Monday, May 28, 2012

Play it Cool, Parents

Small kids who are learning to walk tend to fall down. I'm not talking about those fluke falls where you know they're getting a goose-egg. I'm talking regular, run-of-the-mill tumbles. These can happen a few times a day.

Are they a big deal?


How do you react to it? That will help your child decide if the fall, head bump or stumble was a big deal, especially if they sense hugs and sympathetic noises might be up for grabs. Most people know this, so we know to keep it light and breezy. We show the little ones the average mishap is no big deal and life goes on. And for the most part, they'll accept this-- maybe even find it funny!

But then there are times when the fall startles me, or for a split second I mistakenly feel like it might've really hurt, or something. Either way, I react with a dramatic gasp and maybe an accompanying dash to his side.

Boy, do I pay for that.

Sometimes my son will slip, and look over to check with me first to see if this was worthy of waterworks. There can be a 5-10-second delay as he makes this assessment.

So remember, for those everyday falls... play it cool, parents. Play it cool. They're watching.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Such a Generous Lad

It's so cute when little ones share. Social skills at work!

Although, I don't know if I call it "sharing" per se. It's more like "handing you everything I can get my hands on", and sometimes this entails taking it back.

I learned this when my son 'shared' a Cheerio with me, and looked all panicked when I ate it and he couldn't get it back. I didn't understand how this worked. It's okay, though. Tempting as it is, I don't usually accept his generous offer of sticky, manhandled food.

Squished kiwi, mmm...

He will share with anyone in close range, including assertively thrusting cheese at our server at a restaurant, or plastic animals to a fellow patient at the chiropractor. I often try to discretely redirect him ("come here and show ME what you have")-- not to discourage the habit, but just in consideration that this guy might not have use for a puzzle piece, half a crayon and a miniature hippo figurine.

I must say I do appreciate when people go with it, though. He just lights up being thanked for things, and it makes him all the more eager to find something else to give you. 
I can sometimes see the flicker across people's faces, the thought of "Oh dear, this could go on, how am I going to get out of here". I hear you. You don't need to keep accepting; it COULD go on.

But thank you to all who are good sports when encountering the kid who wants to reach out, even if it's to generously hand you copious amounts of random crap. 
"If you liked that, you're gonna LOVE the pen cap I have for you next!"

After all, the "MINE!" phase is just around the corner, so any encouragement he gets to share in the meantime is appreciated.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Babies communicate from day 1 to let us know what they're thinking, even when they can't talk yet. We just don't always get it right away.

I can remember the not-so-distant early days, trying to differentiate "hungry cry" from "tired cry" from "need new diaper cry" to "STILL hungry cry", which parents are supposed to know intuitively. To me, however, it all sounded like "AAAGHHH".

The toughest were those nights when I was approaching his room while he howled, trying to determine my course of action: Go in, don't go in. Sorting all the conflicting arguments I'd read by the baby experts, along with my half-asleep instincts, I would try to figure out whether my fed-and-dry kid was crying because he had a real need or if he was starting to know how to work the system.

Come on, kid, give me something else-- charades, anything-- so I can respond appropriately! Bleary-eyed me can't figure this out at 2 a.m.

It's getting easier, though, now that I get more cues than just smiles or tears. No real words yet (much as I try to encourage 'Mama'), but lots of delightful babbling. Plus his new big thing is pointing, which is great in helping me understand him. Each time, it generally means one of three things:

  •  What's that
  •  Bring me to that
  •  I want that
For instance, there are many meals where it's clear that he is convinced I'm eating something way more delicious than he is, even though he's got the exact same thing in ground up form. There's no convincing him of that, though, and he continues to point with great vigour as if I'm not getting it.

But I want what you're having.

And then there is the odd time, despite all the pointing and grunting, I really have no idea what he's getting at. Like the pointing showdowns he has with the vacuum. He doesn't want to be brought to it, or brought away from it, but it seems like it's done something that he won't let it forget.

It's a whole new view into your kid's personality when he/she starts to communicate actively with you, isn't it?  I can't wait to hear what he has to say next.