Monday, October 17, 2011

Toddler Time

I brought Jack to the library today in search of two things: Wiggles music and the book “Happiest Toddler on the Block.” After Jack walked around the youth services area a million times and made lots of little adorable friends, we got down to business, and we were successful in our endeavor. Jack was content to rock out to songs about fruit salad on the way home, and I am ready to curl up with a glass of red wine and indulge in “pleasure reading” about how to parent my child. Unfortunately since it is socially unacceptable to drink at 2pm I will have to settle for curling up with the book and some diet coke, which truthfully isn't such a bad alternative.

I don't know if I've said here before that I don't like to over-research and over-read about what my kid should or shouldn't be doing, because it makes me paranoid and irritable to find out that I'm doing something “wrong.” Once I realized just how many things I was doing “wrong,” I really started limiting myself. So how did I end up checking out this particular book, you ask? The reasons are many-fold.

First of all, it's written by the same guy who wrote about the 5 S's in Happiest Baby on the Block, which was the only infant book I felt helped me at all. Jack was a swaddle fanatic and was/is a pacifier addict (2 of the S's: swaddling and sucking) so he and Dr. Harvey Karp are a match made in heaven. Also, Karp is not as judgmental about some of the choices moms have to make (e.g. breastfeeding vs. bottle) so I didn't feel like a giant ball of guilt every time I opened it. I also read some reviews that summarized some of the main points, which seemed to make sense to me, so I figured it's worth a shot...and if it sucks, it was free to borrow (unless I lose it and pay hefty fines – this would be typical).

Lastly, and probably most importantly, I have never raised a child before and some things that Jack does are a mystery to me. Since the day he was born he has been in a rush to eat, and if food isn't present in some form PRECISELY AT THE EXACT RIGHT MOMENT, he is shrieking. I kept saying it was because he was having Vietnam flashbacks to the days when breastfeeding was going so-so at best and he thought he might never get enough food, but I thought that it would end when he grew cognizant enough to realize that we would not in fact starve him. Now that he is a 30+ pound beastly nugget of a toddler, I'm pretty sure he knows that he won't starve, but the shrieking continues.

It's kind of cute sometimes, but most of the time it is shrill and grating, especially when all three of us are trying to eat together and Mike and I both end up shoveling bites into our mouths in between cutting food for Jack, which he eats at an astounding rate as to ensure that we will never be fast enough with the next load of food. It's also a problem in restaurants, where others are probably thinking, “I had no idea I was going to be seated next to a pterodactyl. How lovely.” It's so weird! I can't figure it out. We have tried telling him to “use his words” (how is “Jet mud dada bus” going to help here?), spoken softly and calmly, told him no more until he stops, taken him out of the highchair, just given in, etc. The hard thing is he is still so small and really doesn't understand most of these tactics just yet. I am hoping this book offers some insight into the little brain inside his ginormous head. I'll keep you posted.

Otherwise, Jack is pretty awesome. I'm trying not to sweat the small stuff, like this:

Probably inappropriate but definitely awesome.
 It can always be put away, right? 100 times a day!

This blur of a child is seen escaping from the scene of a diaper change. 
It was a top 10 poop of his life, seriously. He was probably running away from the smell of himself.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Jack may be a tiny would-be psychopath. On Criminal Minds (et al) they always talk about how serial killers start with animal torture at a young age. Well, Jack finds it absolutely hilarious to try to gauge Jet's eyeballs out and grab two handfuls of kitten hair/skin and pull – hard. Belly laugh funny. Every time he does this I spend time working on “gentle hands” while secretly pleading that I don't someday hear a news story about my son that begins with “members of the crazy man's family say they should have known it would come to this...they say he used to torture his pets.”

Jack fixates on words/objects/books/whatever for a few days to a week and then finds something new. Sometimes they are pretty weird. Current obsessions: geese (real ones, we have hundreds all over the neighborhood), a book called “Farm” and subsequently the words “mud,” “mice,” and “sheep” (although if he said them out of context I'm not sure I would recognize them), turning the TV on and off, The Wiggles, and the aforementioned animal torture. The funniest one is Exit signs. Everywhere we go, the best way to distract him if he is getting antsy is to ask him where “Exit” is. He will hunt and hunt until he finds one and is just elated each time he discovers another one. Places this has been especially useful: Target (Jack's second home), Kroger, the mall, and most importantly, IKEA. I say most importantly because that place is such a ginormous maze, it takes us a minimum of 90 minutes to take a quick trip there. During one trip there, he made eye contact with an employee, pointed up at one of the signs, and said – with PERFECT pronunciation - “EXIT!” She was pretty stunned. I had to reassure her that I was not raising a baby genius and that he had no idea what it meant, it was just a totally random fifth word (first 4: dada, Jet, mama, dog, which I think I have mentioned before, and they were in that order).

He won't wear shoes. This may be problematic sooner rather than later since he is also walking more and more every day, and loves being outside. Plus, I have already had several random oldish women grab his feet and say, “Where are your shoes?” in a little singsong voice. That needs to end NOW. According to the experts at Stride Rite, where baby shoes cost an exorbitant FORTY DOLLARS, they tell me that Jack has size 5.5 extra wide feet. Not just wide...extra wide. My current mission is finding reasonably-priced baby shoes that will fit on his special chunker feet that he will tolerate so I can stop taking flak from passive aggressive Mommy judgers.

More to come... I have to work today so I'm rushing around this morning. Such is the life.