The Girlfriends Guide to Toddlers: A Survival Manual to the Terrible Two's (and Ones and Threes) From the First Step, the First Potty and the First Word (No) to the Last Blankie


With a combined total of over 300,000 Girlfriends' Guides in print, Vicki Iovine offers the kind of tongue-in-cheek humor and straight-from-the-hip advice that has made her one of today's most popular authorities on child rearing. Now she takes the next step in the Girlfriends series by helping mothers deal with that mysterious, baffling, often adorable and frequently alarming being their baby has become?a toddler.

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The Girlfriends' Guide to Toddlers

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With a combined total of over 300,000 Girlfriends' Guides in print, Vicki Iovine offers the kind of tongue-in-cheek humor and straight-from-the-hip advice that has made her one of today's most popular authorities on child rearing. Now she takes the next step in the Girlfriends series by helping mothers deal with that mysterious, baffling, often adorable and frequently alarming being their baby has become—a toddler.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Child magazine columnist and author of several other Girlfriends' Guides, Iovine offers entertaining anecdotes and sage advice on raising kids from ages one to three. What makes Iovine an expert? The mother of four openly admits her main qualification is that she and her friends have spent many years raising their own toddlers, and she states that her advice--anecdotal and emotional--isn't endorsed by medical professionals or nutritionists ("we [Iovine and her girlfriends] don't know our enzymes from our electrolytes"). That said, this seasoned mom knowledgeably walks readers through the toddler trenches, covering such age-appropriate concerns as potty training, play dates, sleep and eating habits--with an emphasis on how mothers can cope. Though Iovine is witty, she can also be philosophical and sentimental, as when she talks about what a toddler really is (somewhere between a baby and a child) or about how--for mothers--a child's "first cut is really the deepest." Iovine's fans will be delighted with this latest volume in the Girlfriends' series, and new mothers warily approaching their child's toddlerhood will find that Iovine's take on these challenging years is as reasonable as that of any "expert"--and quite a bit funnier. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399524387
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/11/1999
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 625,952
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Read an Excerpt

An Excerpt from The Girlfriends' Guide to Toddlers


If this is your first child, you, like my Girlfriends and I, probably began babyproofing your home before the baby was even born. Who could resist the fun of preparing your home in every single way? It was kind of like decorating the nursery or washing the layette with Dreft. By the time the baby was about seven months old, however, you might have broken a few of the cabinet locks in the kitchen or even removed the clasp on the toilet lid after too many times nearly wetting yourself before you got it up.

It turns out that babyproofing is a never-ending process. Some things just break from overuse, and other things the toddler outsmarts and infiltrates, like the slide-and-turn covers on electrical sockets or the rubber sleeves with animal faces that we put on the bathtub spouts. Thank heavens the babyproofing industry recognizes this evolutionary process and responds to our needs with new products on a regular basis. For example, when my first toddler was toddling, no one had even heard of a VCR protector. The outcry from mothers who had discovered that toddlers love sliding anything from toast to TV remotes into that enticing opening inspired a great addition to the toddler artillery.

The lesson to be learned here is that you must never get too complacent about your child's safety because he is developing so quickly. I wish I had a dollar for every mother whose child locked her out of her car by pushing that little button down in the moment between when she fastened him into his carseat and tried to open the door for herself. One minute they seem to be content to play patty-cake with their hands and the next they are using a spoon as a tool to open up the back of your clock radio. This is where recognizing your own toddler's particular taste can give you a bit of an edge. If, like Sonia, you have a water lover, make it a house rule that no one ever leaves the bathroom door open, whether in use or not. If you have a cabinet/drawer fetishist, double up on your safety by both installing babyproofing latches and removing anything that would harm her if she should figure out how to open that latch (and you know she will).

In most cities large enough to warrant their own airport, you will find several professional babyproofing companies listed in those giveaway parenting magazines or the Yellow Pages. While the pros are more expensive than buying the stuff at your local Home Depot and installing it yourself, they do render a service beyond convenience in that they know more toddler tricks than you do. They can walk in and assess your home with a professional eye that you might not yet possess. I, for one, would never have known the value of the device that protects the stove top from little hands wanting to grab pot handles if a professional hadn't shown me. You might argue that it's overkill and that babyproofing companies are in the business to frighten you and convince you that your entire home needs to be surrounded by bubble wrap, but I'm a paranoid kind of gal and I'll buy whatever protection I can afford.

If you opt to go the do-it-yourself route with the babyproofing, start with a manual or guide from your local bookstore, library or pediatrician's office. It will provide a general inventory of the basics any toddler home should have to keep stitches and scalds to a bare minimum. Make sure you install everything properly and then test that it works by inviting a friend or mate to try to outsmart it. If an educated adult cannot lift the toilet seat without five minutes of verbal instruction, then you might be able to keep an eighteen-month-old out until his second birthday.

After all the protection is installed, don't sabotage your efforts by getting lazy. Yes, we all know that you can break a nail opening a vanity drawer equipped with a babyproof lock, but isn't your child's safety worth an extra manicure now and then? (Besides, Girlfriend, what are you doing with nice nails at a frantic time like this, anyway?) I know how busy and exhausted you are as the mother of a toddler, but this is really a time when cleaning up after yourself is critical. What good is it to have a locked cabinet for potential poisons if you forget to put your nail polish remover in that cabinet after your manicure? Always assume that the little shadow will find the most toxic or sharp or hot thing in the house if you don't throw it out, lock it up or keep it on the top of your highest shelf.

God Gives You a Free One

I don't have a shred of scientific evidence to support this claim, but my Girlfriends and I have experienced this phenomenon enough to believe in its truth. What we have experienced, and are eternally grateful for, is that when we slipped up in our vigilance as parents and disaster was a heartbeat away, Divine Intervention saved our asses, but only on the condition that we learn from that mistake and never make it again. My first experience with this was when my first toddler grabbed my full coffee mug off the table while I was on the phone. As if in agonizingly slow motion, I watched from across the room as the mug tipped and coffee washed over my little darling's head and into his face. I felt like fainting, but instead I leaped to him and grabbed him up, only to discover that the coffee was cold. See, that was a free one. I can't even bring myself to consider how badly this could have turned out if he had found that mug an hour earlier, but I can tell you this, that toddler is now ten years old, and I still won't allow myself to leave a cup of coffee on a table or counter.

Dearest Sonia's first experience of getting a free one came with her three-year-old son, Jon. She went into her bathroom to find him with a pill bottle in his hand and a mouth full of pills. She simultaneously grabbed the bottle and swiped her other hand through Jon's mouth to get the pills out. Naturally, at a moment like this, her brain was spinning so fast that she was barely able to focus on the words on the pill bottle, but she finally made out the word fluoride. She had been giving her son supplements on the advice of her dentist, and he evidently had taken a liking to them. Not knowing whether fluoride was toxic in large doses, Sonia and Jon made a mad dash to the pediatrician where Jon was pronounced "just fine." But Sonia and the rest of us Girlfriends knew what forces were at work here: God had given her a free one and she never even left tasty toothpaste out in the bathroom again until Jon was in the double digits.

Since the fundamental rule of parenting is that perfection is unattainable, there will come a time, or two, when your little tyke will get into trouble that you know you could have prevented. He will run into the street or open a bottle of window cleaner or slip his head between the fence and the side of the house and get stuck there. Your heart will seize, you will mentally take the calamity to its worst possible conclusion, which is always death, and something divine will intervene to save you. Never, ever take this intervention for granted, because it is precious and has a price. You must get right to the brink of disaster, feel the agony, and then come back from the precipice with a new resolve to pay better attention to protecting your toddler.

What About the Ones That Aren't Free?

You can never rely on the free one, and there will be times that something actually does penetrate your security and hurts your toddler. Ask any Girlfriend who has mothered a toddler, and she will have stories of fingers pinched in car doors, stitches on foreheads and above eyes, and goose eggs on the head. Toddlers are everywhere and into everything, and their bodies are often not up to the challenges their little minds set for them. It can be shocking to a mother who is new to the toddling ranks just how often her child hurts herself. In the beginning they fall every thirty seconds, usually into a coffee table or the leg of a desk. Later, they will have better balance, but they will be falling nearly as often because of the more challenging obstacle courses they've set up for themselves.

Aside from normal vigilance and babyproofing there are two types of preventable injuries to toddlers that we Girlfriends feel you should know about. We single them out because they can be avoided entirely once you know them and because we have seen them occur so darn many times that they're almost boring in their predictability.

Our Furry Friends

The first preventable and predictable injury is a dog bite. If you read The Girlfriends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood, you know how little I trust even the oldest, gentlest, most beloved family pooch where a baby or toddler is concerned. It's not that I don't love dogs; I do and I have two myself. It's just that I have seen or heard of so many otherwise trustworthy dogs taking a bite out of a toddler's face. You can't really blame the dog, since a toddler often acts just like another animal in the house. Toddlers will play with the dog's food bowl, stick pencils in its ears, pull its lips up to show his "smile" or any of a million other indignities. Who wouldn't bite back?

I think the single best explanation for all these dog bites in the face is that dogs are pack animals whose nature is to express dominance to all weaker dogs. If your toddler runs up to a dog, he is pretty sure to face it eye to eye (since they are both about two feet tall), and he will violate the dog's space. Before you can blink an eye, the dog has snapped. Teach your toddlers that they should never, ever approach a dog tied up outside Starbucks or walking down the sidewalk. This will be excruciatingly difficult for some moms because lots of toddlers find all animals irresistible, but other moms of toddlers who are afraid of dogs should find it much easier. And as for family dogs, always be prepared for them to lose their minds, too. I don't care how much you adore and trust them, don't be silly about it to the point where you leave the dog and toddler alone together, even for a moment.

I can't just leave well enough alone with dogs, either. Cats, hamsters and parakeets are also big toddler biters. Rare is the three-year-old who can cradle a rodent gently in its hands or carry a cat without dragging its hind legs on the ground, and this kind of cavalier behavior tends to bring out the worst in wildlife. Especially when the pet is in a shop or at a Playdate's house and your toddler is unfamiliar with its care and handling, you're asking for trouble if your child is allowed to get to know the family pet without any close parental supervision. I may sound harsh, Girlfriend, but that's my job.

<%=fontsmall%>Copyright © 1999 by Vicki Iovine. Used by permission of The Berkley Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

A Word of Thanks xi
Why I Wrote This Book 1
Top Ten Toddler Myths 6
ONE Who Are These People, Anyway? 7
TWO The Social Life of Toddlers 31
THREE The Comfort Zone (Or, Binkies, Bankies, Loveys and
Thumbs) 53
FOUR Eating (Or Not) 81
FIVE Discipline 105
Top Ten Things to Do When Your Toddler Drives You Nuts 133
SIX The Potty 135
SEVEN Sleepy Time 161
Top Ten Toddler Lessons 185
EIGHT Fashion 187
NINE Toddlers and Babies 211
TEN "School Days, School Days" 237
Top Ten Things We'll Miss Most About Toddlers 253
ELEVEN More Than a Mommy 255
Index 265
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As the author of the wildly popular Girlfriends' Guides and a monthly column for Child magazine, Vicki Iovine helps mothers through all the difficult decisions a parent must face every day. Iovine is the mother of four children, ages four, six, eight, and ten, and she tells mothers what they need to know -- straight-from-the-hip survival tips from one who has been there.

With her Girlfriends' Guides, Iovine has assisted hundreds of thousands of women with pregnancy and the first year of motherhood, and now, with The Girlfriends' Guide To Toddlers, she shares her strategies for the next challenging stage of a mother's life. Iovine offers secrets for surviving toddlerhood with the toddler and mother still intact, providing invaluable guidance and advice -- based on her own experiences and those of her girlfriends -- with her trademark dose of humor.

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Interviews & Essays

On Friday, February 19th, welcomed Vicki Iovine to discuss THE GIRLFRIENDS' GUIDE TO TODDLERS.

Moderator: Welcome, Vicki Iovine! Thank you for taking the time to join us online this afternoon. How are you doing today?

Vicki Iovine: I am tired as usual and getting ready for yet another birthday party. from xx: I love the Girlfriends' Guides. How did you decide to start this series? I love them! Also, do you plan on progressing with the Girlfriends' Guides as you reach different levels of having and raising a child?

Vicki Iovine: I plan to keep writing them until I am so brain-dead that I can't notice what is happening to me. The reason I wrote these books is because 99 percent of the true wisdom I have heard about parenting, and even enjoying it, has come from mothers who have been there and done that.

Maureen from New Jersey: How do you recommend cutting off the pacifier habit?

Vicki Iovine: There are times right now when I wish my pacifier still held its magic. I know mothers hate to see their children with a plug, but don't look at breaking the plug habit, consider seeing why your child needs that extra comfort. When the comfort is there, the plug will go.

Chris from Connecticut: I've read your GUIDE TO TODDLERS and see that you come down very strongly on the side of caution. I applaud you! People often tell me (especially my husband) that I am too cautious. I don't believe you can be too cautious. I'm wondering, however, now that my son is five, what are some of the things parents might overlook now that their child is beyond the toddler years? (Or is that your next book?)

Vicki Iovine: It is my next book, but I will share some now. Five is the age of climbing, breaking bones, and getting feelings hurt. Five-year-olds are old enough to have joined society, with all its glory and gloom. You are as apt to have a five year old come home from school in tears because so and so wasn't nice to him on the playground as you are to get a call from the school nurse. Very complex little people -- five year olds. By the way, the wonder of daddies is that they can introduce the element of risk taking on their watch.

Vikki from Missouri: My grandson is 22 months old, he is wonderful with a very pleasant disposition, unless his mom (my daughter) is around. Then he whines and fusses most of the time. I tell her he doesn't cry or act like that when she is gone. This is very frustrating to both of us. Why would he be so grumpy and fussy with her? She is very gentle and sweet with him. I say spoiled, but what is the solution?

Vicki Iovine: This is an age-old story. I wish I had a dollar for every preschool teacher or babysitter who told me my children were perfect angels around them yet acted satanic around me. Here is my suggestion: Part of this is a phase in which a child is testing to make a split from the single person he relies on most, namely Mom. Without diminishing your role, Grandma, he still needs to work out this most basic kind of independence with the woman who brought him into this world. Poor Mom.

Justine Lowe from Short Hills, New Jersey: Should a parent ever spank a child?

Vicki Iovine: I don't know. In all honesty, I keep telling my children, the oldest of whom is 11, that I still haven't decided whether I believe in spanking or not, so they better watch out. So far, spanking has not been the form of discipline in our home, but that is more because it is my husband's tradition and I feel this has to be a family decision. According to my father, who spanked me three times, spanking is not to teach a lesson, but to get the children's attention so that then you can teach the lesson. It seems to me that the spanking part can be left out if you go to the trouble of removing your child from the offending situation and having your conversation seriously and with consequences. For example, a quick dash to the laundry room, a very serious "no way," and the taking away of a Teletubby video all in one motion tends to work magic around here.

Laurie Jones from Brooklyn, New York: Vicki, I love your books. I saw you in the fall of 1997 while on maternity leave with my first baby on "Oprah" and "Leeza." Actually I only have THE GIRLFRIENDS' GUIDE TO SURVIVING THE FIRST YEAR OF MOTHERHOOD and was so upset that I did not know about the GIRLFRIENDS' GUIDE TO PREGNANCY while I was pregnant, but I tell everyone to read it when I find out that they are. One of the things I'm most looking forward to when I get pregnant again is to read that while I'm pregnant. I just found out about this new book; I am so excited to go buy it tonight. Now, my baby is 16 months old. I have a boy; his name is John Andrew. I can't get him to eat any vegetables, meat, or fresh fruits, or drink milk. All he will eat is grilled cheese, pastina with butter, mashed potatoes, or French toast. Please help me, Vicki! He does eat yogurt, too, and I still give him stage-three fruits but I can't even get him to eat a piece of apple or banana or broccoli.

Vicki Iovine: Boy, does John Andrews sound like a lot of toddlers I know, four of whom I have mothered. My advice for you is twofold: First, trust me when I tell you that your beautiful boy will thrive and grow and become increasingly intelligent on a diet of pastina and French toast because this doesn't last forever. Second, here is a secret: Make a vegetable stock or a vegetable/chicken stock with all of the leftovers in the fridge, stew them all day on a low heat in a soup pot. Right before dinner, when the vegetables and chicken are limp, scoop them out carefully and throw them in the trash. The good stuff is in the water. Make your pastina with that. You will feel like the angels have sung in your kitchen, I promise.

Megan from Williamsburg, Virginia: I babysit for some two kids, ages three and five, and am alarmed at all the junk food their parents buy for them. The kids insist on having chocolate milk before bed, only eat plain noodles for dinner, and then gorge themselves on cookies and candy. I can't lay down any rules because this is what they are used to. I guess I am wondering how important it is to establish good healthy eating habits for your kids early on? Should you just let them eat basically what they want and realize the baby fat will come off later or should you start laying some restrictions? Thanks!

Vicki Iovine: What a difficult position you are in, Megan, because clearly the family has its rules and it is inappropriate for you to change them, no matter how ridiculous they seem to you now. You can, however, feel free to experiment with creative omelettes, or a veggie burger, or even some peas and carrots, and I guarantee if you succeed the mom will be grateful. Unfortunately, this mothering business is a lot easier to criticize from the outside in. My advice to you is pay attention and learn from other people what you think is appropriate parenting so when you have your kids, you might be able to get it a little more right.

Betty Muntz from Columbia, New Jersey: I love the GIRLFRIENDS' guides! I don't have a question, I just wanted to personally thank you for all your help and assistance in such an important part of my life.

Vicki Iovine: Betty, thank you so much for this opportunity to let you and all the other mommies who are my extended girlfriends know how deeply I appreciate your support. If I didn't have these four kids, and an incredibly high-maintenance husband, I would try to write to each and every one of you. As it is, I still haven't begun my thank-you's for Christmas yet. In the meantime, know that I read all of my letters and practically feel I know your babies. And I love you all.

Jackie McTear from Baltimore: Dear Vicky, I'm a work-at-home mom. I spend everyday with my two kids (Sophie is four and Thomas is one). I'm constantly looking for fun, free things to do with my children. Any ideas? Thank you.

Vicki Iovine: Jackie, you may not believe this, but there is actually value in numbers at this age. The kids are not so much interested in sightseeing the Natural History museum for the 30th time as they are in figuring out their place in society. Organize play dates for your kids. I have four children and I guarantee it is easier for me and I also work in my home when there are eight children here. Sure, it takes some extra supervision, but you almost never hear anybody say those dread words, "Mommie, I am so bored."

Kim from Florham Park, New Jersey: Does your book cover bed-wetting? I have a toddler who wets his bed, but I believe he does it more for attention than anything else. What do you recommend?

Vicki Iovine: When toddlers have accidents at night, I don't call it bed-wetting, I call it incomplete potty training. I save the concerns about bed-wetting for the seven, eight, or nine year olds, at which time it is a medical problem best dealt with by your pediatrician -- but back to your toddler. You may be right, that getting you to come in and clean a wet bed looks just like a midnight party to a person only two feet tall. So here are my recommendations: First, stop all liquids after dinner. Second, make sure you have protected that mattress with a waterproof pad. Third, keep the bed-wetting change ritual to a minimum. In other words, no conversation, don't remake the entire bed (put a beach towel down on the wet spot) or better still put a pull up on the child until he stays dry through the night for at least a week. After all, we moms need our beauty sleep too. Besides, I promise he won't be wearing a pull up to college.

Susan from Atlanta: My husband and I have very different attitudes on certain things involving parenting. For starters, he can't stand any mess around. How can you avoid mess with a two-year-old? He's also very protective and I'm not. Any advice for coping with the delightful marital conflict this creates?

Vicki Iovine: First, trust me when I say no parents are completely in sync about the raising of their children. Parenting, like everything else in marriage, is an endless series of compromises. Try to find the time to explain to your husband that while you understand how distracting toddler clutter can be, you would rather focus on reading PAT THE BUNNY to your little one. Then pop him in a playpen while you pull out the Lysol; perhaps he can check in with a little bit of the cleanup (in your dreams), or why don't you compromise by designating one part of your home "Daddy's area" and try to keep it a "child-free zone?" It may just be the bathroom, but hey, he should go in, lock the door, and knock himself out.

Mindy from Rockville, Maryland: What do you think about Barney and Teletubbies? The little kid I know is so attached to them and he is only two. Is it really good to introduce TV to little kids at this age?

Vicki Iovine: I adore Barney and Teletubbies. I don't think I could have balanced my checkbook or returned any calls for four years of my life if it had not been for the free babysitting offered by these fuzzy friends.

Theresse from Denver, Colorado: Hello, Vicky. Do you think the toddler stage is one of the more difficult stages in the raising of kids?

Vicki Iovine: It is certainly the most physically taxing. And it is astonishing to watch a little person who was previously a dependent and adoring little infant morph into a child with opinions and the ability to run faster than you. In retrospect, however, it was one of the more magical times of parenting and I mean that literally. I adored having children who believed that I could kill any monster, that I was the prettiest lady they had ever seen, and that Santa was as real as the nose on my face.

Kristin from Redwood City, California: Besides falling out of the crib ten times, how do you know if your toddler is ready for a bed?

Vicki Iovine: The big decision for me was what the child did after they fell out of the crib. Did they immediately run for the kitchen and grab a sharp object? Did they nurse their wounds in the bedroom or did they come straight to me? If their behavior was somewhat safe, I think he or she should be introduced to a bed. After all, it is a lot shorter way to fall, but don't assume that the switch will be simple and without setbacks. Change of any kind is met with a weary eye by toddlers. So there will be a few sleepless nights for both of you; in the meantime, may I suggest that you pave the way by starting to talk about it in a casual way, once every day or two. You might even go so far as to sit down with a mail-order catalogue and let your toddler pick out sheets for the big kid bed when it comes.

Kristin from Redwood City, California: Is there an excerpt from your book regarding getting your 21 month old to nap? Mine is screaming right now, but will sleep three hours for his part-time nanny! Any suggestions?

Vicki Iovine: I presume your nanny isn't as afraid of crying as you are, they rarely are. I am going to go out on a limb here and assume the nanny puts the baby down at the same time every day and tells the baby to take a nap. Not a bad concept. Perhaps the child knows that tears break your heart and you will come in and rescue him eventually. It is up to you if you want to challenge that notion.

Teresa from Bel Air, Maryland: Hi, Vicky. I want to thank you for helping me survive my first pregnancy (back in 1997) with lots of laughter. On those days when I was feeling not so attractive and was swinging with the mood of the moment, I would get out your book GIRLFRIENDS' GUIDE TO PREGNANCY and read new chapters or reread previous chapters. It really helped me! With my daughter, Taylor, now two years old, I really need your new book! She is quite a challenge most days, but then quite the angel some days. I swear I think she's having her own mood swings (must have been that epidural!). My question to you is what do you recommend I do when I feel like I'm going to lose all of my patience with her? I've been so tempted to call my dear husband and say, "Come home now and claim your child!" How do you, the mother of four (God help you), handle keeping your patience? Thanks for your response. Keep up the outstanding work you are doing. I look forward to reading your new book and to continue reading your columns in the numerous magazines for which you write.

Vicki Iovine: Thank you for the nice words. Here are a few of my survival kicks: When you feel like drop-kicking the toddler, put her in a playpen or on the floor (in a secluded area), then pick out the most rocking dance CD you own, put it on to just short of deafening level, and start dancing. Dance with the baby or without the baby. Sing, scream! Another trick is to get outside. Cabin fever is a big complaint of moms of toddlers. Go for a brisk walk or go for a drive. Third thing, eat something -- you may be getting hypoglycemic and may not know it. Mothers cannot survive off of leftover tater tots. Fourth, call a girlfriend with a toddler and beg her to come over this minute. The toddlers can go after each other and the two of you can have some tea and gripe; it does wonders for the mood. By the way, along that line, I joined every parent-taught-mommie-and-me group in my neighborhood, not for the kids but so I would be surrounded by understanding women, and it worked like a charm.

Moderator: This has been so much fun, Vicki! Thanks for all the great tips on raising toddlers. Do you have any closing comments for your online audience this afternoon?

Vicki Iovine: My mantra these days is to try to treasure the special moments when I am experiencing them, not when I am watching the home videos in ten years. I will let you know how I do; in the meantime, keep reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2004

    Not for Super Moms

    Vickie Iovine's advice is so heartfelt, honest, and funny that I can't think of a single real-world person who wouldn't benefit from reading this book. She openly says that her advice is not medical, but is just what she experienced and how she coped. People looking for a more 'traditional' book probably won't be pleased, but for the rest of us irreverent types, it is a breath of fresh air.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2003

    Humor helps relieve anxiety along with specific "how to's"

    I really like Vicki's sense of humor. She lets you know for sure that you are not the only one that has problems with your toddlers. She offers a variety of sensible strategies to choose from. She is not afraid to share in her book some of her own embarrassing, angry moments with her kids; and I find that very comforting. Her book is fun to read with its friendly "girltalk" style that most moms (or dads) with toddlers can relate to. It feels good to know that other kids say and do things that challenge their parent's sanity and that all of us regret what we say and do from time to time. I also recommend "The Pocket Parent" which has a similar compassionate neighborly tone, as well as a variety of personal short anecdotes from the authors... however it has far more "meat" as far as specific bullets of helpful tips arranged in 40 easy reference topics (such as bad words, bedtime, biting, hitting and hurting others, interrupting, mealtime, morning crazies, the gimmes, separation anxiety, and whining). Both books give lots of support, a good dose of humor and sensible advice without being preachy nor condescending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2002

    A funny book!

    I am a huge fan of all of Vicki's books but this one is the most funny and you really need that sometimes. I literally laugh out loud while I am reading it and it's so funny I am in tears! People that want something serious can go and buy other parenting books or read Parent magazines. Vicki does not claim to be an expert. She's just a mother who has been through it all and I enjoy her books and would recommend them to all mothers of those very active toddlers. I look forward to more of Vicki's books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013


    I have a girlfrind

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  • Posted December 23, 2012

    Best book I've read on the toddler years!

    This was the only book I read that seemed like the author actually lived a real life with a toddler. I could relate to just about every scenario shared. Reading the book is like having a conversation with an old friend...very comfortable and familiar. This is a must have for any mother of a toddler. It contained plenty of sound advice, tips and tricks, and reassurance that your child will survive your parenting (I needed that)! I think it's best to give it to a mom before the toddler phase kicks in and they can steal a few minutes to read here and there before having to put on the running shoes to keep up with their little one.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Takes the stress out of the terrible twos and threes

    I love Vicki Iovine books. This book discusses important topics in a way that makes me less stressed. Is my kid the only one who bites? When should I potty train? What are night terrors? I find her books great fun to read. Most other advice books about children usually end up making me feel worse. In addition, this book gives practical advice about how to address the issue. I've given this book as a gift to many friends and find myself re-reading sections once in awhile. I definitely recommend this book to anyone with kids age 1 to 3.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2010

    Not my Favorite - Returned It

    I recently bought a bunch of toddler books and thought I would enjoy this one for a laugh with some learning thrown in. However, I did not like the tone of the book and found it hard to read. Overall not impressed.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    For the rest of us!

    Let's face it, while most of us enjoy being mothers, there are those days when our entire household becomes "terrible". Just because we find humor and sometimes need perspective in dealing with motherhood doesn't mean we don't love motherhood and/or our children any less - it just means we're normal. This book is definitely for those of us who are able to find humor in motherhood, are not perfect and are able to laugh at ourselves on a regular basis.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2004

    You're kidding, right?

    To begin with, any mother that calls her kids' first years 'terrible' isn't really enjoying motherhood. So why write about it? I don't get it. Instead of seeing the beauty in being a mother, and being proud when her child stands firm and becomes assertive, she complains. Is it really so bad being a mother? Come on.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2002

    Definitely something to read after a bad day wtih a 2-year-old!!

    I have a 3 year old son, and after a bad day with him, I open this book and laugh so hard, my stomach hurts and tears are streaming down my face!!! This mother of 4 has been there, and though it isn't typical advice she gives or advice from your pediatrician's office, it is good, common sense advice of what worked for her. It is extremely funny. And, yes, answers from her don't come easy without a story behind it. But it is exactly what I needed after a hard day with a toddler. This is the first of the group I had received, and if I'd have known about her books before, I would have made a point to purchase them. This book is awesome!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2002

    HELP! Raising Toddlers and Preschoolers Isn't Easy!

    When I've had a really bad day, I open up this book and find myself suddenly feeling better about my parenting challenge of the moment...and that girlfriends, may not surprise you...except for the fact that I'm a DAD! Yes, I too, appreciate the tips, the humor, and the compassion that has helped to build my confidence that I am a good parent. I am not a stay at home dad, but my wife travels with her job and I often spend challenging, busy evenings with my one-, three- and five-year-old sons. Another very helpful book that I keep handy with the same friendly, compassionte tone is called THE POCKET PARENT. Literally pocket-sized, this book addresses 2- to 5-year-old behaviors and issues in a quick-read A-Z format. I enjoy the many Daddy anecdotes included in this book which I can totally relate to. Many dads are in my shoes, doing the majority of raising their young children. We sometimes feel lonely and confused when things get frustrating. We welcome kind reassurance that we're on the right track and THE POCKET PARENT along with THE GIRLFRIENDS' BOOKS have restored my sanity-many, many times. My sincere thanks to the girlfriend authors of both books from one very grateful 'boyfriend'!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2000

    Not so good.

    Vicki will always be Vicki. She needs to become a stand up comedy personality instead of trying to give insightful parenting tips. Does anyone ever take her seriously? I have 5 kids and need answers now, not jokes. We got several books as gifts but this is not one of our favorites.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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