurance you're craving in the format that best fits the stage of parenting you're in. When you're expecting - month by month makes perfect sense. After all, who wants to focus on labor and delivery when you're still coping with 1st trimester quease? Same thing for the first year - a newborn comes with a whole different set of issues than a 7 or 8 or 10 month old. But in that second year, there's lots and lots of overlap. The behaviors may evolve - you'll go from primitive, almost laughable tantrums, for instance, to far more sophisticated levels of mommy and daddy manipulation - but they won't change from month to month. So it makes much more intuitive sense to divide the second year into topics instead. Feeding. Sleeping. Growth. Behaviors. Discipline. And to test out my intuition, I tapped into my moms at Whattoexpect.com - and sure enough, their intuition was on the same page. Topic-by-topic, quick to flip to, the tips you need when you need them.

Q: What are the topics parents most want to know about?

A: It doesn't take a rocket scientist, or even a parenting expert to figure out what parents most want to know about when they have a toddler in the house. Pretty much the same topics as when they have a baby in the house - only with variations on the theme. Growing - is my toddler to thin, too chubby, too big, too small? Development- when will he walk? Talk? Kick a ball? Eat with a spoon? Is she hitting all those milestones? And speaking of hitting, how about behavior? Why does he hit? Bite? Not share? Throw tantrums? Say no when she means yes? Feeding - why won't she eat her veggies? Why won't he eat anything that isn't beige? What if she won't drink milk? And of course, sleep - as in, how can my toddler get more...so I can get more? Why is bedtime always a battle? Why won't he break for a nap? And what about night walking?

You'll find the answers to these question and many more in Heidi's latest book: What to Expect The Second Year.



Be sure to enter my current giveaway for a copy of the book and a prize pack valued at over $123!

blueviolet said...

I used those books so much when the kids were little. Very valuable resources!

Anonymous said...

found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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