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.
As excited as you are about the new addition to your family, you dread the wailing at night that comes with your bundle of joy. You find yourself wondering why you thought you could be a parent and worrying that you aren’t giving your little one the best mommy they could have. Sometimes you are even worried that you may not like your baby. As soon as you let yourself think that you feel guilty.
To the new mom out there that feels this way, you need to know that you are not alone. Your sleep is being constantly disrupted and your body healing and possibly even chasing after your new baby’s older siblings. Anyone would feel ill equipped to bond positively with a crying baby, but it can be done.
Not for your little one. Take a time out for you. Almost every book or blog I have read on being a new parent says it’s okay to put the baby down in a safe place (like a carrier or a crib) and take a moment to breathe. Those five or ten minutes can help you clear your mind of the negative feelings and give your nerves time to un-knot.
Have you ever tried to brush a cat’s teeth? Attempting dental care with your toddler can be just as daunting. There is only one difference I have seen. Cat’s eventually resign themselves to their fate. Toddler’s don’t.
No Scary Toothbrushes
Trying to get my toddler to either brush or sit still long enough for me to brush his teeth has been next to impossible. So I thought that I would improve the brushing experience by getting him an electric toothbrush. I thought it would be fun. I thought wrong.
He started crying the moment I turned the silly vibrating thing on. He backed away from me when I put it near his mouth. So I gently showed him how to use it and then handed it to him so he would feel like he was in control of it. And he was. He threw that vibrating toothbrush into the bathtub and ran off. So I wiped toothpaste off the tile wall and vowed to just put up with the standard toothbrush.
Prefolds have been around for quite some time. Before prefolds, flat diapers—squares of cotton that were folded and pinned onto baby—were the most common way of diapering in Europe and the United States. However, one issue with flats was the time needed to fold them into the proper shape and thickness for baby. Folding one flat is fast. Having to fold six to a dozen flats or more a day, every single day, for every diaper change for a year or more, easily tired out families who were already swamped with cooking every meal from scratch and hand washing the laundry.
In the 1950s, the prefold was invented when someone had the bright idea to pre-fold and sew together a flat diaper. The prefold still had to be pinned into place, but the more time-consuming part of folding all the layers together was no longer an issue. Although cloth diapers have gone through many more innovations in the last sixty-five years, prefolds are still extremely popular. Part of the reason is that they are still fairly cheap compared to other cloth diapers—really, only flat diapers are generally less expensive than cotton prefolds—and the traditional cotton prefold tends to last forever. Ok, not really forever, since cotton is a natural material that breaks down organically, but they tend to last far beyond their uses as diapers.
Who knew that mommies had so many uses? Yes, we cook, clean, assist in bath time, and tuck our children in six times a night. There are, however, a few roles we take on for the love of our children that are often left unsung.
Life Size Barbie
They do our hair and our make up. As we watch this slow and horrifying transformation we realize that the entire eighties fashion scene came from mothers letting their children have at them with a brush and some lipstick.
It never fails. Our children will get a cold and suddenly we are covered in snot. It doesn’t matter what we are wearing. It doesn’t matter where we are at. The idea of Kleenex is alien to our children, but the collar of our shirts is soft on their little noses, making our clothes the go to for nose wiping.