As I mentioned in my prior post, we try to avoid going out to eat as much as possible these days because the little man sees it as an invitation to act like a holy terror. Really, I should have known better… but every time we go out I hope for the best and cross my fingers that the Habanero will behave. I tend to think even though I’d like to avoid going out in public so I don’t have to deal with the hassle it’s still important for him to learn how to act in public and he’s not going to do that home.
In any case the other night we decided to throw caution to the wind and venture out for some Mexican because I didn’t feel like cooking. When you have kid, you typically get seated at restaurants well away from the other patrons and tonight was no exception. We were given a table near the only other family in the place who had two kids.
It’s always interesting to see how other parents, “parent” while you’re out in public. Before having children this is something I never would have paid any attention to, but now it’s a source of entertainment. Now, I don’t know about you but when I’m out and “people watching” I try not to be rude and stare, but I still glance over from time to time to check out what’s going on especially when there is a lot of noise going on.
Anyways, I’ve gone on long enough so I’ll try to get to the point. One of the children sitting at the table probably not much older than the Habanero was being a pill. Both of the children with the couple were girls, which I found kind of surprising because well usually it’s little boys misbehaving in public. I’ve always heard that girls are easier until they become teens, but I’m sure it depends on the kid. The family’s youngest was insisting on sitting in her parents lap while they were trying to eat, of course they were trying to pacify her and keep her quiet (she was quite vocal) while they finished their food. I took only slight notice of the commotion a few booths down out of the corner of my eye but saw parents trying to manhandle the girl to sit in her spot on the table.
When she realized she was getting nowhere she squirmed out of the seat and ran to the booth across from the family and proceeded to climb all over it like a monkey. No surface was safe until mom got up and wrangled her back to the table at which point tantrum commenced. Mom decided she had enough, and took both girls to the bathroom immediately after. Upon returning, dad got left at the table and mom took the kids to the car with her – obviously embarrassed by her kid’s behavior.
Between the tantrum and the trip the bathroom another couple wandered in and was seated across the aisle from us. Throughout the commotion our little guy was happily munching on chips and somewhat oblivious to what all had happened. The second our food arrived, it no longer became acceptable for him to sit in his high chair and he began standing up and trying to get out. For a while he was happy to sit at the booth next to dad, but that was short lived. He slid down to the nasty floor under the table and started crawling around. Dad was content to let him – but of course mom wasn’t. I picked him up, put him back in his seat and tried to get him to eat which he pretty much refused. Crying between bites of bean and rice he didn’t miss a tear.
He kept trying to stand and get out, and every time I sat him down and told him he had to wait to get up. This wasn’t an acceptable answer I guess because it just made the Habanero more vocal and he started with an all out fit. All the while, the couple across from us was watching our battle of wills – and not even inconspicuously. They were outright staring at us. I wanted to turn to them and ask if they were enjoying the show but I chose to ignore their stares and focus on the little man in hopes to try and get my point across.
You know how you can just tell what someone is thinking sometimes? This couple obviously was annoyed by our kid’s antics, he was crying and being a complete brat and you know what? I didn’t care. You could tell they were waiting for us to scoop him up and rush out of the restaurant like most parents but I wasn’t so inclined. I did find myself getting annoyed at the time it took the check to reach our table, but in the mean time I let the Habanero have his fit and tried to sternly tell him he needed to stop acting that way and he had to wait to get up. I’m not really sure what’s up with people these days but it seems like it’s almost expected that when a child is making a scene the parents are supposed to rush their child out of the situation rather than attempt to correct the problem right then and there.
Sure I was embarrassed by how my kid was acting, but I don’t think it’s right for other people to expect me to remove him so as not to disturb their meal. Maybe I’m rude for taking this stance, but I just don’t agree with reactionary parenting. It’s frustrating to be stared at, waiting for your check and having a child in all out tantrum mode but I know that in the future if my kid learns that all he has to do is act bad when he wants to get out of a situation I’ll be shooting myself in the foot. I guess that’s why I don’t understand when I see so many parents reacting to their children this way. I think this must be an American parenting tactic because it seems to fit with why American children require so much attention in comparison to others… or so I’ve read.
The little guy is pretty bored in his class these days because all of his friends have been moved to other rooms as they all hit their first birthdays. He’s only got 1 friend left who is a couple months younger than he is. I’ve been told he just doesn’t know what to do with himself. Yesterday his teacher said that he crawled back and forth across the room from one end to the other yelling baby talk about 4 times before he finally stopped. He was so loud they were worried he was going to wake up some of the younger sleeping babies. She said, does he do this at home? Yes. Yes he does, all I could do was laugh. We were told recently that he’s scheduled to move to a new classroom on May 2nd, the Pre-Toddler room, just after his birthday. Coincidentally, this is the same time as Teacher Appreciation Week. I am thinking something like this might be an appropriate parting gift as he moves to another class…
I wanted to post today but I’m having a hard time with the mental clarity to come up with anything that might be worth reading because well, the Habanero decided to wake up about every 30 minutes last night. My husband took care of him from about 11 PM to 3 A.M. at which point he lovingly rolled the kid over to my side of the bed to take care of. Needless to say, I’m going on fumes today and it’s just been “one of those Mondays”.
No rest for the weary I will be spending my evening at my annual volunteer orientation class for a local garden center that I’ve been working at for my 3rd year. So if this post is completely incomprehensible you’ll have to forgive me but here goes.
Every time the Habanero awoke last night he was crying. I don’t know what was going on, but sleep, bottles, and extra blankets – nothing worked. The best part is that he was cranky this morning, but non-the-less in a shouting mood so I spent the entire car ride to daycare/work with him in the back shouting. He wasn’t crying, he was talking very loudly which as you may have guessed can be pretty unnerving when you are going on only a couple of hours of sleep.
The tossing and turning, crowding and uncomfortable positions had me mostly losing hope by about 4:30 A.M. that I would be getting any rest before it was time to get up. So there I laid, pretending to sleep, trying not to move so that the little man would think maybe just maybe he should roll over and try to go back to sleep again himself. No dice. At about 6 A.M. after several hours of trying to fall back asleep I was rudely interrupted in my thoughts about how much it sucks to lose sleep by the Habanero standing on my hair.
I’m pretty thrilled to get past the stage of all out hair grasping anytime the Habanero touches my hair, but he’s started this new thing where he lays, rolls and stands on it which surprisingly hurts nearly as much if not more as his infamous little death grip. This kid loves hair. I’ve thought about cutting mine all off, but I’ve been told that this does nothing to stop the follicular attacks.
Most nights I am required to offer my sacrificial strands for the reassuring hair twirling that ensues before the Habanero’s eyeballs roll to the back of his head and he conks out. If you’ve never seen a baby’s eyes do this before I can tell you that it is pretty unnerving, even now that I’m used to seeing it. Thankfully, the Habanero no longer has his casts on his feet which means at least for now, I’m no longer getting kicked in the face with them. If you’ve never been kicked in the face by a cast, it’s a pretty memorable experience you should try it some time!
After shoving the little man off my hair and back to my husband’s side of the bed and yelling about how much it hurt to have my hair stood on, we got about 5 minutes of inconsolable crying before he finally settled back down and got over the fact that I was mad at him. I know he’s too young to understand really that he was hurting me but sometimes it just doesn’t make me any less reactionary to his attacks.
I’m sure I’ll learn to love this characteristic of the Habanero’s personality when he’s older more, but for now it is just very worrisome. He’s very determined and stubborn, and I’m pretty sure he’d crawl right off a cliff if I let him. When he sees something he wants, he goes right for it with amazing speed. Somewhat related, it seems is his demanding nature. This High Needs trait can drive us crazy sometimes. Lately he’s been snatching food off our plates and sticking his hand in our drinks before we even have the reflex to stop him. Between him and the dog it’s a wonder we even get to eat anything!
It doesn’t matter were we are – as with most kids he completely disregards his surroundings when he wants something. The thing is, he is so loud about what he wants when he wants something that you have no choice but to hear him and respond. For example, the other day when I picked him up from the daycare he was crying. He was crying so loud that I could hear him all the way down the hallway when I walked into the door to the daycare. What was wrong? Well nothing really he was just sitting there crying when I came in, I presume because he was cranky and tired.
You might think I am exaggerating his vocal abilities, but honestly, sometimes he’s so intense that you can’t even think when he’s crying. Fortunately for me, he doesn’t cry all the time or this would drive me insane. He pretty much does everything loudly though, did I mention how loud he is? The Habanero talks in high volume as well. Fortunately he’s at the stage where most people consider it cute and he’s just babbling. I think it might be almost normal for babies to have no control over their volume levels, but with any luck as he gets older he’ll learn to tone it down a little.
I cringe at the thought of the first time he says something completely embarrassing at the store where everyone stops and looks at me. I’m sure when the time comes I’ll have no choice but to laugh it off. Because he’s been so talkative since he was born I know it will happen several times.
I thought it would be fun to start sharing what my son’s teachers tell me everyday when I pick him up. Yesterday they said that he had wiped a booger on his arm and one of the teachers told the other that it needed to be cleaned up. The other teacher got a tissue, and couldn’t see where it was on him so she asked were it was and the Habanero pointed right at it. During snack time, he tilted his head back so far trying to get milk out of his sippy cup it dripped off his face and puddled behind him. Later in the day the teachers were talking to each other and he refused to let them have a conversation. Every time Ms. J would talk, he wouldn’t make a peep, but as soon as the Mrs. M would respond he would cough so loudly that eventually the teachers gave up on having a conversation because they couldn’t hear each other over his coughing! He has started pointing at things and squealing when he wants to touch them.
I work full time and so my son is in daycare full time. Last week I took a couple of hours out of my day to attend an event that his daycare was having in which they did a “parade” of babies around the daycare. Parents, teachers and children all walked around the center together – which was only about the size of a small neighborhood block. I was happy to spend some time with the Habanero during the day and get a break from the norm but my happiness was short lived and soon turned to a full on display of what High Needs is all about.
You see, ever since I’ve been telling my son’s teachers he was high needs I’ve met some resistance with the head teacher of his room telling me “He just doesn’t act like that here.” And to be honest, I was start to question my sanity a little thinking maybe he’s not really high needs, maybe I’m just imagining things. I suspected being that it is his personality and given his age that they probably just didn’t know what it means entirely even though I had given them the 12 Features article from Dr. Sears’ website.
I haven’t really had a chance to talk to the teachers about what happened last week yet, but I think that they may have started to realize just what I was trying to tell them during our parade. About 1/4 the way around the block, the Habanero decided he was no longer happy in his wagon and wanted to be held. Admittedly I struggle with the potential of “spoiling” him as they say by giving in to his every whim immediately. So I tried to calm him down while pulling the wagon and convince him it was more fun to be in the wagon than me carrying him. He was not so convinced.
After some time of loud, embarrassing, tantrum his teacher came over and picked him up out of the wagon to carry him. He stopped crying immediately. I knew that was what he wanted but fearing the judgement of other parents, I had hoped it would end as quickly has it had started (it usually does) and he’d realize that he wasn’t getting what he wanted. I made the wrong choice, and since I had ignored his pleas to be held, I paid the price.
What ensued was a game of “hot potato” baby style in which his teacher got tired of carrying him (he’s heavy and she’s got elbow issues) and so she handed him back to me. He started crying the second he left her arms. He was loud, and I could feel the other parents eyes burning through me as my kid was acting like a brat around all the other well behaved children. His teacher, realizing he wasn’t going to stop crying anytime soon, took him back and he immediately stopped crying. This happened a couple more times before she gave up and realized she was going to have to carry him the rest of the walk to keep him quiet. His teacher thought it was funny. If she had been a mother herself I am sure she would have realized how inappropriate and upsetting it really was.
You can imagine how horrible it felt as a parent to be rejected by my child for the first time publicly. Not only did my son decide he was upset that I had ignored his needs, he rejected my comfort for his teacher’s and to put a little extra salt in the wound, one of the nearby mothers who saw what was happening turned to her son and said “you better not ever do that to me”. I knew that the judgement of other parents, family and friends is something I will have to learn to deal with as the Habanero grows up – I wasn’t expecting to be put so on the spot right away about it.
If you’ve read up on high needs a little more by now, you’ve probably seen the article by Dr. Sears about Responding to Parenting Criticism. If not – here is a link. One of the hardest parts of raising a high needs child, so I’ve read, is learning to take the criticism from everywhere that you are spoiling your child. So, if and when this happens to you, it’s important to remember that you are doing the best you can and stay strong in your choices to meet the necessities of your child. Keep in mind that how we have all concluded is best to parent is highly dependent on the generation in which we were raised and the mindset at the time. Don’t let this interfere with your desire to do what’s right for your high needs child or you they may ensure that you regret it later!