Hey Frugal Friends. It just so happens to be Tuesday, which goes great with what I wanted to write about, so here is a Tuesday Tip!
I’m sure all veteran parents have been there. “My baby is so sweet, just sits and plays, rarely crys, just such an angel!” This was me. So young, naive, and in for a rude awakening. Babies are hip to being versatile little beings. Peanut was always along for the ride. No matter where we went, what we did, or how tired he was, he was wonderful. Sure, he had a couple of melt downs, but nothing I couldn’t handle.
About a week before his first birthday..BOOM. My baby was abducted by aliens. That’s right folks. I have no other conclusion but this one. He was clingy, whiny, loud, would throw himself all over the place. Like someone else took over. At first I was thrown off. Maybe he’s sick. No. Maybe he’s teething. Yes. Okay, this will pass…..WRONG.
At his party, everyone caught a glimpse. He was fine at first, then was getting scared of everything and everyone. Constantly having to be held by me or my husband. He looked and acted crazy! I got so stressed and annoyed, the whole party was a blur. I thought to myself, “Oh he probably just had anxiety.” Which isn’t uncommon in our families.
Then, I thought of more serious things. He isn’t walking or standing yet. Nothing too uncommon or a premature 12 month old. He also wasn’t doing things that I thought he should be doing. His one year check up, the Dr. said he was “perfect”. A few days after, I was looking through an article on autism. Autism? My child? No way. There is just no way. After praying for this to not be happening to him, and the countless times crying over it, I realized. This would not be the worst thing in the world. They have all kinds of ways to help with this now, he is here, happy, heathly, and beautiful. So if this were a reality, then I was ready to take it on. Just then, as soon as I came to an acceptance, he started getting closer on being able to stand, starting to wave bye-bye, started using his index finger to pop bubbles at gymboree, etc. So then I wasn’t so worried, but there was still the underlying fact of, what is wrong with my baby?!
After going through this “phase” for almost a month now. I have realized a couple things. For one, it is not how do YOU get through this, it is How Can I Help My Child Get Through This. He is the one having such a hard time, and although it can be a burden, mentally and physically draining, and sometimes annoying, he needs me now more than ever. After a couple of articles, some advice, and monotonousness google searches; I have come up with a couple of my own tips to help when your one-year-old is suddenly abducted my aliens.
1. Ditch the playpen or circle gate
Here she is in all her glory
Remember that lovely circle gate I bought, that was a total livesaver because it had enough room for Liam to play in, yet was out of reach so I could set him in it and do various things? Get rid of it, or don’t rely on it. Liam loved being independent and would prefer that & his toys other than my company most days. But, not these days. So ditch it.
2. Give cuddles
He plays interdependently, but still comes to me sometimes
Now, my proudest moments were when my child could play alone, fall asleep right when he was laid down, and hardly ever cried. The other moms wanted to know how I achieved such greatness. It was simple. I offered him love & cuddles, but every little peep, I wouldn’t run to his room. He would self-soothe. Now when he cries, I know it will be in for the long haul. So i counter my advice but giving him lots of cuddles and love. Afterall, if you were set down, all alone with a measly toy and no one to “talk” to, how would you feel? Sometimes, after a good cuddle, they will be content. For a few moments at least.
3. Let them help
Yesterday, I was doing laundry. I let Liam do something I haven’t let him do in forever. I let him play outside his circle gate. He roamed free, but was very good about listening and never went too far because he knew it was somewhat of a privilege. He loved helping me out with laundry.
4. Be there
Liam has been the same way at gymboree. He used to venture off alone, not even caring if I followed. Now, he clings to my leg and is very stand off-ish. Last week, he cried most of the time. He also did this at the church nursery. This week, he made it through almost the whole service, which was a big improvement. Today at gymboree, I never went anywhere without him. I set him on the floor, took a few steps away, and he quickly crawled towards me. By the end of the class, he was crawling all over, playing, laughing, seeing the other kids and adults, without even checking to see where I was. But, when there was a glimpse of a moment, I was right there, with open arms. You could tell he was ecstatic. It really showed me a glimpse of the old baby, the one I missed and longed for.
5. Reconfigure nap times
Liam has been taking one nap since he was about 7 months old. He lays down between 11-1 and sleeps for about 3 hours. Lately, he wakes up an hour and a half later, and doesn’t go to bed until about 7. After looking at him, I realized, we need to go back to two naps. One at 11 and another at 3 or 4. You can’t be mad at a baby for needing some extra sleep, especially when emotionally and mentally they are going through a lot.
6. Change it up
Finding he reloves this old toy
One other thing I did was switch out his toys. Maybe some new ones, or possibly some he hasn’t seen in awhile. This way, it is something new and exciting. Even babies need a change. (They are people too, ya know?!)
This “annoying phase” has really shown me I have been slacking. I have been slacking as a mom. It is a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes God shows us these things through our children. I will not say that I left him in his play area and ditched him to get on facebook for hours. But I would set him in there to go do dishes, check email, etc. So when I set him in there now, he thinks I will be gone for awhile with no return. It hurts my heart that he feels this way. I know there are some things that need to be done, and if I wait until bedtime or naptime, I will not get them all done, but some things CAN wait.
Just by doing these things I have noticed a huge change in one day! & Bonus, he has been asleep almost 3 hours like he used to! This could be because he is actually less stressed and happier, and that’s all I ever want for him! Just because your child is going through this, doesn’t mean you don’t spend time with them, just give them a little extra, and I promise you, they will be happier, which in the end makes you happier!