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Thursday, July 26th, 2012
It has officially been over a year now that I decided to incorporate the “cry it out” method to get my then infant son to sleep through the night.
Has it worked? Oh yes.
Do I have any regrets? Absolutely.
My regrets are that I waited until he was 7 months old. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t do it any later than at 3 months old.
But when you’re a first time parent, it’s hard to know who to listen to about whether or not to do “cry it out.”
You become instantly avalanched by blogs and books that completely disagree with each other. You have to choose a side.
Well, I ended up writing two separate blog posts on the subject to simply explain and demonstrate how it worked for me.
In the first one, Is It Wrong To Let Your Baby Cry It Out? I received this hateful comment:
On July 7, 2011 at 10:03 am
“Actually, what you have done is not teach him to sleep well, but teach him that, no matter how hard he cries, how scared and alone he feels, or what his needs may be, you will not be there for him. You have taught him to give up hope that mommy or daddy will be there for him no matter what, and to just give up trying. I see a major difference in the clinginess and dependency in kids that were let to cry it out, compared to those that were not. Kids go through stages and need us more in some then others. Congratulations!”
And then I received this condescending jewel of a comment in Getting My Infant To Sleep Through The Night.
On August 9, 2011
“Ummm infants are supposed to eat during the night. Not only because their tummies are small but preventing a super deep sleep cycle helps to prevet SiDS. The CIO method has been shown to cause distress in infants and leads to learned helplessness. It’s disappointing that parents don’t realize that having children is a sacrafice to themselves. Having children means less sleep. It’s called being a parent. I’m very disappointed in your touting crying it out. I’ve got two kids and I’m terribly tired a lot of the time but I’ll never leave my baby to CIO in a room by herself. She’s a BABY. I wish you and your wife would realize that your child is a baby and needs you.”
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Friday, July 20th, 2012
Today a coworker walked up to my desk and said, “Here, you have a kid. Take this.”
He handed me me some random Spongebob Squarepants toy from the bottom of a box of Cheerios.
Turns out, the toy was a water squirter; which will be perfect for bath time.
My son can turn anything into a toy. And he does. Every day and every hour.
If he discovers a mop in your closet, then it’s time to push that thing around like it’s his toy lawnmower.
If he finds my socks at the bottom of the stairs, then he has to put them on, becoming his new moon boots.
Jack recently discovered my wife’s 3 pound hand weights. Yes, now they are magic swords, evidently. And they shoot lasers out the ends, too.
He finds value in inanimate objects by asking himself, “How can I make this a fun and entertaining toy for the next 12 minutes?”
It totally reminds me of the “Props” game on the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? where they had to come up with a believable use for some random object… on the spot.
Yeah, now that I think about it, Jack really is constantly playing that game!
Wow. I understand my son so much better now.
Thank you, Drew Carey.
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Thursday, July 19th, 2012
I have always felt very strongly against allowing my son to watch TV before the age of 2 years old.
Yes, I am one of those quirky parents who believes there is a link between boys under the age of 2 watching TV daily and Autism.
As a father of a little boy, I am very aware that boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with Autism than girls.
While I know there are many factors as to why, it’s interesting to point out that males compartmentalize their thoughts separately from each other, while females constantly intersect theirs.
That explains why when you ask a guy what he is thinking and he says “nothing,” he is probably telling the truth. Because he is currently in his “nothing box.”
But if my understanding about females is correct, they can never truly “think about nothing” the way males can.
In other words, by default, the male mind already works like a TV. If he needs to think about a different subject, he has to change the channel in his head to that subject first. But the female mind works more like a laptop computer with at least 8 windows up and running at all times.
She is used to the constant multitasking in her brain. Meanwhile, guys are built to be task-orientated, so they stay on that certain channel until the job is done, or change the channel and come back to it later, as if during the commercial break.
The theory is that during those very crucial first two years of a boy’s life, he is still developing his “how to properly change the channel in his head” ability.
So a boy who is exposed to a TV during that crucial time of development, with changing channels, switching camera angles, and no natural pauses in conversation, can get confused and the channels in his head start changing on their own.
Another reason I am convinced of this theory is explained in an article for Slate Magazine, where it is revealed that the reported number of Autistic cases shot up in 1980 (just a few months before I was born), when cable TV and VCR’s became easily accessible in American households.
The number of Autism cases were higher in states where the weather was gloomier (like Oregon and Washington) where children were more likely to stay inside and watch TV.
Interestingly, cases of Autism are nearly non-existent in Amish communities where TV’s are nowhere to be found.
I also support this article in Time magazine which says that TV cuts down on a toddler’s “talk time,” according to pediatricians.
Well, my son is now 20 months old; that’s just 4 months away from that “TV is now safe” milestone of 2 years old. So recently, I have been more flexible on his exposure to TV.
He’s still very obsessed with Elmo. Fate would have it that Sesame Street is on now Netflix’s live streaming. (We don’t have cable or a satellite.)
One of his new routines is for me to turn on Sesame Street in the morning while he plays with his toys or the Wii remote. I keep the volume very low as to not interrupt any conversation between the two of us.
The funny thing is, he doesn’t actually watch the show. He totally doesn’t have the attention span for that right now.
All he really wants to do is just point at the screen every once and while and say “Elmo” or “dog” or “noodle,” referring to Mr. Noodle in the Elmo’s World segment.
My son likes the idea of watching TV, but when given the chance, he doesn’t actually watch it.
Here’s the twist: I really look forward to the day he does want to. I haven’t watched a Disney Pixar movie since Toy Story 2 came out on DVD like a decade ago.
I have a lot of catching up to do!
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Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
This past weekend my uncle Al bought Jack a toy Spiderman (hockey?) mask. While it was a bit too big for my son, it was still large enough to fit me.
So needless to say, I became Spiderman. But not the friendly neighborhood Spiderman who we all know and love.
No, instead, I was a creepy, henchman-style Spiderman who liked to slowly sneak up on my son from the other side of the room while he watched me lurk toward him the whole time.
Imagine being a 19 month-old toddler and seeing your dad wearing a Spiderman mask while saying your name through his teeth as he eventually grabs your leg and pretends to eat it.
Just for the record, Jack wasn’t terrified. He won’t need counseling for this. (At least, I don’t think so… yet.)
I could tell it was a thrill for him. He did like it, though he definitely had to remind himself that it wasn’t actually a crossbreed between Jason Voorhees and Spiderman.
Jack has always been a very mellow kid and sometimes I enjoy the challenge of finding new ways to get him to laugh through my idiotic behavior.
In case I’m managing to make myself seem psychologically unstable, allow me to make it worse by elaborating.
It’s not just my own kid I like to scare, it’s all kids.
When I walk into Jack’s daycare, I become “Mr. Teeth” to Jack’s friends. It’s the character who has no lips but who just chatters his teeth and waves.
After a couple of months of meeting Mr. Teeth, some of Jack’s friends have finally started doing it back when I walk in now.
To my one year-old niece, Calla, I am known as Uncle Possum. I make the most hideous face I can, and trust me, it’s unsightly, and I get right in her face to see if I can get a reaction.
What I love is she just stares right back at me as if to say, “You’re no big deal. I’m not afraid of you.”
To toddlers and babies, I am the equivalent to those monsters in the book Where The Wild Things Are. Friendly and harmless, yet still technically a monster.
Kids like to be surprised. So with my mildly scaring them, I help them test their limits and at the same time entertain them in a fresh new way.
So far, I have only made one kid cry because of my antics. And he cried for like 20 minutes… after I left the room and got out of sight.
It was bad.
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funny, kids, scary, Spiderman, toddlers, uncle | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Home Life, Must Read, Nostalgia, Story Bucket, Storytelling, The Dadabase
Sunday, June 24th, 2012
Last Friday morning as Jack was enjoying his sliced banana and whole wheat French toast breakfast, he randomly picked up one of the morsels of bread and pretended it was a rocket ship: “Vvvvrrrooo…”.
In an attempt to capture that classic moment of toddler randomness, I grabbed my camera from the counter and stepped up to Jack.
Well, I missed him piloting his magical French toast morsel, but even better, Jack broke away from his fantasy world and smiled really big for the camera.
He knows what the camera is for now. In other words, he has broken the fourth wall in his human state of awareness.
I should point out, though, that Jack isn’t so much wanting to make exciting pictures for some potential audience.
He does this for his own entertainment.
Jack knows that as soon as I take an up-close picture of him, I will reward him by showing him the picture on the small screen on my camera. He gets to see the artwork.
I can imagine he is somewhat fascinated by the fact he is able to fit in that little box; the camera screen. And Elmo gets to travel with him.
It somehow reminds me of on the 1971 classic movie Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, when Mike Teevee gets shrunken into Wonkavision.
Fortunately, Jack doesn’t remain only a few inches tall when it’s all done.
Needless to say, when I was Jack’s age back in September 1982 eating my Cookie Crisp cereal with a banana in hand, there was no such thing as instant gratification when it came to taking pictures.
Even by the time I got to Junior High, a disposable camera was still only as instant as things really got.
Of course, Polaroids existed but my parents never got one because they said the quality of the pictures looked too cheap.
The real irony is that now people use Instagram to help make their pictures purposely look like Polaroids; instantly.
So if you’re having trouble getting your toddler to smile for the camera, try the instant reward system of showing your kid their picture from two seconds ago.
Be warned though; a common side effect may include a tad too much enthusiasm , as seen in the picture of Jack eating his French toast.
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