Archive for the ‘toddlerhood’ Category

My Toddler’s Broken Arm: What we learned- September 14, 2015

Monday, September 14th, 2015

My son broke his arm two weeks ago. He’s okay now. My tiny toddler rocks his tiny, rock hard cast. I’ll admit it’s adorable, but the whole ordeal was terrifying. I don’t want your kid to break anything, so please read on.

hospital cast

I had gotten Henry ready for church in a cute little short-all outfit that’s getting too small for him at the end of summer. I put him in his crib with his trucks and made him stay there before heading down the hall to dress my daughter. This pissed him off big time. I heard him wailing as I turned the corner even after I promised to be fast. It was a few seconds before I heard a very loud boom and agonizing screams. I knew he had fallen out. The second I picked him up I knew his arm was broken. It had this curvy, limp and downright gag worthy appearance. I think my exact words were, “Oh God! Oh God!” I carried him running into the bathroom where my husband was getting ready. “He broke his arm!” Greyson agreed with me after wincing at his curved right forearm.

We went into crisis mode. I clutched my sweet babe while Greyson got dressed. We yelled to Charlotte to get dressed. I told her what happened. Like a little champ, she understood the seriousness of the situation and got her clothes on by herself. Our neighbor rushed over to watch Charlotte while we carefully loaded him in his car seat. I promised her she could wear her friend’s shoes when she got to her house because I couldn’t find one of hers. She was delighted to leave the house barefoot but was worried for her baby brother. Greyson loosened the straps to get him in without further hurting his arm. Poor little guy kept looking at it an saying “Ow!” I sat in the back with him to make sure he was okay. I didn’t see the fall. Did he hit his head? I didn’t want him to fall asleep.

If you take anything away from this story, let it be this:

I read somewhere that it’s a good idea to call the pediatrician if you are on the way to the emergency room with your child. I can’t remember where I read this advice, but it was somewhere on the Internet. For Internet advice, it turned out to be invaluable. The idea behind this is that doctors listen to other doctors. I hastily called our pediatrician and got the weekend on-call nurse. She redirected me to the proper children’s emergency department in our area and called to let them know we were on our way. Greyson dropped me off, carrying Henry through the front entrance of the ER. There was a line at check-in. Ugh!

That’s when the pediatrician’s call paid off. A nurse pointed at me and said, “Are you the crib fall? Let’s go!” She led us immediately into a room.

Okay, so I didn’t love being identified as “the crib fall.” As if I didn’t feel guilty enough, already. When the nurses and doctor asked us multiple questions about what happened, it was clear they were assessing if there was any abuse in the home. I get it. It’s their job, but that did nothing for the guilt. They also labeled him as a “Fall Risk.” “Fall Risk,” you don’t say?

Henry has three greenstick fractures. Picture trying to break a stick that’s fresh or still green. That’s often what baby/toddler bones are like when they break.

The next six hours were filled with more questions, awkward x-rays with lots of thrashing and pacifying my toddler with episodes of “Thomas and Friends” and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” Small doses of pain medicine kept him calm since he couldn’t eat or drink anything for HOURS, and he was in pain. It was awful. I felt so bad for him. At least we got in some extra snuggles at the hosptial.

h hospital collage

Greyson and I took turns sneaking in the hall to drink some water and eat a crappy sandwich without him seeing. The delay was working with orthopedics and ER doctors. Finally some very nice ortho PA’s took care of him and we left. He got his referral to the orthopedic for later in the week. We left.

Now to the issue of the crib:

We discussed moving him to a toddler bed but still being under age 2, I didn’t feel like he was ready. The ER doctor agreed. Henry is a jittery sleeper. He doesn’t sleep through the night. Clearly he doesn’t sit still or want to stay in bed. We went over options. First thing we did when we got home was to check the crib. We had lowered it previously and thought it was all the way down. It wasn’t. It had one more rung to go! Ugh! How could we have missed that?! More guilt. It’s on the lowest level possible, now. Read your crib’s owner’s manual to make sure it’s on the lowest setting! I did hear of someone just putting the mattress on the floor and taking out the bottom part of the crib. That was not considered a safe option for our particular crib. Again, check your manual. Also, I’m almost positive he stepped on his Thomas the Tank Engine stuffed animal/pillow/cushion thing to get himself out. Lesson learned there. No pillows and big stuffed animals in the crib!

I thought about getting one of those”crib tent” netting things. Apparently they have been an entrapment and strangulation risk since 2012. I’m still not ruling it out. Other moms have told me they use them. I’m also considering a sleep sack, but I worry he’ll trip and smash his face into the rail or something.

Then I turned the crib around. It’s a convertible crib with the high side being the future headboard once the bed is converted. The lower side is now against the wall and the high side is out, adding at least another foot in height to the crib.

h crib

I found the Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat British Muffin bag with a ponytail holder around it to be very effective for keeping his cast dry in the bath. Needless to say, we skipped the end-of-summer Labor Day pool party at our pool this year.

My little maniac now seems safe in his crib and can’t climb out. He runs around and plays like his “Hulk arm” isn’t there, but for me the guilt is there. It’s guilt wrapped in a little green cast.

 h cast collage



My Toddler Fell Into The Pool Yesterday- July 3, 2015

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

My toddler fell into the pool yesterday.

He’s okay. Everything is fine. It was not as dramatic as that sentence may lead you to believe. I think that’s part of the reason it was so scary. It was such an ordinary scene. Such a quick incident.

In a nightmare I had last summer when my son was a baby he went under water in the pool. In the dream I couldn’t reach him. He slowly sunk deeper beyond my reach. I heard my own screams and my daughter’s screams as she swam beside me, begging me to reach her brother. It was wildly dramatic and frightening. I woke startled and upset. It was awful.

Yesterday was nothing like my nightmare. It was a typical Thursday morning. I toted my little ones with a stroller full of stuff into the pool. My daughter had her group swimming lessons or “Junior Swim Team” class. This left me wrangling the wild little bull that is my 19 month-old. It’s an hour of entertaining toddlers who can’t go in the pool until class is over. He whined to get out of the stroller when he saw his little friend. They threw toys in the shallow end of the pool. They ran. The other mothers and I caught them and told them not to run. The class was going on in the lanes, dare I say “swimmingly.” I took my little swimmer to the bathroom while another mother watched my son. We came back. Everything was fine. I assured my impatient little guy it wouldn’t be too much longer before he could get in the pool too.

Well, you could say he got in the pool.

I was standing RIGHT THERE. I was outside the water at the shallow end, watching my daughter in her lane. My son was right by my leg, near the edge of the pool. I watched my daughter with her instructor as I turned to put something on the stroller. I don’t remember what it was. My phone, my drink, my sunscreen. Something. I had something in my hand. I walked three steps to set it down. That’s when I heard the splash.

I turned and saw him flip over in the water and his head pop up above the surface. I pulled him out so quickly I barely remember it. I grabbed him tight and took him over to a chair. He screamed and cried. He was scared and mad that he had water in his nose. I wrapped him in a towel and held him until he calmed down. I looked around and saw some sympathetic, knowing looks from parents. I saw some relieved looks from lifeguards. I eventually avoided all their gazes, worried I was being judged as a bad mother.

I felt awful. It took me awhile to calm down. It took him no time at all. He wanted to get off my lap right away and run to the other toddlers who didn’t have mothers who let them fall in the pool.

This was my brain:

“What if he had hit his head?! He was like, a foot from the pool steps. We should’ve joined a pool with one of those endless edges. I think he had been reaching for a toy, the toy I let him throw in the empty shallow end because he was having so much fun. I never should have let him throw toys in the pool. This is why we rented a beach house with no pool on vacation last week. Was I watching the class for too long and not paying enough attention to him? Did I have my phone? Had I been looking at it? Someone texted me earlier. Another mom had borrowed my sunscreen. When did she hand it back to me? Was it right then? What did I set in the stroller?!? WHY COULD I NOT REMEMBER THESE BASIC THINGS!?!”

There is one thing I did right. He had his life jacket/floaty thing on 45 minutes before the pool was open for us to swim. That was during most of the class while we waited. I like to put it on him right when we get there for this exact reason. He has a Puddle Jumper. Some parents don’t like the Puddle Jumper because it tips kids forward a bit, putting their faces in the water, but it has worked for us.

puddle jumper

This was right after he fell in.

I worried that somehow a flotation device would hinder and delay the kids’ swimming. I heard that it was bad to let them use them because they become dependent on them. I read about how they may not understand that they don’t have it on and they’ll go running in the pool even if they don’t have it on. Blah. Blah. Blah. Whatever. His head popped up above the surface instantly today. That’s all I needed to see to know he’s wearing his Puddle Jumper the second we get to the pool.

Funny thing. After he fell in, he couldn’t wait to start jumping in the pool to me when it was time to swim. He had more confidence and did not feel the need to cling to me while we were in the water.

I am still beating myself up. I’m still replaying those three seconds in my head. I’m still thanking God he didn’t hit his head. Thanking God it wasn’t worse. I keep imagining both kids drowning. It sucks. We got back in the water. I was still shaken, but I didn’t want the kids to see that. I didn’t want this to make them afraid of the water. Next week I will bring some games and toys to play with further away from the pool. I’ll bring more snacks to see if I can keep him strapped in the stroller longer. Lord knows I’ll put him in his Puddle Jumper and watch him even closer so that a quick accident with little consequence will never become my tragic nightmare.

Please be safe this summer!


Threenagers- March 23, 2014

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Many weekends of the last several months we have attended third birthday parties. We help our daughter keep up with the active social life of her 3-year-old peers. At each of these parties, parents have similar conversations that usually include a phrase like, “I don’t know what is wrong with Junior, lately! He/she has been awful! I thought the ‘Terrible Two’s’ were over!”

Oh, they ARE over. In my experience, the tantrums of the Terrible Two’s have nothing on the meltdowns of “Threenagers.”

My mom has always said of my sister and me that ages 3 and 15 were the worst. I remember the hormonal ups and downs and adolescent insecurity that led to all the dumb shit I did as a 15-year-old, but age 3? Yikes. I have very little recollection.

To my mother’s delight, my daughter’s behavior has brought back memories of my reign as a threenaged tyrant. Here’s evidence of a few of Charlotte’s latest mood swings:


She said to me the other day, “You’re ruining my life!” I had a friend tell me her 3-year-old son recently shouted, “You don’t understand me!”

Threenagers. ::sigh::

Don’t get me wrong. She’s not a bad kid. Actually, she can be incredibly delightful. In fact, she only has two moods since she turned three, wonderful or awful. There is no in-between. When she is happy, she bubbles over with infectious, sweet energy. As a 3-year-old she is able to express her happiness and gratitude better than when she was younger. But, the flip side of that?! Well, see the above photos. She pushes her limits and tests her independence. Sometimes she just melts down and can’t get it together.

Hmm. I guess that’s not unlike when I went off with my friend and got my cartilage pierced at the mall without telling my mom. But, I was named to the National Honor Society the same year. There was no in-between wonderful and awful at age 15. My parents managed my teenage awful with “grounding” or some other suitable punishment. We’re handling our threenager with time-out or taking away toys. It works okay, but sometimes I think teenagers and threenagers need an ass-whooping.

Disclaimer: I don’t really spank my kid. Calm down, haters. 



Private Parts- January 5, 2014

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Our three-year-old has become interested in what makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy. She asks, “Mama, what do girls have again?” She has obviously noticed her newborn brother’s different genitals during diaper changes. In her class at daycare they now have separate potties for Boys and Girls in the Threes class versus the tiny unisex toilets in the toddler rooms. This further emphasizes the differences. I was changing the baby’s diaper the other day and she said, “Mama! I see his peanuts!” We corrected her pronunciation of “penis” and stifled our giggles.

Okay. So we’ll have to be more diligent in our quest to make sure we use proper anatomical terms. One thing we have discussed is that private parts are private. We explained to our daughter that that others don’t touch your private parts. Only parents when they are helping you in the bath or the doctor. We have discussed with her that if anyone ever tries to touch her or keep secrets about that type of behavior, that she needs to tell us. I feel like she understands this and I’m glad. We want to make sure our child is not a victim of abuse.

I was unaware of how my parental diligence could hilariously backfire. Never underestimate a three-year-old. 

During a recent family road trip, we heard “I have to go potty!” from the back seat. We pulled off the interstate and I took her to the ladies room at a small town gas station. We took advantage of the larger handicapped stall. We were the only ones in the bathroom as she did her business. I didn’t think much of another woman coming in the bathroom and taking the stall next to us. I took my turn at the toilet.

She stood next to me restlessly, hanging on to the handicapped bar. With my pants down, hovering over the commode I heard my sweet child say loudly and firmly with conviction, “Mama! I will not touch your privates!”


::head smack::

I felt my face get really hot. I pictured this nameless woman behind the partition calling county services in this rural area to report a sexual deviant. I caught my breath and stuttered nervously, “Yes sweetie. That’s right. Private parts are private! Very good.” I then hurried her out of the stall and we washed our hands. I heard a flush. Oh God! I knew I’d have to look at this woman. I silently prayed she would see I was a nice mom with her private parts covered and not some pervert. I gave a polite, nervous smile. For some reason I felt like I needed to speak. I tend to talk too much in general, let alone when I’m nervous. I saw her college team on her sweatshirt and made some comment about their bowl game. Thankfully, this woman smiled at my daughter and didn’t seem phased by her bathroom proclamation.


Clingers- September 16, 2013

Monday, September 16th, 2013


Lately I’ve witnessed what I’ve dubbed “clingers,” particularly at Charlotte’s dance class. But, I’ve seen them other places too. Daycare, birthday parties and other get-togethers seem to reveal children who are clingers. You’ve seen them. They get all panicky and weepy when they have to leave their parents.

I think there are two types of clingers:

Level 1 Clingers: There are kids who HAVE to sit on their moms’ laps and warm up when the other children sit excitedly together in the circle or play at the party. These children are mostly ignored by the others. When asked by other adults if they would “like to come and play?!” or “join the group!” they bury their faces and their parents say stuff like, “He’s shy.” The party, class or event typically continues as planned and the child may or may not join in.

Level 2 Clingers: Oh goodness. A level 2. Take a breath. We’ve all seen them and feel terrible for their parents. One child was SCREAMING in dance class the other day. You would have thought the poor dance teacher had asked if she wanted to burn Elmo at the stake. She had really just asked if she wanted to sit in the circle. The child had a death grip on the woman.  I watched the bewildered mom try to catch her breath as she opened her arms and the child still clung on to her. This was snot streaming, choking type of crying. This little girl legitimately must have believed her mom had sold her into slavery. They would have been a tribe of little pigtailed slaves in pink tights. The crying stopped for a moment, and somehow the mom escaped. We heard her later on wailing again over the music and the assistant teacher eventually brought her in the waiting room to call her parents.

Non-clinger: I have a non-clinger. 9 times out of 10 she is happy to see her friends at daycare, psyched for the birthday party and ready to sit in the circle at dance class. There are the few days where she’s out of sorts when I drop her off. If she’s not feeling well or mad about the toy I made her leave in the car that day, she may be a little weepy, but it’s rare. ALL children have the occasional clingy days. We all know what that’s like as a parent and it sucks. No one wants to leave their child upset.

Most of the time  the challenge for me as the parent of a non-clinger is to help my child react to a clinger. When Charlotte is excited to see her friend who is a Level 1 Clinger, but she wants to share toys and play, it’s hard sometimes to explain the behavior. She often seems a little hurt that the child doesn’t want to play at that moment. That’s when I try to distract her or say something like, “She needs to sit her mommy right now. Why don’t we go get some juice.”

When it’s a Level 2 Clinger, distraction is not really an option. Come on. There’s no way to ignore the screams. My little non-clinger often looks at me panicked like, “Um, should I be worried too?” That’s when I’ve started saying “He is having a tough time right now, isn’t he? He’ll feel better soon. Let’s go talk to the teacher/another child etc.” Sometimes if the child is past the wailing and is just sniffling, I’ll say “Charlotte, why don’t you go give her a hug.”

I in no way want to talk bad about another child to my child. I think it’s crummy when parents do that. It’s hard. As an uber-extrovert, I do not appreciate, nor value “shy” behavior. I do not think it is okay for parents to label a child “shy” or use “shyness” as an excuse for anti-social behavior. A lot of times I really want to roll my eyes and tell the kid to suck it up. But, that would set a really poor example for my daughter. I also understand that it is very judgmental of me to feel this way. It is a fault I need to work on. Some kids have issues that I may not know about or understand. Sometimes kids, especially toddlers,  just have an off day.

So, that is how I’ve been dealing with clingers. Tell me what you do and how you deal with it. If you have a clinger, what do you want non-clinger parents to do?