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Fiesta, wrestling match and safari

sunny 31 °C

Recent quote by Harvey Karp, author of Happiest baby on the block and Happiest toddler on the block:
"Toddlerhood is like three parts fiesta mixed with two parts wrestling match and one part jungle safari"

This made me laugh with the clarity and chaos of it all. Watching my son progress from innocent sweet baby to opinionated toddler has been definitely a growing experience for me, filled with new challenges and forcing me to again go to the books, after I thought I had finally gotten this parenting thing down. I told my husband last night, 'well, here we go. As soon as this parenting thing gets easy, as soon as you seem to have it figured out and are in a groove, it throws you a curveball and you are in a new phase.'

I suppose I should have known this to be true, and I have certainly been warned about it by those with older children, but I guess it hadn't hit me until this week. I thought I had figured out who this child I birthed was, had his personality, his needs, his general attitude figured out, but now it seems to be a moving target. There are days now where I find myself just scratching my head, wondering where to go from here.

The 3 parts fiesta:
1. A 16 month old literally had me laughing harder this week than I remember in a long while. What was it?
First time, it was during his wind-up hyper phase right before a nap, and he was peeking out from behind a door going "a-boo", "a-boo", trying to engage me in peek-a-boo. Then I walked into the closet, turned around, and caught him by surprise "A-BOO!" He literally fell over in hysterics. He was on his back giggling wildly, kicking his feet in the air. Which of course had me cracking up, which kept him going. It was so funny my husband had to peek in on us from his work in the office to see what was going on in there. Nothing, really, just another day with a joyful little kid... and the things that can make him laugh seem so simple, I have to remind myself to take that extra time to do it. Seeing him laugh that hugely is definitely one part fiesta.

Part two. Early morning, I awaken to hear Bodhi yelling, "awa", his word for water. I listen a bit longer and hear running water and more noises, awa, awa. I get up and find him and my husband splashing and spraying the shower hose in the bathtub. "Why are you in there so early?" I ask my husband. Go check out Bodhi's crib and you will see. I step into his room and I see his travel crib, sheet, sides, everything, covered with smeared poo. Looks like someone was a little bored when he got up this morning, my husband said, and then we both started laughing so hard we couldn't stop. Bodhi, when he hears someone else laughing, lets out this fake little, haha! laugh that just made it that much funnier... like he was in on the joke, and maybe he was. An early morning fiesta.

3. Bodhi is a bird chaser. He runs after any bird, pointing and screaming, 'didahh!' (as in doggie, because, every animal is currently a doggie to him) The birds of course, tend to fly away when they see an excited child running toward them, shouting, so he doesn't ever get very close, but it does not seem to deter him one bit from following them. There are so many birds here in Hawaii that this game has turned into a fairly steady event - diddahh! every time he hears a bird call, diddahh! when he sees the little birdies eating remaining crumbs off people's plates at restaurants. This awareness and excitement in the simple things is fiesta #3.

2 parts wrestling match:
Recently, he is becoming more and more determined to keep me in his room or even better, holding him, until he falls completely asleep. Actually, I think he would prefer me to hold him for his entire nap. Well, this is not happening for me. I physically cannot hold him up that long anymore, for one thing. I don't want to, for another reason. Hence, the wrestling match begins. It is baffling to me, this struggle of wills. I am caught completely off-guard. He tries all his angles, he stands up and cries for me, mama! mama! OK, this one still works on me. But he also tries wiggling out of my arms and running across the room, hoping it will become a game and he can stay up a few minutes longer. I try to keep a stern (and straight!) face about all of this. I try to be level-headed and calm, but I find myself using the words "STOP", "NO" and "DON'T" more than I care to think about...

The second wrestling match comes when it is time for dinner ("dodindodin"), and he is more interested in playing than eating. He rubs the food in his hair. He asks to get up out of his highchair as soon as we put him in. Please don't contain me, he pleads, I want to play... He wants to run around with me running after him, spooning food into his mouth while he plays. I mean, really. Can't a baby sit and eat a meal?!?

And this brings me to the one part safari, which is basically the feeling that I have everyday when I literally do not sit down...he is moving so constantly, that it is like being on a safari, observing and following the action as closely as you can. So, (when I have a moment), I am going back to the drawing board... reading, experimenting, and realizing that this whole parenting thing really is a roller coaster, and I just need to hang on and ride.

Posted by globalmomma 14:02 Archived in USA Tagged sleep wrestling patience routine toddlerhood struggle parenting Comments (0)

5 Questions You Never Ask...

For Mothers Everywhere (pardon me this angry rant, but please comment and add any 'others' I may have missed!!)

Number 1: "Are you pregnant"?
I never believed that someone would have the gall to ask this question until it happened to me...when I was NOT pregnant. Actually, what she said was, "you are not pregnant, are you?" or something slightly more innocent sounding, but equally horrifying. I remember my reply...uh, no. Then she said, "that is a terrible thing to say, isn't it?" and I said, uhh, yes, it is. Then I walked away. I have heard these accounts from many of my friends, both those who have just had children and some who have not had children. Now I believe that there are people dumb enough to ask this question. And 90% of the time, it is a woman who asks, which makes it worse. Men we can shake off, like, well, they must not know what a pregnant woman would look like. Women should know better. I still want to slap the woman upside the head who said it to me, and if I see her, I just might. Basically, unless a woman is buying baby supplies AND she looks like she is about to give birth on the floor, don't ever ask this question. Even then, tread lightly. Otherwise, wait for her to say it, then respond.

Number 2: "Is she (i.e. your baby) still not sleeping through the night?"
Unless you have a child who is five and still not sleeping through the night, don't ask this. Especially if you follow it with a gushing remark like, ohh, my baby was sleeping through the night at only 10 weeks old, it was sooooo easy. In fact, any comparisons like this should probably be left unsaid. It sounds condescending and judgmental. It also implies that the mother looks exhausted and so you assumed that her child must be wearing her out. You know what assuming does, right?

Number 3: "How much did you gain during your pregnancy?"
Women do not like to discuss their weight, in case you hadn't noticed. Especially discussing the time in most of our lives when we have weighed the MOST...it is not exactly enjoyable conversation. Unless you are a very, very good friend or our mothers, do not go here.

Number 4: "Is he circumcised?"
If you know the mother or father to be vocal advocates of this topic, then fine. Otherwise, I find it a bit intrusive to be asked this question. Discussing this with your pediatrician, family, or friends is OK, but with strangers, not so much. Asking someone what they are thinking about it before the baby is born seems innocuous, because they can answer with "I just don't know" if they want to, but asking after the fact about someone's decision on their child's body parts is a little too much. Especially if you just met in a birth class or at the park.
I could add "Who's the father?" to this list as well, because asking that is just plain rude. I don't know many in this position as single mothers, but again, I have heard accounts of people asking this. If you are not close enough to know, then you shouldn't know.

Number 5: The question that has really infuriated me personally is this: it seems sweet at first, "How old is he/she?"
You answer, "14 months." You are expecting some sweet reply like, 'what a darling', or 'he's so cute', or 'enjoy it'. Replies you have heard many times. But instead, this person chooses to say, "Really? My God, he only looks like he's about 9 months old!" Or the other way, they say, "wow, she's so big! my 2 year old granddaughter is her size!" Not cool, people, not cool. Thinking you can size up another person's child's age is just not helpful. Plus if the parent has worries about their child not eating well, or being overweight, you just add to their worries unnecessarily. I used to want to trip those people who guessed my son's age in the airport or at the mall. "How old is he", they would say, "seven months?" "No, he's ten months." "Really? He's so small!" Gee, thanks, and you're ugly. That's what I should have said. :)

Posted by globalmomma 17:30 Archived in USA Tagged friend best sleep child baby questions weight age rude pregnant pediatrician Comments (0)

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