Monday, November 1, 2010

And it Begins...

Ahh...November 1st. Holidays are officially in and we're in a sprint for winter break at school. See my previous post for what I've got going on in November, but keep in mind we also have school, midpoint is right after Thanksgiving, relatives are coming in for Thanksgiving, and then we have 3 weeks before winter break and 2 glorious weeks home with my Snickerdoodle.

Yesterday was beautiful. Clear, low humidity, and mid-60s. It is exactly the type of weather I yearn for year-round. The only problem is that this time of year is so short-lived. At least, it is in this region. We go directly from the triple-h (hazy, hot, humid) to weather that is brisk, sometimes downright cold. The transition is too short-lived.

So, Steve, Syd and I decided to enjoy the day and went up to the star. Nice breeze, but still sunny, so it didn't get too cold. We played football, walked around, examined the chestnuts that were on the ground, petted some beautiful boxers, and took our first trip on the slide. Altogether, had a wonderful time. Then, we came home and crashed. Recipe for a good nap? Lots of fresh air and sunshine.

While Syd nursed and napped, I managed to finish a book recommended by our birthing class instructor, The Happiest Toddler on the Block. Our instructor recommended Dr. Harvey Karp's first book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, in our class, and then talked about his toddler edition, saying she wished he had published it by the time her son was a toddler. She found them extremely helpful. So, I thought I'd check them out. I found the baby edition helpful - it made a lot of sense. I had high hopes for the toddler edition and so far, it has helped me understand where Syd is coming from when he gets upset. I haven't had need to really bring in the tantrum controlling, yet, but we're also only at 13 months, and I know the best is on its way.

Happiest Toddler explains that young children are so impulse driven (living in the id), that they are more primitive, almost like cave-men. Rather than rationalizing with them when they want something we cannot or will not give them, we are to appeal to their 'cave man'-like impulses to curb their emotional outbreaks. It also provides tactics that, from what I've seen already, truly work in helping them calm down when they get upset.

Best example I can provide?? Sydney was playing with Mommy and Daddy after dinner one day last week. He tripped and fell, hitting his head on the wall. Normal tripping and falling isn't a big deal - he does it all day long. But hitting his head really caught him off guard. He started to cry and I appealed to the cave-man... I told him he was 'mad mad mad at wall - bad wall! Owie wall! Bad wall - but its ok - Sydney hurt head but he'll be ok.' He stopped crying, looked at me in stunned silence, then went over and hit the wall, saying "Bah wah!!". He looked at me, I nodded my head yes, repeated what he said, and he promptly spanked the wall again, calling it a bad wall. Then, I told him the bear was lonely and we needed to play with the bear, and he moved on to play with the bear. Emotional meltdown prevented. Thank you, Dr. Karp!!

I don't pretend to believe that it will work that easily every time; especially since I'm not home with him (sigh...what I would give to be home with him...) but if nothing else, it has helped me to consider his emotional upsets and that I cannot expect him to think like me, that I have to appeal to his impulsive side, and that he still struggles, every day, to tell me what it is he wants, desires, what hurts, etc. It must be so frustrating for him. And to end on a cliche, patience truly is a virtue - especially when toddlers are involved.