Skip to main content

Question of the Week - Child's Temperment

I am currently reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block, by Harvey Karp. I love this guy. Right after the Pumpkin was born, I watched The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD, and it was incredibly helpful! Oh, the five "s"s got me through those tough early months with a fussy baby. Dr. Karp really examines what is reasonable to expect of babies and toddlers given their age, their development stage and their personalities. He does not say "do this" for all babies/toddlers. He says "this might work for this type" or that you should try something else.

In the Toddler book, he talks about different toddler personalities. I read the three main types of personalities: easy kids, cautious kids and spirited kids. My child is definitely a "spirited kid." As a baby, she was surely what Dr. Sears defined as a "fussy baby," a notch away from a "high-needs baby," as I've written about before.

Even before she was born, she was constantly moving and active. In fact, during my third or fourth month of pregnancy, the nurse couldn't find the baby's heartbeat. To make sure everything was okay, the doctor did an ultrasound. I was SO worried, until we found the baby doing just fine, and doing somersaults! The doctor said, "No wonder we couldn't find the heartbeat!" While in my stomach, the baby was constantly moving, kicking and hiccuping. I knew then that this would be an active child.

As a toddler, she is high-energy, active, inquisitive, constantly moving and into everything! While this can be exhausted for us parents now, I know these traits will server her well both now and in the future. She doesn't get it from me, since I'm not that active of a person and never have been. This daughter of mine that has been moving since just about conception, she definitely gets it from her father, who is an active, fidgety, moving person. It has served him well in his life, too, so I know it's a good thing for the Pumpkin to have this temperment, this personality. I can't wait to see what she does with it!

Which leads us to our Question of the Week...

What is your child(ren) temperment/personality? Is your an active, spirited child like mine, or an easy, relaxed baby?


ImpostorMom said…
I'm not really sure. He's both active and laid back. It seems to depend on which way the wind is blowing that day. We are certainly starting to see our fair share of temper tantrums the closer we get to two, that's for sure.
I like that book too although I still can't bring myself to speak Toddlese yet! Sometimes I'll do it. But I feel like a fool when I do.

Monkey can be both too. Most of the time he's relaxed except when we go outside or to the mall. The mall test? Uh yeah, he's the one who runs. But at home he's pretty chill.
I'm Not Skippy said…
Our little man is somewhere in between. Is whiney an option?
paola said…
Noah was (he is close to 4)a very very relaxed baby who gave me no trouble sleep-wise. Toddlerhood was a bit more challenging, but now, he is back to being a laid back pre-schooler. Zoe was, on the whole,a fairly easy baby too, although for months on end she was grizzly and clingy and then bam, back to being her happy little self. A much better behaved toddler than her brother, but didn't sleep as well. Now she is heading for the terrible twos, which could go either way.
K8 said…
Um, happy and wiggly? Lina doesn't generally cry unless she has a reason, and I'm getting better at figuring those reasons out (these days generally hungry, tired, teething, or some combination) as well as dealing with them. I haven't yet been able to decide whether or not she's a fussy baby. Day-to-day it doesn't much matter, since it's all about responding to her needs as they come; still, I'd kinda like some better basis for comparison some day.
Cloud said…
Pumpkin is definitely on the "active" end of the spectrum. Her reports from day care always say she has been "busy".

She is also very stubborn. She gets that from her father. No, really!
electriclady said…
Active/spirited for sure. But also very busy and purposeful--always has been.
Sonia said…
It sounds like my little guy is similar in personality to Cara's Pumpkin. As a baby, he hated being confined (like in a swaddle or baby sling), was never content to just sit and be, and made his needs known LOUDLY. Now at 28 months, he is fearless to the point of freaking me out, and constantly on the move, to the point where "spirited" almost feels like an understatement!
z said…
i would say that panda bear was an easy baby but also very active also... the spirited side is coming out in the 2s.
Becoming Mommy said…
I haven't read that book, but Sasha is definitely active. And curious. And sensitive. But in so many ways, he's such a happy little guy that I don't know if I could consider him "fussy". Now he's old enough that we know the things that will just absolutely cause a meltdown and it's pretty understandable.

OH he is very happy, delightfully so, as long as he is getting to run/climb/play/be active/be entertained/laugh/tickle/chase/ oh you get the picture!
Michelle said…
Maybe I should read the book- I'm not sure which category mine go in. My daughter is 4 and she is super active, but also really cautious about some things. Touching is a big thing. She only wants to be hugged and held or kissed on her terms and HATE HATE HATES it when a well-meaning grandmother tries to pick her up and kiss her or when her teacher pats her on the head.

So far, my 1 year old is pretty easy going. He gets into everything, but is mostly a happy baby without a lot of dislikes.
HeatherY said…
Sweet Pea is mellowing out a bit now but I have always put her in the spirited category. She was very fussy and easily overstimulated as an infant. She loves a challenge and is always on the move.
Trannyhead said…
Hmm - since I don't know what the other two categories really mean I guess I'd put mine into a combination of "spirited" and "laid back." I mean - he's perpetually in motion and throws tantrums when I don't let him ... say ... climb onto sofa end tables and fall off on his head. And yet he's the happiest kid I've ever seen. The tantrums are VERY short-lived and he's back to his happy-go-lucky self immediately.
Shellie said…
Definitely a house full of spirited.
Anonymous said…
I could have almost written this post. My little one has always been on the spirited side, but thankfully the one thing that hasn't been that difficult is sleep. Naps have been a challenge here and there, but for the most part, we've gotten lucky. The sleep gods made up for all the screaming and general "baby is only happy on mommy, but mommy has to be in perpetual motion" I've had to endure the first year of my little one's life.
Colleen said…
Gavin was very laid-back and easy. But as he's grown, he's become more sensitive to his surroundings and become very cautious in new situations.

Once Cooper grew out of his colic and started sleeping he got a lot easier, though never as easy as Gavin was in the general sense. However, he is nowhere near as sensitive to changes and just rolls with new situations...but his tantrums started a lot earlier than Gavin. So I'm not sure where that puts him. :)
Dear Cara,

Thank you for mentioning Dr. Karp and "The Happiest Toddler on The Block" book!

We are really glad that The Happiest Baby DVD worked so well for you in the past. Have you seen Dr. Karp's The Happiest Toddler DVD? Watching Dr. Karp implement the techniques discussed in the book really helps in perfecting them. In addition to the DVD, Dr. Karp strongly recommends using white noise, like our Super Soothing Sleep Sounds CD. Tracks 1 and 2 are only for fussy babies during the first 3 months of life. However tracks 3, 4 or 5 should be played all night at the intensity of a shower to help increase sleep an additional 1-3 hours a night. Those 3 tracks can also be used in the car and on trips to grandma's during first 12 months, or even longer!

Dr. Karp recommends you consult your pediatrician before following any of this advice.

And if you have a moment, I would truly appreciate you leaving a short review on Amazon. It really helps new parents to read about the experiences of seasoned parents like you.

Warm regards and Happy Holidays!

Popular posts from this blog

Baby Fidgets in Sleep (and While Awake)

Since I've started this blog, I've had quite a few visitors find me through a search for something like "baby fidgets in sleep" or "baby fidgets in bed" or simply "baby fidgets." This leads me to believe that there are others out there with fidgety babies who drive them crazy enough to search on the internet for some information about fidgeting babies. So I thought I'd do a whole post to discuss the fidgety nature of my child and how I deal with it.

Do you want to know when my child first started fidgeting? IN UTERO!! I'm not kidding. When I was pregnant, this baby moved a lot. She was very often kicking and pushing and hiccuping. OMG, the hiccups! I thought they would drive me nuts. Every. Single. Day. For. Months. Straight. Often more than once a day. I am not exaggerating--you can ask Londo or the many people I worked with, all of whom had to hear about it. I just thought it was part of being pregnant, and it probably is, but I've al…

Some Babies Just Fidget

I have mentioned before that we had a very fidgety baby. It's been a while sinced I talked about it. Although she is still pretty fidgety, at her currently toddler stage it seems more normal and has in many ways translated into bigger, general movements, like climbing.

But I still get a ton of search hits that have to do with baby fidgeting or flailing while sleeping or nursing. Some people stay around and read a bit, and I hope they get what they need from the posts I wrote specifically aboutthis topic hoping that others realize they are not alone. Most people don't stay at all, and I figure they are probably looking for medical reasons why babies fidget (like I would).

Then I got this comment, which does indeed show that people are looking for medical reason. Anonymous said that she wasn't sure if the Pumpkin's fidgets were as severe are her 3.5 month old. Well anonymous, I can't be positive since I haven't seen your child, but at some points they were as bad …

Fidgety Baby Growing Up

My daughter was a very fidgety baby. More fidgety than any other baby I knew through all my years of babysitting, being an aunt and having friends and family with babies. So fidgety that I wondered if something was wrong, if there was an underlying reason for her fidgetiness.

There really wasn’t anything wrong. As far as I can tell, she simply has a LOT of energy in her body. Her father is the same way. Londo is full of energy and has always been a fidgeter. And me? I can’t sit in one position for a long period of time. I don’t really fidget so much as I shift positions periodically, and I don’t think I ever simply sit normal, facing forward with both feet on the ground when I’m in a chair. In fact, sitting normal sounds like torture to me.

But three years ago, when the Pumpkin was a few months old and through her babyhood, I didn’t know why she was fidgeting so much. When I would nurse her, when we’d be rocking her to sleep, when we would try to hold her calmly, when we’d be lying in…