Thursday, September 17, 2009

Get to know Jack

So I'm a big fan of Tracy Hogg a.k.a. The Baby Whisperer, which I think is a froofy name and book title, but once I got past that I found her insight really helpful. A friend recommended her book to me before Jack was born, and I've found it to be a great compliment to "Babywise." Since reading "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" during my pregnancy and early on in Jack's newbornhood, I've also picked up "The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems" and am in the midst of reading "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers." Wow. Toddler literature already!


Anyway, one of my favorite aspects of Hoggs books is her focus on getting to know your baby as a person, a person with individual thoughts, feelings and personality. In fact, she even has a personality quiz for your baby. She groups babies into 5 types: Angel, Textbook, Touchy, Spirited, and Grumpy. I remember reading this before Jack was born thinking, "Gosh, I hope this kid is an Angel Baby!" Ehhhh, not so much. In fact, I had a hard time figuring him out even after he was born. In those early weeks he seemed to fall somewhere between Touchy, Grumpy and a tad Spirited. But definitely not an Angel or Textbook baby. (Oh well, maybe next time.)

In the toddler book she has another quiz, which I took again on behalf of Jack and low and behold the results were loud and clear. I am the proud mother of a Spirited Baby. I read the following (paraphrased) to Jon and he announced, "That's our boy!":


  • Our most active toddler, he's very physical, often willful, and may be prone to temper tantrums. He is very social and curious and will point to objects and reach out for them and for other kids early on. This child is the consummate adventurer; he will have a go at anything and is very determined. He displays a great sense of achievement when he accomplishes something. At the same time, he needs very clear boundaries so that he doesn't act like a steamroller, trampling anyone or anything in his path. Once they start crying, these toddlers have stamina and styaing power, so you're in for a long haul if you don't have a good routine going at night. They're also keen observers of their caretakers. Spirited toddlers have a mind of their own. If he's with Mum [Hogg is British], and Dad tries to pick him up, he'll push him off.
  • Given good guidance and an outlet for his energy, however, a Spirited toddler can become a leader and very accomplished in whatever area interests him.

  • Socially, a Spirited toddler has a hard time with sharing. He tends to change focus quickly, tear around the room, and flit about, playing with lots of toys.

  • This baby, who has a mind of his own, may seem to resist your schedule. Or just when you think you have him on a good routine, he decides it's not working for him... Spirited babies show you what works for them and what doesn't... It takes a Spirited baby about 12 weeks to start sleeping through the night. They act as though they don't want to stay asleep for fear of missing something. They also have a hard time winding down.

  • Spirited babies are typically good eaters.

  • At sleep time, a Spirited baby tends to fidget a lot; you may have to block out his visual stimulation. He sometimes gets a wild, wide-eyed look when she's tired, as if there are little matchsticks propping his eyelids open.

Both Jon and I had a good laugh about how well Hogg described our son, without ever meeting him. She also has great advice on how to handle particular situations - eating, sleeping, playing, changing, etc. - based on your child's type, which I find really helpful. It also appears that I have my work cut out for me these next few years. Jack really needs some serious boundaries, but at this point my exhausted, morning-sickened self is having a hard time enforcing them. I know he understands "No," he's just having a hard time proving it. But we're making progress. I'm just wondering how many times I'll have to pull him off the stairs, steer him away from the CD rack, and shut the bathroom door in his face before we get there.

1 comment:

Mauby said...

I had the same problem with figuring out Ocean's personality type with the Baby Whisperer book as an infant. At about 4 months I was reading through it again and realized he was a spirited baby! It was so weird to not have noticed it previously. I kept thinking he was Touchy, but it really became clear the older he got how Spirited he was.

Here's hoping this next one is an angel! :) Mom's to spirited babies need a break. ;)

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