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Toddler - Week #63

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Week 63: He Just Bit Me!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           OUCH! Evan just bit my husband last evening. I am surprised it took 63 weeks. At 63 weeks, Evan finally has quite a few teeth. It took him awhile to start getting his teeth. But once they began to come, they came fast and furious. He bit me the other day, but it wasn't in anger. He had gone to kiss my cheek, and his teeth got in the way. But last night, he bit because he was mad. My husband was rocking him for bed, and he wanted to get down. When he didn't get his way, he bit Daddy right on the arm! It isn't a fun milestone, but it is one that happens. Babies learn to use their bodies to try to get their needs met. Another lesson in control!


Creating Good Readers:
           Believe it or not, even the youngest child starts to recognize that stories in books can and will relate to their experiences in life. This is a really important skill for readers of all ages. When they read, children are expected to make connections to the stories. For this reason, it is very important to broaden your child's experiences. You do this all the time-maybe without even knowing it! When you let him help you cook or put away the laundry, when you go to the zoo, the supermarket, and the playground, and even when you discipline him for biting-you are providing him with experiences he will call upon during various stories he reads. As he gets older, this will become more and more important for being a good reader. For now, it is helpful for creating a good reader, but it is also helpful in the reverse. Books can also help you deal with a difficult experience-like biting. So, read on!


Book of the Week:
            Teeth Are Not for Biting

       By: Elizabeth Verdick       

       Ironically, this is a board book tough enough to sustain a bite! But it attempts to teach your child that teeth are not for biting. It shows baby what teeth are for instead-like chomping his food. I love that it says, "Ouch! Biting hurts!" because that is exactly what we are experiencing at home right now. I also like that this book identifies the possible sources of the problem and tries to replace a bite with words. This book is part of a series about behavior. They are all very nice-very bright, colorful, and simplistic. They also come with a guide for parents with tips on how to deal with the difficult behavior.


           In thinking about this behavior and after reading this book, I decided to make my own picture book for Evan. You could do this with any difficult behavior you are experiencing. I took pictures of Evan and other family members using their teeth correctly. I took pictures of us brushing our teeth, eating different foods with our teeth, and smiling. Then I took pictures of my own mouth looking like it was biting my arm. I didn't want to take any picture of either of my kids doing this! I wrote under each positive picture: "Teeth are for______________" and placed it by the side of a biting picture. On those pages I wrote things like, "No biting", "Biting hurts!" or "Teeth are not for biting!" to reinforce this behavior as not being okay. I laminated each page and used paper fasteners to keep it together. It's not a book I can let Evan play with, but I can use it to read aloud when he does bite to remind him not to do this.


Rhyme Time:
           Here is a rhyme I made up about Evan's teeth and biting. It is sung to the tune of Do Your Ears Hang Low? :       

        Do your teeth shine bright?

       Do you use them really right?

       Can you chomp a crunchy carrot?

       Or will you use them to bite?

       Can you flash a toothy smile

       like the Nile Crocodile?

       Do your teeth shine bright?



Evan's Opinion:
           Evan likes to see pictures of himself and his siblings. I have used pictures before to make books, so it is nothing new to him. However, I do believe he prefers my reading this learning book to him when he bites, over being scolded or punished! He probably does not view reading the book as a learning lesson as much as I view it as this. In any case, he enjoys the book.       

       He also liked the actual story we read. It is quick and he doesn't need a long attention span to hear this story. He also doesn't see this book as a lecture-it's just another book to him. The colorful pictures help hold his attention.       

       What Evan does not like this week is not getting his own way! He also isn't fond of being told no when he bites. His bite usually comes at an emotional time-a time when he is overtired or hungry. So when this is coupled with the dreaded "no" word, the emotional flood gates open.


You're Probably Wondering.....
           Question: "Why do toddlers bite and how should I respond?"       

       Toddlers bite for a variety of reasons. The first reason most of us go to right away is teething. Teething is painful for babies, and they often bite to relieve this pain. This is perhaps the easiest biting problem to cure. There are products to relieve the pain, and if you don't positively reinforce the biting, the behavior will go away as the pain goes away.       

       But is anything ever really that simple? Whether it is because your child got some positive reinforcement for the above biting or he has seen another child biting at school or he has been the unfortunate recipient of a bite, he may begin to bite for reasons other than pain. The most likely reason he will bite is due to emotions. Toddlers bite when they are tired, angry, sad, and sometimes, even happy. Do you know why?       

       Toddlers have teeth alright, but they lack an important use of them-talking! Your teeth coupled with your tongue help you make certain sounds, but toddlers have not yet learned full command of these sounds. They cannot say all they want to convey. So they convey their needs in other ways-crying, hitting, and biting!       

       Here's what you can do to help:       

       As always, stay calm whenever an undesired behavior occurs. Any response will be carefully digested by your toddler. If he perceives any bit of your response to be something he desires, this undesired behavior will happen again and again. Even if the bite doesn't hurt, avoid the temptation to laugh. Unfortunately, I thought it was cute when Evan's teeth got in the way of his kiss and nipped me. I did snicker a little bit. Then, of course, he tried it again on purpose. At this point, I had to let him know that biting hurt. But by then it was already a little late. He thought we were playing a game!       

       Telling your child biting hurts is another important step. You must say this with a calm tone because you do not want to let him feel he is controlling your full emotions. You want to state it quite factually.       

       Words are important in this process. Try to figure out the reason for the bite and give your child the words. For instance, you can say, "Are you mad that you cannot get down right now?" and really try to avoid baby talk. Giving the child words will eventually lead to his understanding that people use words to let others know what they need-not aggression.       

       Speaking of aggression, for whatever reason, some people think they should bite their kids back. Please don't! Not only does this teach that violence begets violence (the exact opposite of what you are going for here!), but it is also extremely unsanitary. Saliva is not something you really want to use as your teaching method!       

       Finally, if biting continues to be a problem, assess the issue very carefully. Look at the environment this is happening in-is it always in one place or is it at home, at school, in church? Is he always biting the same person? Does he only bite adults or kids, or is anyone susceptible to his chompers? Once you have a good sense of what the nature of the problem truly is, if you cannot figure out a way to control the environment or such and talking is not helping, it may be time to consult your pediatrician.


Suggestions for This Week . . .
By Jami Fowler-White, edHelperBaby

                          "I WANT MOMMY TO DO IT!"

       As your child begins to talk, he or she will seem to prefer one parent over the other and usually it is the mother. Children typically will choose the parent who takes care of them the bulk of the time. Do not fall into the trap of always allowing your child to choose! Here are a few suggestions for managing your child during this "preferred parent" stage:       
  1. Begin to block out time so that the other parent, typically the father, does not feel left out. Mom can plan to go out to dinner with friends, walk around the neighborhood and run errands, etc. This blocked out time will get your child used to you not being around all of the time.
  2. Alternate daily duties such as giving your child a bath, reading a book and putting him or her to bed. By doing this, each parent will get the chance to develop their own routine or way of doing these things.
  3. Never criticize the way that the other parent chooses to do things. Each parent needs to establish his or her own way of doing things. Your child will understand that Mommy does it one way and Daddy does it another way.  Your child will not care how it gets done as long as their needs are met.
                             "HEALTHY TEETH"       

    Since your child's teeth have begun to come in, it is a great idea to begin teaching them about keeping their teeth and gums healthy. Here are some suggestions:
  1. Model brushing and flossing your teeth for your child.
  2. Choose child-safe toothpaste.
  3. Read the labels to make sure that it is okay for your child to swallow the toothpaste.
  4. Let your child choose their own toothbrush. A toothbrush with characters from his or her favorite book, movie or television show work well with most children this age.
  5. Be sure to take your child with you as you visit the dentist this year. The dentist will probably want to take a peek at your child's teeth and decide when to schedule their first visit.

Let Me Out!
By Gabrielle Browne, edHelperBaby

           For a toddler whose greatest joy is to explore the world around them, being buckled into a car seat or stroller can seem like a life sentence in prison. The same child who used to find great joy in a walk around the neighborhood now wants to climb out of the stroller and walk on his own. The car, once the nap-inducer, is now a frustrating opportunity to try to wriggle out of confinement.       

       What happened? Growth and development is happening. It is the same streak of independence that is pushing your toddler to walk instead of crawl, to try new foods and words, to use a spoon, and to explore on his own. Unfortunately, it is not usually seen as a highlight of development. How many times have you seen parents scolding their young children in stores for trying to climb out of a grocery cart or yelling at toddlers for heading in the opposite direction?       

       This is simply what toddlers do. It is not done to make parents angry or frustrated, although running after a child through a store or church is definitely frustrating! Parents need to "pack their patience" when going out in public with a toddler. Planning ahead can help, too. Do you have snacks? Should you wait until your child naps? Is there a special "going out" bag with toys and books used only when out and about that you can create? Can you sing silly songs or pop in a favorite CD during car rides? Interacting with your toddler BEFORE a problem begins can certainly help an exasperated parent ward off frustration. It will also help your child remember that he does not have to misbehave to get attention.

A Neat House and A Toddler???
By Nicole E Nappi, edHelperBaby

           Keeping the house neat with a fourteen month old running around is nearly impossible. You can try to keep a neat house, but you will probably lose something that is much more important, your mind! Of course with little ones running around, you want your house to be clean and as germ free as possible, however, there is a huge difference between a neat house and a clean one. A clean house is dusted, vacuumed, swept, tables, highchairs and counters are sanitized and linens are clean. A neat house has everything in its place and nothing just lying around. Neat is unrealistic when you have very young children. If someone is coming over, you may want to straighten up, but do not expect it to stay that way for long. Toddlers are notorious for running through a neat room like a tornado and leaving a devastating aftermath. Bottom line: do not kill yourself over a neat house but just work toward a clean one and enjoy the time you have with your little tornado. They grow so fast!

Breast Feeding – A Mother’s Perspective
By Pam Worthen, edHelperBaby

           One of the first decisions a new mother must make is whether to breast or bottle feed their baby.  Mothers must make the decision that will be best for their families.  There is no right or wrong choice although the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding as the best for babies.  The Academy of Pediatrics says babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months and that breast feeding should continue until twelve months (and beyond) if both the mother and baby are willing.       

       I made the decision to breastfeed when I was pregnant with my first child.  Before that time, I thought I would never do such a thing.  Something changed in me when I was pregnant that made it seem the natural thing to do.  I was bonding and loving the baby growing inside of me.  I wanted to do what was best for her.  Some of the benefits of breast feeding are the decrease in illnesses in newborns.  Antibodies passed from a nursing mother to her baby can help lower the occurrence of many childhood illnesses.  Breast milk increases the barriers of infection and decreasing the growth of organisms like bacteria and viruses. As a group, formula fed babies have more infections and more hospitalizations than do breast fed babies.  Breastfeeding is particularly beneficial for premature babies.       

       Breast milk is the perfect food for the digestive system and is easily digested by an infant's immature system.  Because of this, they will have fewer incidences of diarrhea or constipation.  One thing you never read about is that the stools of breast fed babies do not have a strong odor as do the formula fed babies.  This is something much appreciated when it is time for diaper changing.  Their stools are also much looser so I suggest buying the diapers that have elastic at the legs to keep everything inside the diaper.       

       All the vitamins and minerals that a newborn requires are in breast milk. Commercial formulas do a pretty good job of trying to duplicate the ingredients in breast milk but have not matched it exactly, the reason being that breast milk has more complex substances which are too difficult to manufacture and some have not been identified.       

       There are health advantages for mothers as well. Studies show that breastfeeding helps lower the risk of some types of breast cancer and also decreases the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.       

       Breast milk is FREE!  It is always just the right temperature so there is no cost of heating it.  When your baby wakes in the middle of the night, his or her milk is ready and waiting at the perfect temperature.  Just think of all the time you will save.  You may want to pump milk for when you are away from home, but consider how many bottles you would be preparing if you were formula feeding your baby.   Mothers who breastfeed their babies will miss less work to stay home and take care of a sick baby.  Fees for office visits to the pediatrician and prescription costs will be much less.       

       A nursing mother burns hundreds of extra calories a day helping you to loose the extra weight you gained during pregnancy.  Be sure to eat a well balanced diet and pick foods high in nutrition.  You will need about 500 extra calories, just choose them wisely and you will be back to pre-pregnancy size before you know it.       

       What I enjoyed the most was the bonding it created between my babies and me.  They would look up at me with such loving and adoring eyes.  There was no mistaking who mommy was.  The skin to skin contact enhances the emotional connection between mother and child.       

       With all this said, there will also be challenges along the way with breastfeeding.  You will need someone to consult with when a problem arises.  I found the La Leche League to be very helpful.  You may have a support team at your local hospital or pediatrician's office.  It could be a friend or relative who has successfully nursed a child or two.  You will get a lot of advice from well wishers that do not really know the facts about breastfeeding.  If they have not nursed a baby for twelve months or more, you may want to go else where for your advice.  I nursed all five of my children and believe it or not the one with the most challenges was my fifth child.  If I had not nursed the previous four successfully, I may have given up, but I was determined to succeed.  She was jaundice when she was born and had to be under triple lights and hospitalized for nine days after her birth.  The pediatrician did not want me to take her out from under the lights to nurse her, so we had to give her formula.  I nursed her in the delivery room but then did not get a chance to nurse her again until she was eight days old.  I had to resort to pumping which I had never been very successful at before.  When I started nursing her, I did not have enough milk so I had to give her formula also.  Once I got her home, I nursed her as often as she wanted to get my supply up.  Within a few weeks, I had enough for her.  I refused to give up.  I think that is why most women do not succeed at breastfeeding is because they give up when faced with challenges.  That is where your support person comes in to give you advice and the confidence that you can overcome what ever problem you are facing.  It is best to find support groups before you deliver your baby to help you be prepared for any challenges that may arise.       

       Four of my children are adults now and looking back at how I raised them, breastfeeding is one thing I would not change.  I think it is such a fantastic experience between a mother and child that you do not want to miss.       


The Wonders of Motherhood. . .
By Jami Fowler-White, About my child DeVon

           DeVon has been going through the "I want Mommy to do it" phase for the past couple of months. Although it made me feel great, I knew that his dad was feeling left out. One evening, I suggested that my husband and I begin alternating DeVon's night time routine. My husband and I alternate putting him to bed each night. We both give him a bath first. His favorite bath toys right now are his array of rubber ducks. He has a whole family of them.  Next, he goes and picks out books for us to read. When I put him to bed, one of his choices is always, It's Not Easy Being a Bunny by Marilyn Sadler.  He likes for his dad to read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. It seems that he knows that I read three to four books to him each night so he chooses short books. He has figured out that his dad will only read one book so he chooses books with lots of pages in them. I place DeVon in my lap as I rock him in the rocking chair and read to him. Typically, his dad reads to him while sitting in a chair beside his bed.  DeVon is usually almost asleep by the time we finish reading to him. Since we have begun doing this, my son has stopped asking for Mommy to do everything.

Favorite Colors
By Gabrielle Browne, About my child Nate

           Nate is definitely showing signs of having favorites. Oscar the cat is his favorite doll and he has books that he consistently goes back to. He even has favorite puzzle pieces with certain fingers from a puzzle showing two hands.       

       I do not really know if children this age can have favorite colors, but Nate seems to go for all things red. The puzzle fingers he likes are both red. He likes the pictures of red apples and tomatoes. If he is going to carry a block around, it is usually the red ones. It is a peculiarity that his dad and I really have noticed happening on a regular basis. I guess it will make learning his colors a little easier!

My Little Guy Needs Safety Gear!
By Nicole E Nappi, About my child Austin

           Austin took his first steps at eleven months and slowly learned to walk. He was able to walk by his first birthday, but often opted to crawl, seemingly because he could get around much faster. He was also a bit nervous about falling. He was very cautious and would take a few steps but as soon as he began to wobble, he would sit down. Things have changed drastically over the past month or so. Austin is running through the house now without a care in the world. I, on the other hand, am a nervous wreck! We have tile throughout our house except for the bedrooms so I am constantly worried he is going to fall and hit his head or face on the tile. He has also started climbing. He can make his way onto the couch now and tries to climb out of his gated play area as well. I have made the house as safe as possible so I guess I just need to watch him closely and keep my fingers crossed!

Follow the Leader
By Pam Worthen, About my child Leah

           The favorite game for Leah this week is Follow the Leader.  She starts singing Follow the Leader and tells everyone to, "Come on!"  We follow her around and she giggles as we imitate her moves.  I give her suggestions for something we can try next.  We hop, skip, and jump around the living room. I will say, "Can you jump on one leg?"  She attempts this but cannot do it very well.  We giggle and try something else.  She tells us to trot and then canter which she learned at my daughter's horse lesson.  What a fun way to help her work on her motor skills.


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