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Archive for the ‘Growth & Development’ Category

Every time I read an article on kids and technology, or raising kids in the digital age, or kids and screen time, I come away with the same impression: We’re doing it wrong. So here’s a point-by-point rebuttal to the experts, just for fun.

Rule: Don’t leave the kid alone with an iPad.
Reality: Sometimes I need a shower when I’m the only adult around, and iPad plus pack-and-play keeps my kid safe and happy for the 10 minutes I need to get clean. Also, we frequently play with him when he’s playing with it, and mix in educational apps whenever possible.

Rule: Too much screen time will result in a kid with delays elsewhere.
Reality: My 23-month-old is speaking in sentences, loves counting, knows his colors, and is learning his letters. He’s excited by and interested in all of that, and none of it was delivered by a device.

Rule: Don’t let the kid eat in front of a screen.
Reality: When a kid is sick, all bets are off.

Rule: Giving a kid access to devices will make them beg for screen time.
Reality: Have you ever met a toddler who didn’t beg for something? It’s called pushing limits, and it’s his job right now. Also, he begs for books and songs and the opportunity to flick a light switch.

Rule: Early iPad use will give your kid ADD.
Reality: The Boo will spend as much time, if not more, playing in the kitchen cabinets, or packing and unpacking things, or demanding that I read him book after book. He’ll also walk away from the iPad when he’s bored with it.

Rule: Kids who use technology early lack empathy.
Reality: My kid offers to kiss our boo-boos and recently apologized to a kid he bumped with a piece of gym equipment.

All that said, we don’t give the Boo unlimited screen time, and he doesn’t watch TV (just short videos while we brush his teeth). We also don’t give him the iPad if he’s begging or whining for it. In short, our technology policy for him is the same as the one for us: Don’t be an idiot.

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You are 23 months old.

You received a wooden train set for Christmas. Your favorite thing to do with it is flip up the arms on the crossing gate.

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You also enjoy fitting together two or three random pieces of track and dumping all the pieces out of the huge basket where they live.

You know when Mama skips a page of your favorite book, and you do not hesitate to tell her so.

You have learned to ask, “May I?” while grabbing things off the countertops. Sometimes you add a “please.”

You started saying the Telugu words for “what” and “hang on” during a recent Skype call with your Indian grandmother.

You have known for a while that sheet music is to songs as books are to reading. But now you try to pick out the songs after Mama finishes playing.

You adore packing and unpacking things: the matchbox car carrier, groceries, the dishwasher, a case of MP3 player stuff.

You talk around things that are in your mouth: straws, toothbrushes, your thumb, your bottle. And so now we ask you to take things out of your mouth and repeat yourself so we can understand you.

You have counted to four once, and to two once, both times while picking things up. You also count along when Mama counts the stairs as we go up or down.

You do not like Mama to carry you up or down the stairs, and will yell “walk!” in protest, but you often hold your arms up for Daddy to carry you.

You are roughly 34 inches tall and somewhere between 25 and 26 pounds.

You cried as soon as you saw the nurse at the doctor’s office, refusing to get on the scale and weeping your way through an armpit temperature reading. As far as we can figure out, she give you a shot a long time ago.

You know there’s a camera in your room, because daddy told you.

You are still an angel on the changing table, though you have begun to twist from side to side as you try to see things on the floor.

You have a five-syllable word: peekakabaga, your mashup of peekaboo and kabaga, which is your word for kaboom. You also have many new words, chief among them: booger, medicine, snot, kaboom, game, really, bless you, peanut butter, wallet, careful, broken, fixed, better and booty. You have also begun to string two and three words together: Hi bug, open Sesame, goodbye daddy, may I please.

You have seen three snowfalls this winter but have yet to play in the snow because every time, you’ve been sick, or Mama’s been sick, or the temperatures have been deadly.

You respected the Christmas tree while it was up, helped put the ornaments away, and asked after it when it disappeared from the living room.

You were shown “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and wandered out of the room after 5 minutes.

You repeat words in conversations that take place while you are concentrating on something, the most stunning example being at a kiddie art class where you were talking to Grammie and Mama and stopped to repeat a color uttered by a kid across the room.

You’re very, very good at repeating a word after hearing it for the first time.

You are beginning to attempt to sing and for a while you said “la-la” if Mama asked you to sing a song. This week, you began to actually vocalize, sweet little lines of “ahhhhh.”

You said “sorry” to a boy you bumped with a piece of gym equipment — your first spontaneous apology.

You are 23 months old, and sometimes you still fold up your legs and feet exactly like you did when you were a newborn.

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You are 22 months old.

You love picking out Daddy’s coffee mug every morning.

You beg for your vitamin…. all day long.

You do not enjoy having your hair washed, despite the purchase of a device that keeps your eyes and ears free of water and which you were happy about (for one bath).

You attended your first holiday party and were respectful of the hostess’ belongings while enjoying the raisins from the snack mix.

You enjoy applying lotion. Well, if you can call slapping yourself applying…

You played with a parts organizer for half an hour the morning Mama ordered your Christmas gifts.

You went straight to one of your gifts at Gymboree a few days ago and had to be wheedled away from it when our class was beginning.

You use a potholder correctly when you play-cook along with Mama.

You love to climb up on the rocker in your room, and insist on sitting next to whoever is reading to you (NOT on their lap).

You are beginning to say “milk” instead of “meeps”

You say “kabaga” instead of kaboom, usually when you’re flinging yourself on the floor during the hour before bedtime commonly referred to as Tasmanian Devil Time.

You have a renewed interest in your boy baby doll. In particular, you like to take all his clothes off and then have Mama put them back on so you can take them off again.

You are very keen on the 8-minute cartoons we let you watch when we brush your teeth. (Silly Symphonies, early Disney work, very cute and funny stuff.) Your current favorites are the Three Little Pigs and the Cookie Carnival.

You like the Christmas tree, occasionally inquire if it needs a drink, and insist on having it plugged in when you’re around. You’ve taken a few ornaments (“oms”) off but otherwise leave it alone because you know it’s pokey. You also enjoy saying hi to certain ornaments, and shaking Mama’s hand after greeting each one. You were not interested in decorating it, though you did enjoy instructing Mama and Daddy to put things up high.

You are 22 months old, and we can see the two-year-old in you.

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Some kind of miracle has occurred, i.e., the baby is still napping, so I’m going to try to crank out a quick post.

The Boo has begun to manufacture his own words for things. See if you can guess what each one means. (A great way to get an idea of what my days are like.)

Duck…

Chuck, our neighbor, much adored by the Boo.

Yeddah…

Yellow, his favorite color.

Mimi…

Music, duh.

Nay-nay….

Ned, his beloved bedtime buddy.

Yay-yay…

Raisins.
Yeah, I don’t get that one either, but that’s definitely what he means.

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Me: Say “please.”

Baboo: “bees!”

Me: Say “pee.”

Baboo: “bee!”

Me: Say “daddy.”

Baboo: “dah-DAY!”

Me: Say “yes.”

Baboo: “yesh!”

Me: Say “house.”

Baboo: “housh!”

Me: Say “ice.”

Baboo: “eyesh!”

Me: Say “kitten.”

Baboo: “nyow-nyow!”

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As we’ve journeyed through the jungle that is feeding a baby, or at least feeding this baby, we have discovered that Baboo favors the novelty of food that comes out of packets.

That’s right: baby food now comes in squeeze-out packets. I discovered this just before we took the baby on a plane for the first time. I think I fell on my knees in Schnucks.

Anyway. Even a baby knows food from a tube is cooler than food from a tub, so one or two packets a week quickly becomes one or two a day and suddenly you’re all like, how did I spend $50 on one bag of groceries? Oh, easy: a gallon of organic milk and squeeze tubes of baby food.

It’s not that the kid doesn’t like the food I make him. I know this because on several occasions, something I’d offered him from a bowl was rejected, only to be greeted with enthusiasm when squeezed out of a Frankensteined packet. But that approach quickly became tedious, and the bottom closure was always problematic.

So my research-happy hubs hopped online and found several refillable food pouch options. And of course we picked the cutest ones: Squooshies.
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And so now even if Baboo rejects something, we can still get him to giggle at whatever animal we’re waving in front of him. Much better.

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Many parents have said to me that the baby beginning to walk is a game changer. I see what they mean, but yesterday the baby expressed an intense interest in this:

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I would argue that this is much more of a game changer, if only in terms of the mental space I’ll need to dedicate to making sure the bathroom door is always closed and making sure the lid lock is on after every use. There’s already so much stuff taking up space in my head that cramming one more thing in there is a daunting thought.

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Shortly after the baby took his first steps, I was asked if I’d gotten it on video. I hadn’t.

I still haven’t, partly because he’s not doing a lot of repeat performances, and partly because I don’t want to miss it. Also, he often takes a few steps as he hurls himself towards me. Kind of hard to film that without assistance.

I’ve often heard it said that the act of observing an event changes it. The video corollary is that by recording something, you’re removing yourself from it, even if only by a degree. And right now, I want to be as close as possible to big moments. There’s plenty of time to get his early stumble-steps recorded.

And besides, I’m not sure the video camera is charged.

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In a recent post I mentioned that Baboo had enjoyed playing with a baby doll at a neighbor’s house. A few days ago, I made good on my promise to let him pick out a doll for himself.

Here I will pause to link to a song I hope is no longer revolutionary: William Wants a Doll, from Marlo Thomas’ excellent TV special and children’s album, Free to be You and Me.

As it happens, there weren’t a ton of choices at Target. No boy dolls, for starters, and only a few options that looked like actual babies instead of Disney characters or anime princesses in physical form. There were, however, tons of “companion dolls,” whatever the hell that means, and accessories, because God forbid your dolly go out without her cell phone and matching purse.

Anyway. He seemed to gravitate toward a standard sort of doll, reaching out for her and smiling at her and so on. I stuck her in the front of the cart with him, and he continued to touch her face and babble at her as we finished shopping.

Once we got home, I took her out of her box and handed her to Baboo. He smiled at her, and then gave her to me. Over and over. And gave me her bottle, because true to her newborn form, she is always hungry.

A friend who is wise to the ways of babies and a doula said he’s doing this because he knows I’ll take care of her. Aw. How sweet. But how am I supposed to get anything done? I can get him to wave the bottle near her face occasionally, but he really, really wants me to hold her. Usually when I’m trying to get a round of bottles washed or do some food prep.

I’m hoping he’ll relax about her care needs now that she’s made at least one friend among the toys:

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You are 13 months old.

You think the best feature of a sippy cup is the noise it makes when it hits the floor. But watching what the liquid inside does when you shake it is cool, too.

You did not recognize fruit leather as food when a friend’s mama offered it to you.

You loved that friend’s baby dolls, though, going to them and hugging them over and over. So very soon, you will get to pick out a doll of your own.

You will shred paper towels, newspaper, or circulars for a good long time, shaking the little bits off your hands and then tearing another piece in two.

You still have only six teeth, but every day, two more get closer and closer to the surface.

You are still not walking, but you’re doing more independent standing.

You think all the kitchen cabinets belong to you. Which they more or less do. Your favorite kitchen toys are the metal strainers.

You recently figured out how to take socks off your hands very quickly. So now we clean your hands after every diaper change.

You know where your nose is. You’re a little hazy on the location of your other features.

You have figured out that if you stand on tiptoe, you can reach the countertops. And the tabletop.

You watch the garbage truck in still, silent rapture.

You will put things into your toy box and take them out and put them in and take them out for a good 10 minutes. You are very serious about this.

You hand everything to us: food; toys; tiny pieces of stuff from the floor.

You are 13 months old, active and happy and funny and healthy, and delighted by the world.

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