My fabulous grandson is now just over 12 months old, and this evening I had yet another experience of giving my daughter a ‘bit of advice’…she was preparing baked asparagus as part of the meal, so I warned her to expect some pretty interesting-smelling pee in Zen’s nappy in the morning. She had not heard of this before, so I pre-armed her, so to speak. Hey, saved an Emergency Freak Out Phone Call in the morning anyway.
So I got to thinking about other sage advice that old-timers like myself can give to newbies at the parenting thing.
1: Babies do fall down, but if they’re crying, they’re probably OK.
2: Unless you leave mercury globs on your kitchen floor, anything they pick up and shove in their mouth will probably not kill them, catfood included.
3: You can put a pink bib on a baby-boy and he won’t turn into Boy George, but even if he does, it probably wasn’t the pink bib that did it.
4: Babies forgive you for just about anything: they’re new beings, but I reckon they understand that you are too at the whole parenting thing. And anyway, they’ve got short-term memory problems, so don’t sweat it.
No, it’s the same for adults and kids. Eating enough asparagus will give a really pungent pee odour, and often a discoloured wee as well. It’s just that the last time I gave my daughter asparagus she spat it out (aged 3) and I don’t think she has bothered to eat it in the meantime, thus the warning.
Ah, thank you. We do eat quite a lot of asparagus at home, both as part of more complex salads and as a go-to dish for when we don’t feel like cooking (open a can, drain to a dish, add oil and vinegar, cut and chomp), so we’re definitely familiar with eau d’veggie.
Back to the main subject, something I often feel like carving on a heavy object and hitting new-parents with: your kid came with a pre-installed OS that you did not choose. So did you. Deal.
To generalize these points: If it doesn’t cause permanent injury, be cool with it. Bruises, cuts, grazes and an occasional broken bone is a natural part of childhood. Get a ER room frequent flyer card, stock up on band-aids and wear a complacent expression.
Another one: Those little dolls quickly develop a mind of their own. Pick your fights. Nobody gets harmed even if your little bast…, eh, angel insists on wearing the most outrageous outfits you can ever imagine to kindergarten. Spare your energy for the important issues.
And, most importantly: They’re gonna do what you do, not what you tell them to do
My mum advised us to average out food consumption over a couple of days - eating loads on one day means babies might not want so much the next day, but as soon as they are hungry again they’ll usually eat.
I tend to focus on the mealtimes where not much is eaten, rather than the majority where the plate is cleared.
Sage advice from my mother: small choices = small consequences. That was a revelation to me, as a mother who spent a lot of time locked in a battle of wills with a 2 year old (which I know sounds ridiculous). These days I let my toddler have her way on the small things and we’re both a lot happier.
When my daughter was very little, we were afraid she might have picked up a magnet in the kitchen and swallowed it. We made a panicky call to my father, a pediatrician, who’s advice was priceless. “Hold her up to the refrigerator and see if she sticks.”
Maybe it’s just the parts I hear about, but my friends’ parents pretty much constantly berate them that by failure to [use a pacifier/feed rice cereal/serve undiluted juice/whatever thing pediatricians are advising against these days] they are essentially murdering their children, who – if they live – will grow up to hate them.
You guys are so laid back! Go Doper grandparents!!
If you’ve been around long enough, and were paying attention, you know that some baby advice cycles. First it’s good, then it’s horrible, then it’s of no consiquence, then it’s good again. So it’s just a matter of picking where on the merry-go-round you’re comfortable standing.
On the recieving end of this advice, though from a family friend - not a relative - I got, “You know how I have my workshop in the backyard? Get yourself something like that. A garage, a workshop, a tool shed. That’ll save you.”
I didn’t think much of it. I don’t need to hide out from my family. I drink.
IANAG, but I do have two children born 13 years apart (the second one is now 7).
A fever is not necessarily a bad thing - a child’s temperature can vary at times during the day and depending upon activity level. And a fever is a way for the body to fight an infection, so you don’t have to panic if their temp is a little elevated.
A more significant sign is when the child is NOT ACTING LIKE HIMSELF. A child with a fever who’s active and eating well is fine; a child with a fever who’s lethargic and glassy-eyed is not.
And if the poo is blacker than Satan’s soul, ask yourself: have you fed the kid spinach?
Every time that I hear “Kidlet(te) is being so cranky today!” and/or “Kidlet(te) is refusing to eat at all”, it’s less than 24 hours until I hear “Kidlet(te) has an ear/respiratory/stomach infection.” After a combined 7 years of practice, perhaps one could figure that out…
Never, never, never give in to a tantrum. Stay calm, stay peaceful (don’t yell back!), but do not give the child a reward in hopes that he/she will calm down. You’re just teaching him/her that tantrums work, and he/she is smart enough to recognize that fact.
To this day, when I see a child lying down on the floor screaming his/her lungs out while his/her parent is talking calmly to him/her but otherwise ignoring the whole thing I think “yup, doing the right thing there”.
…while, of course, all of the adults who haven’t had children (yet) are scandalized.