Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Sunday Post- Spanking

A big discussion that came up this week on another blog I follow was about spanking. Yes or no?

It seemed that parents are divided and heated about their positions on spanking. Studies show that spanking does long term emotional harm to children.

But I think that the definition of spanking isn't clearly defined enough to prove or disprove anything. There's "spanking" that involves belts and bare bottoms and then there's spanking that uses light raps on the bottom, sometimes clothed. Are these in the same category? Do they cause the same kind of damage? There is a whole spectrum of spanking. It's a hot button topic and open for debate.

I'm not a big fan of spanking. And depending on the child there are much better punishment methods out there. But Daddy and I do sometimes have to use light raps to cull the bad behavior. What do we mean? We never, ever bend Billy over the knee with bare bottom. Nope. Too far for us. If he is really bad- having been told "no" three times and been in time out and still continues the dangerous behavior- then he gets a rap. I usually call it a bum smack. Three taps on the rear in the diaper and fully clothed, nothing stronger than a pat on the back. In every instance it has curbed his behavior. And we follow up with making him apologize and getting a hug. This is a specific practice for a toddler too young to listen to words, too young to understand time out and too young to know not to run in front of a car.

Discipline is very important to us and we work on it every day. It's a constant struggle and we are always instructing Billy on what is right and wrong for his health, safety and social welfare. We work hard enough on it that getting a rap on the bum is something very rare around here. He knows better because we teach him daily. And he reinforces that knowledge by walking around and telling me what he knows is a NoNo.

So how do you feel on the issue? To spank or not to spank?

February 10, 2012 ~ Old Dog, New Tricks

This morning Billy learned a new NoNo. He was following Buddy around and finally got him cornered. Then he grabbed Buddy's short, little tail and hung on for dear life, laughing hysterically. Well, docked doggy tails are pretty funny. But Buddy's not to fond of a 25lb weight hanging off of his tail.

"Billy!" I said forcefully, "no, no!"

Right on cue Billy let go. Oh, NoNo? So now we have a new game. Billy chases Buddy's bum around the room giggling "NoNo!" Just in case you were wondering, Buddy's bum is off limits.

This evening Billy continued to harass Buddy, but I made Billy apologize and give Buddy a big hug. Billy just wants to be best buds. Sorry for the pun, but it's true. Billy threw Buddy's ball for him, all 4 feet that Billy can muster. Billy shared his snack with Buddy. And Billy tried to pet him on his back gently- well, gently for a toddler, anyway.

Dogs are a very interesting thing to Billy and he wants to know more about them. He sat in my lap while Buddy showed off his repertoire of tricks. Billy even got to shake Buddy's hand on command. I asked Buddy to talk and then taught Billy to talk back to Buddy. Buddy would do his high-pitched trick bark (the one that gets him treats) and Billy would say "oo, oo!" right back at him in a high-pitched voice. OoOo, like "woof, woof" for someone that can't say w's or f's.

Yep. I taught my son some new tricks for playing with our old dog.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 9, 2012 ~ The Wagging Billy Finger

Billy will be happy to walk you around the house wagging his finger and letting you know what is a "no, no!" He walks into a room and immediately goes over to the NoNo and wags his finger at it, letting me know that he knows it's a NoNo. Care to walk around the house?

The Den:
Radiator: "NoNo. Hot!" Finger wags.
Wall heater: "NoNo." Hands in air. He's not sure why it's a NoNo.
TV: "NoNo." Then he smacks it with his hands and I shout, "No! No!" He laughs.

The Kitchen:
Dog water: "NoNo." Finger wags. Tries to stick a foot in the water anyway.
Oven: "NoNo. Hot!" Not right now, but let's go with it.
Trash: "Ooooh!" What Hygiene Enforcer doesn't love a dirt container? He loves to throw things out.

Our Bedroom:
Outlets: "NoNo." Finger wags.
My alarm clock: "NoNo." Tries to push the buttons anyway and grabs the electrical cord. "Billy, no!"

Toilet: "NoNo." Then he grabs as much toilet paper as he can before I stop him and throws it into the toilet. "Look!" Yes, yes. That's enough. Save some TP for me! Mommy doesn't wear a diaper!

Wherever we are, Billy will be sure to let me know what is a "NoNo." Then, if he feels like it, he'll do it anyway. It's a toddler prerogative.

Drawn In Thursdays: Hygiene Enforcer #2

Click to Enlarge

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February 7, 2012 ~ A Picture of Paw

On a bookshelf in our den I keep an old, faded photo, yellow with time. It is a photo of great importance to me, although I look at it infrequently. It is my parent's wedding photo. They are young, happy, long before the divorce. Standing with them are their parents. They are dressed in all of their finery. To my knowledge it is the only photo with all of them together.

I have taken flack from both of my parents for displaying their wedding photo. But it's not about their defunct marriage. It's about the people. In that photo are all of my parents, grand or otherwise.

Today while playing, Billy went over to look at the digital picture frame that sits next to the old wedding photo. Then he looked at the photo and pointed directly at my maternal grandfather. "Granddad!" he said matter-of-factly.

I have never referred to this man by that name. To me he was simply Paw. I grew up in his house and was as close to him as I am with my parents. This is the benefit of having three generations under one roof. There is a very special bond when the grandparent is around full time. I think of him often. But, honestly, I rarely speak of him now.

I have also never talked to Billy about who is in the photo. Speaking of long gone relatives seems a bit over the head of a one-year-old. We're still working on things like eating with a fork. So, he should have no knowledge of who is in the photo other than by mistake.

Daddy suggested that maybe he thought the man in the photo was Grandpop and he said the wrong name too. I guess this could be so. But Paw is wearing thick-rimmed glasses in the photo and Grandpop doesn't need glasses. Also, the two men look nothing alike, except for the receding hairlines. Perhaps he thinks it is his grandfather (Daddy's dad). At least he wears glasses. But Billy has only met him twice and I doubt would recall him by name.

I will probably never know if it was simply a mistake or if he somehow knows who Paw is. But I would like to think that maybe, just maybe, his namesake is watching over him. I hope so.

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012 ~ Early Morning Serenade

First, I would like to report that Billy is doing just fine and still has no symptoms from his fall.

This morning Billy woke up extra early. He was up before me, before Daddy and even before the sun. At least once a week he does this, if not more often. How do I know? He wakes up and starts singing.

Imagine a nice warm bed, all cozy and sleeping soundly. Then, the soft wafting of toddler tune drifting through your bedroom door and waking you up in the darkness before dawn. Sometimes too quiet to hear, sometimes loud, never to a recognizable song nor with a tune you could remotely try to follow. The lyrics are always unitelligible toddler ramble, non-rhyming and repetitive. Sometimes, rarely, his melodic windings will be interjected with an, "oh, no!" or "oh, look!" or "uh, oh!" Sometimes, rarely, giggles and pure laughter will punctuate the songs. Then, when one of our alarms goes off, the happy singing will turn to whining [translation: I can hear you, come get me now].

This morning Billy woke me before my alarm. I turned it off and let him serenade me. He kept singing until I got up to get him, happy as a clam in his crib. What better way to wake up?

February 5, 2012 ~ Dreams and Nightmares

Yesterday morning began with Billy crying in his crib. "Bye bye, Bud Bud!" He kept screaming over and over. I couldn't get him to settle down until I called Buddy into the nursery and showed Billy that Buddy was still with us. As soon as Buddy left the room to go wait by his food bowl Billy started screaming again, "Bye bye, Bud Bud!" Even when I let Buddy outside in the morning Billy screamed for his Buddy. It was any time Buddy went out of sight. He must have had a bad dream about Buddy and couldn't shake it when he woke. It took over an hour for Billy to settle down and understand that Buddy wasn't leaving us.

When Billy woke up from his nap, much happier than in the morning, it was snowing. Big, fat flakes. I opened the door so he could watch through the storm door as they fell down and covered the driveway. He wanted to go outside, but it was very wet out and didn't seem like such a good idea.

I, however, did have to go out in the weather and run an errand. When I got back I found Billy in his wagon and Buddy hooked up to the front of it in a makeshift harness pulling the wagon around. Daddy thought this was quite funny and Billy was having an excellent time. Buddy was no worse for wear, but I unhooked him from the wagon and he ran off with a toy for some baby-free time.

Billy spent most of Sunday with Daddy. I had to go out of town for a baby shower, so I was around in the morning but I was getting ready. I stayed to put him down for a nap but then I was off. While I was gone Grandpop and Uncle Alex stopped in, but I wasn't back yet.

The biggest thing to happen today was that Daddy had put goop in Billy's hair so I had to wash it out. I opted for the shower since in the bath he would have to sit in the water with the washed out goop. Daddy didn't think about whether or not his adult hair product would be good for baby. Fortunately, it wasn't on his head for very long. Anyway, I took him in the shower to wash it out.

When we were getting out of the shower Billy slipped and fell. It's one of those things where I was right there. But he waiting until I was reaching for the towel to slip and in that slit second hit his head. Of the thousand times a day I catch him when he falls, he has to wait until we're on tile for me to miss. He went bum first, so it wasn't a full fall, but he has a small lump on his head.

I've been watching him neurotically all evening for any dizziness, changes in behavior and sleepiness. But, of course, it was close to bedtime when he fell, so one would assume he would be tired anyway. And when your toddler does new and different behaviors every day it's hard to know what's normal and what's abnormal, especially since I wasn't with him all day. He's not showing any signs of trauma, but I've been waking him up every hour on the hour anyway to make sure.

We did contemplate going to the hospital, but since he seemed normal we're just watching him at home. Kids fall down, it's part of growing up. So while the hyper Mommy chip in my brain is causing me to go into panic mode, I'm trying to let reason take over instead. A small scrape isn't worth pandemonium and a small fall calls for caution not calamity.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Sunday Post ~ The Future Animal Kingdom

I would like to introduce you to an animal that you've probably never heard of. Please meet the African Scimitar Oryx:

Scimitar Oryx

The particular type of antelope is extinct in the wild. When I was a child they still lived in their native lands but were critically endangered. They are now gone except for zoos, a few conservation ranches in Africa and several game reserves in Texas. In fact, there are several thousand Scimitar Oryxes roaming around Texas on these reserves.

Previously, exotic animals like the oryx were exempt from the Endangered Species Act when raised on these game reserves. Hunting them as trophies generated big money for the ranchers. Now, thanks to a change in the law, those animals can no longer be hunted on the ranches.

When ranchers were generating revenue from these animals there was incentive to continue breeding and maintaining large herds of these antelope. Now that it is illegal to hunt them, do you think ranchers will continue to breed and maintain their herds? What does this mean for the future of the species? Will conservationism alone be enough to sustain the oryx?

Ten years from now it is entirely possible that this species will be gone. Billy might only get to read about them in science books or see video of this creature. They might be gone and he won't get to experience their majesty in person.

It's not just the oryx. There are so many other species that are on the brink. Conservation alone is not going to save them all. Money is the driving force in this world. So is it wrong for ranchers to make money on hunting a few of these animals in order to breed so many more?

In this case I think it is worth sacrificing a few to save the species so future generations can enjoy them too.

What do you think?