Suggested New Episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Good news for moderate parental negligence—a study soon to be published in the Journal of Children and Media found that watching the PBS Kids cartoon Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood may help preschoolers develop social and emotional skills. For those of you who have not yet been inducted into the Daniel Tiger cult, each episode deals with a common issue for toddlers and preschool-age kids—fear of starting school, separation anxiety, a new baby, sharing, resolving conflict with peers, etc. There is always a catchy “strategy song” that reinforces the message after the show ends. One of my son’s favorite episodes is “Daniel Visits School,” and I sing the strategy song fairly often to remind myself that he’s the kind of kid that needs extra reassurance during transitions: When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do. C is also obsessed with all of the episodes that feature Daniel’s baby sister Margaret, which is just about enough to make my heart completely explode with love and forgive him for all of his general ass-hattery.

Given Daniel Tiger’s proven success at imparting macro-level life lessons about kindness, empathy, and managing negative feelings, I figure the show’s writers might be equally effective at helping us parents handle some of the more micro challenges of daily life with toddlers. To that end, I have created a list and summaries of suggested episodes I would like to see produced in the near-future:

Episode 501: Daniel Leaves His Shoes on in the Car

Daniel is riding in the car to the grocery store! He is going to leave his shoes on for the entire ride to the store and the entire ride home because he understands that even though it’s only June, it’s already 98 degrees outside, and the last thing Mommy Tiger needs is to be crawling around the back seat of her black station wagon trying to find his forty-dollar Sperrys. Daniel is also going to stop unbuckling his chest clip repeatedly and dumping the entire bag of Goldfish crackers he insisted on holding into his lap.

Strategy Song: No matter how itchy the infinitesimally microscopic piece of sand on your toe is, you still have to leave your shoes on.

Episode 502: Daniel Diversifies His Musical Tastes Beyond Uptown Funk and The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Everyone loves Bruno Mars! Golden Oldies are great for dancing! But seriously Daniel, there is an entire universe of musical genres yet to be explored, and if Daddy Tiger tries to hit the high note in “Whimoweh” one more time, Mommy Tiger is going to file for divorce.

Strategy Song: What About Beyoncé? Everyone Loves Beyoncé. Even Taylor Swift is fine, whatever, anything but the Bieber.

Episode 503: Daniel Displays a Little Bit of Flexibility When We’re Out of Cream Cheese

The Tiger family is enjoying Saturday breakfast together! Daniel is having his customary morning meal of half of a whole wheat bagel, cut into quarters and prepared to “medium” heat, meaning Mommy Tiger toasts it to a golden brown and then puts it in the freezer for 45 seconds, no more, no less, to achieve ideal temperature. Oh no, looks like someone forgot to put cream cheese on the grocery list! No worries, Daniel is not going to start shrieking like he’s fallen into a quicksand pit made of yellow jackets, instead he listens calmly as his parents explain that they will go to the store later, and for now he can have peanut butter on his bagel instead. Or he can have a waffle. Or cereal. Or pickles and olives. The world is your fucking oyster, Daniel, just please stop screaming before the neighbors call the police.

Strategy Song: Life is full if disappointment, but that’s not an excuse to act like a turd.

Episode 504: Daniel Wears His Pull-Up Diaper All Night Long

My how Daniel has grown! He is so independent, and he loves to help Mommy Tiger out with Baby Margaret. Daniel has been fully potty trained for awhile, but he still has to wear his pull-up at night, because accidents can happen when you are sleeping. Accidents that result in lots of extra laundry for Mommy Tiger, who already spends about 95% of her waking hours doing laundry. Mommy Tiger didn’t graduate from law school just so she could dedicate her life to folding underwear! Daniel helps minimize the amount of laundry Mommy Tiger has to do by keeping his pull-up on all night long, even if he wakes up at 3:30am and decides that it’s scratchy.

Strategy Song: Keep your pee in your pull-up and not soaking through your $80 organic sheet set from Pottery Barn.

Episode 505: Daniel and Baby Margaret Choose Not to Coordinate Their Epic Evening Meltdowns

It’s been a long week for Mommy Tiger! While Daddy Tiger is away on business, sleeping in dark hotel rooms and conversing in full sentences with other adults, Mommy Tiger has been trying to sleep-train Baby Margaret while also dealing with Daniel’s latest nap regression. Uh-oh, Daniel has something in his eye…or is that pink eye? Time for a trip to urgent care during rush hour! In order to prevent Mommy Tiger from becoming a full-blown alcoholic, Daniel and Baby Margaret decide that rather than express their feelings about this stressful event through tandem sobbing, they are both going to go to bed without protest and sleep 11 hours through the night.

Strategy Song: When the baby is crying, instead of crying too, why don’t you do something useful like open Mommy a bottle of wine.

How about you? What episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood would you like to have custom-tailored to your particular parenting dilemmas? I hear PBS is struggling with the recent decreases in federal funding, so perhaps they could turn made-to-order TV shows into a new revenue stream. You’re welcome, Big Bird!

Written by: Kathleen

The Art of War: Tips on Toddler Discipline

Hahahahahahaha! The secret to disciplining a toddler is kept in the same place as the cure for the common cold and that sock you're missing. I hope you didn’t open today’s blog post hoping to find the oracle of knowledge on how to create the perfect toddler. If this post does anything for you, it will let you know that you are not alone in this crazy, toddler-run world. Trying to build a foundation of respect and obedience with a child between the ages of 2 and 22 is like trying to understand why people support Donald Trump running for president—it will drive you to drink and possibly move to Canada.

The toddler years are made especially hard by the crucial milestones that must be achieved, putting pressure on all parties involved. Potty training is one of the messiest and most arduous of these. How do you explain to a 2 year old that it makes more sense to go to the bathroom than it does to continue playing, uninterrupted, until someone else literally cleans up your sh*t? Not a convincing agenda. In short, this is the only advice I can attempt to dole out while I am in the midst of trying to stay afloat myself:

  • Pick Your Battles: This is easier said than done, but I have found that repeatedly screaming "no" or "stop it" just lands you talking to yourself all day and desensitizes your kid to those words. For example, I allow my toddler to eat a stolen apple in the grocery store in exchange for her sitting quietly in the buggy while we shop. In my defense, Whole Foods does allow your kid an apple while you shop . . . or at least mine has let us get away with it thus far. My guess about the long term effects of this behavior is that she will always get hungry upon entering the grocery store, so worst case is that I'm simply creating a very polite over-shopper.
  • Be Consistent: I feel like I am living in the movie “Ground Hog Day,” except my mistakes are not erased at the end of each day but the lessons I have tried to bestow on my offspring are completely forgotten. Your kid has an uncanny ability to completely delete any of the guiding principles that you so carefully laid out for them the day before. Explaining why we don’t throw food at the table or put peanut butter in the dog’s hair feels like a total waste of energy.  After the 500th time asking my daughter not to put toys in the toilet, I had to ask myself, "are we teaching them or are they teaching us"? Did she really learn not to put peanut butter in the dog’s hair or did I simply learn to put the peanut butter on a higher shelf? Probably a bit of both. After 10,000 hours of this, one of us will be an expert at something.
  • Don't Show Your Weakness: The moment your toddler sees you looking overwhelmed, they will rip your heart out with a spoon. Do your best to keep it together and save your break downs for your showers. The only thing worse than an irrational toddler meltdown is an adult joining them. Stock your wine cabinet and power through as best you can for the next 36-48 months. This too shall pass.
  • Don't Get Divorced: Just as hard as it is trying to figure out whether the kid's behavior calls for a time out, a suspension of all activities, or a deep sigh with a look of disappointment, is making sure that you and the person currently assigned to co-parent (husband, wife, aunt, uncle, Whole Foods check-out lady, etc) are on the same page about which disciplinary action should be taken at any given time. This dance can get downright dirty and turn into a scene out of The Clockwork Orange. Before you decide that you would rather be a single parent, remember that your teammate is just trying to figure out how to survive as well.

In closing, I leave you with this quote: “Remember, the race is long and your toddler has more energy and a greater ability to act irrationally in almost every situation that will challenge and degrade your sanity at every turn.” In other words, we’re screwed.

Written by: Alice


The Art of a Meltdown

MELTDOWN [melt doun]: Describes what happens when a person freaks out, cracks, loses control of herself. Life - reality at large- becomes overwhelming. She just can't deal with it all. The person may act out, withdraw, become emotional, run, etc...

If you are lucky enough to have experienced one of these special moments with your child, then you either powered through with flying colors, gave in and bought your kid that life-sized inflatable elephant, OR you are currently trying to figure out how to transfer custody to your least favorite sibling. Whatever the means of coping, you deserve a pat on the back. For those of you who have not yet ventured into the world of floor tantrums, get ready! You may be wondering if your toddler screaming in the car seat because he is tired or your baby getting extra fussy around mealtime qualifies as a meltdown. They DO NOT!!! There is so much more to this special developmental milestone. Note, there are some “child specialists” that would suggest that there are ways to avoid tantrums all together. I’m calling B.S. on these claims. These “experts” have clearly never tried to go grocery shopping with a 2 year-old who has just discovered how good it feels to smash a bag of bread with her butt.


2 parts child age 18 months to 18 years

1 part terrorist

1 part mother-in-law

1 part genetic crazy code (this varies depending on the parents’ crazy tendency)

optional: Public setting


Step 1: Do not look it (it=your offspring) directly in the eye.

Step 2: If in public, determine the fastest exit strategy—leave behind shopping carts, luggage, and loved ones if necessary.

Step 3: Once in the car or padded room, let the meltdown run its course.

Step 4: THE MOST CRUCIAL STEP: WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS!!! You cannot, I repeat cannot do anything about the irrational way that your child is behaving. Once she is in the throws of a full meltdown, she has lost her ability to comprehend what anyone else is saying or doing.

Step 5: Minimize the casualties by clearing the area of any pets, other children, and sharp objects.

Step 6: Ignore and wait…

Step 7: …and wait.

Step 8: Once your little terrorist rejoins the human world, return to regularly scheduled programming.   

COMING SOON: "How to handle Daddy Meltdowns"

Written by: Alice