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Rising Up
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It finally happened. Weeks of waiting; on edge with suspense; practically biting my nails (if I had any to bite); my unwavering gazes towards my daughter expectantly… she crawled.   And I missed it!   Twice!   Perhaps “unwavering” was a little inaccurate, although I did look away for only a moment each time.

I do, however, have eye-witnesses who can attest to each occurrence: 1) my wife and son, 2) my wife and mother.   With each occurrence my wife called for my attention only for me to turn and find my daughter on her belly.

We knew it was coming and had been waiting for some time.   Her flailing arms became more coordinated.   Random swats turned into purposeful grabs.   Rolling over was now intentional and she could sit-up for periods unassisted before falling over.   Then the sitting-up turned into targeted falling on her hands and knees for a shaky moment before collapsing to her tummy.

Then, a few weeks ago, my four-year-old son—eager to teach his baby sister—began demonstrating various ways of crawling and scooting on his hands and knees.   It was as if he threw down the gauntlet.   Our daughter, the sponge, watched awe-struck and soaked in his every movement.   The next two weeks were like watching an infant version of Rocky.   She seemingly dedicated herself to a strict exercise regime:

    Maia on couch

  • Pushups – rolling over was for newborns, this infant would push up her whole body for multiple reps, resting only briefly in-between.
  • Lunges – once her push-ups became like second nature, she would follow-up with pulling her knees under as if to crawl, rock to and fro, and then lunge her whole body forward, reaching for her target.
  • Army crawl – with her lunge and reaching mastered, she worked on technique, pulling and shuffling across the floor in an army crawl.

Leading into this past weekend, her routine consisted of all the above maneuvers.   We were on pins and needles each time she pushed up into a crawl position.   One little hand and knee would shift forward.   And as we’d anticipate the same movement from her other side, she’d collapse taking with her our hopes of a first official crawl.   That is, until Saturday; and then again Monday; when I missed it each time.   Ah, but patience has its virtues.   And the silver-lining to this story is that my accomplished daughter has now demonstrated her skill for daddy this morning.   Thank you Maia!

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“When Pigs Fly…”
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“When Pigs Fly…” This is what some have thought of when I have told them that I will be back blogging soon!  Well, maybe pigs can fly… hmmm… maybe just maybe, Charlotte spun herself a masterful web, and Wilber excitedly and enthusiastically ran towards that web and bounced into it, thus propelling himself into orbit (well, orbit in this case would be just a few feet off the ground) giving the illusion of a pig flying… hmmm… “H… E… double hockey sticks”!  Another popular one, when I have mentioned that the blogging will commence soon!  Who am I? I know many might ask that… well, folks… I’m am one of the two founding members of Daddy Thoughts… where have I been? Good question and one that I will answer shortly!

First, I would like to welcome myself back!  Haha… I have been M.I.A for soooo long and a lot has happened since my last blog post. I might have even considered myself AWOL, leaving one of my best friends and Daddy Thoughts partner and cofounder behind in the trenches of blogging warfare (blogging warfare said in an announcer type of voice that is echoing loudly throughout a stadium, it’s fun… try it!).   Never the less, I am making my comeback!  Celebrities have comebacks, musicians have comebacks, and athletes have comebacks, so why can’t a father of two have a blogging comeback? Yes, that is right folks I said father of TWO! It was not a mistype, or misprint.  No error, mistake or typo… I did indeed say father of TWO… How did this happen? (Well, unless you are under the age of 12, you probably know and understand how this happened).  What I mean is, how in the world am I now a father of two…. And how in the world have I been gone sooo long from Daddy Thoughts that I now have a 2-year-old and a 3 month old! The Details are coming. You’ll have to wait until the next blog, which I promise is just around the corner! I know, the suspense is killing you… stay tuned for next blog!

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To Spank or Not To Spank
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As of late, the topic of spanking a toddler as a disciplining measure has begun to weigh heavily on my mind. A common phrase we’ve all grown up around is, “spare the rod and spoil the child.” But what constitutes a rod in this modern age? Have we progressed so far as humans that we should be capable to discipline purely by intellect alone, using psychological methods such as time-out, reward/praise, selective ignoring, providing consequences, or withdrawing privileges? Is using Pavlov’s theory of association with a loud clap or slight sting of the hand on a child’s thigh antiquated for toddler discipline? What if all the psychological methods don’t seem to be enough for a resolute tantrum?

In my own practice, I’ve determined to keep my hand out of the discipline—literally. Not to say I won’t spank, but I want to save that as a last resort upon the failing of all other practices. Although I fear that the time is drawing near; especially with my son’s most recent unyielding bursts of dissatisfaction from being disciplined. He seemed to almost work his self into hysteria with practically-hyperventilated cries of, “I want to get up.” I was able to sooth him by continuing the time-out punishment in my bed where I laid quietly holding him until he was calm and responsive. Of course, his requests still continued, but then in a normal, soft speaking voice. I then reasoned with him that his need for discipline was due to his own behavior and that he had to stay a few calm minutes in time-out before he could get up. But was this the best course of action, or could a slight sting have facilitated a similar result?

I believe it’s true that a toddler needs rigid boundaries and consistent discipline. I’ve even discussed in previous posts how I can see in my own son’s development his need to communicate and express his self. They naturally need limited choices and routine schedules to give them a sense of independence and structure. Not to say they won’t test those boundaries. I think sometimes they crave a parent’s attention so much, that they’ll even look for it in discipline; if that’s what it takes. We all want to be recognized and feel important, or at least know that someone is willing to make some kind of fuss over us—even if it’s negative.

In time I may find a need to squelch inappropriate behavior with a spank. I’ve spoken to other parents who have successfully curved similar behavior with a slight sting to the thigh; of course, never in anger. It’s apparent that their toddler still loves them and there is no shying away from the parents hand—their disciplining tool. Since each child is their own person and does react differently to the various disciplining methods, I’d have to determine how my son responds and if it is the appropriate method to use in extreme conditions. I think we can all agree we don’t want to spoil our children.

Whichever method you choose to use, I think the important thing to remember is to never do it out of anger. Every kid can frustrate the most patient of parents. When disciplining, may have to give yourself and your child time. Maybe take five minutes to cool down. Tag in another parent or trusted friend to allow you time to get in the right frame of mind. They’re only trying to communicate and want attention to get their point across any way they know how. Use your praise to show them which ways are acceptable, and your discipline to show which are inappropriate.

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Colby’s First X-Mas!!! Part 2….
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Colby’s first Christmas was a huge success!  It started basically with the annual Christmas Eve party at my mom’s house, December 24th.  Colby was able to meet the extended family, of brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc.  Colby was the hit of the party!  Everyone commented on how well behaved and cute he was.  This makes me a very proud papa!  Colby usually has to nap, but on this evening, he was able to stay awake and alert for a long time, while continuing to be in a good mood and continue to learn his smiles!  He was smiling at all of the family, which was just adorable. 

Then we had a long day, on Christmas day as well.  We started by opening gifts at my house, that Santa left for Colby.  Well, he must have been a really good boy this year, or, in his four months of life, because Santa left him plenty of good toys.  After that, we went to my parents home to open more gifts, and had brunch.  After that, we went to my wife’s parent’s home, and again opened more gifts, and had dinner.  Colby was a real trooper throughout this long day.  He did take a long nap at my in-laws, in his pack and play, while we put some Christmas gifts together. 

All in all, it was a fantastic first Christmas for my son, Colby and his proud papa.  It was extremely joyous, and I look forward to many more!

Colby’s First X-Mas
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Colby’s First X-Mas!

Colby has another milestone coming up! It will be his very first Christmas, and I can not be more excited!  I want to buy him everything and get him all he could ever need and want, and he is only going to be about 4 months old!  Ha!  Now, I do realize that he is so very young, and he will not remember this event, only in pictures and such.  But, I do believe in my heart, that I am starting a foundation or the idea of Christmas in my eyes, and how I would like it to be.  I believe that I am instilling or starting the culture, values, and traditions of years to come. 

It begins by putting up the decorations around Thanksgiving time, which include decorating the front yard with several decorations, lights, and putting up the tree.  Then it’s on to watching the Christmas events on television, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, reading Christmas Stories, tuning into Christmas shows and watching Christmas movies that continue throughout the month of December.  These include, but are not limited to:  Santa Claus is coming to town, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, and several more! 

Next is the annual Christmas Party with my wife’s family usually about a week or so before Christmas day.  After that, it’s the start of Christmas break, where both my wife and I have two weeks off for the winter holidays each year.  At some point during this month, I’d also like to start the tradition of driving around the town, looking at Christmas decorations and lights with Colby.  (This will most likely begin next Christmas, as he is still in an infant car seat and not able to really see the lights.) 

Next is the annual Christmas Eve party at my parents’ home with my entire family.  (And of course, there is usually this little movie on called “A Christmas Story”, perhaps you’ve heard of it? And it plays for 24 hours straight from Christmas Eve, through Christmas day, and I find myself compelled to watch it at some point during this time.)  And finally, comes Christmas day!  Yay!  In the past, I would open gifts at my house, with just my wife and I, which seemed to pass quickly, and then it was off to both of our parents’ homes where we would spend some of our day.  This has been the ritual or routine for the past several years. 

But, as I have been thinking about it, and remembering how fun it was for me to just open gifts as a child from Santa and be able to stay at my home and play with them all day, I realize that this is something that I am also going to want for Colby.  I believe that probably starting next year, we will have to figure out a way to corporate all of these things into our day, but not race out of my home so fast, as I’m going to want Colby to be able to stay and enjoy Christmas at my home for the mornings.  I believe that we are going to have to start by spending our day here, for more time than I would in the past, and either have the parents (Colby’s grandparents) come our way if possible, or go and visit them later in the day.  This is something that I treasured as a child as my parents were able to give this to me, these wonderful Christmas mornings and days of playing with my toys from Santa.  And I want very much to be able to give this time to my son Colby as well. colby 834a

And of course, starting the tradition of having fun with Colby taking silly pictures! haha…