Thursday, February 16, 2012

Keeping Your Child’s Next Party Stress Free

Planning a birthday party for a child can sometimes feel like a daunting task. For most sane people, the prospect of letting 50 kids ricochet around your home like so many pucks on an air hockey table, wreaking havoc on your clean carpet and terrorizing your pets just doesn’t sound that appealing. If you fall into that group, first of all, congrats on your sanity. Second of all, you don’t have to lose your mind at your child’s next party. Here are a few tips to minimize the stress without minimizing your child’s fun on their special day.

Short and Sweet

Don’t feel the need to drag the party out longer than a few hours at most. Depending on your child’s age, a two-hour party is absolutely acceptable and is probably about as long as their attention span can handle. If you’re child has reached the age of eight or older, three hours is fine but anything more than that and the kids will start to get bored and you’ll start to tense up.

A Few Good Friends

There is some sort of strange obligation that a lot of parents feel to invite the entire class to the party. This is not true in the least. Your child will probably have just as much fun with 5 or 6 of their closest friends as they will with the entire class. In fact, at bigger parties, the birthday boy or birthday girl will often feel obligated to talk to classmates they don’t usually interact with or get along with, and this can cut down on their fun.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Blame it on the Te-Te-Te-Teething

Have you seen me Yet?
If you think about it, teething is a barbaric process that requires splitting open of the gums in order for dull enamel growth to protrude through enabling your child to better bite through a banana or pureed organic vegetable medley. Oh, and it comes with the added bonus of crankiness and sleepless nights. Teething symptoms include: drooling, crabbiness, ear pulling and can last from the age of 6 months to 3 years according to WebMD.

What I find particularly amusing about the process is its lack of specificity and scheduling. I’ve seen five month olds with teeth, and on the other side of the spectrum Alejandra at one year and three months has none. That’s right, none. Having no teeth, however, does not disqualify us from thinking it’s ‘teething’ that’s keeping her from sleeping of being cranky. It’s just the latest in a pot of possible ‘causes’ of deviation from ‘normalcy.’ I realize, as I write this, the irony behind trying to assign a ‘cause’ to the ‘normalcy’ or lack thereof to our lives since Alejandra joined our clan! Let’s see, 15 months minus five months equals 10 months; 10 months where we could be ‘treating’ or expecting teething to be the culprit behind the crankiness or sleepless nights. That is a little too long for me and, although I try to focus on cherishing the moments with Alejandra, there are some moments when I wish I could cherish the time staring at the inside of my eyelids.

My wonderful wife and I have been anxiously expecting these falsely labeled ‘porcelain’ gems to make their appearance. In reality they are nuggets of enamel that help us with biting and chewing. I found this great chart to compare if and when Alejandra’s teeth decide to join the outside world . The lack of enamel protrusion is in no way hindering my little girl from accomplishing the task of eating. In that department she excels and I can’t imagine her being any better at eating once she gets her own set of choppers.

Babies Don't Do That on TV

It's not like on me!
It has been nine months, and I harken back to the original theme of this blog:  Fatherhood is not like it's seen on Television.  I assume those babies you see on TV, in movies, and in commercials are extremely well-trained and possibly sedated freaks of nature. My baby behaves very differently.

For example (or por ejemplo for the Spanish speakers):

  1. On TV, parents feed their baby and the baby faces forward (maybe even makes eye contact) and enjoys the baby bounty before her.  Not at my house.  My son sits in his high chair looking everywhere but forward.  I have to continually regain his attention (whistling, clicking, etc.) away from chomping on the tray of his high chair or the delicious label on his bib, mom walking by or any other kitchen distraction. He seems less interested in getting real food into his mouth (unless its something I'm eating). 

  2. On TV, babies lie there and get their diapers changed (takes no time at all). Sure maybe there's a goofy smile or pee fountain for comedy, but they lie there for the duration. When I'm "trying" to change my kid's diaper, he is  trying to get away like an inmate that sees an unlocked exit door.  He's grabbing at everything: diapers (clean and dirty), wipes, lotion, or anything within reach of the changing table. He tries to turn over or stand up.  Where is he going? The most baffling aspect is that we've been through this hundreds of times over the past 9 months.  He knows exactly what is going to happen,  but he never makes it easy for me.  It's not medicine, son, it's a nice clean diaper.  Why do you fight it so?