I'm four years into this whole parenting thing. It's amazing you spend years learning how to do math, science, the arts, but nothing to prepare you with teething, potty training, or whining. It's easier to get a baby than your driver's license. I'm not downplaying the importance of driver's ed, but we need some parent education.
I blame everything on teething from about five months to a year, according to my wife. To my defense teething can cause fevers, crankiness, wake them up at night, runny nose - the list goes on. I do not agree with the adage, "better living through medication," but a little baby Advil goes a long way. The ice ring that you store in the freezer is also helpful. Much to my wife's chagrin I allow our 8-month-old to chew on my hand, which he seems to love, but those little teeth are like razors. It's probably not the best parenting tip.
When I was little I remember getting snacks after school, and maybe fruit after dinner; now it's out of hand. Sure I condone snacking, a handful of almonds at 3 p.m. is better than overeating at dinner, but do kids need snacks for a five-minute ride to a park? How much of an appetite do you work up swinging? Maybe we have gone snack-crazy, but I am ok with it and usually leave the house with lots. Here are a few staples from our pantry:
- Nuts and tree nuts
- Dried peas and edamame
- Cut fruit (apple slices might be the least messy)
- Carrots, cucumber and celery
- Pretzels (void of nutritional value but better than cookies)
Snacks are also great if you have a picky eater. A great thing to do with a picky eater is involve them in the cooking process. My toddler eats most things, but if it's something new, I'll have him toss in spices, mix up the batter, etc. and he's more prone to eat it. Although he's learned that fruit it not a treat, for the first two years of his life he thought blue berries were dessert. I'm not that mean, he still gets treats, just not every night. If you think sugar doesn't affect your child, they're probably eating too much of it. Childhood diabetes is sky rocketing and most of the time it's preventable.
The absent parent
I developed a new pet peeve. The absent parent is most obvious at the park or parties. These people are either on their phone, talking to friends, or don't believe in discipline. Watch your kid! There is a middle ground between corporal punishment and ignoring your child. The best method for us has been sticker charts. It's a little ridiculous that we made a chart for being good at nap time, but it worked. We also do time-outs, and barter with television time. Who knows what will work with baby boy number two. He already seems feistier than his brother, and he likes to be startled. Who likes to be startled?
I'm a little nervous but mostly excited for what the next few years will bring.