Wednesday is Developmental Tip Day: #28

Language development, in my eyes, is one of the more miraculous things babies do. I mean, it makes sense that they will eventually move, but the transformation from cooing objects to verbal creatures is still unfathomable for me, even after seeing it happen once and a half (The Dandelion is currently speaking half-human/half-alian.) As usual there's a lot we can do to help in this process, and our trustworthy Developmental Center is giving you the how-to.

Age: 1-3 months
Skill/Element: Language & Communication

Face your baby when you speak to her, encourage her to follow your facial expressions and movements, and to imitate them.

See you next Wednesday at the next Tip of the Week!

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Hall of Fame moments: July 2007

shark

  • I'm making dinner. The salad is ready and I'm busy with the potatoes. The Dandelion enters the kitchen, pushes a chair, climbs on it, and standing on the chair starts munching on the salad. THE SALAD. He ate the salad out of free will. No coaxing, no cajoling. He wanted the salad so bad he actually climbed on a chair to get to it. In my world, my chocolate-is-my-only-food Ulysses-centered world, we call it a miracle.
  • Ulysses is finally 100% potty trained, after relinquishing the night diaper. A week and a half with no nightly accidents, and counting. Hall of fame moment: waking up at 4AM to hear Ulysses climbing into our bed after going to the bathroom, and A. whispering to him "I'm so proud of you."
  • Going to the swimming pool for the first time with the kids. Ulysses asks: "mommy, are there sharks in there?"

This mom thing, I think I'll keep at it.

Photo credit: Frank Hebbert

I'm a wierdo

Pablo's honey

One of the things I miss about being a teenager, is the way music made me feel. I wasn't one of the self-definition-through-music kids, more of the self-defintion-through-boys kinda gal, but there was always certain songs that made me feel all jittery and hit the repeat button.

Pink Floyd's Wish you were here was one of them, faithfully accompanying a crash I had on someone who didn't even know I existed. Sonic Youth's cover of the Carpenters' Superstar marks for me the beginning of me and A. (I was just over 16 when I met him, so technically a teenager, but that's a story for another time.) And then there was Radiohead's Creep. I remember when I heard it for the first time, I felt it was the perfectest song ever written. Tom York's voice sounded so desperate for love, all my teenage mind could think of was 'this is so freaking romantic! When will someone fall so desperately in love with me?'

I don't need desperate love any more. I'm real good with the lasting, stable, non-flinching, enduring love I have. But, as embarrassing as it is to admit, I still get that little jiggle in my heart whenever I hear Creep. Maybe you will too

Hattip to dooce's side links

I'm lazy therefore I'm sane

veggies

I'm a world-class procrastinator. I never do anything now that I could possibly do later, and when later comes, I usually still don't do it because, hey, there's always tomorrow.

I started counting how many times this cursed tendency of mine has gotten me into knee-deep trouble, but it was too complicated, so I decided to do it some other time. The surprising thing is that you would expect I would, I don't know, learn my lesson, but no. No lessons learned whatsoever.

There is one place, and one place only, where my procrastination saves me a lot of trouble. My kids. All those dreaded kids-related struggles – weaning, potty training, eating properly – I just… don't do it. Or at least don't do it when everybody else does. Each time, I know I should start tackling the subject months before I gather enough mental energy to actually do it. In the mean time, between the time I start thinking about it and the time I actually do it, I need to ignore many comments of the "Why is he still breastfeeding?" or "Is he still wearing a diaper?", and let's not forget the cherished "why doesn't he eat vegetables?" variety. I'm a real good ignorer. (You can't be a world-class procrastinator without some mad ignoring skillz.)

The magic is that by the time I'm ready to start the struggle – get that diaper off, reclaim my boobs – my kid is ready. I don't need to fight them too hard, neither of us gets too frustrated for too long, it just works.

Don't hate me now, it's not like there's no struggle at all. Took Ulysses almost 3 weeks and ENDLESS piles of laundry to potty train, but I have a feeling it could have been a lot worse had I done it when he was two (when my MIL, for one, thought I should start) and not when he was almost three.

Yes, my friends, procrastination is going to be the new thing in parenting. Remember where you read it first. And when my book, Kids For Dummies – The Lazy Approach comes out, don't forget to recommend it to your friends.

Oh, and I'm still waiting on the vegetables struggle. Maybe I'll have a little talk with Ulysses about it. When he's 20.

Photo credit: Ann Marie

Wednesday is Developmental Tip Day: #27

Object permanence is my favorite element of the seven elements. (Yes, I have a favorite element. I'm a total geek. Shoot me now.) There's something so straight forward about it – it's all about peek-a-boos, really. On the other hand, it really stresses out how concepts that seem trivial to us are a challenge for a baby. Try imagining what's it like to think that if I can't see something than it doesn't exist. It can be real frightening, but the beauty here is that it can also be really fun if we help baby understand this concept with games and activities. Not to worry, you don't need to come up with them yourself, the Tiny Love Developmental Center had just the tip for you.

Age: 9-12 months
Skill/Element: Object Permanence

As your baby approaches twelve months, hide an appealing object in two places one after the other. After he reveals the object from the first hiding place, show it to him, and then conceal it under the second. Now, encourage him to look for it again. Note when he begins to look for the object in the second hiding place. Now, randomly change the hiding places and help him search more efficiently.

See you next Wednesday at the next Tip of the Week!

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Back to wasting my time that is

Looky looky what Carol tipped me of to. (Well, not me personally, her devoted readers in general):

us

Ensuing skype dialog between me and A.:

A: how come ulysses has wings and the dandelion devil horns? is that what you think of the kids?
me: NO!
me: this thing is like an impromptu Freudian psychoanalysis.
A: ulysses looks suicidal.
me: DONT SAY THAT!
me: just cuz he has wings??
A: naked tree , wings , sad look – come on
me: wow. my subcouncious is REALLY messed up.

….and I'm back

radish

So I was spending the entire week two weeks ago being horribly miserably sick *insert over-inflated self pity here*, and then the next week, which was actually last week, planning my big comeback post after not writing a whole week and guess what happened? Nothing. Nothing happened. No post and no shoes. (That's a common saying in my family, its origins lost in the mists of time). And you know why? Because I SUCK.

If you, patient reader, were a vegetable, say a radish, and I was the gardner in charge of taking care of you, you would have probably died. That's why in our house A. is in charge of the plants. The kids tend to be very loud when not fed, so I manage not to forget them.

Miserably sick as I was, (self-pity, have I mentioned? It's my new hobby. Sexy no?) I have to admit that a week of lying down and doing nothing while other people took care of my kids was the best vacation I had in the last four years. (Omigod, how sad is that?) Sure the food sucked and the weather sucked even worse (and by weather, I mean alternating shivering and sweating), but I had an entire week to myself. A whole week (okay, four days) when no one wanted anything from me, when I had to do absolutely nothing for someone else.

In a sense it was even better than a real vacation. I didn't need to make reservations, didn't need to have the nightly argument discussion with A. over where we're going to go for dinner. It was just me and my duvet doing our thing.

(That was a remarkable piece of self-deception, don't you think? Barcelona? Berlin? Who needs them? I've got chicken noodle soup and 103 fever!)

Jokes aside, the best outcome of the sick week was the sense of refreshment and the renewed patience I gained during it. As if someone pushed the restart button on me, and all the petty little grievances and annoyances were purged from me along with the fever. I wish I could be the mom I was last week every week of the year, but I'm too realistic to believe that. One of the biggest challenges is that ability to put yourself aside and not take out on your kids what you're feeling, and it gets so much easier if you give yourself a break now and then.

Next vacation will be a real one, though.

UPDATE: I just noticed I forgot to credit the picture-taker, shame on me. The beautiful, taste-bud-stimulating picture was taken by Jen. Sorry, Jen!

Wednesday is Developmental Tip Day: #26

Too. Sick. Can't. Think. Must write Wednesday developmental tip. Must link to the Tiny Love Developmental Center.

Age: 0-1 months
Skill/Element: EQ

Rely on your natural intuition, and follow your heart when it comes to caring for your baby, since you are the one who spends the most time with him, and can best gauge his needs and unique temperament.

See you next Wednesday at the next Tip of the Week!

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Because a feel-good post wouldn't be as much fun

The worst moment of my life to this point was sitting in a neon-lit emergency room corridor and hearing through the closed door of the examination room three weeks old Dandelion screaming with pain while undergoing a spinal tap procedure.

If you didn't click on the above link, you might be under the impression I'm an overreacting drama queen. Not everybody likes fictitious heavy metal, but really, how bad could it be? Bad. As bad as having an ER intern take a long needle and insert it into your newborn's spinal canal to sample his cerebrospinal fluid in order to test for meningitis.

You can thank me later for affixing this image in your mind.

The nurse that resolutely ushered me out of the room before the procedure promised it wouldn't hurt and that the doctor knows what he's doing. Liar. I've never despised myself quite so much as when I was meekly walking out of the room, knowing in my gut she is not telling me the truth. Feeling that I should stay there, if not to protect my baby from the pain I could not prevent, than at least to hold his hand and comfort him.

I understand why she did what she did. I understand that the last thing they need is an hysterical mom losing it in the midst of a very delicate procedure. I understand that they need to check for everything when such a young baby comes into the ER, even if all he has is bronchiolitis, because at this age meningitis needs to be treated quickly and aggressively.

I understood, but it didn't help my wanting to barge into the room and rescue my poor baby from the hands of the evil monsters.

Were there alternatives? I'm not sure. Maybe I could have demanded that they not perform the procedure. Could I have taken that responsibility on myself? I suspect not. Than again, knowing how painful the procedure is, could I have just let them go on with it without protesting or at least raising the question of necessity?

I think that despite my inherent trust in authorities and institutes and my respect for the medical profession in general, if I ever face the decision again, I'm going to be much more intrusive. You have to perform a painful medical procedure on my baby? Convince me there's no other way. Right now, I don't care for your long shift and all the other things on your mind. This is my baby and I need you to see it for the tiny human being that he is, and not as the 125th case of the day. I need you to really care for him and his discomfort, and I'll be a nosy and noisy shrew if I have to.

This is not even the post I meant to write when I started. I meant to write about baby's attention span after reading this, but the opening paragraph sent me 18 months back to the spinal tap story:

Philosophers and doctors used to dispute (sometimes still do dispute) whether babies are conscious or merely (as Alison Gopnik puts it in her criticism of the view) "crying carrots". This view went so far that doctors often used to think it unnecessary to give anaesthesia to infants. Infants are still, I think, not as conscientiously anaesthetized as adults.

Infants are still, I think, not as conscientiously anaesthetized as adults. And that's why my next visit to the ER, may it never come to happen, is going to be radically different than my last one.

(Please don't forget that I'm no doctor or any type of medical professional for that matter, and that my opinion is my opinion only. )