Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Adjusting Expectations

One piece of advice my mom had for me when my son was born: "Don't be too fastidious". That is to say, don't have expectations of the house being in perfect shape all the time now that I have a kid.

She knows what she's talking about. As a kid, I rarely cleaned up as I went. It wasn't on purpose. It just did not occur to me, ever, to clean up anything until I was asked. Kids don't have radars for work that needs doing, and in fact I think they have selective filters. My parents would get home and say to my siblings and me, sprawled on the couch, "didn't you NOTICE the breakfast dishes still on the table when you came home from school?"

Kid Me: Too busy reading Archie Comics

When it was time to clean my room, no fooling, once Kid Me actually brought up a leaf rake to first bring everything into a pile in the middle of the room. Somehow, if the floor was clean save for one giant heap, it seemed more manageable to go through.

As I got older, though, I realized that these giant clean-ups due to procrastination were for chumps. It's much easier to clean as you go than to spend half of Saturday digging yourself out.
So now Adult Me much prefers the relaxing feeling of a clean and organized environment, and I could achieve that with a little effort and maintenance.

Until now.

 Small children are, metaphorically speaking, the plows that put snow back in your driveway after you've shoveled. Everything gets pulled off and out of its place. Such curiosity. Such mayhem. And he's not even officially walking yet. I know, don't tell me. It's gonna get worse. 

Even the baby book I have informs moms of mobile babies and toddlers to accept the mess at this point, embrace it even, because it would be a lesson in futility to constantly follow after your kid and try to clean up (not to mention, not much fun).

But, but, but, I protest! If I let my guard down for even a moment, this is what would happen:

So it's time to set limits but adjust my expectations, lest I become a humourless all-day cleaning machine. He's gotta be able to check things out a bit. And hey! I have to have my own time too, right? So leave the books there on the floor for now! I'm not in leaf rake territory just yet.

In the meantime, I remind myself that the mess won't be forever. I model 'clean up!' for my son, singing the song (to make it fun, or something) as we put blocks back in the bucket, in the aim that he'll eventually be able to clean up after his adventures. Even if it's never on his radar.

In fact, my dear boy already puts things in the garbage for us. This includes my husband's watch, mind you, but it's a start.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Toys that Make the Noise

"Don't buy the toys that make the noise." -Denis Leary

I got a Busy Ball Popper from the local consignment store. The balls go down the track and pop out the top while silly music plays. Giggles guaranteed, apparently. Sounds neat. Figured it'd be something my son could have some fun with. It was for 9 months and up, so it was a timely purchase as well.

Well. Have you heard this thing? It sounds like a hootin' and hollerin' musical hairdryer on full blast. Plus, it shoots the balls all over the room. "Popper", my foot. Cannon, more like.

Also, the "Busy" in its name should have tipped me off as a warning sign. I should've known from my substitute teaching days that "busy" can be code for "wild like a baboon". But then, I guess "Wild-Like-a-Baboon Ball Cannon" may not sell as well. My first thought was that I paid money for something that makes a racket and a mess. I already have someone that does that for free!

So, at first, Sonny boy was freaked out by it and tended to come crashing down while trying to pull himself up on it more than anything else. Meanwhile, half the balls bounced down into the basement and I had to go get them. The only one who was having fun was the little voice going 'yippee! Hooray!" every time the plunger was pushed.

Sonny has figured it out now, though, and you know what, he actually really likes it. It's one of his favourites, and the other babies who come over tend to love it, too. Go figure. I have come to find him seated in front of it, pushing the plunger and giving babbling lectures to each ball as he puts it down the chute. Plus he can stuff big Legos in there, which the cannon popper shoots out as well. Good Times!

All the same, I think I'm going to see if I can maybe put masking tape over the speaker or something.  When my mom calls, she says it sounds like I'm living in a nut house.

I think it's one of those toys people only get as gifts from people who won't be living in the house with it. Surely no one would buy it for their own house... well, not on purpose, anyway.

"...Like you're living in a nut house" (Click to Enlarge)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Adorable At First...

I remember a few months ago the first time my little boy crawled up to me, grabbed on to my pant legs and pulled himself to standing.

I looked down into his big brown eyes with pride, amazement and delight. My big boy was getting so strong! He would be walking soon, I remarked to myself. Aww, he's showing me that he wants to be with me. I melted a bit at that thought. I'm even pretty sure I called my husband over to witness this fantastic milestone in our son's development.

It's still pretty cute, but I admit my reaction isn't always the same a few months and hundreds of pant-leg climbs later.

Click to Enlarge

Thursday, February 02, 2012

This is Why We Don't Co-Sleep

I don't know how people can co-sleep with their kids.

I know a lot of people do it successfully and love it, but I don't know how they do it.

We had the little tyke in our room in a bassinet for the first few months, and while convenient and comforting in many ways, it was certainly not conducive to good sleep. We would leap into action at the tiniest gurgle. So he's pretty much had his own space to sleep from early on.

Recently, our little guy was a bit feverish and feeling out of sorts. We were in a hotel away from home, so we thought we'd let him sleep with us. Maybe having us near him would be reassuring for him, we thought.

I guess it worked, because by morning (and by "morning", I mean "3:30 in the morning"), he was all better.

Click to Enlarge

Ah well. It was worth a try. I guess co-sleeping just isn't for everyone.