Archive for the ‘toddlerhood’ Category

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!

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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:

threenager

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. 

 

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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!”

::gasp::

::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.

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Clingers- September 16, 2013

Monday, September 16th, 2013

clingers

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?

 

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The Golden Hours- August 18, 2013

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Today I committed a shameful parent faux-pas that could possibly get me banned from future toddler social gatherings. I didn’t show up for a birthday party I had RSVP’d “yes” for.

I know, I know. That is really lousy. But, I have an excuse. See, this was a first birthday party. The festivities for this sweet baby started at 2:00pm. When I got the invitation I cringed. Ooph! 2:00pm on a Sunday. There is only one thing my child is doing at that time. On the weekends 1:00pm-4:00pm are what I refer to as “the golden hours.” Two hours in that time frame is nap time. Period. Sacred and pure. That is the time our child must sleep to maintain child status and not transform into a monster. Nap time at school is from 12:30pm-2:30pm. On the weekends we are looser with that for activities, but I can assure you that between the hours of 1:00pm-3:00pm, she will likely not be awake for the majority of the time.

So, you may be thinking, “Why was the party at 2?” Well, think about it. The sleep schedule of a one-year-old infant and a 2 1/2 year old toddler are VERY different. Charlotte was still taking 2 naps a day at that point in her life. 1 or 2:00pm would have been the perfect time for a party and I’m quite certain that is when I scheduled her first birthday party. Also, it was Sunday and you can’t do a party on Sunday mornings because of church. This is the South, people. That time is reserved for Jesus, football preview shows or lying around the house like the lazy heathen that I am.  Another thing, this party was at an incredibly popular kid play spot in town. When it comes to reserving rooms you get what you get and you get it EARLY. That may have been the only time the parents could reserve the room.

So, then you may be asking, “Amy, why did you RSVP ‘yes’ if you knew this was during the golden hours?” ::sigh:: Because I’m impossibly optimistic and absolutely refuse to miss out on any fun, ever. I tried to get her to nap early. No luck. That child slept long and hard from 1:30pm-4:00pm. There was no waking her. If I had woken her up she would have been miserable and had no fun.

Lesson learned. Leave the golden hours sacred and sometimes just say you can’t make it, even if it means becoming a mommy faux-pas.

photo (7)

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