Do you know who can be the most critical of parenting? People who don’t have children. I’m sorry to say that I was no different. I would look at parents struggling with their children in private and public places. I would analyze their parenting style. And then I would wander off to future land where I would deal with my children in a more productive, less damaging and much more selfless way.
Yeah… I miss thinking I was going to revolutionize the art of parenting. Now I’m a real parent to real children and much to my surprise I remember all those moments of judgement. While ashamed of my judgmental point of view, I’m glad I was paying attention. I needed some of the lessons these parents taught me.
I taught my child a new word yesterday, and it wasn’t a good one. While I do my best to keep such words to myself there are times that they come out anyway. Yesterday he brought me a bottle of medicine (which had been stored too high for him to get to) and opened it right in front of me (even though it was “child proof”). The word slipped out and my child regarded me with a skeptical eye. “Mommy say a bad word?”
“Yes,” I answered. “Mommy said a bad word.” He let it go because I had told the truth, but still he had the look of mommy is crazy in his expression.
I’m Crazy With Worry
The truth is I can’t let worry go when it comes to my babies. It’s severe. It comes from mommy imagination. Like what happened yesterday, except while I’m in the bathroom. I imagine chairs being dragged to a counter and used for climbing. He could fall. He could break his arm/leg/neck. I imagine the contents of the upper shelves. He could get into cleaning solutions/ medicines/sharp objects. I can see in my mind’s eye the end result very clearly. At times it has made me cry before I remember I’m just imagining and resolve to take all steps possible to prevent it.
I know. What good can come of war? What could all this social chaos and finger pointing lead to that would be beneficial? Well, the mommy wars may be a war of ideas, but it’s a war none the less, and war has a dark secret with a glimmer of hope. War is a catalyst for advancement and social change.
Like any war the mommy wars have resulted in technological advancement. Don’t believe me? We have baby monitors that have video as well as sound. We have five point buckling security in our car seats. We have created a safer crib, a safer bouncer, and ways to protect our children around the home.
Would any of this happened without the mommy wars? Perhaps, but the progress would have been slower. The pressure to have such items would not have been as severe. In reality our desire to be better parents have resulted in technological advancements by companies trying to cater to the grow “protect my child child” industry.
Alternating Nap Times
If you are trying to find a way to get one on one time with your younger children, but find there aren’t enough hours in a day, try an alternating nap schedule. As your little ones get older they may still need naps, but that doesn’t mean that they need to have it at the same time. Use the first nap time to spend time with the one not napping. When your second little one takes a nap spend time with the second. This frees you up later to spend time with any older children coming home from school.
If you are worried because nap time is the time you get things done you shouldn’t be. It’s actually more likely that you will get more done with an alternating nap time. My little one likes to watch me bake, so we spend time together in the kitchen. I let him mix and add ingredients and he’s thrilled. I don’t have to worry about what his sibling is doing because she’s taking a nap. My youngest likes to work out with me so while my little baker is napping I spend time exercising with my little trainer.
One of the most important things I have learned as a parent is that my child is not me. I knew that he wouldn’t be before he was born, but I am surprised by how unlike me he can sometimes be. Where I am an introvert he is quite the extrovert and very social. Where I am naturally cautious, he has no fear at all. Where I can be very serious, even at the age of two he is cracking some really funny jokes.
Meeting My Child Half Way… Or All The Way
As my child’s parent (and like all parents) it’s important for me to make sure that my little guy is confident as the person he is. This can be harder than it sounds because sometimes he and I are so different that it’s annoying. I’m a quiet person, but he loves being loud. Our compromise is to listen to music together. My music. It’s enough noise to make him happy and it doesn’t annoy me. Sometimes though his joy does come at the complete expense of my view of how things should be. He splashes in the tub and I endure getting very wet. He helps cleanup the water after the indoor hurricane that is bath time passes.
Toddlers like to test their limits. Often they test their limits by testing how high they can shriek when they don’t get their way. It’s such a shocking behavioral response no matter how many times you go through it. What do you do when your child decides to do the interpretive dance of that cave child in row five? What should you not do?
Keep Your Cool
Nothing can be more nerve frazzling than a screaming toddler. They are kicking and screaming and crying, and you are sure the neighbors will call someone to protect your poor defiant baby from you. Needless to say you are stressed out. This is particularly true when your out in public with people passing by giving you the evil eye.
It’s exciting to watch a child pull themselves up or take a step for the first time. They are cute and wobbly and look so surprised when they land on their padded little rumps. As parents we are so proud of them for getting up and trying again. We try to make walking easier for them to learn with all sorts of techniques.
To Shoe or Not To Shoe
Some people believe that it’s best for little ones to learn to walk barefoot. It’s more natural. It allows them to grip the floor with their toes. Shoes and walking are two new things at once, and may be one new thing too many.
Others believe that the best thing for a walker in training is to wear shoes. They feel that it gives their child better ankle support. It gets them used to wearing shoes which they will have to do eventually anyway. It builds the habit of wearing shoes outside.
A child’s early years are the years they learn about relationships. They mimic the family members they love as if to say, “Hey, I’m like you! I belong here too!”
Nothing will cause a melt down faster than a perceived threat to those relationships. That’s because these little ones are also learning to trust. They need to know family members will be there for them. They need to know that there is stability in their world. The lessons they learn about trust can and often do follow them through growing up and into their adult years.
Things That Go Bump In The Night
It’s important not to ignore your child’s night time fears. When they sound off in the middle of the night, afraid of the shadow their teddy bear made on the wall, it’s important to go in and let them know (sometimes for the hundredth time) that there is a logical explanation for the shadow and there is nothing to fear. Give them the option of having the hall light on and leaving the door open. Let them know you will be there to help them through there night time concerns.
Why Do I Always Have To Be The Bad Guy?
Imagine that you come home from work and have missed your family all day. Then the first thing you have to do when you get home is go up to junior’s room and straighten him out. It’s not fun for you and it teaches your child to lack respect for the babysitter or stay at home parent. It also associates your homecoming with a negative effect for your child. What can you do about it?
Discuss Discipline With Your Partner
The first thing you need to do is discuss what type of rules need to be instated with your spouse or babysitter. Discuss what type of discipline is appropriate in each situation and, in the case of the babysitter, when a parent should be handling discipline.
Babies are often cute no matter what they are doing, but toddlers can often get on our nerves doing the exact same things we used to think were cute. Here are three habits I used to encourage in my child, that I now wish I hadn’t.
When your child was first starting to communicate, raspberries were cute. It was even cute when they blew mushed up peas out with their raspberry. Times have changed, and it’s not cute anymore. Raspberries are now reserved for being disrespectful to mom and end with spit trickling down your little one’s chin. They have become gross and a reason for time out.