Posted in Parenting

Holy Tantrum Batman!

My wonderful son has recently decided to explore the wonderful world of tantrums.  You see, he is somehow under the impression that if he screams at the top of his lungs, cries as hard as he can, throws kicks, hits and goes in the corner of the room to pout, he’ll get what he wants.

I suppose that part of it is my fault.  I mean, when he first started his pouting spells (seriously, he crosses his arms and stomps his way to a corner somewhere), I couldn’t help but chuckle.  In fact, his dramatic demeanor still makes me smirk when he gets angry with his father or I.

Then, last week, I broke a whole lot of rules with regards to eating.  I mean, he got sick (ran a fever for the first time an all) and refused (categorically refused) to eat or drink anything for a little over 24 hours.  It was no fun.  He was miserable.  I was miserable.  So, I snuck a fruit platter beside him as I zombified him in front of some Baby Einstein (lo and behold, he ate and drank!).  I also allowed him to sit on my lap for a couple of meals so that I could coax some nutriments into his body.

It seems, though, that even though my rule-breaking was short-lived (we’re talking a few meals over the course of two days here), my son decided that it meant that rules were made to be broken.

Of course, perhaps I had nothing to do with it.  Perhaps it’s just his inherited double stubbornness (yup, he got the hard-headed gene from both his father and I) that is causing the tantrum.  Perhaps, he’s just there developmentally.

In any event, I need to arm myself (both with patience and strategies) because meal-times in particular have become nightmarish.

You see, yesterday morning, the little guy decided to initiate a power struggle with me for breakfast.  He wanted to have his breakfast in my arms.  I wanted him to have his breakfast sitting at the table.  I even got my psychology out and figured that if I gave him some measure of control, he might be cooperative.  I gave him the choice between sitting in his high chair and sitting in his booster chair.  No dice!  I gave him the choice between his favourite soy-based yogurt and toast with a raspberry spread.  He would have nothing to do with it.

So I put him in his high-chair, placed his two meal choices in front of him (which he immediately proceeded to push on the table) and calmly ate my own breakfast as he screamed and cried and twisted and turned to try to get out of his chair.  This isn’t the first time he’s acted out at mealtime.  But it seems to be getting worse.  I know that he obviously won’t let himself starve to death and though I love the little guy to death and am ready to compromise to some measure, I am certainly not going to let him have his way at 17 months old.

So, I’m turning to you all.  Any ideas as to how I can approach this tantrum-throwing?  What has worked for you?

 

Posted in Parenting

Musts & Busts: Baby Toys

As a new parent, it can be quite a daunting task to pick out great toys for our little ones.  I mean, we all want the best for our children and the different toy companies put in lots of money to convince us that they have *the* product.  But what’s the real deal?

A while back, I asked some of my fellow bloggers to share with me some of the best and worst baby toys out there and now, I want to share that list with you.

Baby Toy Musts (in no particular order)

1.  (DK) Board Books

Image borrowed from dailymothering.com
Image borrowed from dailymothering.com

Amanda from Writing in White writes:

By and large though, the best “toys” (and I hesitate to even call them that) are books. [My son] never tires of them. They’re his go-to when he ready to play, tired and wanting to rest, for bedtime, or simply just to sit in mommy’s lap and flip through again and again. To be even more specific, books with real photographs enthrall him. Anything with an actual picture of a baby makes him light up – he will even kiss the pages of his favorites! DK publishing makes the best ones – board books that teach them colors and words, with some versions having the touch and feel option, as well.

2.  The Baby Einstein musical turtle

Turtle

This is a submission from Georgia over at McKinley Milestones and one I was going to suggest as well.  Here is why she loves this toy so much:

I have chosen this as a best toy because as we know babies/infants love things that are musical and light up. This toy helps them to create music themselves and associate lights with sounds. There are five buttons that represent different musical instruments. The music played is classical. You can press one button or all five to hear single instruments, or all instruments playing together.

3.  The classic Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box Caterpillar

Why Georgia thinks this is such a great toy:

It is a classic toy for kids under and up to 12 months. It’s pure excitement and joy to watch something pop out of a box.  It can also turn into a peek-a-boo game. “Where is it?” …..”there it is!’  They make many different kinds of jack in the box’s now, but the one that McKinley had was a “Very hungry Caterpillar” and the caterpillar popped out.  It was nice to have a toy that she could associate to a book that we read.

4.  The Crawl Along Snail by Fisher Price

Crawl along snail

Here’s why this toy makes the musts list according to Georgia

This toy lasted us for a good 7 months! In the beginning it was a great toy because it had a mirror for McKinley to look into and of course the snail lights up and plays songs. As McKinley got older however, the snail would crawl along with her as she pushed it. The reason I am voting this as a best toy is because it lasted the longest.

5.  The Fisher Price Discover ‘n Grow Kick and Play Piano Gym

Image borrowed from fisher-price.com
Image borrowed from fisher-price.com

I wrote about this product before and I still think it’s a great one.  In a nutshell, it has a good variety of music and it can be used with newborns, infants and toddlers (it is a 3 in 1 toy).  For more info, you can check out the post I wrote on it a few months ago.

6.  Duplo blocks

Image borrowed from shop.lego.com
Image borrowed from shop.lego.com

My little guy has been playing with these for a couple of months now.  At first, he would look at us build and then promptly destroy our creations.  Then, he started exploring the blocks, touching the smooth and textured sides, putting them in his mouth.  Recently, about a month ago, he started being able to pull two blocks apart and then put them back together.  It really is a great learning toy and it will definitely grow with him.

Baby Toy Busts (in no particular order)

1.  Plastic toys with noisemakers

When writing about these, Amanda explains that this type of toy becomes quickly overstimulating for her son and puts a dent in his naps.  They also have the added benefit disadvantage of driving her nuts.  I think the following sentence illustrates well why plastic noisemakers just aren’t wonderful for babies in her experience:

Give the boy a bowl and a spoon and he can make a symphony. Give him a plastic noisemaker and he just may cry.

2.  The Fisher Price iPhone Ring Holder

iPhone case

Sounds like a good idea at first glance, right?  Georgia explains why this isn’t such a great toy:

This toy I rated the worst because I felt our money was wasted.  It literally didn’t serve a purpose.  While the idea is great, and you can use the iPhone in the case, it’s annoying to put in and take out. If your baby has actually touched an iPhone prior to using this- then they already know that they are somehow not using it.  Kids are to smart!  Also, it’s probably not the best for kids to get lots of exposure to screen time anyways.

3.  The Baby Einstein Bendy Ball

Bendy Ball

Though this toy was rated as a top toy, Georgia explains that her daughter just didn’t get it.  In fact, she never played with it.  Though it could be pushed around or shaken like a rattle, it doesn’t light up or do anything special.

4.  The Playskool Squishy Critter Lion

Image borrowed from http://www.hondoscenter.gr
Image borrowed from http://www.hondoscenter.gr

Besides the fact the it only produces the same two sounds over and over and over (and over) again (a “rawwwr” and a giggle) while being pushed, it’s pretty useless.  It’s actually rather heavy for an infant (granted, the goal is to push it around, not lift it) and, well, it has pretty much been sleeping in the toy box ever since we received it (despite the fact that I took it out numerous times to try to get Little Dude to play with it).

That’s all for today.  A BIG thank you to Amanda and Georgia for their contributions!

The next group post will be posted on November 15th and will be on teething toys and relief (anything from amber necklaces to homeopathic remedies to teething gel and advil).  I would love to hear from you again.  What were the best teething relief options you’ve used?  How about the worst?  Just send your suggestions to mommytrainingwheels (at) gmail (dot) com.

Cheers!

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Posted in Infant, Parenting

Frying Brain Cells During Tummy Time

Sound like a harsh title?  Well, some people would argue that it is spot on.  Why?  Because I let my son watch some Baby Einstein every day.

Yes, I am aware that studies have shown that it isn’t good to let a child under the age of 2 watch tv.  I am aware that allowing a baby that young watch tv is linked to a delay in the development of language in toddlers.

On the other hand I also know how important tummy time is.  Besides aiding in the prevention of positional plagiocephaly (flat head), it also helps in meeting milestones and is linked with a reduced risk of developmental delays and learning difficulties.

So, what does Baby Einstein have to do with tummy time, you may wonder?

Well, we do tummy time in several short increments during the day and using several different methods.  One of these methods consists of placing my son in front of my computer so he can watch some Baby Einstein for as long as he can stand being on his tummy, which, for the record, never exceeds 15 minutes (and that is on a very, very, very good day).

In short, my son hates tolerates tummy time, but loves Baby Einstein (you should see his face light up when he hears the music!), so I let him catch some screen time as he works on his muscles (and, at the same time, don’t have to hear him scream at me).

And you know what?

I don’t even feel guilty about it!

The way I see it, since I spend my day chattering, singing and actively playing with him  (when I’m not actively trying to calm him down and put him down for a nap), 15 minutes (max) of Baby Einstein per day, isn’t going to have much of an impact.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  (And you are allowed to disagree with me, you know, I’m a big girl, I can take it ;P )

Image
My pride and joy: Four months old and already knows how to use a computer.