Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dad tip #121: Sometimes you have to stop yourself from helping your baby

There's nothing worse than seeing your child suffer even slightly, even for a moment. But sometimes you just have to stop yourself from interfering because in some instances, when your child struggles with something, they're learning from that experience.

Let's look at my son's first attempts at feeding himself Gerber Graduates banana puffs. The puffs are these star-shaped snacks designed to be finger-foods for babies. They pretty much disintegrate when salivated upon but only become sticky when lightly moistened. With less than stellar motor coordination and a tendency to drool in the presence of food -- or in the presence of pretty much anything, for that matter -- his early attempts at eating the treats resulted in sticky puffs stuck to the highchair, the floor, and my son's hands and cheeks. In fact, the puffs seemed to be pretty much everywhere but in my son's mouth.

After a few moments, the urge to help him overwhelmed us and we fed him a couple of puffs. He was hungry! But, we also quickly realized that he wasn't going to get any better at it if we didn't let him figure it out for himself. Now, he can put those suckers down right- or left-handed while contemplating quantum physics or thinking about the potential of CERN's newly functional Large Hadron Collider.

It's pretty much the same thing when it comes to eating with a spoon. However, that just takes more coordination, more patience, and more paper towels to clean up the mess. We're still working on that one.

Anyway, keep this advice in mind because it seems to apply to just about everything right now.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Dad tip #120: Don't blink because you might miss something

Okay ... I took a longer vacation from this blog than I had originally intended. But, I'm sure it was needed and hopefully I'm a little re-invigorated from the hiatus.

My beautiful baby boy is now nine months old and, in the last 3+ weeks, a lot has happened. What you might ask? Well, my son learned to crawl (while attempting to reach a bottle of beer); he learned how to sit up (don't know how it happened, but one morning we looked at the baby monitor and there he was, sitting happy as can be); and he learned how to feed himself finger-food (delicious banana puffs).

He also learned how to kneel and he's able to stand (indefinitely) while holding on to something, but only if you stand him up. He hasn't learned how to actually stand up, but he's probably pretty close. Oh, he also tried (pureed) meat for the first time.

Anyhow, it feels like TONS has happened in a few short weeks. It's like a tiny cartoon snowball rolling down a hill and becoming a giant snow-boulder going a billion miles an hour. And yes, I'm describing both my son and the progress he's made!

So, the advice is actually less "Don't blink because you might miss something" and more "Holy crap! Get ready for your child's development to start picking up momentum."