You can teach a new parent old tricks…

Teeth, teeth, and then, more teeth…

Really; it never stops. Even, at twenty-nine, I’m still dealing with teeth. They’re almost like sympathy pains. Every time Kyra gets some new teeth, I start sprouting a wisdom tooth. By the time she gets her wisdoms, I’m sure I’ll be busy with my denture fittings. I must say, I smell a bit of irony, here, actual irony; not, of the Alannis Morisette variety.

Kyra never particularly cared for teething rings and I’m not a huge fan of medicating infants. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. The doctors were all about Tylenol, but, I think excessively medicating anyone, especially young children, is setting their immune systems up for failure. Sooner, than later, at that. I forget who told me about teething tablets, and it seems they just kind of fell into my lap. Again, they are an herbal remedy for the general discomfit and crankiness which equals a teething child. I’m tempted to try them, myself. These wisdom teeth only serve to teach me about a pain worse than childbirth. I’m pretty sore and cranky, too.

The teething tablets also contain chamomile (it helps you sleep, for anyone who’s never tried one of my favorite teas), amongst others, and help to soothe the pain and gum swelling, to form the teeth, and to allow the helpless child some much-needed sleep. Stay tuned, for potty training. I do have the stubbornest little person the world has seen, where that area is concerned.


Concoctions of the verbose mind


It’s happening, everywhere, a steady decline and descent of information on paper. Call me old-fashioned (and the weird thing is, I’m kinda young), but this seems to me, dangerously short-sighted. We live in a society full of information, yet, nearly devoid of accurate and useful methods of obtaining said information. When books are a thing of the past; when libraries are obsolete; when the only Encyclopedia left, is written by our peers, in lieu of experts; all we can expect, is to lose it all, as easily and as quickly as it takes to click on the ‘save’ icon.

Has anybody noticed? Does nobody care? I assume the general (overused and generic) argument, is for the sake of the trees. It was applicable for the Lorax; doesn’t hold up so well, here. And I’m all about not fucking around with Mother Nature. I also know, as Mr. Carlin so aptly put it, that She has survived much worse, than us. We amount to a fly on Her windshield (the inside of it; we’re annoying, that way).

With the click of a button, I can melt my brain about forty-seven different ways. I want to be clear, here. Television, video games, computers, Ipads, tablets, cell phones; they all have their place; my argument is only their status as commonplace. Technology is a wonderful thing, in moderation, but here we are at the advent of in-home 3-D TV. Take a second, to think this through, with me. We live, physically, in a 3-D (if not, more) world. We can play actual sports, have human interaction, in doing so, possibly (Whomever, forbid) even, get to  know our neighbors and peers. Physically. In this world, we call home. But, nope. We’d rather Wii fitness, chat online, social network, Xbox and Playstation our poor hands, to the point of broken thumbs.

Instead of going outside and joining the actual 3D (if not, more) world, at the edges of our thresh-hold , we are choosing to watch a fake, scripted 3D world, on TV, at home. We’re fat because we’re lazy. We’re lazy because we’re content to be stupid. Why? Why are we exponentially apathetic? Because, it’s too hard and too time-consuming to care (plus, people think you’re weird, if you do; take it from me). Here’s the utterly mentally challenged part. We started out, inventing all this crap we don’t particularly need, with the intention of having more time for other things. Important things. Now, we merely fill that time with ridiculous, pointless, money-making ways of filling wasted time.

You can teach a new parent old tricks

Lil’ Swimmers and arm floaties are going swimmingly…

I’ve never been a “sink, or swim”, type of girl; ok, I’ll try to stop, with the cheesy puns, for now (hopefully); but I can’t say enough about arm floaties. The mini life jackets are fine and dandy, with a couple of exceptions. Firstly, I’ve seen two separate kids (out of the four I’ve ever seen wear them), go belly up. That is, they capsized to a point, where, if their parents weren’t right at hand, to help them, the children would have wound up head down, feet up, unable correct their situation, from underwater.

Even when the toddler attached to the life-vest-like apparatus doesn’t sink, I fear that it may engender a false sense of security, in that, your child may take it for granted that s/he will always float, automatically. To me, this just equals scary. With any and all floating devices, an adult and/or advanced and experienced swimmer should be on hand to aid the child using such a device. With the life vest, I fear that my daughter would never really learn how to swim, on top of which, there’s the enormous reluctance to place her in the position to go belly up, ever. With the arm floaties, however, she learns that she can float, while still understanding the specifics, obligations, and laws of physics involved in such an endeavor. She knows she can float, but, she’s also aware that it takes some work, on her part. She sees that it’s not going to ‘just happen’, like magic, and the dangers of swimming remain evident, yet (relatively, anyhow) without risk.

I’ve been called “overprotective”. I’ve been called “strict”. Even, “just plain crazy”. Never, ever, have I been called “reckless”, “careless”, “negligent”, or (worst of all) “abusive”. I may have chest pains and heart palpitations every time my daughter gets into the pool, but, that’s only because I refuse to lose her, to anything, above all, absent-mindedness. I truly cannot stress the issue of water safety enough. It takes a single minute and an inch of water, for a child to die needlessly. There will always be factors in your child’s life that you, as a parent, can never hope to control. Water safety is not, at all, one of them. This particular piece means a great deal to me, due to my own experience (I never learned how to swim), and especially in light of recent headlines. A human life saved, is as simple as being aware. At seeing a negligent parent, I am often prompted to say, “And, the Casey Anthony Award goes to…”. Please, keep an eye out, at your local watering hole, fellow makers of little men and little women.

You can teach a new parent old tricks

No Chokin’

I can’t say I’ve never panicked. What I can say, however, is that I’ve always had the situation under control. As soon as Kyra graduated to solid foods, she seemed to make  habit of choking on them. Her father has remained ever wary of this danger, but has never had CPR training (an invaluable tool for anyone; parent, or not). It just happens to be especially helpful in the company of small children.

I’ve known CPR, nearly my whole life. My father, who was a Nurses’ Aid for many years, taught me CPR quite young, along with a plethora of other simple, basic medical and first aid tidbits. I often babysat for my younger siblings and CPR was a part of that package. Luckily, I never had to use it. The extent of my first aid, back then, was to remedy the single dart, who found its home in the back of my head, as opposed to the dartboard, where it belonged. But, that’s another story.

I re-certify on a regular basis and, I find, it gives me the confidence to know that I can handle almost any minor emergency. It’s a good thing, too. For those first couple of months, her choking knew no bounds. Ritz crackers, the tiniest bits of hot dog, pasta, birthday cake…the list just goes on and on. She’d get verklempt on every tidbit, it seemed. It felt like once a week, at least, that she’d choke to the extent of my having to literally fishhook the offending morsel from her trachea. In fact, she choked so often, back then, that she just helps herself, now. She’s practiced at it, to the point that she can save her own neck (if you’ll excuse my innate goofiness, with that tired pun).

I recommend CPR for all of you, particularly parents and babysitters. But, the important thing, the only way to help anyone, infant or adult, is to keep your head. Always stay calm, and you’ll be able to take care of all the sticky messes a baby throws your way.

You can teach a new parent old tricks

Binkies, Bottles, Bathing, “and thennnn…”

Weaning…ah, what fun. Currently, I’m trying to wean myself off of eleven cups of coffee, a day. No easy feat, and I’m a (mostly) grown-up, who (supposedly) knows what’s good for me. Difficult, to the umpteenth power, is weaning a baby who won’t be dissuaded. I’m a wee bit judgmental, in that, if  a three or four-year-old kid with a pacifier walks past me, it usually prompts a face cringe on my end, at the very least.

As unlucky as I have been with naps and the potty chair, I have been equally blessed in my good fortune, where the title pieces have come into play. She never wanted a pacifier, and nor has she begun sucking her fingers (an exponentially more difficult habit to break). I have been through the binky dilemma, however, with cousins and babysitting charges, of many ages. I have found that, as in most things of this nature, the earlier; the easier.

Kyra (my daughter) was off the bottle, entirely, by her first birthday. It only took about fourteen different sippy cups, before I landed on the right one, again, through the advice of another couple. They, too, were first time parents, with a daughter Kyra’s age, regulars at the restaurant where I worked, and advised me to try the messier, disposable cups, as they were easier for their daughter to use. Luckily, they were right, and it seemed a fair compromise, to clean up after her a little more, in exchange for her smooth transition to the trickier drinking vessel.

In bathing, again, I have been fortunate, indeed. Mine is and, always has been, a very particular, clean child. I have to spell the word, bath, otherwise she gets so excited, she can’t even wait for the tub to fill. She just strips right there, in the middle of the living room, and hops on in. I have to get her clean, let her play for a minute, and get her outta there, or else, she’d stay in the bath forever. She tries to go down the drain, for goodness’ sake. Most kids, you have to pull them out before you pull the plug, for fear of the very thing my daughter attempts to do. She honestly has yelled at me about it, before. As in, “NO! I gotta go down de (that’s “the”, for those of you who don’t speak Toddler) drain!”, when I try to get her out before all the water has swooshed out into the pipes, below. I find that, if we wash, and then play, the  washing is much easier. For example, if you have one of those normal kids, who don’t particularly care for baths, toys and bubbles can be very helpful. Just let them know, if we wash up, now, we can play with the toys, after. Water guns may be a phenomenal ally, here. You can play and wash, at the same time.

She also loves brushing her teeth, clipping her nails, and washing her hands (I know, I know….what am I complaining about; right?). On the nail clipping, I learned early to flip her hand, palm up, so I don’t get any skin, accidentally. If your child doesn’t like brushing, sing a silly song, make faces, or just incorporate a general fun and games atmosphere with it. It doesn’t hurt to remember that there is a time to be serious, but, there’s lots of time, to play. They won’t want to, forever, you know. Surly teenagers do seem to come out of nowhere. So, be a kid with your kid, every now and then. You’d be surprised at how fun it is.

You can teach a new parent old tricks

Next up, sleepless days…

When last we met, I was all about the help I got, with my little girl sleeping through the night. An important part of that, is getting her to nap during the day, which has been a fight throughout her whole life, so far. After the early days of eat-sleep-poop (rinse and repeat), getting her to nap regularly was my next impossible challenge. It was certainly no cliche. “Like pulling teeth”, couldn’t hope to measure up, as a useful simile. It was more like, I don’t know, fighting a cyclops for his eye.

Through teething and tantrums, or in the midst of peace and quiet, I’ve had equal trouble. She refuses to sleep, at times, and at others, she just konks right out. I find it to be generally indiscriminate. At any rate, she only naps about two or three times a week, at best. My remaining solution to this particular dilemma, has been to require that she lay down for ‘quiet time’ every day, regardless of slumber (or, lack, thereof). Honestly, I think it’s the only method that works, to the point she naps ever, infrequent though they may be.

I do know one thing; she sleeps infinitely better and more soundly on nights where she has had a healthy nap in the afternoon. Naturally, I can’t help but hope she doesn’t take after me (a sleep-study-worthy insomniac).

Hello world!

You can teach a new parent, old tricks…

        First up, sleepless nights.

        No one ever said it would be easy, true. However, it’s nearly impossible to explain, to some young couple with the open road of life stretching out before them, exactly how difficult parenting can be. It doesn’t come with a manual, but (hopefully, anyhow), a blog. If my stories and experiences as the parent of a toddler, can help anyone floundering, floating, or (even) flopping, I guess I won’t feel so badly about my own expertise with the new and improved “three F’s”.

       Every parent has wondered; through sleepless and colicky nights, through teething and fevers, through what seems like endless and pointless potty training; if we’re just plain lousy at this whole thing. We’ve all wondered if God is trying to punish our children, by electing us, their parents. I’ve questioned this myself, through bottomless tears of frustration, in the utter ineptitude and incompetence with which I seem to be handling this entire endeavor.

       It is equally impossible, it seems, to describe to this same young couple, the love who swells with your belly and bosom (too often, thighs and feet, as well); unconditional, boundless, illogically serene. How all of one’s priorities change, so that things once important, are demoted to trivialities, hardly worth a mention. How a future rolls out, before you, of long days and endless nights; of school-years and summers off; of the same movie forty-seven times, and not a single ball game. Bottles, to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; diapers, to underpants; high school, to college…the story never changes, only grows.

      In those first (very) unsure days, of motherhood, I cried right alongside my sometimes inconsolable daughter. The hardest parts, by far, were the nights (and days) where she’d bawl, despite being full, clean-diapered, and cuddled. No position, if you ask me, feels so inadequate, as a parent who can’t know why his/her infant is upset. It is a complete and all-consuming frustration.

      My daughter was around four months old, when a lifesaver of a couple (also new, first-time parents), suggested ‘Gripe Water’, an all-natural, all-around tummy soother, with ginger, chamomile, fennel, caraway, peppermint, and other herbs. As I recall, it was actually my ex-husband who discussed it with the other husband, a co-worker of his, and we bought it as soon as he got home that day. At my wits’ end, I didn’t research it, to confirm it objectively or concern myself with all of its ingredients. I simply took the word of parents who used it, and bought two different brands.

     It didn’t matter, in the end. No Google search, or questions to my doctor and pharmacist could have told me with any more certainty, than what my peaceful, clean, happily slumbering angel, confirmed. It was a question of colic, gas, and experience, but ‘Gripe Water’ was  the universal answer to a troubled tummy.