And Then I Met The Man Who Saved My Sanity

Today I got to meet a parenting celebrity, a man I pretty much owe what tiny bit of sanity I managed to cling to the first few months of Kendall’s life. Today, not only did I meet Dr. Harvey Karp, author of Happiest Baby On The Block and Happiest Toddler On the Block, but he also swaddled Leyna up, shooshed in her ear, held her on her side and bounced her while she sucked her pacifier, all while being interviewed by CBS 11’s Tracy Kornet about his magical baby soothing techniques.

Oh, it totally ranked right up there with losing all the baby weight, my first postpartum glass of wine and getting Kendall to sleep through the night as one fantastic moment in parenting.

First, let me just say he is SO kind. And just as helpful in person as his books and DVDs are.

Now, I know, I know, Leyna is not really a baby who needs to be soothed very often, but I also attribute so much of her calm demeanor to our calm approach to soothing her the few times she does need it. And all those techniques we use now are what we learned in Colicky Baby Bootcamp From HELL when Kendall was her age.

Dr. Karp was so good with her, as could be expected. And then he asked me some questions about how Kendall was as a baby. I told him how he was never soothed with *just* the swaddling and/or the white noise, how he always had to be jiggled, VIGOROUSLY. His Happiest Baby On The Block DVD was just what we needed when Kendall was a newborn because it showed us how vigorous we could and needed to be with him. It certainly made us feel much better about how rough we felt we were to get our fragile little velociraptor to calm down.

He told me Kendall was probably one of the 10% of babies that needs that kind of motion to be soothed in the beginning. I guess we are part of the small club of parents who wind up with thighs of steel from bouncing on the end of beds and yoga balls with fussy babies for hours on end. (Jen, you know what I’m talking about!)

We had a good conversation after the interview about the kinds of techniques I can use on Kendall as a toddler. He explains them in his Happiest Toddler On The Block book, and, to be honest, I’ve read it, but it just never really worked for me. I mean, I know there are some things I took away, like repeating back what Kendall’s saying when he’s upsets so I’m validating his feelings, but I never was able to master the toddler-ease, where I’m basically supposed to talk to him like a caveman.

After telling him this, he handed me a copy of the Happiest Toddler On The Block DVD (autographed!). I haven’t watched it yet, but plan to over the weekend. Maybe I’ll grasp the concept a little more and feel a little less silly about it after seeing it. I’ll be sure to let you all know. Goodness knows, my mind is wide open to all approaches to the toddler tantrum these days.

Part of the reason he is in town is his presentation tomorrow morning at the DFW Family Expo. Tickets to the presentation are, unfortunately, sold out (sorry I didn’t tell you all about it sooner!), but if you’re in the DFW area, you should still swing by the DFW Family Expo. There will be SO much going on for families with kids of all ages and stages. Here’s more info:

February 26th, 10 am- 5 pm
Centennial Hall, Fair Park
Tickets are $3 for adults and children 12 and over
$2 children 2-12, children under 2 are free
Tickets available at the door, and all proceeds benefit Children’s Medical Center.

There will be prizes, activities, entertainment and so many amazing companies represented. I plan to be there bright and early. Hope to bump strollers with you!

A BIG thanks to my friends at Metroplex Baby and Kids for thinking of me for this amazing opportunity!

I’ll have video of the interview early next week and will be sure to share it with you all. Leyna was such a little superstar.

Kendall is 2 years, 10 months and Leyna is 8 weeks old.

**Disclosure- All Amazon links are affiliate links. I was not paid for this post or for Leyna’s part of the interview.

50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide
Available now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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  1. I never had his book/dvd but sort of wish I did! We learned the hard way that J would ONLY go to sleep if we bounced him… standing or on the side of the bed. I used to count how many times I would bounce… up and down, up and down. So glad you got to meet him!!!

      • Perfectly healthy! šŸ™‚ Babies grow in all different sizes! It always used to drive me crazy when people would call my son “BIG” and compare him to their child. Now that he’s 2, and running everywhere, those days of the rolls are long gone. Wish I would have taken more pictures šŸ™‚ Enjoy your little girl, she is beautiful!

  2. We love Dr. Karp’s Happiest Baby video! I’ll admit, I also read Happiest Toddler and you know what–it doesn’t. work. for. all. kids. I tried that and other strictly positive parenting techniques for 2 straight years and then I realized that it didn’t work for my daughter and we were both just frustrated. Do what works for you and your family–if the video helps, AWESOME, but if it doesn’t, there are a lot of other books out there. GL!

  3. I read this book and it helped a lot. My DD is a few months younger than Kendall.
    I spent lot of time outside when DD was a newborn. She loved being outside. I would swaddle her, walk up and down our block, and shake a little maraca that had just the right white noise level for her. I am sure the neighbors thought I was nuts, but it soothed my colicky beast. My husband is still somewhat traumatized by colic! He would rather adopt a 3 year old than go through colic again. Hopefully some amnesia hits soon.
    We now give HBOTB as a shower gift, along with a Halo sleep sack with the newborn swaddle piece.

  4. How exciting to meet Dr. Karp! We were lucky to hear about Happiest Baby on the Block before our baby was born and it helped so much. We also just gave the DVD and a Halo sleep sack with the swaddle piece as a shower gift!

  5. Funny story: I had a full on high needs fussy baby. I had nothing to compare it to but I knew that he was right up there! We left his babyhood with PTSD and a few of having another baby.

    2.5 years later the memories of the constant jiggling, baby dancing, and all the other constant soothing tricks have started to fade…a bit.

    Last night a friend and her ‘fussy’ 9 week old baby came over. NOT FUSSY in my opinion. Just normal! It took a total of 5 minutes of me doing a bit of a standing baby jiggle…and then she was out. I could put her down and she kept on sleeping!

    Not a true fussy baby from my experience…but it gives me hope that one day I could have another baby and they might be just like that! Oh please!

  6. Wow, can’t wait to hear after you watch the Happiest Toddler video. I swore by Happiest Baby of the Block, but can’t really get into the “Toddlerese” promoted in Happiest Toddler. Just feels a little silly! Glad for you that you had a good experience today!

  7. AWESOME!!! Leyna is gorgeous and does look like the happiest baby in his arms!! I am so glad for you and I am going to the library and renting the DVD for Happiest Toddler on the Block. Way to go!!!

  8. All Leyna looks like the perfect baby model/actress. I’d really be interested in hearing your thoughts after watching the toddler DVD. The way you describe Kendall’s toddler behavior seems right up there with my Phoenix so I could use all the help I can get. šŸ™‚

  9. My wife and I couldn’t calm our son down much his first month to save our life (turns out he had a tongue tie issue and wasn’t getting enough milk), when a friend of mine recommended Happiest Baby on the Block. We gave it a shot and it changed our life. He started sleeping 10-14 hours straight and became, literally, the happiest baby I’ve ever met.

    We still use some of his techniques, even though he’s 7.5 months, with the white noise machine in his room and he’s basically swaddled in his car seat when I take him for his morning walk that leads to his morning nap.

    So thank you Dr. Karp.

    And Jill, good luck with the toddler. Caveman communication sounds about right though.

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