Okay, this is my first post on the new boards, hope it's legible.
I just had to respond to your question about the book because I have a daughter, almost six now, who is quite spirited and that book has been a lifesaver for both of us. I haven't used it so much in the last year but from the time she was about 18 mos I pulled it out frequently and reread the sections that seemed to apply to the situation at hand. In fact all these years I have kept it on my headboard because I always needed to know right where it was!
Basically, it taught me what spiritedness is, why it needs to be acknowledged and respected in a child (or adult!) and how to deal with the spirited child in a way that keeps there spirit intact and me sane. Even though my daughter is very different from my son, who was always very laid back and nondemanding as a baby and toddler, it helped me realize that he also has elements of the spirited in him, but on a different place on the spirited spectrum.
For example, bedtime. My daughter hasn't gone to bed easily since she was about 18 mos. She weaned herself at 14 mos, and within a few months had learned how to crawl out of her crib and into our bed. That was okay but just getting her to bed in the evening so we could have a little time with her brother and each other was exhausting. The book helped me learn that some children just don't transition easily, and can take up to an hour to put to bed. I had been struggling to move this process along in what I thought was a reasonable amount of time (based on what had been comfortable for my son) so I could go do other things. The book helped me realize that that wasn't meeting my daughter's needs and in fact was making her feel more anxious because she felt hurried. I came to understand that she was a kid that would require a good hour to get settled in bed and I then was able to plan my evening around that. I would start getting her washed up an hour before I knew we would be saying goodnight and allowing her all the little rituals of getting ready. Over the years the rituals have changed, but they still take an hour and I respect that. I just keep reminding myself that before too many more years she won't need or even want me to "put her to bed" and these years will seem to have flown by.
Let me also say that this is the same child who yesterday morning when she came in to snuggle with us and wish us a Happy Thanksgiving said to me, "I knew you were the best mommy in the world the second I first looked into your eyes, and that was when I was born." WOW! Did that ever make it all worthwhile.
I'd be interested to hear more about your spirited toddler. I bet there's never a dull moment at your house!