Monday, March 23, 2009

Things I have Learned About Parenting...

Now then, let's see - what valuable parenting lessons can one possibly learn in 27 months? Well, Kittyboy's only three months over two years old, and already I can think of several insights to share with those who have no children. Or whose children are boring.
1. Never ever set a precedent. Children learn that after X comes Y way sooner than you think. For a while after Kittyboy started walking, I made it a habit to step out of church after the morning gospel and after communion. Maybe not after the gospel, but always after communion. Then one morning, he was being just so good, and didn't seem to need a change or anything, so I figured we'd stay. The good behavior lasted only until it became apparent to him that we really were staying in. Even at 18 months, the complete lack of verbal communication did not stop him from loudly declaring "Mommyyyy, why are we still heeeerre, we ALWAYS go downstairs noooowwww, come ONNN..." My translation of "Mmmmmmm nnngggg nnggggg!" whined while he wiggled down and headed for the door. Yup, I'd taught him well. Same goes for figuring that you'll save a plate when it's just you and the toddler by feeding him off of yours - not, I repeat, NOT if you ever want your food to be your own ever ever again. We are in the middle of breaking that habit now - tooth and nail.
2. Some toddlers roll on the floor screaming and kicking when they don't get their way. Some just go limp. Mine has a creative, somewhat violent variation on going limp which involves throwing his arms up (makes it impossible to lift him with your hands under his armpits) and collapsing backwards with a melodramatic wail. And rolling around floppily, kicking, as you try to pick him up. There is ONE hold which can be executed no matter the position of limbs, and does not put you in direct danger of kicking or getting head-butted. It's called the airplane hold. They advise it for babies who have colic, but it's also excellent for transporting a raging toddler. Roll him onto his stomach, one arm underneath his torso from one end, one arm from the other. Google "airplane hold colic" for a better description. The kicking is all directed outward (do be aware of those around you and the position of store displays) and with one arm and one leg trapped against you, he really can't go anywhere, and he has no leverage to hit you with his head. I discovered this by accident - and out of desperation.
3. Try not to hold a toddler in your arms facing away from you, with his head at the level of your throat or face. Back of skull to the nose, mouth, or larynx is an experience you want to anticipate and avoid at all costs. A fat lip is bad enough, got one of those during church once, but protecting your Adam's apple is absolutely vital. A blow there will come close to making you drop the kid, as you clutch your throat hoping you can still breathe. Your sternum, on the other hand, can take a beating if necessary. Again, airplane hold - protects stuff you need to live.
4. When the baby is in the car and you're hoping he will sleep - DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT. Ever. Maybe it's just Kittyboy who has a thing about eye contact (eye contact also factors into various theories as to why he gets aggressive with other toddlers and not taller children), but if you sneak a glance back and he catches your eye, he wakes right back up. He could be almost asleep, but if he sees the whites of your eyes, back to square one. Don't know why this is - like I said, might just be Kittyboy.
5. "Uh oh" is VERY, VERY BAD. Worse than silence. Silence, whatever is going on is being relatively successful (whatever that may be - and it is probably not something you want). "Uh oh", on the other hand, means something went WRONG. Wrong enough that the toddler knows it. That's REALLY wrong.
More to follow if I think of anything else.

6 comments:

Nyssa The Hobbit said...

I got more than a fat lip once--I got a split lip when I bent down to kiss my boy goodnight and his head bumped up right then. :P Oh, the dangers of having a child! LOL Then there's the time he yelled out "It's mommy!" when the priest was right in the middle of cutting the Vasilopeta (sp) bread.....

donald423 said...

Good advice!!


--Puppygirl's dad

Realmomma said...

You are hilarious, but so right about every single lesson -- I can vouch for that as a mom of four. And thanks for the airplane hold tip. I had never thought of that -- my two year old does the arms-in-the-air-go-limp thing too. I'm almost looking forward to his next fit just so I can break out the new move on him. Boy, will he be surprised.

Caeseria said...

Hi Realmomma, I found that the airplane hold directed what head-banging there was towards my bicep, he couldn't kick low enough or high enough to hurt, and I could pretty much just scoop and go. I'll be interested to hear how it works on another toddler who is probably bigger than mine. Mine is small and has short legs!
The last time I used it, he went sort of limp and quiet. Maybe something with his sensory quirks makes it calming, too.

Mimi said...

So true, I remember being beaned on the bridge of my nose so hard I was sure it was broken.

Pres. Kathy said...

Thanks for all of this - this is the stuff we need to tell new moms so they know what to expect!!