toddler

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. 🙂

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Bed Time – Scurge of the Toddler World

A question for the ages. How do you get your toddler to go to sleep?

To be honest, if I had THE answer, I’d be a millionaire by now. As most, if not all parents out there will know, getting your little one to bed can be quite a task. They can be a manipulative bunch, and will try anything to stall, or avoid going to bed at any cost. At least ours does.

Can you blame him though? He does not want to miss all the fun of dishwashing and bad TV, if only I could explain that is what we really do when he sleeps. Nothing too exciting.

We have been battling with this issue for a long, long time. Our Google search history is dominated by it. We had just about given up on tricks and tips for bed time, and moved to the more generally accepted method of, just fucking deal with it.

This was working for a while, to be honest, he was only up out of bed two or three times before finally crashing out. I think at that point, he had worked out that we had an answer for every excuse in his playbook. Then it all changed, something new, that we couldn’t really deny him had become a reason to get out of bed.

He is now potty trained.

I was so happy when he was finally potty trained, what an ordeal. Denis the Menace had other ideas, a bed time plot ticking over in his three year old brain. It would rely on our meagre understanding of his bladder control, and our empathy for him and his decision not to wet the bed. A perfect idea. And it worked.gotosleep

For the last few months he has been in and out of bed every ten minutes for three to four hours. GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP.

This change in toddler bed time strategy required action. We had had enough. But really, what could be done?

Here is the checklist we started running through

1. Go to the toilet before bed.
2. Go to the toilet before bed. (he always needs to go twice)
3. While he is on the toilet, get his drink (water) for bed.
4. Move the plastic blanket of toys accumulated on his bed from the previous night.
5. Allow him to choose ONE toy for bed. Ok, sometimes two, if he has been good.
6. Offer a bedtime story. (we take turns)
7. Put him to bed.
8. Sit on the couch, wait for five minutes until the first toilet break.
9. Sit on the couch, wait for the second toilet break.
10. Try to enjoy some adult time while constantly looking at the dog to make a move, indicating he was up, again…

Suffice to say, I have never been a fan of ten step programs, and this one was not working. At all.

Back to Google….

Once again, we turned to the internet. We spent our time trolling through different approaches that we hadn’t already tried. Keeping in mind you have to take these with a grain of salt, and try to apply bits and pieces that fit for you. Well, that is our approach anyway.

She found it!

My partner’s love affair with Pinterest had paid off, again. I got home from work one day and she proposed an idea, we both agreed it just may work. He is at a stage where he will understand the concept, fingers crossed he sticks by the new rule.

That Saturday morning, we began phase one of our scheme. We would have some art and craft time. With a twist.

We all worked on a card, a very special card which is now known as ‘The Bed Time Pass’. We all took turns adorning it with colourful pictures, stickers and whatever else we could find in the box. It was really great family time to boot.

He loved it, albeit still not fully aware of its purpose. We both sat with him after it was finished and explained how it worked.

‘This is your bedtime pass, if you jump out of bed you need to hand it over to us. It can only be used once a night.’

To be honest, the first night was a fucking nightmare.

He was in shock. He was allowed out once, then he came out again. Met with no contact, just a held hand and a directive back to his bed. Every time, for about three hours. ‘Stick with it, we have to give it time’ we kept telling ourselves.

Then, the magic started to happen.

The second night, there was a little drama, but nothing major. From there on in, it has been working a treat.

He now saves it, holds on to it, ‘in case’ he needs to come out. The game has been flipped on its head. He no longer comes out of bed every ten minutes, he understands he is ALLOWED to come out of bed, ONCE. So, that is indeed what he does. No requirement to tell him it needs to be a good reason, he worked that out for himself.

Back to quiet nights, for now. Maybe we can get some reading done. I haven’t finished a book in months.

No doubt this will not last forever. But for now at least, i owe my sanity to ‘The Bed Time Pass’.

How do you get your kids to bed? I am sure we would all love to hear some ideas, please feel free to share. 🙂

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?

Insulted by a toddler

For those of you who have read my ordeal with potty training, i am now experiencing a new kind of pain. Well not really, i did laugh about it. 🙂

The other day, our first mate was perched atop the toilet once again. Sorting out his toddler business in peace. He seems to want to be alone while going now, to which i understand, and am quite thankful.

Anyway, he calls out ‘guys, i need help’… Now, generally this means he needs to wash his hands, get off the toilet, or something to that effect. So we take turns.

‘Your turn’ she says with a big smile… Fine, i will go..

I get in there and he is looking at me funny. ‘Dad go away, i want to be alone’. Fine, whatever, just don’t call me again to say that.

‘Guys, i need help’… Muuhaha, ‘your turn baby’.. Sweet revenge.

My partner comes running out, ‘this is your one, he needs boy help’. I start thinking, fuck, i AM NOT going to hold it for him. Wonder what could be ‘up’.

Oh, that’s what’s up. The little bugger had been playing with himself, as all boys do. He looks at me a little confused. So i try to do the comforting Dad thing, ‘it’s ok, that happens some times and it is normal’.

HAH! He was not concerned at all! It was a trap!

‘Dad, my doodle is big. It is bigger than yours, go tell Mum’.

Little fucker. My manhood, insulted by a three year old. God damn.

Anyway, i obliged, went and told her. Of course it was met with hysterical laughter…..

Well, i found it funny, hope you did too. If you have anything similar to share, please comment! 🙂

My Dad moment for the day

This morning started how it generally does. Get up, let the dog out, have a coffee and a smoke, go back to bed, cuddle the missus, get up, second coffee and smoke, let the dog out again, feed the bird, toddler wakes up, feed him, get dressed for work.

Today, while putting my tie on in the mirror, our toddler wanders over.

“why aren’t you putting pretties on your face dad?.

“well, Im a boy, so i don’t put pretties on my face, but Mum does.”

Shit…. what have i just said to him?! I thought. Both my partner and I think it is important to teach him that it is ok for people to be different, and do things other people don’t. I realised i may have just contradicted myself in that moment.

I respond quickly. “But some boys wear pretties, you can wear them too if you like. But i don’t like to.”

“oh, ok.” And he toddles off about his business. Waving his ‘wand’ (a stick from the backyard) yelling some Harry Potter spell at the dog.

Well, thought I’d add this. I felt like it was my good dad moment for the day. 🙂

Toddler Potty Inception

about rightFor anyone that has a toddler, they will, or are about to know that shit stained, hair pulling adventure that is toilet training. My partner and myself have a now 3/1/2 year old boy, who i am very proud to say is now totally potty trained…. Good bye nappies!!! If only that were the case, i have been talked into having another one of these things, but that is a story for another time.

The Early Days

We began our journey nearly a year ago to the day. My partners love for everything pirate had driven her to purchase a pirate themed potty training book, complete with sticker chart and hat! Arrrrrr!!

Excellent, we had a theme, we had time, we had toddler interest. We had a everything set for a smooth transition from nappies to the porcelain hole of dreams. What we didn’t expect was just how long and arduous a road we had ahead of us, not even Jack Sparrow himself could have prepared us for the murky waters ahead.

So, we set sail one unassuming evening, i would be the captain of the ship. We decided it would be better to make this a boys thing to begin with. Off we went after dinner, up to the bathroom, our toddler, pirate hat adorned, perched atop his new shiny green potty. Everything was going great, and i began to read the book. (without pissing myself with laughter) I had my surly pirate accent down pat, “Prepare to be boarded!” we yelled. He didnt go that first time, but did not protest either. We thought this showed promise…

For the next few weeks we sat, every night, waiting in anticipation. Then finally, he pee’ed!! Straight down into Davey Jones’ locker, take that. With joy and excitement we congratulated him. He was particularly impressed with the jolly rodger sticker now pinned to his hat. What a good job.

At this point, you are probably thinking, great stuff, we are almost there. Well, the 2ft tall first mate had other ideas.

Regression

We are still not sure to this day what had happened. But, for some unknown reason he had just stopped going. Lost total interest. We trolled over countless pages online searching for an answer. The general message of the majority was to let it go, he will become interested again. Ok, we went with that, it required no additional effort, see how it goes.

Months past, every now and then one of us would mention the potty, only to fall on deaf ears. That was it, his 3rd birthday now closing in, we had to take some action..

Potty Training v2.0

We started again, just mentioning the potty a little bit more every day. We were soon to receive a response from our first mate. However, not the response we had wanted, or came prepared for. Now, even the quietest mention of the potty was met with ferocious opposition. Not the standard toddler protest, more a Game of Thrones esk Trial by Combat. What had gone wrong…

At first, we thought he must be scared of the potty, or perhaps scared of that little bit of independence he could now see over the toy clad horizon. Either way, the situation was hopeless. We rolled back our approach, went to the shops and got him to pick out some underwear, Disney’s Cars was the pick of the bunch in his eyes. Ok awesome, if he likes these he might just wear them, he picked them right?

Oh so wrong we were. Being the clever little bugger that he is, he soon connected the dots. “They are onto me, these underwear things mean they are trying that potty business again”.

Now the underwear were met with the same ear piercing protests.

I even spent an entire day, at the advice of some online resource, sitting him down on the potty every 1/2 hour for a day. So i did, all day on a Saturday. Nothing, not even a drop of liquid yellow gold. I gave up after he sat for 10 minutes, got off, then disappeared to his room. Not more than 2 minutes later, “im pooey”….. ARRRRR, OF COURSE YOU ARE!!!!!!!

Ok, abandon ship.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Many more months went past. My partner, reading potty training blogs, parenting websites, books, asking for advice anywhere she could find it. Me, sitting at work, wondering what we can do to win this battle. Then, it struck me, a battle is just what it was. Which is why we could never win, Hannibal knew that he didnt have the numbers to win, so he developed a strategy to even up the odds. Why couldn’t we do the same to the toddler potty army.

I started Googling again. But this time using words like ‘regression’, ‘protest’, ‘resistance’. Then i’d struck gold, i’d found treasure island!!!

The answer was not The Pirate Potty, it was toddler inception, and it made total sense.

Toddler Inception

We would make it appear like it was his idea to use the potty the whole time. Mr Cobb would have been so proud. It was genius.

So we began. Step one was to get our fortnightly fix of nappies from the shop. When we got home, we made him take them to the bathroom. We explained that wee and poo have to go to the toilet, and it was his job to make sure that happens. So, nappies, required for said wee and poo, also belonged in the bathroom. After some tears, he could not argue with our logic and moved his items into the bathroom.

Step two, we reinforced the “it is your job to make sure wee and poo goes where it needs to, and it is your job to tell us if you need a bum change”. We then let him be in dirty nappies until he told us, it was his responsibility, after all. We told him that we dont care if he does not use the potty, that is up to him.

Then, one morning while i was changing him, BOOM. “I should wear underwear and use the toilet”. I thought, noooo, it’s a trap. So i paid no attention, and continued with the nappie change. Later that evening i mentioned the conversation to my partner. It was time, we could feel it.

The next day, HE decided to use the TOILET, not the potty. That’s right, no cleaning that fucking plastic bowl every few hours, he was straight up there… Yeh buddy.

Just like that, it was done. We have never looked back.

– I write this for anyone who is having similar troubles. Good luck.

-Best

Ray