family

The Origin of the Child Leash

Seems to be quite the hot topic with a lot of parents. To leash, or not to leash. Fuck’s sake, some kids I see running wild could also use a matching mussel, perhaps Hello Kitty will bring out a range for Christmas this year. One can only hope.

In all seriousness, I am not a fan of the leash. I don’t even really like to tether the dog, but have no choice as she isn’t quite as up on the English language as our 4 year old human.

After reading some rant today on Facebook about a child of a leash I got to thinking about the lighter side of child abuse. One of the posts was carrying on about some old lady pulling a kid along like it was a resentful pug unwilling to take a bath. Disgusting to say the least. Another post started raving on about how we have not needed leashes for children in the past, so why all of a sudden do we need them now.

Hold that thought….. Have you ever asked yourself the question: What is the origin of theLouis15 child leash?……

If not then never mind, I did all the work for you. Turns out there is actually some kind of circa 1990 style HTML homage to the history of restraining your toddlers. From what I have determined, this whole leash business started early in the 17th century, perhaps late 16th century. (Although this website makes note of telling us they have found no evidence in the 16th century yet).

Take a look at this baby. It is a painting of a young Louis XV with a child leash on. I highly doubt the leash is of any consequence that young Louis pictured here would turn out to be
known as Louis the Beloved, but perhaps being restricted to a one meter radius around his caregiver  fostered a sense of empathy.

Hell, good enough for the French, good enough for… ummm…. Just don’t bind your child folks, it isn’t a dog.

Oh yeah, after almost a year without so much as a whisper on the blog, I am back. 🙂

Advertisements

Handling Toddler Tantrums – Soothing the Savage Beast

Tantrums are just a part of the deal when it comes to toddlers, and kids in general. We are lucky enough to have a pretty ‘good’ kid. Or so I’m told by my partner. Honestly, I The-definition-of-a-toddler-tantrumhave no experience with kids other than our one, so I take her word for it.

Dealing with a tantrum can be difficult. But, after this long I was pretty sure we had it down pat. A year or so ago it was much easier, but with increased mobility, vocabulary and attitude, it gets harder I think. Either way, he is generally pretty chilled, and rarely gets into full swing. In all honesty, I had seen him go maybe twice in a year.

Up until about three weeks ago.

There has been a lot of change in our house in recent times. Toddlers, like most humans, seem to be resistant to change. Maybe resistant is not the right word, but if you have one you know what I mean. A simple break in routine can cause unforeseen issues, or create a strange habit that wasn’t there before. I find it rather interesting how dramatically they can be effected by what appears to be such a small thing to us grown ups. Anyway, coupled with some changes at home, he has also just started pre-school. Exciting times.

Pre-school is more for the sociability aspect. He does not get a lot of time with kids his age, mainly cousins older than him and adults. Which is all good, but I notice when wecandh do take him to a toddler dominated environment, he is a bit hesitant. With pre-school we hope that will be addressed as he moves through life and into big school. 🙂

Anyway, back on point. Around three weeks ago, the tantrums started happening more frequently. So be it, we can deal with that. Although, something was different, they had this odd, almost violent streak to them. The screaming, the general behaviour, not like the usual stuff. This had us both understandable worried, and at the same time scratching our heads.

Is there something wrong?
Once again, as parents in our generation seem to do, we turn to the internet once again. Surely, we are not the only ones. Well, this activity kind of raised more questions than it answered. We are both discuss the toddler times pretty actively all the time, and this one had us both searching for a solution/answers. Was something wrong?

A while ago, prior to all this going on the tantrums were getting a little more frequent. So we sat down with him one day and discussed what his ‘punishments’ should be for said behaviour. My partner has always said giving him choices is a good thing. To which now I tend to agree, I think it works well giving him some control over what goes down. Anyway, the rules were set and agreed:

1. He says sorry. If the behaviour continues, move to 2.
2. He goes to his room for a short time out.
3. If he refuses to go to his room, he is taken. And must stay a little longer.

Pretty simple stuff really, but it has been effective. Should note, ‘sorry’ means he must also explain WHAT he is sorry for.

28ggdarcy-2jpg-39f615ff5416bbcaThese rules were not helping with these new age tantrums. Nothing was. He once screamed and banged on the wall etc for a good 25-30 minutes. Something had to be done.

We filmed him
Much to his distaste, we filmed him going off at full pace. Later on when he had calmed down, we showed it to him. ‘That’s not me’ he said. I think even he was a little shocked at his rage. I am pretty confident making him aware was a good step.

The Glitter Jar
Pinterest had paid off again. My partner found ‘the glitter jar.’ Designed for such uses as time out, with a spin. So one day while I was at work, they got to making one. It is simply a clear plastic jar with glitter glue and water inside. The principle is the same as an hourglass.

When he is raging, he goes to his room and shakes the jar. (bit of physical outlet) Then sits there and watches the glitter float around. When it stops, it is time to come out again.

He is a little resistant to it, but when he has used it the effect is great. Watching it soothes him, and I think being able to shake it, and have the jar as his own, still gives him control over SOMETHING. When he is no longer able to control his emotions.

For Now
For now, it is back to ok. We have also made a conscious effort to avoid things that set him off, good old misdirection etc. But at least for now, the mean streak is gone. I know it won’t be for good, but we shall see.

I think giving your kid something of their own, that they alone control, helps. The jar is a simple solution, but seemingly effective.

How do you calm down the raging beast?

Personalised Picture Book for Kids

Our little guy loves books. Which is great, as so do we. We have always read to him, and these days he is more likely to pick a book rather than TV for entertainment.book8

For Christmas last year, the wife managed to find something pretty special. Not sure how or where she stumbled upon it, but we ended up getting him a personalised picture book called ‘The Boy Who Lost His Name‘. Good old interwebs, can find anything these days.

This book is amazing, you order it online and enter your child’s name, and a special message for the inside cover if you like. They will then print off the story about a boy or girl book3‘looking’ for their name. Your child’s name. I think it is a really great idea. I will also say that i am pleased with the quality of the printing, very nice.

We also ended up buying one for a friends little girl too. She has one of those names you are unlikely to find printed on anything. I thought it was a great gift idea.

Just thought i would share our find, if you are into this kind of thing. Makes a great gift i think, and with the customised message too, something that they can hold onto for a long time. 🙂

book4 book7 book6

Talking Toddlers

We often get asked questions like, ‘when did he start talking?’, ‘when did he start having conversations?’ etc. Truth is, he has been having conversations with us since he was one and half.

Some people are astonished at his pronunciation, and his already developed understanding of English. No, i don’t think my kid is a genius. Although, i don’t think he is a dummy either.

The reason he has developed rather quickly in this way is because we actually engage with him. I don’t just mean a ‘yeh ok, whatever’ kind of thing either. I find a lot of parents that seem to think children are best seen, but not heard. We did attend a play group a year or so ago, and my wife has been to a mother’s group in the past too. We found most, if not all the parents, would rather be drinking their coffee’s and talking about some boring adult G rated bullshit.

Sure, i also love my coffee, and my adult conversation. But i have been having those for years, and will have many more to come.

At these groups, and in general, i often see this situation. The kids are off doing kid things, and when they approach the ‘adult table’, they are met with one word answers, or a frustrated parent getting out of their seat to get a drink or something to eat for the child.

I am no saint, i am also guilty of this at times.

However, we have taught our little boy to come over to us, if someone is talking, he places his hand on the shoulder or arm of the person he wishes to address, and waits for the speaking to stop.

He will then announce his intent. He is met will full eye contact, and total focus, like any other human would expect when they are speaking to someone.

He is also met with a meaningful conversation in return. If he does not understand something, it is explained.

The adults can wait. Adults are used to waiting. 🙂

My point is, you get out what you put in to your kid. We devote time both together, and one on one with him to play, actually play. Engage with him, draw, paint, read, or just, talk.

It is hard at times, and i would rather be doing something else sometimes too. But, you indeed see the results for your efforts in time.

Right now, our little guy is 3 and half. He has just been signed up for pre-school this year. We took him in the other day. The teachers went over what would be learnt. Numbers, alphabet, colours etc. To which he already knows well. He has even began writing.

I am proud to say he can write his name, my name, mum, and dad.

He can also write a few other beauty’s:

Poo
Bitch
Fart
Butt

Hehe…. got to have a little fun right?

I may be winging it through fatherhood most, if not all the time. But i do know, treat your toddler like any other human. Not just a 2ft tall nuisance, even though, he or she might be exactly that. 🙂

The Samoyed – awesome dog, but is it the right one for you?

We get a lot of people asking us about our puppy. Whenever we take her out somewhere, she is met with hordes of kids wanting to pat her, and adults treating her like she is a new-born baby. Given, she is fucking adorable, and has the most lovely zelda4nature ever. But, there is a lot to owning a Samoyed, as i have come to learn. If you are thinking about getting a Samoyed, please do lots of research. I hope you find this post useful too, but please i cant stress enough that these dogs are a lot of work, and you need to understand that. Very rewarding for the right family though. 🙂

My partner and i have always been animal lovers. In a strange and unfortunate turn of events, she became allergic to cats and dogs after having our little boy. News to me, i didn’t even know that could happen, apparently it can.

Anyway, we spent months looking online at various dog breeds that are good for allergies. Little fucking yippy dogs and hairless Montgomery Burns looking things, all of them. My apologies to any of you who like these dogs. But, they are not for us. I grew up with a Rottweiler and a Rhodesian Ridgeback, both large dogs, and she grew up with a Rotty and a Red Cattle Dog. Suffice to say, a little yipper was out.

Then we came across the Samoyed. These dogs are fucking beautiful in my opinion, just look at them. All majestic looking and shit, and a medium-sized dog. Ok, let’s do some research shall we. They also produce a surprisingly low amount of dander, which is the allergen in dogs/cats. We also sourced a local person in town with a Samoyed for my partner to meet and play with, just to be sure. Well, all good.

Looking online, there is always a few things that come up consistently about the Sammy:

1. Grooming
2. Barking
3. People Loving
4. Training
5. Grooming

Yes, there are a few other, more specific things you need to look into such as hip dysplasia, and a genetic disease they are prone to called, Samoyed hereditary glomerulopathy, which kills them after about a year old. However, these can be mitigated and avoided by going to a good breeder.

1 / 4 / 5. Grooming
Ok, i will start with the grooming. As you can see, these beasts are very, very fluffy. They have a double coat of fur which insulates them from the cold of Siberia, where they originate, and also the heat. If you live in a hot climate like us however, make sure you give them plenty of shade and water as overheating can happen.

Anyway, likzeldae i said, double coat, grooming and such. Our pup is now about six months old. She is not fully grown just yet. At the moment, i spend around half an hour each night giving her a brush. Not so bad right?

Actually, every other night (about three times a week), she also gets a good going over with a steel toothed comb. This session generally takes about an hour. We the Samoyed is shedding its undercoat, like has just happened with Zelda, the combing can take about two hours. That’s right, two hours, three times a week, a brush every other day. AND SHE LIVES INSIDE MOST OF THE TIME!

Now, aside from that, there is the bath. Oh the bath and how she hates it. As Zelda lives inside, we get away with a bath once a month. Luckily, the Samoyed does not really have that ‘dog’ smell. True, no shit. Anyway, a bath is quite an ordeal, not only for me, but for her too. I will cover it in the below steps for you:

i) Brush and comb. Yep, you know that two hour comb, you need to do it now
ii) Bath. I throw her into our bathtub with some warm water and wool wash liquid mixed in. Then use a bucket and some doggy shampoo. To actually get down into her fur you really need to scrub. Who needs a gym?
iii) Blow dry. For fucks sake, you are kidding right? Nope. Sadly, not. She then NEEDS to be blow dried. If not, the fur will mat up and she will be sporting dread locks for life
iv) Brush. I should really comb her too, but fuck it. A brush will do

That’s the bath. It usually takes the best part of a weekend morning to do it. On a good note, you would be surprised to know that the white fur does not get ‘dirty’ as such. It repels dirt and will remain mostly white for a month or so, which is good.

2. Barking
The Samoyed is well-known for its vocal range. No shit, they make all sorts of weird and wonderful sounds! 🙂 But, the downside is they can become nuisance barkers. This needs to be tackled very early on as part of training. Our approach was to train her to ‘speak’ on command. She will still make her sounds and all that, which we love, but it is not an issue. Be warned, you MUST KEEP AN EYE ON THIS.

3. People Loving
Dear god, these dogs love people. This was one of the deciding factors for us, seeing YouTube clips of kids pulling at them and crawling over them, most dogs would hate it. But the Sammy loves it, welcomes it even. We can very comfortably leave Zelda and soccerour little guy alone to play with no concern for either of their well-being. She is just a lovely thing, will not ever hurt him. He has punched, kicked, pulled her hair, tail, ears, and even wrapped an elastic band around her snout to stop her from barking. This was met with nothing but love from Zelda. Of course, we had to scold the toddler though..

There is a downside though. Samoyeds are prone to separation anxiety. They can get very lonely and destructive if left alone consistently, and for long periods of time. If you can’t be around them much, the Sammy is not for you. That said, with some training, you can leave them be for hours at a time with little to no issue.

If you want a guard dog, forget it. These things love everybody, i mean everybody.

4. Training
We read a lot online about the importance of formal puppy obedience training. So much so as we booked her in, but as fate would have it, that afternoon we couldn’t go as we had other more pressing issues to attend to. We have still not sent her, and won’t now.

Given, we are dog people, and know how to train a dog. bubblesThis is not easy with a Sammy though. They are very intelligent dogs, and will try to excerpt their dominance over you while young. You need to make sure they understand where they sit in the pack, and who the leader/s are. Your training also needs to be modified. They need to be constantly challenged, or they will lose interest quickly after picking something up. We had this issue with ‘lay down’, had to change approach, too much to tell. Send me a message if you want the details.

With patience and time, they will become very loyal and obedient dogs. Zelda is lovely, one word commands, all the time. She does have the attitude of a pre-teen girl though, and will ‘grumble’ at you if she does not want to do something. Very cute and funny i think, good to have some personality. 🙂

Time Relativity – Toddler Style

Einstein theorised that time is relative. Over my time off work i got curious about his perception of time, and how he is ‘measuring’ it. We have yet to start teaching him to read a clock, or to understand ‘what’ time is. But he has certainly developed a sense of time. This is more through a mix of his odd word associations, our daily routine, and of course, his loathing of the dreaded bed time. Or, ‘sleepy time’. Note, sleepy time will be getting it’s own post…. 🙂

I started thinking about how and why he associates different time measurements on words he recognises. Why a minute could be an hour, and why soon could be a year. Much to the disdain of my partner, i do love to stir him up by using certain words… Highly amusing i think.

So i had some time, and thought i would delve a little deeper into a toddlers perception of time. As suspected, we are not the only ones that come across this funny behaviour. Anyway, i thought i would share some toddler time relativity with you.

1. Soon
‘NOT SOON!!!!’ is generally the response. Funny, i thought soon meant, umm, soon? I started thinking, why does he dislike soon so much. Well, it makes sense i think. Generally, when one of us say ‘soon’, it is either because getting out of bed at 4am to play cars is not going to happen. So, to the toddler brain, he is associating ‘soon’ with a long time, hours, perhaps a day. Who knows.

2. In a little bit
‘Ok, in a little bit.’ Somehow, a little bit, is totally different to soon. I can say soon, get him to stir up, then say in a little bit, which makes things ok again. I am still pondering this one i must say. I think that perhaps the word ‘little’ is something he recognises as being small. With some quick toddler time calculations, this must mean a short period of time. I think…?

I intend to begin teaching him the clock over the next month or so. Not too sure where to start, i am thinking we will start with bed time, lunch time and 6/12 o’clock. If you have gone through this process, I’d love to hear your ideas, please leave a comment. 🙂

These are just a couple, how does your toddler identify time?

Building a Kid’s Kitchen for Dummie’s

Last year, we wanted to do something different, something cool for our little guy for Christmas.

Do you have one of those old TV cabinets from the 90’s that no longer have a purpose? startWell, we didn’t, but we found one for less than $20. After about a week of procrastination, inadvertently injuring myself, and some final touches, we have ourselves a functioning kid’s play kitchen. It is all painted in chalkboard paint too, so he can go for his life with the drawing. Which is the flavour of the month right now, along with cooking. 🙂

Note, i work in an office…. I am certainly no handyman, but i managed to pull this off.. 🙂

1. The painting (and 2sanding). I decided to paint the majority of the cabinet before cutting holes etc.. not sure why, but i think it ended up being a good call. I also had to sand the varnish off prior to this..

2. Cutting holes and stuff. So, i decided to go and buy a tap and a silver mixing bowl. The bowl would act as my sink basin, and the tap, well, it’s a tap. I borrowed a jig-saw from my father-in-law. Not having actually used one of these things before, i was a bit concerned…. But of course, i did not let him know i was a total DIY noob….

holesI spent about two hours boring out a hole to fit the saw bit into… after some serious finger pain, i was there. The hole/s were then cut. Measured expertly by drawing around the bowl and tap with a pen, and taking off ‘about’ a centimetre.

After that ordeal, i glued and screwed (hey, that rhymed) the sink and tap into place.

3. Oven and Fridge Doors. Next were the makeshift doors. I had originally taken off the original doors as they were damaged. I ran up to the local hardware store and gave them my measurements. Then i got to the painting, again. Once completed, i thendoors got them both on. The oven door also folds down, so i put in a few screwed in chains that hold it up to stop little hands and feet getting hurt.

4. Final Touches. I couldn’t believe my work. I had pulled off the impossible, for under $250. My partner designed a window for the kitchen, and went out to get some toy goodies to complete the set. The window is an A3 frame with a custom Pokemon themed garden. I think it’s pretty bad ass.. Well, below is the result. I am happy to say it was a big hit on Christmas day with all the kids.

There is something nice about a hand made gift. We both felt good about it, and i hope one day he looks back and thinks, ‘damn, my parents were awesome, they made that kitchen. I should do something for my kids like that’. Then it will be mission complete. 🙂

DSC_0110If you would like a list of items and/or some detailed instructions for something similar, let me know via the contact page. I am more than happy to lend you some of my new found knowledge. 🙂