Posts Tagged 'toddler'

Baby Steps and Battle Scars

All of a sudden, the boy is taking off!

Finally, the answer to that annoying question is yes.  Why, yes, he is walking.  A lot.  All over.  Thanks for asking.

He took his first steps about a month ago.  There was a big celebration, announcements were made, celebrities may have been called.  This is it, I thought, now he’s off!

Only… he wasn’t.  After that first night, he became completely disinterested in the whole thing.  He refused to even try.  People were starting to think I had made it up, and secretly thought I had finally flipped it.  I was pretty sure I would have to send him to kindergarten on his hands and knees.  And then…

He started taking steps again. 

Backwards. 

Yep, that’s right.  My baby walked backwards before he really tried that whole forward motion thing.  Did anybody else’s baby do that?  He thought it was hilarious.  He would laugh while I held my arms out to him, and back away.  Don’t worry about mommy’s ego, honey, just leave me hanging.

Learning to walk is painful.

Now, all of a sudden,  here we are… He’s a walker.  He hardly crawls at all any more.  He’s doing his little drunken sailor dance all over the house, getting into more mischief and mayhem than ever before.  It’s amazing how fast it went.  Sure, there were some falls.  He has some battle scars.  It wasn’t like he just stood up one day and took off across the living room.  But somehow, I’m still surprised.  I wasn’t quite ready.  I liked the way he crawled.  I’d meant to get it on video.  Like most parents, I’m celebrating his accomplishment while lamenting about how fast he is changing.

I keep thinking, where did my baby go?

This afternoon, he staggered after me and put his hand in mine.  Together, we walked slowly out of the room, and the sadness faded.  I love that feeling of his tiny little hand in mine, the way he grins up at me.  This walking thing… maybe it’s alright.

But you can bet I’m taking lots of video.

Only three more days left–don’t forget to vote!  Thank you!

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Halloween Tails

Despite all of us feeling a bit under the weather, we got J all dressed up to go trickin’ and treatin’.  (How could I resist putting him into such a cute costume?)

Halloween

The package claimed this was a horse costume, but I beg to differ.  That, my friends, is a mini-cow if I’ve ever seen one.  (Let me remind you that I live in Montana, so yes, I have actually seen one.)  Jayden very much enjoyed being a mini-cow, despite the fact that the costume was a full two sizes too small for him. 

On the way to Auntie’s, we practiced saying “Trick or Treat” (since “Gimme candy, Auntie Jae” was a little hard for him).  By the time we got there, he was happily chirping “Treat!” from the back seat.

auntiej

Treatin at Auntie's

There was much loot to be had at Auntie’s (something that made this Mommy very happy).  From there, we went to Grandma’s, where J discovered a deep love of pumpkins.

mmmpumpkin

NOMNOMNOM

Being a mini-cow is incredibly hard (and hot!) work, so we called it a night after that.  My mini-cow turned back into a little boy, and this year’s Halloween story came to an end.

Boo for the Boob Tube

Before you can ask, let me tell you:  No, the boy does not want to watch TV.

Yesterday, I took on a new housecleaning client.  I was pretty excited because not only was Mr. Man okay with me bringing the boy, but there would be a toddler friend for him to play with.  That means not only a new playmate for J, but also no baby proofing necessary.  Neat.

Within five minutes of me arriving, the roommate began to repeatedly ask me if I would like her to turn on some cartoons for J. She kept making comments  about it (in her fake french accent mixed with baby talk, which is a whole ‘nother rant) and offering to put in a movie for him.  I was like, “He’s not even one.  He doesn’t watch TV.”

It wasn’t until the two year old came home that I began to understand why the roommate was so determined that J would need to watch TV.  As soon as the girl walked in the house, the TVs came on.  That’s right, plural.  The TV in the livingroom was turned on to Dora, the kitchen TV was something Nickelodeon, and in her bedroom was a constant stream of Disney movies. 

Let me repeat.  The TV in her bedroom.  

Is it just me, or is it just a  little ridiculous that a two year old has a TV (and DVD player) in her room?  Even more ridiculous is the four hours she spent in there, laying on the floor with her bottle, watching that TV.  Her bookshelves in her room are stacked high with movies, not books.  During lunch, her high chair was moved to sit in front of the livingroom TV.  I don’t think there was a moment that little girl wasn’t plugged in.

Now, I admit, I am pretty anti-TV in general, and always have been.  I don’t even understand adults that have a TV in every room, so I guess the kid/TV thing is a little beyond me.  Growing up, I remember watching a couple of shows (Garfield and the Smurfs, namely), but overall I chose to play outside or in my room over watching television.  As an adult, I find myself irritated by most of what’s on TV–and don’t even get me started on commercials.  I do enjoy vegging out once in a while and I love watching movies, but overall, I would just rather it stay off.

But when it comes to kids–especially my kid–I’m more than just a little anti-TV, I’m downright adamant.  There’s too much information out there on the negative impact TV watching has on kids, especially for kids under three.  It has been linked not only to increased aggression and obesity, but also to problems with attention and memory.  According an article I read, a study done by the University of Washington showed that three year olds who watched two hours of television a day had a 20%  increase in attention problems later on, and that chance goes up 10% for every hour watched.  That’s a pretty big deal, especially when you think about the increase in the number of children being diagnosed with ADD, learning disabilities, and behavior problems.  There’s even some question as to whether watching television has a negative impact on toddler’s  language and speech development.  It’s no wonder the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages any TV viewing for children under two.

“But it’s educational.”  While I have to agree that somehow, watching Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer has got to be better than a kid watching something like Power Rangers (is that even a show?  What is on these days?) or adult-themed shows, I think the basic point is that there’s so much more a toddler can be doing with their time.  What happened to playing blocks, going to the park, reading books?  They learn by interacting with their world (and the people in it), and I don’t think they can do that while glued to a TV show.  Even just having it on “for background noise” not only provides them with way too much of the wrong kind of stimulation, it also teaches them that they must some sort of noise going on all the time.  (And this bags the question of whether or not children under three are even capable of learning from what they watch on TV.  While educational programs have shown some benefit for preschool aged children, there seems to be a general consensus that children under three do not learn from TV.)

Before you get mad at me, I am not saying that if you let your kids watch TV, you’re a horrible parent.  I understand that sometimes, zoning out to a TV show is the perfect way to unwind.  Sometimes popping in a movie not only brings you a few minutes of much-needed peace, but it can be a family event that brings you closer  as well.  I am just saying that people need to be smart about their kid’s TV habits, and be  aware of the impact it can have on their development.  Balance TV time with other activities.

And for Pete’s sake, keep the TV out of their bedroom.

Bye-Bye Baby

My son’s first birthday is eight days away.

I admit: I am a bit of a mess. I know I’m supposed to be excited about this new first, and I am, really. When I’m not completely heartbroken.  Every day he is growing and changing, rapidly shifting from my sweet little baby into a giant toddler (tantrums and all). I find myself wanting to yell, “No, baby, slow down!” Not that I’m not excited about all the new tricks he has (have I mentioned the tantrums?), or the new adventures still to come (he’l be walking any day now). I just thought the baby stage would last a little bit longer.  Silly me, I should have listended to all the other mommies when they told me how fast it was going to go by.  For me, the big birthday event is really just the final send-off to my baby… Welcome to toddlerhood, little one.

Mommy’s not ready.

As the day rapidly approaches when I officially become the mommy of a toddler, I thought I would take a moment and reflect on the last year. It’s been a big one for both the boy and I. Let’s see… I had a baby, left an abusive relationship (and lost a stepson in the process), moved back to small town Montana, and began the quest to become an awesome single mommy.  It is certainly not the way I had envisioned things going, although I am proud to say we’re doing alright.  This has been the single most emotional, life-altering and rewarding year of my life.   And somewhere tucked in all the upheaval and personal change are all those little moments of my baby’s first year of life… The first time I held him in my arms… he was so tiny.  That baby smell, completely new and fresh.  His first smile. The way he used to fit so small and perfect in my arms.   The first time he sat up on his own–he got excited he threw himself backwards (actually, he still does that).  His first laugh. The day he said mama.

Now there are sippy cups and bonked heads and the constant refrain of “Don’t bite the dog!” and his charming new ability to scream at the top of his lungs because he wants something RIGHT NOW.  And his sweet kisses and peekabo and first steps and… yeah, I love this age, too.

So when the day comes, I will wipe my eyes and hold on tight to my new little toddler. I have the feeling it’s going to be another big year, and I don’t want to miss a thing.