Friday, September 30, 2011

American Apparel Toddler Clothes, Ridiculous Yet Irresistable

As a rule, I try not to spend too much on toddler clothes because I've seen how Aias treats them.  Despite using bibs and making sincere attempts at keeping them pristine, I fail more often than not.  I love consignment and thrifts shops, though I have no idea how so many toddler clothes survive toddlers long enough to be consign-able- but I'm happy some of them do.  In short, as a consequence of his messy tendencies, Aias's clothes are from the clearance rack or second hand. 

Regardlesss, I love window shopping and checking out high-end baby clothes.  American Apparel is one of my favorite places to go "oooooh! ahhhhhh!" and then walk out empty handed.  While shimmery gold pants for a toddler are a cute idea, they often aren't worth the $40 they cost.  This week American Apparel has a Teambuy special where you pay $25 for $50 worth of American Apparel clothing, either online or in the store.  Since I had some Teambucks from referring people to other Teambuys, I figured I couldn't resist using them on something like this.

I opted for the "in-store" option and yesterday I went into American Apparel at Park Royal and bought the following items for Aias:

-2 belts, one neon yellow and one dark blue
-2 neon t-shirts, one yellow and one pink
-1 shirt with the letters "Aa" on them (you know, for Aias!)



The shirts are so soft and brightly colored and the belts are exactly what I had been looking for.  It felt really goofy to walk out with such expensive toddler gear but I'm happy he has a few indulgent items now, and at little cost to me (I ended up paying an extra $3).  

The cashier was a teenage hipster, and she said "ooohh he's going to be a fancy baby now!" so I joked about how he wasn't allowed to eat when he was wearing these things.  She had no idea what I was talking about, and remarked "actually we are going to be selling plus size items soon."  She obviously thought I was saying he had to be skinny to wear American Apparel *headdesk* Ahh, to be young and not know how messy a toddler is. 

You still have time to take advantage of this deal if you are in Canada; you can buy up to 2 of these for yourself (though you have to use them at different times) and you can also buy up to 2 for friends.  If you have a girl child, BUY TWO... the girl clothes for toddlers at American Apparel are absurdly cute.  I wish Aias needed a skirted jumper or ruffle butt underpants. 

Edited to add: you can also use this deal to buy stuff for yourself, but if you are like me, you aren't looking to wear a lot of spandex after having had a baby.





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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't Expect More of Your Children Than You Do of Yourself

I am not going to go into a whole post about my feelings about corporal punishment, but I do want to share something I witnessed a few days ago.

We were sitting in the community centre hallway waiting to be granted access to a program.  The kids were all antsy to get into the auditorium because they knew there were toys inside.  A woman sitting near me had a child around Aias's age.  The child was acting completely normal, wanting to explore the area but was being a bit whiny about it.  Aias does this all the time; he's 22 months old.  This is how they act sometimes.  His mother was displeased with his behavior so she kept smacking his arm and telling him to "stop" with a very stern voice.  She wasn't beating the heck out of him or anything, I felt no need to intervene, but it certainly was nothing I'd consider doing to Aias (personal preference, values, whathaveyou).  I want to say it was more than a tap, but she wasn't punching the child.  It was absolutely hitting, however.  The hitting upset the child (of course).  The mother had no shame about doing this in a public place with probably dozens of people there to witness it. 

When we were granted access to the auditorium, all the children ran toward the toys.  As is often the case, some toys are more popular than others so multiple children try to use them at the same time. This woman's child and another child were arguing over the same toy, so the woman's child smacked the other child very hard. While the woman may have used restraint when she hit her child, the child did not appear to understand this so he used all his physical power to hit the other child.  The child's mother came over, yelled, smacked her child and said "WE DON'T HIT!!!"

But, what?  It seemed too ridiculous to have happened.  In all honesty it looked like a scene out of a stupid show. I half expected her to acknowledge the irony of hitting the child while saying that you don't hit, and perhaps to show some shame, but she didn't. She did this about 5x during the course of the program. It continued to surprise me each time.  I made a conscious effort to keep Aias away from the child because I didn't want him to get hit.

If you feel it's your parenting technique to smack your kid, that's none of my business. Until, that is, your hitting becomes a habit of your child's and your child decides to hit mine. Maybe your kid is an animal that can only be controlled through fear and violence, who am I to say otherwise if that's what you feel.  Maybe your parents smacked you and you feel like it's made you a better person.  Maybe you truly feel it's the only way to get the message across to your kid.  Maybe you feel it's your right as a parent to use corporal punishment and that society has become "too soft" and that it's this softness that is ruining society.  Maybe you know you aren't "really hurting" your kid when you smack them. 

Think what you want, and as long as you are on the right side of the law, do what you want.  But seriously, don't expect more of your children than you do of yourself.  If you hit your kid, your kid is probably going to hit other kids.  Do you really want your kid to be that kid?

I truly believe Isaac Asimov was correct in saying that violence is the last resort of the incompetent, so it's no wonder there are people who use corporal punishment; after all, who feels more incompetent sometimes than a parent? I know there are times when I feel like ripping my hair out because Aias is doing something so completely aggravating that I don't even know what to do with myself.  Sometimes a tantrum or behavior makes me wish I could beam myself to a place far, far away from my kid.   However, the last thing I want to do is teach him a coping strategy I know will get him into trouble, alienate him, and make people want to stay away from him.  When I feel like I'm going crazy, I walk away. Then I ask for some backup.  I suggest that if you can stand it, you do the same. Then again, you never asked for my advice.

Disclaimer: I realize there are some kids who hit that have never been hit, and some kids that hit and never hit.  That's not what this is about. This is about not being surprised if your kids mimic your behavior: monkey see, monkey do.





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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prime Directive: Prevent Child from Being Electrocuted

Some kids don't care about electrical outlets.  Aias is not one of those kids. From the time he could inch his body up to the wall, he was attempting to put everything inside those outlets, particularly cords or ropes.  He has a particular fascination with the hole for the ground.  His favorite thing to do is steal people's shoes and stick the shoe laces into that bottom hole: be still my heart.

Morgan has assured me again and again that as long as he doesn't stick something metal into both sides at once he will probably be fine.  I've never felt comforted by this.  Regardless of his odds of actually being electrocuted, we obviously don't want to encourage him to do this kind of thing.  About a year ago we purchased some Safety 1st Secure Press Plug Protectors that seemed like they'd work...

They didn't. At first I figured it could just be the specific outlets in our first apartment, but these proved to be a joke in three separate places.  In fact, Aias once went around the house, pulled them all out of the wall, collected them in a bucket and brought them to me.  Nice, very nice.  The little "button" in the middle there is supposed to be used to pop the cover out, but he's never even had to use it.  You don't even need to pry very hard to get those covers out.

He's 13 months old in the video below:


About two weeks ago we met a child who'd had a fascination with electrical sockets much like Aias, and sadly they had been electrocuted and suffered serious brain damage.  This lit a fire under our butts and we headed to Babies R Us to find a more "serious business" remedy for this little obsession.

At first we were going to purchase these Safety 1st Swivel Outlet Covers since we had already been given one and it was relatively easy to install:

Basically you swivel the openings to align with the actual socket when you want to use it.  The only problem with this was that Aias is interested in plugging AND unplugging cords.  There's nothing that would stop him from unplugging a cord from these.  We also read they can get jammed or stuck into the open or close position, which would defeat the whole purpose.

After a thorough search, we selected the following outlet covers and I feel like we did a great job.

Safety 1st Outlet Cover and Cord Shortener
These retail for $7.99 a piece at Babies R Us, which I know sounds expensive, but if you live in an apartment you probably don't need that many and you can only put these on completely exposed outlets anyhow (due to the size).  These require that you remove the entire old outlet cover, but it's really very easy to do. It took me about 1 minute to install.  The best thing about these is that you put the cover on when things are plugged in so your kid can't screw around with the socket at all, nor can they unplug whatever you have plugged in.  The only downside is that thicker cords aren't easily accommodated, such as our vacuum cleaner cord.  We don't consider this to be much of a turn off since the vacuum cleaner doesn't stay plugged in for any longer than it takes me to vacuum.

Challenge Accepted?

I thought for sure Aias would want to mess with these, but he actually only looked at it for about 10 seconds and hasn't bothered with it since.  He's really only interested in the holes on the electrical sockets and out of sight, out of mind I guess.  He would have to be incredibly strong and coordinated to unhook the cover as well; I'm not sure his hands are big enough.  It even takes me 15 seconds or so to get it off.

Safety 1st Deluxe Press-Fit Outlet Covers
Because the covers above don't fit on the outlets with the Test/Reset buttons, and the original pieces of junk above pop out of these outlets for some reason, we had to buy these ones as well. They are incredibly awesome, as they cost about $5 for 8 of them and they are VERY difficult to get off. In fact, Morgan put these on and I have no idea how to take them off. I tried about 10 minutes ago to take one off so I could plug in the computer, and I couldn't figure it out.  I'm locked out of my own outlets, heh. The only down side of these is that you have to take them out and then your kid could unplug whatever you have plugged in.

So that's that.  I feel like we have ourselves covered as far as protecting Aias from electrical sockets, at least for now.

Yes, that's a rice cooker. See what we are dealing with here?
By the way, I've not  been compensated in any way to write this entry.  The items we used just all happened to have been Safety 1st brand products. 



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Monday, September 19, 2011

Windows and Toddlers Don't Mix: Here's How to Keep Your Toddler Safe

One of my worst nightmares is for Aias to topple out of one of our many apartment windows.  This morning on our walk, we noticed this image on the cover of The Province with the headline "Thirteen-month-old girl injured in fall from Surrey window":


This little girl was lucky and only sustained a broken limb and some bumps and bruises.  It was only a few weeks ago that I remember having heard of another child, a 2 year old little boy, also surviving a fall from a second story window.  You'd think things like this wouldn't happen very often but the reality is that it happens often enough to be more than a little concerning; according to MSNBC over 5,000 toddlers and babies fall out of windows each year (in the United States).  Fortunately many of these toddlers survive their injuries, of course, some don't.  If you type "toddler window fall vancouver" into Google, you can see for yourself that this happens pretty frequently in the Vancouver area alone, but it seems to be a problem everywhere.    The Seattle Times reported in 2008 that Seattle area children were falling from windows at an alarming frequency, with one hospital reporting to have treated approximately 40 to 60 cases a year.

In hopping around from article to article and making the mistake of reading some of the comments on the articles, I saw one commenter sarcastically remark:
"OMG! 5000 kids a year fall from windows---The obvious answer is to immediately board up all windows and make all new buildings windowless! Or, or people could keep a better eyes on their kids."
Poetic words spoken by someone I imagine probably doesn't have a child.  At any rate, the most alarming trend I saw in reading these articles about toddlers falling out of windows was that the article headings DON'T say "Child of Passed Out Neglectful Parent Falls Out of Window" or "Toddler Falls Out of Window While Parent Does Lines of Crack Off a Hooker."  No, in fact most of the articles I read said that the children were in direct supervision of the parent when the accidents happened but the parents weren't able to get to the child in time.  While I'm sure most of us would like to think this is the kind of thing that happens to OTHER parents and OTHER kids (because we always have our eyes on our kids, right?), the reality is that it can happen to anyone.

Think about it.  You are at your computer right now reading this? Where is your kid? Are they in the room with you right now? Is there a window in the room? How away are they from it? How far away are you from the kid? Are they in their bedroom sleeping peacefully where you leave them during naps and every night? Is there a window in that room?

If you live in a house or apartment building or dwelling that is higher than 1 floor or has more than 1 floor and your dwelling has windows, listen up: this could happen to your kid!  Another shocking trend I noticed was that lots of these kids didn't fall out of apartment building windows, they fell out of windows on the second floor of their house, so it's not just those of use who live in apartments that have to worry.

Here are a few steps you can take to prevent an accident like this from happening to your child.

1. Don't have too much faith in your screens.
Screens are not made with the intention of keeping people inside dwellings, they are made with the intention of keeping insects and other critters out.  Insects weigh next to nothing and toddlers weigh 20+ lbs.  Many of the windows these toddlers fell out of were windows with screens.  Screens can lull you into a false sense of security about the safety of your windows.

2.  Using window stops, adjust your windows so they can't open enough for a child to topple out.
I feel like there are as many window styles as there are buildings and houses, but do whatever you can to ensure your style of window can't be opened wide enough for your toddler's head to fit through.  Home Depot and other hardware stores sell safety devices (window stops) that can help you with this.

3.  Keep furniture away from windows.
Try to resist putting beds, tables, chairs, toys, shelves too close to a window.  Maybe your child can push a chair up to a window, but at least something like that would buy you a little more time.  Putting a climbable piece of furniture next to a window is just asking for trouble.

4. Purchase and install window guards for windows that can't fit window stops.
It may look a little prisonlike, but window guards installed on second story windows can work wonders. Different cities have different requirements re: these window guards and fire safety; you can talk to your local fire department to find out which guards are safe to use on your windows.  They'll be able to tell you which will be able to foil your toddler but won't be impenetrable by firefighters.

5. If your toddler is old enough to understand, talk to them about window safety. 
While a baby or young toddler may not be old enough to understand, older toddlers and young children may be able to understand an explanation of why they shouldn't stick their heads or bodies outside windows.  Let them know that they could fall and get seriously injured.  I wouldn't suggest this as your only line of defense, of course, but it can't hurt to mention it.

6. Last but not least, keep an eye on your kids. 
I know this seems obvious, and I also know that you can't be within inches of your children 100% of the time, nor can you have your eyes on them 100% of the time, but make sure you are aware of when your child is near a window or other dangerous space.  If you see them hanging around or playing near a window, encourage them to play somewhere else.  At least be cognizant of where they are with relationship to a window.

Here's one last bonus: while I wouldn't necessarily suggest selling your house or moving on the basis of the windows, before moving into a new house or apartment, have a look at the windows.  Do they seem like they can be made so they are safe for your child?

Have a look at the apartment building next to mine:


I waited and waited for someone to open a window so I could take a picture of what it looks like when that tiny window is open, but it's sort of chilly out today and as luck would have it all the windows in the building are closed. At any rate, on warmer days many people in this building have that small window open.  The small window opens at at least a 45 degree angle, downward, and at ground level (when someone is standing next to the window I can see their ankles).  These are probably the most dangerous windows I've ever seen, as a baby/toddler/cat/dog could easily just drop out the window without even realizing (this building is probably 10+ stories tall).  If I had these windows in my apartment, I would have moved after Aias was born if I hadn't already moved because of the dog.  If you live in a building or house with windows like this, I'd immediately discuss this issue with your building management or hand in your notice as extreme as that sounds.

Here's an example of safer windows, the windows in my building that are designed for families with children or people with pets:


I could probably stand to move those plants,
but so far Aias hasn't taken any interest in standing on them. 

As obvious as this all may sound, it's not obvious to at least 5,000 parents a year.  Share this with your friends.



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Sunday, September 18, 2011

"I have a 2 year old, you have a 2 year old! Let's be friends!"

Do you ever remember a time as a kid when your parents had a friend with a child the same age as you, so they would invite them both over and say "This is [name], they are the same age as you so you two should get along great, now run along and play"?

I remember this happening quite a few times when I was a child.  I remember it being successful at times, but I also remember it being a complete failure at other times.  Parents do this to children a lot, as if two people will instantly become good friends and have common interests simply by virtue of being the same age.  Strangely enough, we don't just expect this of kids.  Many times we expect two people will become good friends because they have the same sexual orientation, they have the same ethnic background, or they majored in the same thing in University.  People especially expect this magic formula to work out for everyone if they are part of the same marginalized or fringe group as well.

"This is Bob, he's gay too, you will love him!"
"Marcy also majored in English, you two are going to be best friends!"
"I should introduce you to my friend John, he's black too, you guys will have so much in common!"

While sometimes this type of incredibly well meaning matchmaker move works out, a lot of times it doesn't.  Then you not only get to feel awkward, but you get to feel like something must be horribly wrong with you for not feeling a cosmic connection with this other person who is "so much like you."  As someone who has worked within many community groups, I can tell you right now that it takes a lot more than fitting into a few common demographics to create a bond with another person.  People often wonder how there can be drama within organizations or workplaces that have people with the same overall vision, but the fact is, PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT!  It seems so simple, and yet... it's not.

Parenting is a great example of this.

Every week Aias and I attend a number of playgroups in the city.  The people in these playgroups have kids the same age as Aias.  Some of these people are even my age.  By golly, sometimes we even have the same stroller!  Lots of times we have a few things in common, and other times, that's where our similarities end.  I'm nice to all of them and 99% of the time they are nice to me as well, but for some reason I still feel some pressure to take it one step further and befriend these people, as though they are the people I now have to become good friends with because we both have a child the same age.  Sometimes it works out, but mostly it doesn't, leaving me to feel like a socially inept fool.

"I have a 2 year old, you have a 2 year old! Let's be friends!"

It sounds like it could work. Maybe it should work! Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. We see sparks fly on parenting websites and sometimes even in playgroups because we hold this unrealistic expectation that parents will be best friends just because they are parents.  No one would ever round up 100 men from around the world who happen to be the same age and have the same birthday, put them in an auditorium together and expect them all to become friends, so why we expect this to work in other areas of life is beyond me.

This isn't to say it's impossible.  I have actually met a few people since having Aias that I likely would not have met without having had him, and they happen to be people I'd have loved regardless...  I'd just probably never have crossed their path if it weren't for having had a kid.   I've also re-connected with past friends I'd lost touch with and re-established my bond with them and the catalyst for this was us both having children close in age.  What made these friendships flourish and what makes them continue to grow is not and was never the fact that we have kids the same age; it was just their willingness to expose the "non-parent" inside them.

I don't know about you, but when I meet another parent, I'm always curious about who that person really is when they take off their parenting hat. Do they laugh at episodes of The Office/South park/Arrested Development?  Did they used to love going to the Fringe Festival or the VIFF before their nights ended at 8pm?  Do they drink beer, wine, or cocktails? Who are these people... who are they REALLY?  I don't know about you, but when I meet someone at a playgroup, this is the information I desperately want to know.  But is it appropriate to ask these things?  I want to base my friendships on more than the fact that we happened to get knocked up around the same time.

So, who were you BEFORE you had your kid?  How much of that "you" is still kicking around in there?  You see, that's the person I want to know.  It's a bonus if you have a kid the same age as Aias because it means you'll understand why I have bags under my eyes at a playgroup, but it's probably not enough for us to be best friends.  I used to feel bad about this, but now I don't. It's unreasonable for me or anyone to expect friendship and human relationships to be so formulaic.  In fact, I'm happy they aren't.






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Friday, September 16, 2011

Treehouse TV Allegedly Airs an R Rated Program During Their Toddler Programming

What happened today on Treehouse TV?

Just in case you need a reason to not let your kid watch cable, today Treehouse TV allegedly aired an R rated program during their toddler programming.

But don't worry guys, they are very sorry!

Today's Broadcast

by Treehouse on Friday, September 16, 2011 at 2:24pm
Dear Treehouse Viewers,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns regarding this afternoon’s broadcast.

Be assured that the segment you viewed was never intended to air on Treehouse TV. We recognize we have a responsibility to provide a safe television environment to our young viewers  and remain  committed to providing high-quality programming for Canadian preschoolers.

To this end and in response to a previous incident, we recently implemented two systems to protect against inappropriate content airing on Treehouse. From our preliminary investigation of this incident, it appears there was a human error and a recent system upgrade resulted in an automated safeguard being overridden. As a result, the content in question was not rejected for broadcast as it should have been.

Moving forward, in addition to the current protocols, we’ve implemented an additional safeguard as a precautionary measure and the Treehouse programming schedule will now be manually reviewed by two distinct departments before the signal goes to air.

We apologize for this error and can assure you that we are dedicated to improving our service and value your continued viewership.

Sincerely,
Treehouse
https://www.facebook.com/notes/treehouse/todays-broadcast/247946568574979

Evidently this is not the first time something like this has happened, as they accidentally showed a preview for the movie "The Ring" in the past. 

I'm sympathetic to the kids who saw the scary program.  I guess this serves as a life lesson to parents that if they are letting their kids watch cable, they need to be within earshot or have the tv visible just in case. Lucky for Aias we are too cheap to buy something like cable so he will have to get his life traumas through other means.

Not a well played move, but alas, no one's perfect, Treehouse TV and parents alike.

Here's a link to a video detailing what the little tots saw.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150371980270751

They were able to ensure the Treehouse logo was on the screen during the program, looks like at least one person is doing their job correctly :)



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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Choosing Second Best For My Kid

There's no shortage of people arguing about where things should fall on the scale of best to worst with regard to parenting strategies and choices.  The most common instance of this that I've witnessed since becoming a parent has been the breastfeeding vs. formula feeding argument.  As a parent who was able to breastfeed rather easily, I've never once considered formula for my kid because I've never had to.  I breastfeed for my own reasons, some of them selfless and some of them selfish, and I intend to continue to do so until Aias weans himself which I hope will happen after he's 2 years old given that the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that this is the #1 thing to do (you know, the #1 choice for a kid).  That being said, I have no beef with people who don't breastfeed.  As much as I'm a super boob milk advocate, I don't plan on taking out a pitchfork and storming the houses of people who feed their babies formula. That's just not my style. But anyway, this post isn't about breastfeeding and how I always choose the super-dee-duper best for my child, it's about how I don't.

Every once in a while when another breastfeeding mother discovers that I'm still nursing Aias, they breathe a sigh of relief as though they can finally vent and confide in someone about how fantastic breastfeeding is and how they just don't understand how someone could choose to formula feed their baby.  After all, why would anyone ever choose second best for their child?

I've been thinking about this a lot.

The first thing that comes out of a nursing mother's mouth when you criticize their nursing a toddler is "well, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests you nurse your baby exclusively for at least 6 months and that you continue to nurse them until they are a year old, and the World Health Organization recommends that you breast feed your toddler for at LEAST the first 2 years of their life." I'm willing to bet I've heard this phrase about 1,000 times in the past 2 years. In fact, I'm certain that about 500 of those times were me saying those words myself.  When I say it, it's just a nice way of saying:

"STEP DOWN BEOTCH, THE AAP SAYS THIS IS THE BEST SO YOU ARE SHUT DOWWWWWWN!"

Well, kind of.  You get what I'm saying. If this happens in the Facebook arena, this dialogue is sometimes followed by link after link to research everywhere saying that breastfeeding is the #1 choice.  Oftentimes these links are either given to people who formula feed  (whether by choice or because they have to) or passively aggressively posted where they'll be sure to see it, and sometimes the question is asked "So why are you using formula if the #1 best choice for a kid is breast milk? Huh? HUH?"  How can someone even respond to that?

So like I said, I'd been thinking about this whole "why would you choose the 2nd best for your kid when you can choose the #1 best for them" thing.  I thought to myself, "would I ever choose 2nd best for Aias? Have I ever?"

The answer is yes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is a well respected organization and as I mentioned above they also suggests exclusively breastfeeding a baby until 6 months and then for at least 1 year.  People believe in this organization, they value this endorsement of breastfeeding.  I've quoted this endorsement many times, and I've even thought to myself "this is the #1 choice for my child, so why would I not do it!"  After all, the AAP SAYS IT IS SO!

Do you know what else the AAP suggests? They also suggest that your children under 2 watch absolutely, 100%, ZERO television. What, what? I've gone and changed the subject now. (I told you this post wasn't actually about breastfeeding!).  What the heck does this have to do with anything?

This is what it has to do with it: in the past 2 years, I've probably read nearly as many reputable articles about how awful television is for babies and toddlers under 2 years old as I have articles on how fantastic breastfeeding is (or how evil formula is).  However, each day my 22 month old watches probably 30-60 minutes of Curious George.  Curious George being, you know, a television show.  Sure, I tell myself "hey, at least we don't have cable!" or "hey, at least it's just on Netflix!" or "hey, at least he isn't exposed to commercials" or "hey, at least it's not Dora the Explorer which is plastered over a million useless products with the sole intention of marketing overpriced garbage to kids."

All of my justifications and excuses aside, here are the facts:
- Curious George is a television show whether it's on Netflix or not
- My kid is under 2
- The AAP suggests that kids under 2 watch ZERO television
- I let him watch it anyway, even though the AAP says I shouldn't

What would be the #1 best choice for my kid? Watching no television before he's 2.
What choice do I make for my kid? Putting Curious George on the tv while I take a shower/send an email/make dinner/fold laundry.

So why am I able to read articles endorsing breastfeeding and to act on that advice and take it so seriously, but I'm also able to read articles on the evils of TV and basically completely ignore the recommendations which are arguably as important as the breastfeeding recommendations.  We're talking the same organizations endorsing these recommendations!   It's not even that I don't believe television is horrible for kids under 2, I TOTALLY 100% believe it! I believe those articles saying it's awful, yet I still let Aias watch Curious George! I am fully educated on the matter and yet I choose to actively go against this advice even though I know my child would probably be better off if I didn't.

I don't understand myself.

Breastfeeding is hard work, yet I chose to plow through it.  Canceling Netflix and not putting Curious George on the screen is NOT that hard.  It's nowhere near as hard as breastfeeding.  Why is it that I put so much weight on a reputable organization endorsing breastfeeding but when that same organization tells me that TV is garbage and my kid shouldn't watch it at all, I suddenly just shrug that information off?

Maybe it's that I watched tv growing up and I figure "I turned out fine."
Maybe it's that I feel like I have no choice but to let him watch it because I feel like it's all that will occupy him while I get things done around the house.
Maybe it's that I feel it's convenient to let him watch it, and that it would be incredibly inconvenient to NOT let him watch it.
Maybe it's because I figure the benefits of watching Curious George outweigh the consequences of watching it?

Maybe it's because I'm only human.

I really have no clue, but it's interesting to think about.  Here I am being fully informed of the "dangers" of something and yet I allow my toddler to do it anyway.

Do I feel guilty about it? Maybe a little, but I shouldn't have to.  Will I pull the plug on Curious George? Not likely.

I wonder what it would take to get me to change my behavior?  What sort of article or research would I have to read to actually unplug that tv?  I wonder what kind of parent this makes me?

I'll tell you this much; it makes me the kind of parent that doesn't measure the competence of another parent based on their decisions, whether I perceive their decision to be the best or the worst.  I only hope no one will be showing up at my house with a pitchfork to take Aias away because they want to save him from Curious George and his awful parents that don't always choose what's best for him.








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Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Accidental Lesson We Taught Our Child: Tantrum On, Tantrum Off

A while ago I did a post detailing some lessons we have accidentally taught Aias.  This post will detail just one accidental lesson, but it's definitely worth a whole entry to itself.

We try, as most parents probably do, to not "give in" to tantrums over matters such as Aias really wanting something that he shouldn't/can't have.  For example, in Winners the other day Aias decided he really wanted a decorative ceramic dog cookie jar.  He doesn't need one of those, nor to we, and we also didn't want to pay for him breaking it, so of course he was aggravated that we wouldn't let him traipse around with it and put on a bit of a show.  This is pretty typical toddler behavior that we've come to expect of him, seeing as he's too little to really understand how to control his emotions.  Of course there have also been a few times where we've been in a coffee shop or dollar store, Aias has decided he's wanted a treat of some sort, and when we've said no only to lead to his loud kicking and screaming.  Once or twice we've given in for the sake of saving ourselves the embarrassment.  Sometimes $1 or $2 seems like a small price to pay for preserving your dignity in public. That being said, apparently these moments have really left quite the impression on little Aias.

Yesterday Aias was playing ball with the dog when the dog decided he'd had enough playing in pairs and wanted the ball all to himself.  The dog casually walked off to the corner of the room where he could chew the ball in peace, but Aias was pretty mad about this and wanted that ball to himself.  He calmly and coolly walked over to the corner of the room where the dog was peacefully chewing the ball, he laid down on the ground where he knew the dog could see him, and he began to tantrum.  Out of nowhere, as though someone had just pushed the "Tantrum On" button.  We then watched as the dog turned around so he wouldn't have to watch this, and Aias hit his "Tantrum Off" button, walked over to where the dog could see him, and pushed the "Tantrum On" button again.  This continued 2-3 more times, and eventually the dog relented, gave up the ball, Aias hit the "Tantrum Off" button again and happily walked off with his prize. Just like that! Emotions on, emotions off.

Morgan and I just watched in horror at this, and then upon realizing what had just happened, we laughed hysterically.  Clearly Aias thinks the "Tantrum On" button is a pretty effective button to hit if you want something.  Good thing we've allowed that impression to grow strong in our almost-2-year-old (note my sarcasm).

Ooops.

Evil genius or opportunist?  A product of A+ parenting regardless, heh. 





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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hey Aias, Where's Your Bed?

We moved just over a week ago.  When deciding how to arrange the furniture in our new place, we made the brave move of dismantling the side-carred bed arrangement we'd had in our previous home and instead put our bed in our room and Aias's bed in his room.  Aias has always slept with us but I guess we thought we'd start the transition to a "big boy" bed pretty soon since he's nearly 2, a natural bed hog, and our bed is pretty small.

We were here for a week before even attempting to move Aias into his little bed, then two nights ago I nursed him down in our bed and Morgan brought him to the little bed where he slept for 5 hours. Last night we did the same. Both times he woke up around 3am and spent the rest of the night in our bed, which was fine.

In typing this I can't help but notice that I'm referring to the adult bed as "OUR" bed and implying that it's Morgan's bed and my bed but not Aias's bed, which didn't really strike me as funny at all until yesterday.  Aias and I were in his room in the evening talking about the little bed.  We were having a good conversation about the "Little Bed" and then I said "Aias, show me how you lay down in your bed?"

Aias said "Ok" and then he left the room, walked into the hall and into "OUR" bedroom and laid down on "OUR" bed and smiled.

Then it occurred to me.

Aias has slept in "OUR" bed since he was a few weeks old, which pretty much means for 95% of his life. Morgan and I have had that bed for a few years, but for nowhere near 95% of our lives. Aias really knows nothing else.

If you've slept in a bed for 95% of your life, you are going to think it's your bed. Heck, it pretty much is at that point.   The whole time we've been sharing OUR bed with Aias, he's been thinking of it as everyone's bed, himself included.  I think it's about time we start treating it that way and considering that in his eventual transition to a new bed.  His move from our bed may have always seemed inevitable to us, but not to him.

Hanging out in his bed, you know, our bed. 



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