Future Antics…Be Prepared

There’s an old saying…boys will be boys.   I’ve sat for the past couple of days and tried in vain to recall what the old saying was for girls.   Unfortunately, I’m at a loss.   We’ll chalk that up to Davey zapping me of all of my brain cells.   So, where am I going with all of this?   Well, my husband and I have talked about stupid childhood antics we did and the things we put our parents through.  Then I watched a news report about teenagers trying to swallow spoonfuls of cinnamon and my mind began to reel.

I’m a worrier by nature.  I worry about the past, I worry about the present, and I worry about the future.  I shouldn’t worry at all, but I have no control over my mind especially as I start thinking about the future and what my husband and I may or may not have to contend with.

I’ve heard comments that boys are a lot more difficult.    They seem to be fearless, adventurous and eager to push the envelope, at least where stunts are concerned.   I can only imagine what mischief my son will get into as he grows older.   I can teach him what’s right and what’s wrong and encourage him to think about his actions and the consequences to those actions.   I would hope Davey wouldn’t be a follower.   I would hope that he wouldn’t succumb to peer pressure, but who am I kidding?   And what’s worse is that I’m worrying about this NOW, when he’s just turned 8 months old!   What the heck?

And then thoughts have started rolling to our next child, IF there is another one.   While it may not be in my hands to decide the sex of our next child, I really worry about how my husband and I will handle having a daughter.   Lord help us if she’s anything like me.  Truth be told, I think having a daughter would be a lot more difficult and stressful.  And what am I doing yet again?   Worrying about future antics.

Am I the only mother who has wayward thoughts such as these?   What can I do in order to just savor the moments in time I have right now?

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The Healing Powers of a Child

Last week, my family and I laid my uncle to rest.   He died after complications from what should have been a routine pacemaker surgery.   Needless to say, we were caught off guard and although it’s really impossible to fully prepare yourself for death, we were definitely not prepared for this loss.

My Uncle Doug was a wonderful man, stubborn and hard-headed at times, but also completely unselfish.   He and my aunt were the next best things to parents my brother and I could ever have.   To lose him has been a shock to the system.   I’m only happy that he was able to enjoy my son for 8 months.

And speaking of my son, this child is extraordinary.   Every parent says that, I’m sure, but this past week has shown a more compassionate, loving, and endearing side of my baby.

Here’s the thing about kids, they have the ability to make you smile.   A child loves without regard.   A child doesn’t see your imperfections or your flaws, instead he sees a heart, someone to love and cherish.   And a child has an innate ability to mend a heart, if not heal it.  I think on some level I’ve always known this, but never really observed it at least not until last week.

My child continued on with his daily activities even as I sat at the hospital by my uncle’s bed and with my family in the waiting room.   He sat at his daddy’s office, reviewing blueprints and keeping his daddy entertained.  He was completely oblivious to what was happening, much too young to really comprehend the full extent of the situation at hand.

After my uncle’s passing and while we quietly mourned at my aunt’s house, my son stepped up to the plate in a way only a child could.   He doesn’t speak and can’t sympathize or share in certain emotions, but he can sense when someone is hurting.   I watched as my baby boy moved from person to person, cooing softly.   He crawled to family members and showed off his two tooth smile that would elicit a laughter from everyone around him.   I watched as he climbed into my mother’s arms and gently placed his hand on her cheek, caressing her as if to say, “Don’t worry, Mimi.   I love you.”   He brought a smile to my face and tears of love to my eyes.

In the end, we’re all still mourning our loss, but having Davey with us makes it not quite so hard to endure.

A is for Apple, B is for Banana

We have eye contact, one on one, just the two of us.   It’s a small window of opportunity and I do my best to take advantage of it, to cram as much as possible through that little gaping hole in the window.   Some days, I feel complete, I feel like I’ve been productive.   Well, those “some days” are few and far between and on those days I’m not even sure if I’m connecting.   Other days, my efforts are futile.   There’s absolutely no chance that I’m going to have even one nanosecond of undivided attention. 

How do you know when you’re being more than just a parent to your child?   How do you know that what you’re trying to teach him or her is actually making it through the firewall?   Our babies are inundated with so much information daily.    Their little brains (actually not so little) are on constant overload.  

There’s learning to crawl, walk, picking up toys, pulling themselves up, trying to talk, feeding themselves, an endless world of possibilities and yet I’m trying to push more and more into his brain, but at what cost and is he actually understanding what I’m doing?   Am I connecting with him?

My goal these days is to teach Davey sign language.   I want him to know a second language and I’m hoping this will be a way for us to communicate with each other before he’s even speaking.  It’s awesome for me to learn a second language as well.  I’m finding that in the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned to communicate better with sign language than I did in 6 years of French classes (which I’m thinking of picking back up again so I can teach Davey that as well when he starts speaking.)  Here’s my problem…I don’t know if Davey is comprehending anything I’m teaching him.  

Every morning after breakfast, we have our lessons.   He starts out pretty attentive, but quickly he’s all over the place and I just don’t know if he’s learning anything.   He’s not signing back to me, but he’s not even 8 months old yet so it could be a bit too early for that.   When will I know if all of my efforts are paying off?   He seems to be happy, he interacts with the teaching materials I have which consist of blocks with letters, magnetic letters, paper and crayons (to draw letters and pictures) and books with the alphabet and pictures of words with each letter.  He loves to reach out and touch everything as we’re signing each morning.  I just wish he could reciprocate to at least say “hey, mom, I’m getting it.”  

Are any of you out there trying to teach things like this to your kids?   What are your stories and results?

My First Mother’s Day

I never dreamed I would be on the receiving end of mother’s day.   Even this time last year, when I was in my 5th month, I still worried that something would go wrong along the way and I wouldn’t experience Mother’s Day as a mother.

When the day rolled around this year, I can honestly say I didn’t sleep a lot on Saturday night.   It had nothing to do with Davey waking me up, needing a change of diaper and a feeding.  It had more so to do with my reflection and my gratitude.

Sunday morning around 2 am, I climbed back into bed after rocking Davey back to sleep.   My husband was fast asleep beside me completely unaware that I’d made it back to bed.   As I listened to his rhythmic breathing, hoping it would lull me back to sleep, I was suddenly overcome with the excitement of knowing that I was officially a member of the Mother’s Day club.

I laid there in bed, watching the ceiling fan oscillate and thought back to when I first found out I was pregnant, how I was a little nervous and unsure.   Then my thoughts jumped to the first ultrasound where we heard Davey’s heartbeat for the first time.   Tears started rolling down my cheeks much like they did that very day.   I was so overcome with the excitement of knowing that deep down in my womb, there was a precious angel, a gift from God growing inside of me.

As I relived each moment of the nine months I carried my son, I became more and more excited about Mother’s Day and what it would mean.   I thought about the day we went into the hospital for the emergency c-section and how I held him for the first time.   My memory jumped to my husband’s face and his overwhelming joy and happiness about holding his boy.   I thought about the nights I cradled him in my arms, the days of no sleep, Davey’s first smile, his first laugh, and most recently his first crawl and his first tooth.   I thought about all of these events and milestones and I felt a lump forming in my throat.

There wasn’t a lot of money spent on Mother’s Day.  I didn’t get the latest of hi-tech gadgets, flowers, or a day at the spa.   I did receive gifts, all of which fit me to a tee, but the greatest gift of all, is mine everyday, being the mother to such a wonderful boy.

Each day is Mother’s Day for me.   Sure it’s nice to have that one special day.   A day to be recognized, but Mother’s Day is so much more than just one day and I can’t imagine any mother disagreeing with me.

I didn’t do much yesterday.  My husband took over the majority of the responsibilities and it felt nice to just sit back.   It felt nice to hold my son, to have him look into my eyes and caress my face.   My heart melted each time his eyes twinkled and a smile spread across his face.   Yeah, it was Mother’s Day, but the privilege of being Davey’s mother was all mine.   I should be thanking him for bringing a new light into my life and for making me feel more loved and needed than ever.

My Mother’s Day was overcome with emotions, contentment, happiness, bliss, and most of all love and pride.   I hope all of you mothers out there had just as wonderful of a day as I did.   And if it was your first official Mother’s Day, like me, then congratulations and welcome to the club!

Baby’s First Word…”NO”

I don’t want that.   I want Davey’s first word to be “mommy” or some other connotation of that.   Unfortunately, I’m having a harder time these days of using the word “mommy” vs. the word “no”.

In my hopes to combat this, I had a discussion with my sister-in-law today and she offered up some advice that I would like to share with all of you.   And just as a side bar, she does have experience in this arena, maybe not as a mother but as a registered nurse with the Monroe County Nurse Family Partnership program.   As a matter of fact, she’s been some form of a pediatric nurse her entire career, so I trust and value any advice she tosses my way.

So, for those of you out there going through the same predicament as me (your child is reaching for EVERYTHING and you’re exhausted just using the word “no”), then try using the Distract, Redirect, and Remove approach illustrated below.

Essentially this is a 3 strikes and you’re out routine and works well for babies under the age of 1.

1. Distract.  Calmly bur firmly say, “(your child’s name), no” then distract with a toy, rattle etc.  If he or she gets distracted by the toy, praise him or her for playing with something appropriate. If he or she goes back to the forbidden item, go to step 2.

2. Redirect.  Calmly but firmly say, “(your child’s name), no” then completely redirect to another activity. Move him or her to another part of the room with toys, put him or her on your lap with a book, etc.  Praise him or her for playing with something appropriate.  If he or she goes back a third time, go to step 3.

3. Remove.  Either remove the baby(to a high chair, playpen, bouncer etc.) until you are able to give your full attention, or remove the object.  This is not a time out as time-outs are essentially useless for children under the age of 2.  This is just a way to keep babies safe while they learn to understand limits, which takes several months and a lot of consistency, and a ton of exhausting effort on the parent’s part.

This way you only have to say “no” 3 times. If you over use the word “no” or in a firm tone, it will lose its effect.

If you want to experiment, next time instead of saying “no”, say a completely unrelated word, like “chocolate”, but in the same tone that you would say “no”, and it will probably get his attention just the same.  Obviously you’re not going to replace the word “no” with “chocolate”, but it’s funny to see how the babies react.

I haven’t had the opportunity to really put this into practice today, but I’m adding it onto my various other action items where Davey is concerned.   All I know is I’m exhausted with saying the word “no” especially considering the fact that when I do use the word, Davey laughs at me.   He’s definitely NOT getting the meaning or point of the word.

Comment and let me know if any of you have tried this approach or if you have used something different that worked just as well.  Thank you again to my sister-in-law, Denise, for the 411 that I’m able to share with all of you.

How Do You Spell My Name? T-R-O-U-B-L-E

My mother-in-law says I’m going to have my hands full.   My sister-in-law says it’s curiosity which leads to learning.   I call it Trouble, with a capital T!

Davey has his hands into EVERYTHING.   It doesn’t matter if it’s a spider, a glass of milk, car keys, my iPhone, my plant, the television, or even the padding on the fireplace hearth.   This kid literally MUST touch everything that crosses his line of sight.  It’s exhausting!

Last week, Davey decided to go exploring.   I have yet to see him actually crawl, but he’s getting around quickly somehow.   I can put him ten feet away from something, and within a matter of 30 seconds or less, he’s already navigated his way to the object that has caught his eye.

His first exploration was the blankets on the shelf of the coffee table.   I can actually be blamed for this as I was trying to see how he would handle himself while holding on to the coffee table.   I watched as he held on tight and even tried to jump up and down a couple of times.   He looked around, inspecting the table and all of its little intricacies.   It was at that point that he found his blanket and decided to pull it off the shelf.  I actually laughed at this one.   After all it was harmless.

The next exploration came as I put him down on his blanket while I walked into the kitchen.   For those of you who have been to my house, you know that my family room and kitchen are pretty much one open room.   So, when I leave one to go into the other, I still have a clear line of sight.   That is until I turn my back, which is what I did for a couple of minutes.  During this time, Davey made his way over to the fireplace where he started pulling off the padding we had put in place to protect him should he fall.   When I caught him, I scolded him.   And while he had a guilty look on his face and even seemed to be somewhat remorseful, he immediately went back to trying to pull the rest of the padding off.

The next day, I put Davey down long enough to go to the bathroom.   While in the bathroom, Davey made his way over to my plant stand that holds my flowing, vine of a plant (I don’t have a green thumb, so I couldn’t tell you what type of plant it is), and had entwined his hands into the vine and tried to pull it off.   My heart stopped and I could see the plant coming down in slow motion on top of his head, shattering the pot and busting open his head.  I yelled at him from across the room as I ran towards him.  Did he stop what he was doing?  Nope.  He continued to try to pull.

Everyone tells me that I’m going to need to move things out of his reach, but my mother never did that with me or my brother.   She left everything out and she told us “no”.   Some moms frown upon telling their kids “no” because it stifles their curiosity and exploration.   I want to encourage Davey, but he can’t touch everything.

This is only the beginning, I’m sure, and I’m even more certain of the fact that I’ll soon be losing those remaining few pounds of pregnancy weight as I’ll constantly be on the go chasing after him, the one who spells his name T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

The Terrible Twos…At 7 Months???

Is that even possible?

I’m a hot mess these days and I attribute that to my overly independent, extremely intelligent, stubborn and hard-headed son.   Of course he picks up the stubborn and hard-headed traits from his daddy.  Obviously, I’m not like that!

I don’t know if Davey is testing his boundaries with me now or if it’s just because he’s with me ALL the time, but this past week has brought my mother/son relationship to a boiling point.   I actually found myself putting him in his crib to cry it out.   Funny thing…he wasn’t crying, he was screaming.   Trust me, there were no tears in that boy’s eyes. 

I thought I had hit a breakthrough a couple of weeks ago when it came to getting Davey down for naps.  I was so pleased with myself and even managed to let my guard down.  I thought for sure that battle had been won by me and I could move on to something new to fight.  Not so fast, Amy!  Those naps on my bed in the afternoon?  Yeah, well they only lasted for 2 weeks.  Now I’m back to the drawing board again with a son who fights naps, rubs his eyes, screams as if he’s being tortured, and is now resorting to head-butting me.  Yep, that’s right.

Yesterday was another milestone of sorts.   I found out my son does not like green beans, which I find extremely painful and disappointing since they are MY favorite vegetable.   Are you curious as to how sweet little Davey handled green beans?  Well, let me give you the abbreviated version…I attempted to trick him as I already knew he was having a problem with the green beans.  My trick?  Feed him a spoonful of apples and pears (his favorite) and then sneak in a spoonful of green beans.  I thought it was working especially considering the fact that he ate at least 3 spoonfuls of beans.  The fourth bite was the charm.  I put the spoon in my son’s mouth, and he closed down and pursed his lips and stiffened up his body (kinda reminded me of him being constipated and trying to push out a poop) and then with his mouth still closed, he breathed in through his nostrils reared back, opened his mouth and proceeded to spit the green beans on me.  I had green goo in my hair, on my glasses, even little specs between my breasts.   And then what did he do?  He laughed at me.  So, that concluded his meal at that point and I put him in his room.  

Of course he screamed the entire time and slammed his hands down on the floor.  I’m even convinced I heard him kicking a few times as well. 

I called my husband up and told him the story and he found it humorous!  Well, of course he did!  Every time I tell him the mean things Davey is doing during the day he doesn’t believe it because once daddy comes home, Davey is good as gold.  My husband just looks at me and says, “He seems fine to me!”

So, I guess Davey’s just testing me.   I’m sure his first words are going to be “no” and “stop” seeing as how those are the words I use the most.   And when I use those words they seem to mean something funny to Davey because all he does is laugh at me. 

Am I losing control of my baby already?   If this is really nothing, then I’m truly terrified of the Terrible Twos and I’ve got to find a way to resolve myself to the fact that I’m just going to have to be tougher on him as he grows and understands. 

Whew!  This Momma has been handled and dominated by her son, and he’s only 7 months.

The Pacifier Dilemma

Like many other mothers, I debated on whether to give my son a pacifier.  The nurses at the hospital never really discussed its uses with me or when it would be best to first introduce it.   I’m not a moron, and I understand what a pacifier is and what it’s purpose is, but I spent 9 months getting so much unsolicited advice from mothers, wanna be mothers, and even men who’d heard from their wives, sisters, mothers, and girlfriends about what to do and not to do that I was a little overwhelmed about the pros and cons of a pacifier.

My mother-in-law told me that she didn’t use a pacifier, that my husband sucked his thumb.   I used a pacifier briefly as a child, but never sucked my thumb.   My brother, on the other hand, spent years with a pacifier.  He wouldn’t go to sleep at night without one in his mouth and one in each hand.  I’m hoping Davey doesn’t get to that point.

Here’s the problem, though.  I’m worried that Davey is becoming too attached to the pacifier.   And here’s where this concern comes from…Davey’s playgroup.   All of the other babies are perfectly content without one.  It’s even my understanding that most of them NEVER used a pacifier or have been rid of it since they were only a few months old.   Am I being a slacker at raising my son by relying on the pacifier too much?  I know, let’s just add this to the list of worries I have as a mother.

The reason I decided to attack this subject is because the use of a pacifier has been an age-old controversy that has recently seen new light thanks to a new study by the AAP and use of the pacifier while breastfeeding.

I purposely held off from giving Davey a pacifier for at least 4 weeks, although my mother was encouraging it sooner.   Like every breastfeeding momma, I’d heard that introducing the pacifier too soon could cause nipple confusion and that it was possible Davey would not be able to latch on again.  Here’s the new kicker, though, it may not affect breastfeeding at all!   Thanks a lot, AAP, for telling me this NOW!

And of course, Davey now appreciates his pacifier, perhaps too much.   So, I’m trying to wean him off it.  He doesn’t need it all the time, but for some reason my husband and I seem to be eager to pop that little booger in his mouth all the time.

Am I hurting him?   I think so and that’s why I’m trying to stop using it.   When he has the pacifier, he’s not trying to talk.   It’s harder for him to laugh and smile.  It’s seems to be stunting every part of this growth.   I usually pop it in his mouth when we’re going some place because it’s good at soothing him and keeping him calm.  I’m not eager to have a baby that cries all the time.  I’m not eager to drop him off in the nursery at the gym, only to pick him up later and hear that he’s been crying incessantly the entire time.  So, again, I’m using the pacifier as a crutch or maybe the better term is “band-aid”.

The Bump has a great little article on this subject, with a link for some Q & A’s in regards to pacifier use.   If you’re a mom, or a mom to be, check it out.

http://blog.thebump.com/2012/04/30/pacifiers-may-not-affect-breastfeeding-after-all/

And I’m curious about the rest of you mommies out there.  What’s your experience with pacifiers?