Thursday, November 5, 2009

At Least Mr. Lion Isn't Real.

So, when it comes to figuring out the best way to handle discipline with le Cub, I've found myself consulting dear friends of mine whenever my gut doesn't give me a specific direction. Usually my gut or common sense can guide me, but every once in a while I heed the advice of the greats that have gone on before me.

Like, say, the moms at play group. :)

Cub's most recent feats include lifting the lid on the trash can (whilst I avoid screaming, "SWINE FLU POLIO RUNNY CRUMMY GEEEERRRRRMMMSSSSSSS ROTTED BLAAAAHHH!!!!" and instead say, "Yucky.") and tossing his food on the floor (a feat our Boston Terrier greatly appreciates). Thanks to countless rounds of "Don't touch!" involving items such as our dog's dishes, TV remotes, and covered outlets, Cub responds pretty well when I (holding down my gag reflex) politely ask him to please remove his fingers from the trash can. Tossing his food has proven to be a bit more of a challenge, as I originally thought he did this in an attempt to communicate to me that he was "all done". So, being the sharp Mama I think I am, I showed him the sign for "all done", which he immediately interpreted as "SO BIG!" and consequently showed me by flinging his arms in the air throughout the remainder of the meal. Here, have a spoonful of SO BIG! peas and then let's SO BIG! take a sip of milk and your macaroni and SO BIG! cheese is almost done. And yes, you are SO BIG! so big. Good job, honey. 

We'll go ahead and deduct a point from Mama for that one.

So, we've started over. Now, when he holds food in his hand over the edge of the table as if to say, "Here it comes ...", I immediately grab it and say, "NO." Then I mimick like I am putting the food in my mouth and I say, "Put it in your mouth! Like this!" If he finds me boring and decides to fling his food anyway, I tap his hand (enough to get his attention and maybe sting for a second, but no it's not a SLAP! BANG! DEATH!) and once again I show him what to do. Usually he gets it by this point. But, if he once again drops food (while looking me straight in the eye, knowing it's wrong), I sternly tell him, "Caleb Scott, NO!" and then cheerily say, "All done!" and I pick him up and set him on the living room floor. If he's still hungry, he'll fuss.  And I explain to him why he's on the floor and not at the table. Then after ten minutes we resume. And he gets it by then. He doesn't drop food the second time at the table (not so far, anyway--we've only had to do it once).

I never thought I would be explaining things in full sentences to a one year old, but I'm amazed at how much he picks up. Seriously. It's nuts. Babies are way smarter than I had originally thought (I'm glad I learned this before number two makes his/her arrival).

Today we faced a new challenge. As we sat in his nursery reading books, Cub suddenly stood up, toddled over to his crib, and reached through the bars for his Mr. Lion. He had been perfectly fine up until that point, but as soon as he saw Mr. Lion, he started crying and whining and reaching for him. What? Really? I knelt down next to him and told him Mr. Lion was sleeping ("Night night") and took his hand. He started crying harder, but I calmly led him out of the nursery and shut the door and distracted him with some other toys. In a few moments, he was fine. I know I've said this before, but Mr. Lion is totally Cub's comfort toy. As soon as he gets a hold of him, he starts sucking his thumb. I already pull Cub's thumb out of his mouth when he starts sucking it while he's awake (sleepy time is different ... I know I'll fight that battle when he's older!) so I definitely don't want him sucking his thumb while he drags Mr. Lion around all day. Now, I know all moms are different when it comes to comfort toys. Some think it's fine if you let them take them around with them, and some are stricter about it, like I am. Mr. Lion is for sleepy time and trips (and special circumstances, I'm sure).  That's it. Especially if Cub throws a fit to have him. I wouldn't reward a fit for any other reason, so why reward this one? I don't know. I mean, geez, I cry every time I get a hold of The Notebook, but that doesn't mean I drag it around with me all day.

I worried that today would be the beginning of many battles with vying for Mr. Lion, but maybe not. Part of me hopes that a lot of consistency will keep the battle at bay, while the other part of me knows that battles with babies can be, simply, unpredictable. 

And, if it at the end of it all, sheer willpower fails me and pregnancy hormones win, you will find us sitting on the couch, Cub holding tightly to Mr. Lion while sucking his thumb, and me wiping tears as The Notebook plays on TV. :)

So, this will be my open-ended question to all the moms out there (or moms-to-be, or anyone who wants to share an opinion). Comfort toys: Should the kiddos be allowed to take them anywhere? Or should they be limited to bedtime only? I doubt I'll change my mind with this one, but I'm curious to hear what other moms have to say!


  1. Sophia never had a comfort toy. We tried (not sure why?) when she was smaller, but she never grasped on to any one toy. She was BFF with Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba around her 1st birthday and would always take him bye-bye with us (we let her), but she grew out of it within a month. We never made a big deal about him.

    I think you have to follow your instincts about Mr. Lion. I have a friend who has a 9 year old daughter that still carries her Mr. Bear around the house and in the car. She has to fight her to wash him. ;-)

    Sounds like Cub is testing his limits with the food throwing. He'll learn...he's a smarty! Just stay consistent.

  2. I'm afraid I can't give any advice or answers to this one. Nathan doesn't have a comfort toy/item. I tried to get him to have a favorite blankets or stuffed animals, but he doesn't look at any of them for comfort.

    Only you know what is right and works for you. It sounds like you've got it figured out.

    and YUUUUCK to the trash can!! why do kids love them so?! We moved ours a long time ago when nathan first started crawling.

  3. I don't have kids, but I do teach 4-year olds and I have a little girl that had to bring her "Minnie Mouse" the first few days of school for naptime. After those first few days when she laid down, she would say she needed it and I would sit next to her (while putting my fingers through her hair) and tell her she didn't need it. She would be asleep in no time! She doesn't even ask for it anymore and she doesn't need me rubbing her back or ANYTHING. However, when she and her family came to her school carnival, she had her "Minnie Mouse" with her!! I couldn't believe it and I was mad at her mom for thinking she needed to carry it around.

    I know I haven't given any advice, except to say, most of the time, they don't really need it!

  4. I'm with you Katie. When Grace was itty bitty I let her take her precious "lamby" around with her and it became something she would drag everywhere. From a health/germ perspective, that's I didn't like her being so dependent on the thing! So around 1 or so (I think) we started limiting lamby to nap and bedtime, and it was hard at first, but she learned to deal with it. Now at 3 she parted with lamby on her own terms, I wasn't going to make her give it up, but she did it on her own...she doesn't need it to sleep like she used to in the past! Stay strong!

  5. Audrey would carry her bear around all day and suck her thumb ALL DAY if I let her. so it's just something she gets at bed time. there are occasions where I'll be away from her (like the nursery, and I know she'll be in there for a couple of hours and will probably get sleepy) so to help the nursery workers out, I tell them her bear is in her bag IF she needs it. but once we're home, it's "tell bear 'night-'night!" I have to be pretty strict about it!

  6. Hi, Katie! This is Jessica (Huffstetler) may not remember me, but I went to JBU (graudated in '04) and I used to be on Xanga as Wicksone. I had education classes with Lisa. Anyway, I have always enjoyed your writing. I hope you don't mind if I keep up with your sweet family on your blog. I don't have a blog of my own yet...maybe when we have children I will start one. :)

  7. Both of my kids slept holding a cloth diaper, and it stayed in the bed.
    As for the food throwing, it's probably just a stinkin' fun thing for Caleb to do! I think how you're handling it is smart.
    Tyler would shove his WHOLE plate off his high chair when he was finished. Yeesh! Took forever to break him of this habit. Whoever sat by him had to be alert!
    Kids! Gotta love the adventure.

  8. My 2 older kids both have comfort items. My daughter has a blankie & a bunny, my son has a blankie & a little Elmo. They are bed time things at our house, too. They are never permitted outside the house for 2 reasons: 1. They are really ratty and look disgusting even though I wash them ALL the time and 2. Because heaven help us all if they get lost. Wanting to carry them around the house hasn't ever been an issue here. How long do you think you'll let Caleb keep his comfort toy? I just wonder if I'll need to wean them from their toys someday or if they'll do it on their own.