Day Care Parent Conference Day

I can’t believe Punkie is old enough to be having another parent conference week at day care.  I guess he obviously is, since it’s happening.  If you recall, I had a fair amount of confusion leading up to his first conference, last year, around what I would ask or what we could talk about.

This time around, I want to know things like what kind of classmate is he?  Is he kind of pushy or aggressive, or does he stand back and watch, or does he help his classmates?  I also want to know what he excels at and what he has a little more trouble with.  Does he enjoy dance party afternoons, and what does he do when they try to get him to finger paint.  We can work at home with him on whatever he needs help with.

That’s probably what I’m supposed to want to talk about, and I honestly do.  But I also want to know something less politically correct.  I want to know which one of these kids bit my baby.

About two weeks ago, Punkie came home with a bite mark on his arm.  The teacher explained to my husband, who picked him up that day (and most days), that there was a disagreement over a toy and Punkie was bitten.  We didn’t ask who bit him and the teacher did not offer.  However, THIS parent wants to know which kid did it.  Is it his friend whose name he learned and repeats at home, or was it some bigger kid from another class?

I mean, let’s be honest.  I can’t do much about it.  And I’m sure this is why my husband didn’t ask who did it.  Kids bite sometimes and it’s not like Punkie will understand me if I coach him to use conflict avoidance strategies to avoid future bites.  But I need to know.

 

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Easter

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I think Punkie had a nice Easter with his family, but he seemed a little confused at times.  WHY are we in a field searching for eggs?  WHAT is that brown bunny thing? WHY are we in a ballroom eating brunch?  And WHY is there a basket of stuff here?  And I didn’t really know how to explain it all to him in a way a toddler could understand.  I just gave everything a name and we rolled with it.

He busts out a couple of new words a day at this point and it is so cool.  I LOVE hearing him try a word for the first time.  On Easter, a balloon was tied to his basket and he said “buh boe” for balloon and it was adorable.

He has also now likes to chant “Daddy” – he’ll go “dah dee…dah dee…dah dee” and it sounds kind of like, in the movie Rudy, where the student body starts chanting “Rudy…Rudy…Rudy” during the big game.  You guessed it – adorable.

 

Independence Day

Redacted red bin

I was thinking about how my kid is a little bit like the old 60s-era alien spaceship in that movie, “Independence Day.”  If you recall, a rag-tag team of patriotic heros found refuge in Area 51 in Nevada, where they meet a squirrely scientist (played by the actor who played Data in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) who is all excited about the aliens.  To paraphrase, the squirrely scientist is excited because he’s been stuck a million feet below the surface of the Earth studying this old spaceship for 30 years and it isn’t until just now that the power has turned on and he’s discovering all kinds of cool, new things about it.  Of course, Bill Pullman didn’t appreciate the excitement, having just watched some stuff blow up (Bill Pullman, what a grouch).

But that’s how I feel – I’m the squirrely guy and Punkie is that old spaceship.  And I’ve been stuck in a dark hole in the ground toiling away without really knowing too much about what I’m working on (i.e., the kid).

Suddenly, though, I’m learning all kinds of cool things about Punkie because he’s just now learning to communicate and do some things for himself.  For example, he really likes to pick out his own clothes each day.  And he beams with pride when he can say a new word – the newest is “apple”.  He loves saying “apple.”  And he loves his shoes and picture books about trucks.

I’ve also learned that he has good instincts.  I say this because he despises people wearing character costumes – HATES them – which makes sense because, if you think about it, the idea of someone dressing up in a character costume and walking around is weird.  If nobody ever explained that concept to you and suddenly you had some dude in a giant moose costume leaning in and waving at you, of course it would be weird . . . you might yell at the dude, rightfully.

Also, he enjoys Curious George and sitting in a red, plastic toy bin.  I respect the choices.

Forced Self Awareness

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All of the baby books and websites say that, since Punky is 14.5 months, he should be imitating us.

Unfortunately for me, this is true.  Check the box, Punkie does that now.

I had NO IDEA that I had so many verbal tics.  And, having my kid point them all out is kind of horrifying . . . and, if I pretend I don’t care about the knowledge that I sound kind of like an idiot, maybe a little funny.

The newest one was revealed to me yesterday.  Punkie has a drawer and a few cabinets in the kitchen that he’s allowed to ransack.  They contain things like plastic spatulas, placemats, potholders – things that won’t hurt him.

It was early, like 5AM, and Punky and I were alone in the kitchen.  I was washing his bottle while he ransacked his drawer for the 500th time.  Suddenly, a plastic spatula was tossed into the kitchen sink from behind (like a softball pitch), and a little voice behind me said “cool!”.  I turned around to see the back of the footie-pajamaed kid as he exited stage right.  He was moving fast – he basically had a puff of cartoon smoke behind him as he sped away.

I thought to myself, “huh, Self, where did he learn that? Must have been daycare.”

And then, all day, I heard my own voice utter “cool”.  Continuously.  All day.  Cool.  Cool.  Cool.  WTF is wrong with me?  Who says that all day?  Apparently, this idiot does.

Teeth

ha ha

Punkie is getting his teeth, finally.  He didn’t get his first tooth until about two weeks ago — he was 13 months old and toothless!  Now, he’s working on his third tooth in two weeks.  Friends, these are crazy times in the Punkie household.

Wait . . . wait . . . wait . . . wait . . . . BOOM.

I’m not entirely sure that I’m handling his teething pain properly, although I am doing what the doctor recommended.  When Punkie is in the throes of teething pain, he’ll grab the cold teether from my hands and throw it at the wall.  Other times he might play with it and quickly leave it behind.  I end up giving him some Motrin or Tylenol.  On a rare occasion, I might give him a little of each, depending on his level of distress and the timing of doses.

A friend recommended Hyland teething tablets, but I was reading online about how they aren’t entirely safe, so I don’t want use them.  I read about teething necklaces, but, after getting to know Punkie the way that I do, I’m not entirely sure putting a noose . . . er necklace . . . of beads around his neck is a good idea.  I also read about numbing stuff that you rub onto the gums, but there are some doomy sounding warnings around that.

What’s getting me going, though, is that he won’t show me his teeth willingly.  I’ve been reduced to planning a surprise attack and wrestling with a baby.  I have to wait until he’s trapped in his highchair and REALLY FAST put my forearm across his forehead, hold his arms down, and get my finger into his mouth before he realizes what I’m doing.  Otherwise, Punkie will suddenly display ninja-like reflexes and ward me off.  The sneak attack is key.

But he shows my husband willingly.  That doesn’t seem entirely fair to me.  I’m just sayin.

Get Yourself and Your Kids Vaccinated

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the measles outbreak in California and how high the rate of unvaccinated children is there.

It’s one thing to say “I don’t believe in vaccines” (albeit a very stupid and selfish thing), but it’s another thing entirely when the willful ignorance and the fear mongering of one small group is jeopardizing the lives of small children too young to be vaccinated and people with medical conditions who cannot be vaccinated.  We live in a community and these vulnerable members of our community rely on us – it’s called the herd immunity.  We have a responsibility to the people around us.

I don’t curse often.  But fuck the people who refuse to vaccinate their children for no good reason.  And if you’re one of them, fuck you too.

They don’t believe in vaccines, or they think vaccines cause autism.  Well, medical fact tells us that (A) vaccines prevent life-threatening illnesses, and (B) they do not cause autism.  “Belief” is irrelevant.  We’re talking about facts here.  Facts are true whether you believe in them or not.

Voluntarily unvaccinated children should not be in schools.  They should not be playing sports.  They should not be at the mall or grocery store.  They should not be at Disneyland.

Just keep your voluntarily unvaccinated children away from my kid.  He’s too young for me to vaccinate him and it should NEVER be left to the discretion of random strangers whether my kid gets the measles and suffers brain damage, or, worse, dies.

The measles are highly contagious and preventable.  One infected person went to Disneyland and now there are 89 cases linked to that one person – the number grows every single day.

I read an article on NPR.org, I believe, about a father in California who, with his family, lives in the U.S. county with the highest voluntarily unvaccinated rate in the country.  This guy’s son has been fighting leukemia for 4 1/2 years and his immune system is too weak for him to receive vaccinations.  It’s the same medical condition that would make a disease like measles catastrophic to this kid’s health.  It could kill him.  When the father asked the superintendent of the kid’s school to ban voluntarily unvaccinated children, he was told the school would look into it.  Contrast this to a parent meeting the same father attended at the beginning of the school year where a school employee implored, nay BEGGED, the parents to not allow peanuts into the school because a child could die.  Really?  Why is that community valuing the lives of peanut allergy kids above the lives of leukemia kids?  The leukemia kid is going to school in the middle of a measles outbreak with kids who aren’t vaccinated.  That superintendent and every single anti-vaccine parent in that school may as well be playing roulette with this kid’s life.  Fuck them.

I read on CNN.com about a 6 month old baby in Oakland, California who was quarantined in her home for 28 days because some asshat parent who visited the same pediatrician’s office refused to vaccinate their kid, who then showed up at the doctor’s office with measles.  This is not a mere inconvenience to this family.  The parents had to miss work and then pay to bring a family member in from out-of-state to care for the quarantined baby while they waited to see if the baby would get the measles and potentially die.  Shame on that pediatrician for allowing unvaccinated children  to co-mingle with infants while at his or her office DURING A MEASLES OUTBREAK – that is clearly malpractice.  And a big fuck you to those parents for making a stupid decision and putting the life of a baby they never met in danger.

This issue is completely and wholly unbelievable.

First Word!

Punkie has a really sweet voice.  He makes a lot of cute little noises while he turns the pages of a book or looks into my eyes.  It’s no secret that I’ve been wanting him to talk for a long time now.   Of course, I hoped his first word would be “mommy,” but, statistically, that was not likely.  I would have been happy too if it were “daddy,” which was more likely.

But now the waiting is over!  The first word has landed.

Punkie’s first word is . . . “uh-oh.”  Yup.  Uh-oh.

He hits the “uh” really loud and then exhales and gives a small, quiet “oh.”  It really is adorable, to this exceptionally biased observer.  He’s saying it over and over and working pretty hard at perfecting it.  I respect the hard work and dedication that he’s put into this word.

I hope “mommy” ends up in the top 3 words at least.  Or the top 5?