Friday, April 17, 2015

Dear Enthusiastic Strangers

Can you please get the fuck out of my toddler's face?

He doesn't know you, you don't know him. Why are you even so excited to see him? I know he's cute, but could you perhaps calm down and respect his personal space? You wouldn't treat an adult this way, I'd hope, regardless of how cute you thought they were because you respect their agency. Well, he has his own agency too. Clearly he doesn't want you in his face the moment you see him.

"You'll have to break him of that," you say, trying to sound helpful as he cries and buries his face against my body trying to escape you. But you are the sole reason he is behaving this way! How can you not comprehend that? He was perfectly fine and quiet before you, a complete stranger, decided to tackle him and screech, "WELL AREN'T YOU A CUTIE?!" right into his ear while pawing at him.

He's normally very well behaved, I assure you. It's just when overly enthusiastic strangers such as yourself insist on invading his personal space that this happens. We were enjoying a perfectly wonderful walk/meal/shopping trip/etc. before you came along and ruined everything. Now I'm stuck trying to desperately console him while other strangers give rude looks and you, totally dumbfounded as to why my child reacts so strongly to your utter lack of basic human respect, inform me that his bad behavior needs to be broken. Thank you for that.

It's not that we don't know how to appreciate a legitimate compliment. You need to understand though that compliments are scary when they not only come unsolicited from someone you don't know but are being shouted at you. Especially to a person who is literally still a baby. So, if you could please stop getting all up in the faces of toddlers and children that aren't yours and who don't know you, that'd be great. Do parents everywhere a favor and learn a little impulse control. My toddler should not have a firmer grasp of personal boundaries than a grown ass adult.

It's like the strangers who would randomly come up to me in public spaces and grope my belly when I was pregnant. I don't fucking know you, please get away from me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Too Tired to Sleep (aka One of THOSE Days)

Last night I went to bed at 1:00AM. At 3:00AM Jude woke up crying due to a bad dream. He clearly wasn't just going to go back to sleep so I had to go comfort him. That happens sometimes. I laid with him and tried to get him back to sleep for 2 hours, most of which he spent on the brink of sleep until he just wasn’t anymore. There was no escaping. At about 5AM he gave up and started to play, so I sternly told him that it was no play time, tucked him in, and left the room.

No sooner than my head hit my pillow, he’d opened his door and wandered out into the hall. I escorted him back to bed, explained he needed to sleep, and then left. He stayed in bed this time and I went back to bed. Not 20 minutes later the cats started bothering me for food. Normally they eat at 8AM but I was so desperate for sleep I went ahead and fed them early just to get them out of my hair. Still hoping to get any sleep at all.

I climbed back in to bed, yet again, and the moment I began to doze off, Neelix barfed on the floor. Then Jude was up again -- though he remained in his room playing quietly, this meant even if I finally got to sleep it’d only be for an hour maximum. In short, I got all of 2.5 hours of sleep last night.

I spent the entire day in a fog-state, just kind of tending to needs at they arose and nothing else. Somehow Jude wasn’t tired at nap time, so he didn’t nap. Because he didn’t nap, I didn’t nap either. I have no idea how I am even functioning right now. I should be asleep but I’m so scared that the moment I fall asleep, he’ll wake up because of a bad dream and Nightmare Mode will repeat itself.

What do toddlers even have nightmares about? Being told no? Daddy eating all of their granola bars? Dropping their favorite toy behind the bed beyond reach? Mommy walking too fast to keep up? Like??? I'm so curious, because nothing actually bad has happened to him ever.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

So, Your Toddler Has Colored On The Walls

                                                  Prevent the first by doing the second!

If you're a parent, your walls are going to get colored on. It's just a matter of life. Even watching like a hawk, at some point you're going to have to pee or they're going to wake up before you do, and your walls will be their canvas. Try not to get too upset about it. It's a phase and pretty much every human that ever was or ever will be will do this.

The best thing you can do is invest in washable crayons and try to discourage them when caught in the act. Reacting after they're done won't be very effective. They may be confused as to why you're mad and what you're mad about. Just wash it off and be diligent.

Try encouraging them to color on other, more appropriate things. Things like chalk boards,  construction paper, and cardboard are great for young chalk artists and paper in various shapes, textures, and sizes is great for keeping your crayon enthusiast interested. Markers, even washable, should be kept under lock and key and only used when you will be present because markers transfer so easily before you know it it's on EVERYTHING.

The creative drive is powerful and you don't want them to think you're discouraging creativity at all. So scold them if you must, but also direct them to where art is okay to happen! That part is important. Because if you scold them and take away their utensils, they will just strive to do it when you aren't around -- unless you scold them often enough that they think drawing is completely against the rules. No one wants that.

Another way to get their creative ya-yas out in the right place is to join them. Color beside them, compliment their technique. Better yet, draw pictures for them to fill in. Toddlers love this because they see you create something from nothing and get to take part in it. You bond, they learn, your walls are safe: it's a win for everybody. Ultimately, if you give them enough outlets for creativity, you'll find they won't feel compelled to repaint your home as often, if at all.