Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/kids kids


I have a couple of issues as a father who is in need for advice. First of all, let me introduce myself. I am 26 yrs old, married to an amazing wife, with two kids, and a dog. We stay in a 2 bedroom apartment. Now let's get to the issue.(the kids) They are both boys; one is 2 years old and the other one is 1. They are sweet at times, but are very frustrating to me when it comes down to keeping the apartment clean. They trash this apartment like it's a trash bin. I constantly cleans up to the point that I feels like a janitor. I puts all my pride into cleaning up because I love breathing cleanness of a house. Me and my wife tries to keep it clean, but them two as a team is a nightmare. We even made the 2nd bedroom out of a play pin for them by putting toys in there and a TV with cartoon on it, but instead, they drag the toys into the living room.  That's not all, they love to stay up late to where me and my wife doesn't have any alone or quality time together. The attention between me and her are blocked by those two rascals. And they wakes up so late like around 11am-12:30 pm at the most.( My 2 year old son's bed is next to our bed and our 1 year old sleeps in the bed with us. The 2 bedroom is across the other side of the apartment, but my wife does not like them that far from our bedroom due to safety reasons of fearing that someone would sneak in and take our kids. Also, it's hard to teach my 2 year old to brush his teeth...all he wants to do is suck the tooth pasted off and bite down onto the tooth brush. Another issue is getting my 2 year old off pacifies. When we takes his away, he cries like some one is dying or he looses his, he steals his little brother's. Even when he goes without a pacifier, the moment he sees that we gave his brother a paci, he cries for his, especially at bed time. Another issue is that all my 2 year old wants to eat is junk food (chips, candy, cake,etc.) I really need your advice. I am dad who wants to change a few things around the house professionally. Thanks in advice.

Hello Cornell,

You are dealing with more than just a few things here. Some are most easily dealt with thank others. Some you will need to wait out until the boys get a little older.

I am a father of two daughters, 10 and 15. I never had to contend with two toddlers at once. My hat off to you. Kids the age of your kids definitely have a difficult time understanding about putting toys away, but you can start laying the groundwork with the two year old. You might consider taking toys that they don't use and stick the aside in a tub and stash that tub for a month. That will reduce the amount of toys for them to mess the house with. Each month, recycle the toys they don't use with the ones in the tub. It's like getting new toys each month. If they are not excited by the toys after a month, they are telling you that they are no longer interested in them, and those are the toys for you to give away, donate or sell. With less toys in the house, be a bot tougher with the "play room". They are to play with toys in that room. If they want to bring a toy out to the living room, fine, but only one. If they want another, they must return the first toy. Be strong with them about it. Only one toy out of the playroom at a time. If they disobey, return the extra toy. If they continue (for the 2 year old) remove the toy, and return it the next day, as you repeat the rules.

As for staying up late, you must get them on a decent schedule that works for the entire family. So, it's not about what they want. It's about the boundaries and rules you create. Again, I have never had two toddlers at once, so I cannot speak from experience, but I do know that our daughters didn't want to sleep when we wanted them to at first, but we used the Ferber Method (more here: I'm not sure how that works with two little ones, but I do know that once you have gotten them on schedule life is easier. Little ones, though, do tend to wake up at night. So, that's to be expected.

Far be it from me to tell you that your children will be safe in their own room. I don't want to tell you to have them sleep there and something happen, but I would like to know if you truly think there's a likelihood of them being abducted from their own room, or is your wife being overprotective? If you can, I would suggest investing in a monitor and putting the boys in their own room, allowing them to learn to sleep on their own. Some will argue that kids should stay with their parents as long as they can, but I believe having them learn to sleep on their own, makes the transition easier as well as makes your lives easier. You two absolutely need to have your time together, not just for your sanity, but for the sanctity of your family. When you two get to reconnect, your connection strengthens and that solidifies your marriage, which lets your boys feel safe in the family unit. Put the kids to bed in their room and set up time for each other. Also, take dates a couple times a week. Get out of the house. Hire a babysitter, and reintroduce yourselves to each other.

If you want to get rid of the pacifier, I like how Supernanny does this ( And, if your child cries because the pacifier is gone, that's fine. He won't die. He wants to show you that he will cry until he gets his way. You just wait him out lovingly. He'll be fine. Since we're talking about Supernanny, she also has great ways to get reluctant brushers to brush ( This is crucial. You need to get the kids in the habit of brushing daily. It will be a tough start, but will be worth the investment down the road, especially for their oral health and saving you future dental costs.

As for the junk food, get rid of it! It's really that simple. If he knows it's their, he's going to cry to get it. Why wouldn't he? It tastes good and he knows he'll get it if he cries enough. When you stop buying it and he sees you aren't eating it, he's really got no other option. Get other healthy delicious treats. Make smoothies, eat fruit salad, have them help you make homemade pizza or 100% fruit juice frozen pops.

-Leon Scott Baxter


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Leon Scott Baxter


I can answer questions about raising happy, successful toddlers (not babies or infants...sorry). The two are synonymous. I would love to help you help your child find his passion or strength, how to encourage your child and give her opportunities, and discuss the importance of failure, perseverance, and resilience. If you have questions about how to get your child to believe in herself or how to parent versus being her friend, I can help. I can answer questions about how to model the right behaviors for your child, and what those behaviors might be for your specific situation. I also can help you deal with excuses: excuses you may be making for your child as well as excuses he is making for himself.


I have been an elementary school teacher for seventeen years. I am also an author, known as "America's Relationship Guru". I was a contributor to "Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul". My first three books have dealt with the relationship between couples in a romantic relationship. I am currently working on a new book on raising happy and successful children. For the book I interviewed happy, successful children (Maddie Bradshaw, Caine Monroy and many others) and/or their parents. I am also the father of two girls (10 and 15). Their resumes include: business owners, authors, YouTube celebrity, fundraisers, and print models. They have appeared in commercials, music videos, have interacted with mayors, international politicians, and one was mentioned on Capitol Hill for her help in finding a cure for pediatric cancer. They have watched a Dodger's Game with Jackie Robinson's daughter, been a pen pal with Dom DeLuise, and one was an official toy tester, while the other was invited to pitch her idea to a toy company. They've had these successes while also dealing with anxiety disorders and OCD.

• • • The Santa Barbara Independent • The Valley Voice • Atlanta Parent Magazine • • Coastal Woman • Santa Barbara Parent Source • • The One World Initiative Blog • •

I received a Bachelor's Degree in Film Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and got a teaching credential from Cal State Northridge.

Awards and Honors
• Named a Ben and Jerry's Citizen Cool • KLITE Community Hero • Certificate of Congressional Recognition in Teaching • Name is on the National Wall of Tolerance • Recipient of Realiastar's "Education's Unsung Heroes" Grant • Numerous "Best Dad in the World/Universe/Galaxy Certificates/Mugs/T-shirts/Hats

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