Category Archives: advice

Protected: a mini tantrum and a call to the hive mind

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Filed under advice, IUI

no tail

We have generally had a well-behaved Baby Genius, despite some occasional minor tantrums and a general getting into things. He is a good boy, or “goy!” if you ask him, and we like that about him. Part of that is probably simply that we’re pretty laid back about what he can play with so long as he can’t hurt himself or anyone else.

Unfortunately, that hurting of others has become a problem lately. BG loves our cats so much that he can hardly contain himself when they are around. If one of them is up on the sofa, he’ll come along and lay his head on the cat, saying, “Awwwww! Awwwww!” While we have been working on the finer art of petting for some time, he still just sort of places his hands on the cats and pushes. It looks like his variation on rolfing–something that might be therapeutic but not exactly soothing or comfortable. And when this is all he does, everyone is fine. The cats tolerate him. Our old lady cat, Cleo, even purrs and loves him back.

But sometimes our son gets overstimulated with the cats. Sometimes, he gets so excited about them, that he can’t help but grab onto their tails with both hands and pull with all his might. Typically, this happens when the mom watching him is out of the room, and we hear a cat under extreme duress.

These episodes have resulted in BG’s very first time outs. They just haven’t been necessary until now, but now we’re putting him in time-out sometimes three or four times a day. Of course, these moments are appropriately brief. We place him in his crib in his room, repeat “No tail, BG! No tail!” and then close the door to his room. Sometimes he cries his way through the time-out, and sometimes he stands in his crib and giggles or babbles the entire time.

When we go back in to retrieve him after a minute or two, though, we always ask, “BG, why are you here?” He looks up at us with his big blue eyes, and requests, “Up!” So we ask again, “Why are you here? Why did Mommy/Mama put you here?” And usually after three or four times, he replies, “Tail.”

So he knows why he’s there, and I honestly think he even understands that what he is doing is wrong (I mostly think this because he has been known to go pull a tail in retaliation for not getting something he wanted). But he keeps doing it. The cats have gotten to a point now that they are fairly scared of him and run when they see him coming. Maybe this is best. Maybe it’s best that he has no contact with them at all for awhile until he can control this crazed urge to pull, pull, pull. I don’t know, and J and I are at a bit of a loss. We want the gentle, sweet, loving side of our son to prevail, and to see this side emerge is admittedly a little scary. Is it paranoid that I wonder if this is pre-serial killer behavior?

Worries aside, we have to get him to stop, so once again, readers, I ask for your infinite wisdom. What would you do/have you done about kids pulling tails? How do we get him to stop–short of wrapping the cats’ tails in barbed wire?


Filed under advice, Baby Genius, behavior

oh, wise internets, can you please help?

I have a confession: my son has never once slept from night until morning. Oh, sure, he’s slept for a five-hour stretch–the technical “sleeping through the night”–a handful of times, but when it comes to truly sleeping through the night, it’s been a no-go for sixteen months. Nearly a year ago, I started bringing him into bed with me more of the night so that our family could get some sleep. And as you may have guessed, while this no longer resulted in the frequent ups and downs, it was the beginning of a new habit: the all-night nurse-a-thon.

But we’re ready for that to change. It needs to change. I have a sneaking suspicion that if BG weren’t nursing all night, he’d actually sleep for longer stretches.

So this is where you, wise readers, come in. We’re ready for night weaning and getting BG to stay in his bed for the majority of the night. His current schedule looks like this:

7:00pm: BG goes to bed (nurses down).

10:00pm-ish: BG wakes up wanting to nurse and then goes back to his bed.

12:30-1:30: BG wakes up again, wanting to nurse, and more often than not joins me in the bed and does not go back to his own bed. He often nurses off and on most of the night, and while his wake-ups are very brief, they are plentiful.

6:30am: BG is awake for the day.

So, keeping in mind that we’re not going to be doing any cry-it-out in his crib by himself (it just doesn’t work for any of us), do you have any advice? What sort of night weaning worked for you or others you know? How do you get a sixteen-month-old to understand that “Na-Na” isn’t gone for ever; it’s just gone at night?

Thanks in advance for your valued advice. We are so desperate.


Filed under advice, Baby Genius, sleep

let’s talk about advice

I think I need to set the record straight: I don’t hate advice. I am just not crazy about overzealous givers of advice, especially when said advice-givers don’t know much about the subject on which they are offering advice (as in the case of my poker buddy) . Basically, I like advice that is well-researched. As someone who has spent a decade and a half in academia, I love information. I enjoy hearing about people’s lived experiences and the lessons they have learned. I love it when someone shares a new book or an article with me, even if it might challenge some of my previously held parenting theories. I am a researcher at heart, and the more material I can find to help me arrive at a decision, the better.

But because I’m a persnickity academic, I want sound information from credible sources. When I mentioned the author of the Baby Wise book, I did so to make a point: this guy is a hack. He’s someone who is working to forward a religious agenda  through his baby training guides, and he is someone who doesn’t have a lick of education that is relevant to child-rearing, and he is someone who rabidly promotes CIO. When I mentioned our friend, once again, I was referring to someone who isn’t a reliable source when it comes to infant care because she lacks both experience and basic knowledge, and once again, she was advocating a parenting method I’m not fond of.

Honestly, I think a lot of new parents have a difficult time with the overabundance of unsolicited advice we are offered simply because it’s a lot to process, and it can be challenging to find any sort of happy marriage of that advice and our own values. Because others have experience with this mysterious ride that is parenting, they want to share it. I know I want to share what I’ve learned, but I want the people I share it with to want to hear it. I think, however, that we as parents and aspiring parents and members  of the greater community have a responsibility to assess the situation, to determine whether or not the person is seeking advice or simply a sympathetic ear.

I suppose some would say that blogging about problems with one’s baby is an invitation to any and all advice, but I’m not sure that’s what all of us are looking for. There are those occasions when I just want to vent my frustrations with having a baby who won’t nap or a relationship that is struggling , and I know many other bloggers out there have the same experience. On the other hand, there are those desperate times when we want nothing more than to benefit from the experience and wisdom of our community. There are even times when we specifically ask for it.

I love the wealth of wisdom that is present in our community. I drew from it throughout my TTC experience and my pregnancy, and I hope to continue drawing from it as a new parent. I think when it comes in the form of anecdotes and experiences, it holds a great deal of value. And when it comes in the form of “This is the one and only way to raise your child,” it may as well be an infomercial for a chia pet in my mind.

So I’m curious, how do you like advice to be packaged? When you write about problems on your blog (or on Facebook or elsewhere), do you expect advice to follow? Do you welcome it? How do you think members of our community could more effectively share their wisdom and experience?


Filed under advice, parenting