May 3, 2012

Do you believe in Magic?

I do.

Especially if it’s 1-2-3 Magic- the book about “Effective Discipline for Children 2-12.”

*To be crystal clear- these are my own words, my own thoughts. I’m in no way, shape, or form affiliated with the writer of, nor the actual book or publishing company, etc of 1-2-3 Magic. They don’t know me. They don’t know I’m writing this. They didn’t give me the book to review. They don’t know me from Adam. I’m nobody to them.*

I have a 2 year old (end of December). At her 18 month checkup, her pediatrician suggested we pick up 1-2-3 Magic for an approach to disciplining our Lovie. She’s always been pretty much ahead of the game with all of her milestones and he said we could start implementing some of the ideas from the book if we felt we needed to, despite the age stated.

We didn’t get the book right away but we didn’t really need to; Lovie’s always been a pretty easy baby. Or else we’re extremely patient? If you know me at all, it’s not that I’m patient.

After getting the book when she was about 20 months old, I read it pretty quickly. It’s not long and it’s a quick read. I love all the examples provided and I love that there is reasoning as to why something might or might not be working.

Still, we didn’t really have any use to put it into practice. So the book sat and Lovie turned two. And, just like that, she was starting to test us more. But still, she listened to what we were saying and, since we were both always on the same page and very consistent, we never had to really put her into a time out or discipline her more than stating that something was dangerous. Yes, really. She’s that good of a kid. Yes, I know how crazy lucky we got it. Thanks, though.

But then bedtime would roll around and … by the time we’d leave her room, I was exhausted.

I began to dread putting her to bed. It usually wasn’t too bad if it was just me putting her to bed because I didn’t stand for (all) the stalling she did, but regardless, it got to the point where I would just walk out of the room quickly after saying my good nights and I love yous, and she’d be left screaming and jumping up and down and crying out for me. And the nights Daddy was there in time for bedtime, he would stay in the room to settle her down but usually, an hour later, she’d call out for one of us or shriek with glee as she continued to practice her jumping. (There were several times where I actually went to bed and fell asleep before her. And I have to get her up at 5:30 in the morning during the week so her lack of getting a good night’s sleep was causing major havoc in our morning routine, too.)

I was spent. And I started dreading… dreading… bedtime.

I’m not sure what it was- maybe out of sheer desperation- but I decided to pick up 1-2-3 Magic again one day, remembering that the author touched on bedtime. I quickly skimmed over to the bedtime routine and read the section, “Going to Bed- And Staying There!” several times.

I tagged the pages I wanted the husband to read and told him we would be taking the plunge that night and to just follow my lead.

We were all sitting on the couch watching Nick Jr. and it was nearing 7PM- Lovie’s bedtime Sunday through Thursday. The show Olivia was on and I told Lovie that when it was over, it would be time to brush her teeth- something I tell her every night.  I also sounded the alarm on my cell phone. Lovie looked at me like WTF? And I told her that the next time she heard that Beeping sound, it would mean that we had to stop whatever we were doing and go to bed.

When the show was over, I turned off the TV. Lovie started with the usual whining and begging for another Olivia and refusing to brush her teeth. I explained again that Olivia was over, that we’d watch again tomorrow, and that it was now time to brush her teeth and get ready for bed. She started playing with some cars or something. We kept repeating it was time to start getting ready for bed and eventually got her into the bathroom to  finally brushed her teeth.

Then we went into her room and, like normal, Daddy sat on the floor near her two large stuffed bears, I sat on the chair next to her bed. Lovie started opening books or something. I sounded the alarm again and reminded her that the next time she heard it, it meant it was time for bed. I told her we could read, sing, play, drink water, go to the bathroom until the Beep Beep Beep but once it sounded, she had to go to bed.

She just looked at me. Daddy just looked at me.

“Do you want to read a book?”


“Do you want me to sing?”

No answer. So I started to sing (thankfully- I love singing bedtime songs normally with her in my arms but I didn’t want to push the issue).

Lovie played with some blocks and kind of ignored her dad and me. I reminded her again that when the Beeping sounded it was bedtime, and asked if she was sure she didn’t want daddy to read a book. She got a book and brought it to her dad to read.

A minute after they read, the alarm sounded. It was 7:15PM.

We all jumped a little. I really should put a clock in her room.

Lovie and Daddy looked at me. I grabbed my cell phone from the bookshelf and stood up and looked at my husband and, with my eyes and mind, told him to stand up, too. He obliged.

I scooped up Lovie and gave her a million kisses and told her it was bedtime. She turned into a floppy, out-of-water fish. Daddy snuck in a couple kisses and I laid her in her crib. (Yes, she's still in a crib. There's more info in the book about if your child is in a regular bed and gets up out of bed- info that we will most definitely practice should Lovie do this once she moves out of the crib.)

She immediately stood up and asked for water and I, laying her back down, told her she could have more in the morning and reminded her the Beeping sounded and it was now bedtime.

“Sweet dreams, baby girl. I love you. Night Night,” I said with my hand on her belly gently.

I then … walked out of the room and into the living room to look at the clock on the cable box. It was 7:17.

I turned back around and saw my husband standing beside me. We just looked at each other, saying nothing.

“Really?” I finally said. “It’s that easy?”

Husband looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and went on his computer. I stood there for another couple minutes and listened. I heard nothing coming from down the hall where Lovie’s room is. Nothing.  I went back to the husband and said, “Why haven’t we done this sooner?”

Again, he just shrugged.

Since that very first night, it’s been the same thing (I extend the alarm a half hour on weekends) every single night. Except, after a full week of doing this, the whole routine started going even smoother because once she became used to the alarm, she started wanting to sit with us before it sounds as we read and sing (which for us is so ... blissful, really). She doesn't flop around when I scoop her up for hugs and kisses before laying her down; there's no more jumping in the bed; there's no more shouting out for us once we leave the room.

This shit is MAGICAL.

A month ago, it would take HOURS before she’d fall asleep.

A month ago, I’d leave her room wanting to scream and pull my hair out.

Bedtime has been dreadful this year (literally- it’s like a switch went off in her in January)- up till I studied the Bedtime section of the 1-2-3 Magic book a couple weeks ago.

And now... It’s Magical. Bedtime is magical! It’s enjoyable. It’s relaxing. It’s the way it should be.

* To be crystal clear- these are my own words, my own thoughts. I’m in no way, shape, or form affiliated with the writer of, nor the actual book or publishing company, etc of 1-2-3 Magic. They don’t know me. They don’t know I’m writing this. They didn’t give me the book to review. They don’t know me from Adam. I’m nobody to them.*


  1. I am SO buying this book! We are being outwitted by our 3 1/2 year old. Thanks for sharing!

    1. awesome- so glad you found it useful! hope the book helps you out even more. thanks so much for commenting.


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