Posts filed under ‘Children’
A few weeks ago, I ran around the house crazy all day telling my daughter, “Stop! No! Don’t touch!” I tried time out (with a one-year old who just is getting the hang of walking…believe me it does not work very well). I tried having a stern tone of voice, but everything seemed to fail.
In fact, about halfway through the day, my daughter just smiled and giggled every time she touched something she should not touch, and I was completely frustrated.
After some research, I learned that at this developmental stage, the best discipline is really just baby-proofing and distraction. Previously, I thought, “I’ll just leave my house exactly as it is and teach my daughter her boundaries.” But, for any moms out there with a one year old, you know that is laughable.
I now blocked off three of the major trouble spots in our home, and you know what? My daughter has pretty much stopped going over to them…the temptation is gone now that she cannot touch it.
I still teach her “Stop! and Don’t touch!” But I’m not spending my entire day, yelling and getting frustrated. Blocking things off (baby-proofing) makes a world of difference. There will be plenty of time for stern discipline a little later (say a year and a half).
Problem Spot #1: The Fireplace Screen – now blocked off with our coffee table.
Problem Spot #2: Blinds in the Kitchen Windows – Now I start every day by opening and raising the blinds (being sure to keep the cords out of reach). An added benefit to this is my kitchen is now filled with radiant sunlight all day long.
Problem Spot #3: Recycle Bin – I could move this out to the garage, but for now it is way more convenient to have it in the kitchen (especially while I am in the middle of cooking). It is now blocked off behind the small kitchen table with chairs sequestering it from my daughter’s grasp.
What have you found helpful to save your sanity when your little ones go after all the things that are dangerous, breakable, and just plain gross (like trash)?
In honor of my daughter’s first birthday, I thought I’d share with you the top 10 things that helped me not only survive my first year of motherhood but also actually really enjoy it.
Bouncer: My daughter had the Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer and absolutely loved it. It gave me a few moments to myself when she was an infant, and she would usually fall asleep in it too. I knew she was contained and safe and also relaxed while in it.
La Leche League Meetings: If a new mom is planning on breastfeeding her baby, I cannot stress enough the importance of finding a group of women you can talk to that truly understand the challenges you are going through. You can even attend a few meetings before the baby is born to familiarize yourself with everyone (not to mention learn so many helpful tips to make life easier for you). If interested, check out the LLLI Website.
Moby Wrap: A baby carrier is such a wonderful thing when you really feel like you need to be getting things done, but your baby wants nothing but to be held by you. Moby wrap to the rescue! Some days, nothing would calm my daughter but this magical piece of cloth.
Baby Signing Time DVDs: I regularly used this whole series of DVDs with my daughter (gasp!!!). I know some people are completely against babies watching TV, but I must say that this has been such a joy for my daughter and I to learn American Sign Language together. It was one thing that I truly looked forward to doing every day with my daughter. She now has started being able to communicate using signs. I’m hoping this will cut down on a few temper tantrums.
Amber Teething Necklace: Not to chew on, but this is a necklace to wear. The Baltic amber resin releases oil into the skin that is a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Ever since my daughter started wearing this, she has stopped waking up in the middle of the night screaming. (though she does still wake up at night…at least now she’s a little more calm about it)
Book Babies: This is a library story time for babies and their caregivers. It is a fun group that meets once a week at the library to say rhymes, sing fun songs, blow bubbles, read books, and play. It is so good to get out of the house and meet with other parents who have a child in the same stage! Plus, it is a fabulous way to interact with your own child. An added bonus is that it usually wears my daughter out and she takes a great nap when we get home.
Books galore: I cannot stress enough how important it is for new moms to have an assortment of captivating books waiting for them during middle of the night wake-ups. It almost (I did say ALMOST) makes me want to get out of bed at 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00 in the morning. So, I often raid the library for a stack of intriguing books to store right next to the rocking chair. For Christmas, I received a Kindle Touch, which has been an amazing blessing. Now I can hold numerous books in one hand and easily turn pages without disturbing my almost-asleep little one!
Date nights: Keeping my relationship strong with my husband during this first year with a child has been so tough but so rewarding. Going on a weekly date night (thanks to my amazing parents and parents-in-laws) has helped me strengthen the bond with my spouse, best friend, and confidant during this life-changing and sometimes stressful time in my life journey.
Play Ideas: Two books that I turned to time and time again for ideas on things I could do with an infant, a crawler, and then a toddler were: Baby Days by Barbara Rowley and Baby Play. For any new mom who has not quite figured out how exactly to interact and play with your new baby (you know, for all those moments when they are not sleeping, not crying, not needing a diaper change, and not eating). I found these two books full of terrific ideas, and my daughter and I had many fabulous play experiences together based on ideas in these books.
Daily Walks Outside: Not only does getting some form of physical activity help decrease risk of postpartum depression, but it also makes a new mom feel better about her body. I met up with a neighbor daily for a walk around our neighborhood (weather permitting of course). Weekly I also met up with some friends to walk at a park. The conversation with other adults was a much needed break from baby talk, and the exercise always made me feel energized. An added bonus to this is that getting a daily dose of sunlight very quickly set my daughter’s days and nights on a normal track.
I hope any new moms out there find this list helpful. I would love to hear the things that helped you survive your first year of motherhood. Also, if any moms out there want to give me their top ten things for enjoying the second year of being a mom, I would be extremely grateful.
3. Red straws – For some reason my daughter loves to drink out of them and finds much pleasure in pulling them out of drinks. I am completely grateful for her fascination with them as this was the only way I was able to get her to drink any water while she was sick recently.
I am continually amazed at how much joy my daughter can squeeze out of the simplest of things. What simple things have you delighted in recently?
My daughter and I have both been sick off and on for the past couple of weeks. I must say, in my sleep-deprived stupor I had a difficult time finding something to enjoy in the moment. However, the other night as I went to my daughter’s room to comfort her, hold her, and rock her back to sleep for what seemed like the hundredth time, I realized sickness means extra cuddles.
I began soaking up all those moments where I got to hold and rock my daughter, with her head resting on my shoulder and her arms around my neck. Don’t get me wrong, I did not like that my daughter was sick, but getting a chance to snuggle was a nice thing.
Today she is all better and will only let me hold her for a maximum of three seconds before wanting to wiggle, crawl, and explore the world. I’m so happy to have my healthy daughter back, but I must remember to cherish those extra snuggles whenever she allows me to snatch them.
It is good to be back in the land of the living. I also realized that over the past two weeks I was forced to take a break and slow down. Yes, some things did not get done around the house, but overall I am much more refreshed than I was before. It is time to tackle that mile-long to-do list.
It is no secret that my daughter constantly pulls off her socks. I imagine this is a pretty common thing among babies. A million dollar idea for someone would be to invent socks that truly stay on baby feet.
I cannot count the number of times I have put her socks back on throughout the day. During the summer, I gave up on socks completely, but now that it is cooling off, I have been making sure my daughter has socks on, especially when we leave the house.
A few weeks ago, we were grocery shopping and unbeknownst to me one of her socks had come off. A complete stranger came up to me in the aisle and asked if we were missing a pink sock. Then she went down the aisle a little way and brought it to us! Sadly, we didn’t make it out of the grocery store with that sock, as it fell off again before we left the store and I didn’t realize it until we were headed to the car.
Later that week, we were walking at the park and a similar situation occurred. Someone took the time to pick up her sock, run up to us and give it back to us. Everyone wants to help a baby out!
That got me thinking: What if everyone was just as willing to help out fellow adults as they are to help out a baby? Maybe we have just been blinded to seeing the needs of adults, but when a little baby is involved, it is so much easier to notice the need. This whole experience has definitely shown me that people really do want to help others out, and for this I am glad my daughter’s socks keep falling off.
Yes, that’s my daughter having the time of her life playing with a simple door stop. It kept her occupied for well over 15 minutes. In fact, she was so fascinated with it that she wouldn’t even look up at the camera for a picture! I must say, I never took a second look at those doorstops until my daughter showed me how much fun they can be. When was the last time you took a second look at the ordinary, everyday objects in your life?
One of my favorite ordinary objects that I think gets under appreciated is my car. How many times do I get in the car, turn on the radio, and end up exactly where I wanted to go? In today’s world, cars seem so ordinary, so commonplace. Take a closer look and think about the luxury at your fingertips. A few centuries ago a mode of transportation with so much comfort would have been reserved only for the elite (think kings and queens). Even so, kings and queens in those days did not have something so amazing! When you ride in a car, you have the following comforts:
- Protection from the weather (no mud/dirt slinging up onto your clothes)
- Climate control
- Your very own musicians right at your fingertips
- A speedy way to get from one location to another
What are the ordinary objects in your life that get overlooked?
I have realized that having a baby has not caused me to run around crazily stressed out all the time like I had originally thought it would. Instead, reality is that my daughter is teaching me to slow down.
For example, a few days ago, it took a whopping 45 minutes to eat breakfast. It was nothing special, just scrambled eggs, toast, and peaches. However, for my 8 month old daughter who is learning how to feed herself, it was a feast. She picked up each piece of food, examined it, then slowly brought it to her mouth. She chewed each piece of food thoroughly and reached for water between almost every delicious bite. Once she discovered the peach, she was hooked! She smiled at me and went to town devouring every piece.
The above is a usual scenario for my daughter and me in the morning. Needless to say, I have learned to slow down my own eating. I found I am actually enjoying breakfast now instead of devouring it in less than 5 minutes and never truly appreciating the food I’m eating. Yet another lesson my daughter has taught me.
If you haven’t taken the time to actually sit down at a table and eat breakfast slowly, I encourage you to give it a try. I know some schedules wouldn’t allow the extensive time I am now spending with my daughter at breakfast every morning, but maybe you could try it just one day a week. A nice, leisurely breakfast is sure to start your day on a less-stressed note. Let me know how it goes.
As a child, I loved the book Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman. Recently I found myself wandering through the children’s section of the library selecting books to read to my daughter. Yes, I came across that old childhood favorite and added it to my pile of books to check out faster than I could blink.
When I got home that day, I couldn’t wait to crack open the cover and read it aloud to my daughter. We had the best time. She enjoyed the bright pages and hearing my different voices for the characters. I enjoyed remembering my own mother reading it to me. We have since read it multiple times and I think it is one of her favorites as well. It is time to return this book to the library, but I’m thrilled to continue searching the children’s section to discover what other hidden treasures I can unearth from my childhood.
I am finding there is much joy in participating in child’s play: blowing bubbles, rolling balls, and reading children’s literature. I must admit that I have, on multiple occasions, sat down on the couch with a stack of children’s books and enjoyed reading them all while my daughter is already asleep for the night.
I think this is one of the not-talked-about pleasures of being a mother: an “excuse” to go to the playground and slide down the slide, a reason to be wandering around the children’s section of the library as an adult, and an all-out encouragement to purchase as many containers of bubbles as possible. I never knew these childhood pleasures could prove so useful as an adult. I have noticed that while participating in these activities (whether with my daughter or even without her) I:
- Smile constantly
- Forget any concerns for the day
What was your favorite toy or game from childhood? Let me encourage you to enjoy it today! You do not have to have children to participate in this pleasure, though you might enjoy some interesting looks from your neighbors if you choose to hop down the sidewalk on a pogo stick or play hopscotch in your driveway.