1

WE TREAT OUR TODDLER AS ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL IN THE FAMILY

 

Yes, he is 20 pounds and 31 inches tall and you can lift him up in one hand. But that doesn’t undermine the fact that my toddler is a human with functional emotions, desires and opinions. That is why we treat him as one of us, as an individual and not as a baby. We have rules and limitations of course but sometimes we just let him be. We try to make him feel important and loved. I have listed how and why.
1. He is not going to share if he doesn’t want to.  Do you remember the last time you shared something. Do you remember the feelings that accompanied that act of sharing. You remember feeling noble and happy. Now, do you see that happening to my child when you took away his toy train and gave to another child? Was he beaming at your lecture on the virtue of sharing? You hear that scream mine-mine? You see sharing should make both giver and the receiver happy. What you essentially did was snatching, not a great example for both those kids.
2.If he doesn’t want to wear blue shorts he is not going to have to wear it. We respect his choices over here. We will not let him wear a bat man costume for a wedding but if he wants to choose between jeans and trousers we will let him. He can choose between apples and blueberries. We don’t give him the impression that we run his life and he has no option but to stick to our decisions. He can make them for himself once in a while. He can also make them for us once in a while. I don’t mind wearing a hat while cooking for sometime if I can see those giggles. By welcoming his ideas and choices, we want to make him feel valuable and build his self-esteem.
3. He is not going to hug you if he doesn’t want to. So you made that awesome apple pie we all loved. But I don’t think we pounced on you, kissing you all over in appreciation. Then why do you do that to my child? Of course you found him cute, when he stacked those blocks all by himself. But use words like we did. Use your hand if you want to and clap. But please oh please don’t force that hug. Now or anytime.

And understand, when this little guy refuses a hug he is not telling I hate you. He is telling you that I am not in a mood for a hug so just let me be. So please don’t feel bad or worse yet, make a deal out of it.
4. He is going to express his emotions and by emotions. I mean even the negative ones. Like anger and hate. He is allowed to in our hour house. He can use words. He can hate uncle Trey.We will try to find out why and try to work out the differences, but he is allowed to say and feel hate. He can bang on the floor when he is frustrated and scream if he is angry. He can kick, shriek and throw. We will not shame him for that. We will not criticize him for that. We will not make him feel guilty. We will not belittle him. Of course, we have rules here. We will not let him break the vase or the TV. Judge our parenting if you want to but we will not stop him from expressing his feelings. Did you not break your phone the day your boss refused a leave?
5. He needs to make mistakes and as parents, we will let him fail and fall. Yes, even that 2-year-old. He will remember to duck while emerging from below the table only after he bumps his head a couple of times. We are not going to rush everytime to make him duck. We will rush when he is trying to put his finger in an electric socket or trying touch a hot iron. As parents we will always shield him from danger but not mistakes.
6. Occasionally he is allowed to break rules. He can skip dinner if he had too much cake at a party. And yes sometimes, like when the cake is too delicious he is allowed a lot of cake. When his cousins are visiting, he can play for an hour or so past his bed time. We never made it this far, without breaking some rules along the way (think high school). He is just a toddler. We can bend rules for him- Occasionally.
7. We Don’t Lie to him, we reason. Those lies like some monster is going to get you if you don’t behave. Easy and effective. We don’t tell him that. We tell him that if he doesn’t eat he will not have the energy to play. Same goes when he tries to throw something at the TV. We tell him that breaking that TV means, spending money to buy a new one,consequently, little money is left for buying toys. A 2-year-old definitely does not comprehend that fully, but the tone of the complex sentence works. Sometimes it takes a little more time. Eventually, he will learn to understand and appreciate the consequences his actions. Well, that’s our hope.

We do all of this and more with full knowledge of the fact that he is a 2-year-old and not an adult. We do all this in the hope of raising a strong, confident and responsible adult. It’s usually simple. Just imagine yourself or any adult in his place and put his actions in perspective. Just imagine yourself or any adult at the receiving end of your words and actions to put his reactions in perspective.

0

WORST TIMES AND PLACES FOR TODDLER TANTRUMS

I know you are wondering if there are any best times and places for toddler tantrums? and I agree with you that there aren’t. But sometimes they hit you on the wrong times at the wrong places. They are the worst and I am talking about the likes of these, helpless hopeless situations.

  1. Public Transport: You can pull over the car to cool down a child and convince him not to eat the blueberry he dropped. But there is no way I can do that when in a bus or train. As you try to distract him you can almost hear people screaming in their heads “Blueberries could have waited till you got down this damn bus”
  2. Planes: You are have lost sleep dreading that day and preparing for it, but it’s not going to be easy. You know it and by the looks of it, you could tell that all the passengers who saw you both, while boarding, knew that this was going to be one hell of a journey.
  3. When guests are over: You don’t know whom to attend. The screaming toddler or the guests. As every attempt of your conversation and hospitality is interrupted, you worry they will never visit you again.
  4. When you are visiting someone: Especially if it’s because he wants to play with their expensive vase or throw blocks at their TV. You end up making them feel guilty or worse yet, worrying if they are judging your way of parenting
  5. On a guided tour of a museum or anything similar: I know you are going to ask me why the hell did you take him there. I agree it was a wrong decision and I was being insanely optimistic.
  6. When you are out having fun and you receive that call from home to come back because nothing is calming the screaming child. You wonder if you have super powers as you head back.
  7. When you have to walk from the supermarket to the car with your handbag, 3 shopping bags  and  your toddler. It would have taken less than a minute with a docile toddler but today you are going to drop and trip.
  8. At his grandparents deserves a special mention because now you have to endure at least one full hour of lecture about parenting and related stuff from your MOM! Brought back the memories of teen years, didn’t it?
  9. Any place that’s meant to be silent like temples and other places of worship where people come to find some peace from the noisy chaos of the world. You know that they are going to have to continue that search for peace thanks to your toddler.
  10. At a restaurant especially in the middle of the meal where you have to take the child out to calm him down (otherwise he is going to break one of those plates) and then handover the child to one of your party and gobble up your food alone. More worse? Eating, holding a screaming struggling child.
  11. When you are absorbed in something very interesting and your toddler just wants your attention right now. Think climax of a movie, conversation with a bestie or choosing between pink and red tops.

What was your worst do let me know.

2

DIY STORY SEQUENCE CARDS

THE THIRSTY CROW

Once upon a time somewhere in the world a crow was really very thirsty and you know what happens after that. My toddler doesn’t. So I tried to introduce this story using cards. I did them myself.

Well, It started something like thisIMG_20160828_233229.jpg

and went on to be like this.

I stuck the drawing to some cardboard and made these cards to make a sequence.IMG_20160903_151619IMG_20160903_151625IMG_20160903_151636

Now I am not a real good artist or something even close, but I did try my best.

 

0

THE INTERNET AND THE MOM

The Internet has an unlimited resource on motherhood, newborns and everything connected to it. Just googling anything from burping a baby to sleep training it is bound to return a gazillion pages of myriad methods of doing it. Its easy to get lost in the web of information that is sometimes guiding, motivating, reassuring and also sometimes misguiding and confusing.

During those first few weeks of motherhood, the internet was my best friend. It almost never disappointed me. It gave me the answers I was looking for and much more. With time however, I realised that the more time I gave to the internet, the less to my child. And, though I spent time learning about babies and toddlers, I was actually not applying them because, a. lack of clarity due to too much information. b. lack of time and rest (because I spent a lot of time on the internet).

Of the may things I used internet here is a description and its pros and cons

Looking up on taking care of the baby: So, when I looked up burping a newborn, I had two options. Glance at few top results, apply them and come back if they dont work, or go on and on reading about burping a baby like which parts of the brain is involve in burping, and the evolutionary explanation for it and so on. Needless to say, I chose the second option.

I spent a lot of time in front of the laptop or hooked to my phone. I got lost. Every link led me to another crosslink. Occasionally I would come across a new terminology and I would go researching on it, forgetting where I started in the first place. It was so addictive. I was bloated with information.

Looking Up on Symptoms: Do I have to explain? Anyone who has dealt with colic or eczema will tell you.We will just do anything to ease that. The only problem is there is some contradictory information there. The best idea here was to just stick to my paediatrician’s advice.

Shopping: Shopping for a newborn itself is enticing. Online shopping takes it to a different level. Be it clothes or toys or gear.  There are hundreds of options. There isn’t anyone judging you if you are looking for clearance or only top brands. As I glanced through various online shopping websites, I got lost in the reviews. I read and re-read. I added something to my cart, removed, added something else and son on and on and on. The problem was by the time I decided on buying something (after a thorough research oof course, my child had either outgrown it (babies grow fast) or had too little time for it (rattles dint intereset my son much after he started crawling)

Networking: with other moms is good. That been there done that talk is good. Only if you are not doing that all day or at the expense of taking your child for a walk.

That’s pretty much what kept me hooked on to the net. I use my smartphone mostly to take pics of my child and though I still spend time on the internet, I do it mostly when my child is asleep or when someone else watching my child.

Let me know your thoughts.

 

4

7 CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE BUYING TOYS

I am one of those moms who loves to stock up on toys! I get as excited as my toddler on the toy aisle. No, not the developmental toys that claim to make kids geniuses. I believe in unstructured play with a wide variety of stuff ranging from kitchen utensils to store bought legos. While I definitely pass it through a cost and benefit analysis (weigh the cost v/s features),  I buy a toy only if it meets some criteria. They are

  1. It should keep the child engaged for at least a few  minutes: I wouldn’t complain if my child was engaged with a toy for half an hour or even more. A toy should intrigue the child, and hold his or her attention at least for some time, say until I make a quick escape to the bathroom.
  2. Must be safe: I mean free of chemicals like BPA, lead and similar toxins and also not be too loud lest they harm sensitive little eardrums.
  3. It should not pose any danger: While babies and toddlers need close supervision when they play, it’s always possible for an adult to get distracted once in a while. (hello! I need to answer the door bell). Therefore toys that can easily detach into small parts that can choke, batteries and magnets that come off  easily are a strict no, no in my house.
  4. They must be portable: This is why I love board books.I like toys which I can take along with me on a vacation. I like toys that can be attached to strollers. I prefer toys that don’t take up a lot of space and need a whole corner of the house to themselves, barring our playhouse of course.
  5. Easily cleanable: One fine afternoon my child may as well decide to dunk them into the toilet bowl. Or might bury them in mud. Or might puke accidentally. I don’t want to be struggling with brushes, washcloths or tooth picks to take out something gross stuck inside the horn of plastic yak.
  6. Must not be useless after a while: Think soft toys. A sensory stimulation for a baby and pretend play for the preschooler. Think cars and trucks. Think balls that are timeless and can even amuse adults. Okay, that’s too much expectation. Anything that serves a specific purpose (like teethers) or that grows with the child and be of use for a couple of months (rattles for example) if not years is welcome.
  7. Must be able to withstand toddler torture: Obviously they must be durable since I mention that I want to use them long term. But, they must also be able to withstand some rough handling. This is one reason why I chose wooden toys like stacking blocks and wagons. After all, they are not just going to fill sand and drag that wagon around, they will want to sit in it and be dragged around.

That’s pretty much it except that I do check the labels, warnings and read manuals and reviews before buying toys especially the expensive ones. Will soon post reviews of some toys.

2

BE NICE TO OTHER MOMMIES

Dear Mommies.

A few tips for a peaceful relationship with your mommy friends.

1. BE SLOW TO JUDGE or better yet, don’t
I have done it myself. When I watched this lady get stern at her 3 year old who was persistently coaxing her to pick him up, I wanted to give her a lecture on attachment and psychology and what not. What I didn’t know was that she was dealing with the one-hundredth tantrum of the day. What I didn’t know was that in an hour she had to pick her daughter from ballet classes. What I didn’t know was that she couldn’t finish any chores because she had been picking him up all day. She had laundry do and dinner to prepare. What I didn’t know was the reason the lady came to the park was to distract her son from asking her to hold him. It’s easy to judge someone when we believe that their behaviour isn’t right. Often it is because we think in the given circumstance we would act differently. The problem however, is that we don’t know the others circumstance fully enough to make that assumption. So next time when you judge a mother to be old fashioned or insensitive make sure to check how her day was.

2. AVOID COMPARISON COMPLETLY
I know you have heard it. Its written everywhere. But I want to repeat it for your sake. For the sake of your child and for the sake of everyone around you. Be it milestones or parenting styles do not compare. I know when your 16-month-old gets on the slide by himself as a 17-month-old struggles, you swell with a little pride. I know when another 16 month old can say 15 words while yours can only 5 you get a little tensed. It’s only human. The more the people the more difference. Appreciate the strengths and work on the weaker skills of your child. Don’t oh please don’t brag. It’s not a competition. There is no trophy to be won.

3. BE DIPLOMATIC among yourselves and with the kids. Instead of telling your child “stop whining, do you see anyone else whining, look at her she is playing all by herself and not troubling her mommy, you should learn from her blah blah..” try ” stop whining, look at her she is playing all by herself why don’t you join her?”

4. TALK, LISTEN BUT DO NOT ADVISE UNLESS ASKED FOR: Don’t be one of those mothers who can only talk about their child and themselves. When a person delivers a monologue of experiences from the labour room to potty training, somewhere in between it becomes boring. Yes, we are all interested in each others journey of motherhood, so don’t be just about yourself and show some genuine interest in others.

Discuss. Accept that there are other ways of doing things. When a fellow mommy was suggesting the brand of milk to give my toddler I had enough. She must have made that suggestion meaning well but all I wanted to scream was that I am capable choosing a milk brand for gods sake. Yes we want to share our expertise. I know you have done your research. Let others do theirs.

5. MEET GREET SHARE AND CARE
Meet often. Set up play dates. Teach your children to get along and share. Help each other. When there is a toy sale spread the word. If you have an unused toy hand it over to the younger sibling of your child’s play pal. Be friends and do as friends do. Be each others confidants. Be each others strength. After all, we all need each other.

2

A TODDLER IN A SUPERMARKET

Supermarkets are like toddler wonderlands, any store for that matter. But supermarkets are different and special. They are fantasy lands!!! Be it the grocery section or the toys, with temptations galore, there is no stopping a spirited toddler!! So, summing up that experience of shopping for you!!

  1. She wants to run around and you are afraid she will knock down an expensive china. You will not tell her that because when you do, you are drawing her attention to it and she might pick one. You keep watching, hoping she doesn’t discover them.
  2. She wants you to buy the exact same teddy she already has at home. No, she is not leaving the store without that teddy.
  3. She finds the neatly hung clothes an awesome place to play peek-a-boo. After a while, she gets  entangled in them and cannot get out. You rush in the direction of “Mommyy” to free her.
  4. She wants to get inside the fitting room along with you. Once she is inside she wants to go out. Once she is out she wants to come in. You ignore her “Mommy, Mommy” and she knocks the hell out of the place with deafening screams. So you let her in.
  5. Now that she is inside with you in the fitting room and she wants daddy too. It’s okay if you are in between changing. That happens at home, doesn’t it? Getting your spouse so that you can shop leisurely wasn’t a great idea after all.
  6. She sees you try a top and insists on trying a sparkling maxi (adult size). You are worried she will break down the jewelry sewn into it. You point that out to her and now she wants to play with that sparkling neckline. She wants to take it home. There is no way getting out of this one
  7. She thinks it’s fun crashing the shopping cart into the neatly stacked shelves.
  8. She cannot lift the laundry detergent. It’s so heavy. She can’t even drag it. This calls for a quick trip down the meltdown alley.
  9. She sees you pick up some packets of bread from the counter. “So we are playing this game again. Let’s empty the shelf and fill our cart with bread.” You keep them back and she finds the game more fun.
  10. Oh! Wow! those are brooms? Let’s begin sweeping. Let’s throw all these balls out of the basket. Now that you said NO a little sternly she needs some hugs and kisses. “This one was easy”, you think as you oblige.
  11. Oh! The frozen food section. That’s her favorite place.So let’s slam the refrigerator doors open and shut. Oh no, she can’t reach the handle. “SCCCREEECHHH..” On second thought, this is not her favorite section.
  12. She sees another mom pushing a stroller and she remembers hers. She wants it now. You reason with her that she is grown up and can walk. She doesn’t care. She wants her stroller. You tell her that stroller is only for sleeping babies and if she wants one she should sleep quietly in it. For once,she stops crying. The lady with the stroller gives you a smile.
  13. Let’s stack these yogurt cups. Let’s try opening this milk carton. Look at that colored liquid in that bottle. Let’s shake that.
  14. She perfectly fits into the little shelf space and doesn’t want to get out of it.
  15. “Mommy, let’s not go home. Let’s live here at the supermarket.”