Neck Warmer for Toddlers

Overnight, the temperature plummeted. I woke up to a windchill of -25℃. I don’t know why I wasn’t prepared for this; actually, I feel like I haven’t prepared my 20-month old for this.

I couldn’t be that parent who sends their child to daycare without the proper winter gear. He did have a hat, mitts, boots, snowsuit, and coat, but what do I do about his neck and face? And if I did have a scarf for him, was it okay to wrap a scarf around a toddler’s neck??

I came up with this solution instead and quickly sewed one together before getting ready for work this morning.

Here’s the impromptu neck warmer (safe scarf alternative):

toddler neck warmer

Toddlerhood: And so it begins

It’s also known as “the terrible twos” but I like to think of it as “the inquisitive twos.” This is the time my little guy is curious about everything; he wants to try what I’m eating, climb furniture, open every drawer, eat crayons, pick things off the ground, and study new people.

Baby J is no longer a baby. He’s 15 months, going on 3 years. He’s very active and has his own personality. This new phase of his has emerged over the past month and is noticeable by his sense of curiousity and adventure. It’s tiring, but extremely fun and interesting.

It’s just the beginning of this phase but so far, I’ve noticed significant changes throughout our day:

  • Reading books – J would pick up certain words while I’m reading to him and react to them. It was pretty cute when I said the word ‘dance’; he stood up and started dancing.
  • Mimicking – Whether it’s a big sigh, expressions like “yuk” or animal sounds, we have a little parrot at home copying what we say.
  • Conversations – Although one side of them isn’t in English, there’s a lot of back and forth exchanges and I’m really enjoying it.
  • Mealtime – Utensils were simply used as toys during mealtime until J figured out that it was another fun way he can feed himself. He’s great at getting the fork/spoon into his mouth, but keeping the food on the utensil is another story. I keep having to remind myself that the cleanup is all part of the learning experience. Sigh.
  • Bedtime – We have a pretty consistent routine but I had no idea that J really knew it until he ran to the bathroom and reached for his toothbrush from the counter.
  • Playtime – Whether it’s Peekaboo, the ‘put-it-back’ game or ‘where’s your <insert body part here>?’, playtime requires much more interaction and stimulation. It’s been fascinating to watch the little guy figure things out.

I was recently told that a child this age has more energy and stamina than a top athlete. Whether that’s true or not, I’m in for quite the ride if I want to keep up. Coffee, please.

water adventures

Learning Infant CPR

Today, I attended an Infant CPR workshop that was taught by an Emergency Response Team member. The topics included SIDS, choking, falls, etc.; it was not a “light” class to say the least. On a positive note, I came out of it feeling a bit more prepared should I ever need to perform CPR or deal with choking (although I hope I’ll never be put to the test).

Here are a few points from the class that resonated with me:

On choking:

  • Biggest choking hazard: No, not grapes. Nope, not even hot dogs. It’s the television (or other distractions)!
  • Best way to prevent baby from choking on food: Never leave him unattended.
  • If an infant or child is choking: Do 5 palm blows to the back and 5 abdominal thrusts, and keep repeating. For infants <1 year, use the football hold to hold the baby upside down for blows to the back and then flip onto back for two-finger thrusts.
  • If you’re alone and choking: Call 9-1-1 and because you can’t talk, tap the phone to indicate that you need help. Do self chest compressions against the edge of a your front door (so help can easily get to you).
  • Bandaids are choking hazards. Infants don’t need bandaids; their blood clots fairly quickly.

On CPR:

  • If an infant or child is not breathing: “30 and 2 will get you through.” Do 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths. For infants, use thumbs for chest compressions.
  • If you are alone with an infant or a child who is not breathing, perform five cycles of CPR before calling 9-1-1. The first few minutes are critical to get the child breathing. (If possible, run outside to start CPR and try to get neighbours’ attention for help.)

On allergies:

  • If your baby is allergic to something, only use Benedryl if you are going to Emergency. Taking Benedryl will mask symptoms, so you may not know the severity of the reaction unless you get it checked out.

On SIDS:

  • Do not overdress the baby for bed. Babies are far more likely to suffer from overheating than being cold. The ideal sleeping temperature for the baby is between 16-20 degrees celcius (I know…cold, isn’t it?!).
  • Put your hand down the back of baby’s shirt to feel if he or she is warm/cold. Don’t judge by their hands.

There’s so much more to learning than just reading, so I highly recommend everyone to learn basic skills through a hands-on class. Although it’s scary to think of the worst-case scenario, it’s always best to be prepared.

Sleep Training a 6-Month Old

One week ago, we started sleep training. Prior to that, baby was sleeping in our bed, falling asleep around 10 or 11PM, and waking every 2 hours to be soothed, and I had enough. The breaking point was when baby rejected my breast. Usually, when he woke in the middle of the night, I’d just stick him on me, and he’d be soothed back to sleep. Well he didn’t want any of it one night, and then again the next. I decided the sleeping arrangement was no longer working for any of us.

Days shy of Jarvis turning 6 months old, we started “training”. My main goals were to have him sleep in his crib and for more than 5 hours at a time.

I read “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Weissbluth and decided on graduated extinction (aka modified cry it out or Ferber method). This method involves consoling the crying baby at increasing time intervals.

Day 1 was bearable. We put him in his crib at 7PM and with some crying, he fell asleep 20 min later. He slept until 7AM, waking up once.

Day 2 was more difficult. It took 40 minutes of crying to fall asleep, he woke up twice, and was up for the day at 5:45AM. (I heard Day 2 is supposed to be the worst.)

Day 3 was similar to Day 1.

Each day afterward became less of struggle, and after a week, our baby now sleeps 11-12 hours a night, with very little or no crying. The last two nights, we didn’t have to console him at all. And there was no crying when we put him down at bedtime!

We’re all getting much more rest. It’s a win-win.

Tips:

  • Track everything. From feedings to diaper changes, you want to understand the baby’s natural rhythm. I use an Android app called Bubtrac.
  • Keep to the schedule as much as possible. This includes the whole bedtime routine. Ours is bathtime, bottle and storytime. Hubby has it down pat.
  • Stimulate baby during awake time. The baby will nap and sleep better if he’s been exercising/playing/stimulated all day. Jarvis isn’t very mobile yet, so our awake time is in the exersaucer, on the playmat (trying to crawl) and lots of singing and dancing. I try to avoid long car rides outside of his nap time, as they usually make him sleepy.

Infertility and Loss

A regular commenter on my husband’s blog just posted his very sad story about infertility and miscarriage. Here’s a quote from it:

“It isn’t fair. I was a dad for 17 weeks, and now I’m not. I was going to teach them to cook. Play board games with them. Watch them grow up and experience the world and find their place in life and fall in love. I wanted to spend life time with them, and instead only got 17 weeks, and got to be there when they died in an emergency room.”

It reminded me of how lucky I am to have conceived and gone through a problem-free, enjoyable pregnancy. And most importantly, how lucky I am to have a beautiful, healthy son.

It’s stories like Lorne’s, though, that make me feel slightly guilty for talking about my baby and sharing my happiness. I’m sure his story isn’t about placing guilt on other parents nor is he asking for sympathy; I think it’s one way to cope and to touch others who are going through the same. I truly sympathize with Lorne and his wife (along with anyone who has experienced infertility or loss) and I admire their inner and physical strength. I can only imagine the heartbreak they must be feeling. I have no words that can make them feel any better; I have no words actually. It just truly sucks that some have it more difficult than others without rhyme or reason.

I thank Lorne for sharing his story. For me, it’s another reminder to cherish every moment with my son. For others who can relate, I hope you can take away some sort of strength and encouragement.

Read Lorne’s story here.