My baby loves to head bang…

So, Donut is going through a bit of a phase at the moment, where whenever he doesn’t get his own way, he gets on to all fours, and *slams* his head in to the floor.  Let me explain a little more…

Donut is 21 and a half months old.  He’ll be 2 in June.

His speech is only just starting to come in, and although we can understand a few of the words, he’s still doing a lot of baby babble.  He’s frustrated because he can’t tell us what he wants or needs yet, and although we do get our “guesses” right most of the time, the other times, he gets wound up.

In order for us to give you a bit of a breakdown as to what usually goes on, allow me to give you a few examples:

  1. He asks for a sweet, biscuit or chocolate (he can say sweetie, biccie and choccy), but it’s dinner time, and he needs to eat that first.  We say “no – you need to have your dinner first…”  Donut then gets on to his hands and knees, and headbutts the floor.  Sometimes just the once, sometimes up to 4 or 5 times.
  2. He’s in his (wooden) highchair, having a bit of time out / relaxing a little after dinner, and we give him a book / toy.  He either throws the toy, or starts ripping the book.  After we’ve told him several times not to do it, he starts “reverse” headbutting the backrest of the highchair.
  3. We’re in the car, and he drops a toy on the floor.  We’re unable to turn around to pick it up for him, so he starts screaming (oh, it sounds like he’s screaming murder!!), and then rocking – almost violently, backwards and forwards in his car seat, banging his head all over the place!

Welcome to a day in the life of Donut…

Let’s be honest, as a parent, you don’t want your little one injured.  It upsets you (as well as them) when they get hurt, and it makes you feel absolutely awful – and sometimes completely helpless, when they start hurting themselves deliberately!

Donut has been doing this headbanging thing for about 3 or 4 months now, and last night I’d had enough.  He was very nicely sitting on my knee, eating a sweetie (Parma Violet), and he asked for another – “more”.  I said he can have another one, as soon as he has finished the one that he has in his mouth.  He started getting frustrated, and lashed out at me.  He screamed, and punched me.  I said, “I’m not having that – that was naughty.  Get off my knee.”  I gently pushed him off my knee, and the next thing you know, he’s on all fours, and “BANG”.  He’s headbutted the floor.  He was then the proud owner of a massive red mark across his forehead.

Thankfully, we have a Witch Hazel stick, that we bought from a pharmacy.  It’s great for kids, because it means that we don’t have to try to hold a piece of kitchen roll, soaked with the usual liquid Witch Hazel, over the “bump”.  We got that on him straight away, and this morning, there’s no mark at all.

So, I did what every mum does, just before they get to the wits end of getting medical advice for their kids, and I took to social media.  I made a post on Mummy Social, asking for advice, and primarily, to see if anyone else has had the same problems.

I received several replies, and I am pleased to say that I am not alone.  A lot of the comments were from mummies who have similarly aged children, who are either going through, or have been through a “head banging” stage.  One of the mummies there gave a link to a page on the Baby Centre website, simply entitled, “Head banging (12 to 24 mo.)“.  Here’s what I’ve found on that website:

Why does my toddler purposely bang his head?

Head banging is surprisingly common. Up to 20 percent of babies and toddlers bang their head on purpose, although boys are three times more likely to do it than girls. Head banging often starts in the second half of the first year and peaks between 18 and 24 months of age. Your child’s head banging habit may last for several months, or even years, though most children outgrow it by age 3.

Possible reasons your toddler may bang his head:

  • Self-comfort. As strange as it may sound, most toddlers who indulge in this behaviour do it to relax. They bang their head rhythmically as they’re falling asleep, when they wake up in the middle of the night, or even while they’re sleeping. Some rock on all fours as well. Developmental experts believe that the rhythmic motion, like rocking in a chair, may help your toddler soothe himself.
  • Pain relief. Your toddler may also bang his head if he’s in pain — from teething or an ear infection, for example. Head banging seems to help kids feel better, perhaps by distracting them from the discomfort in their mouth or ear.  This is rather convenient, considering Donut was diagnosed with an ear infection just a couple of weeks ago, but his head banging started a couple of months ago…
  • Frustration. If your toddler bangs his head during temper tantrums, he’s probably trying to vent some strong emotions. He hasn’t yet learned to express his feelings adequately through words, so he’s using physical actions. And again, he may be comforting himself during this very stressful event.  This is my initial thought for why Donut bangs his head.
  • A need for attention. Ongoing head banging may also be a way for your toddler to get attention. Understandably, you may tend to become solicitous when you see your child doing something that appears self-destructive. And since he likes it when you fuss over his behaviour, he may continue the head banging in order to get the attention he wants.
  • A developmental problem. Head banging can be associated with autism and other developmental disorders — but in most of these cases, it’s just one of many behavioural red flags. Rarely does head banging alone signal a serious problem.

What can I do about it?

Give your toddler your attention — but not when he’s banging.  
Make sure your child gets plenty of positive attention from you when he’s not banging his head. If he still bangs his head to get your attention, though, try not to make a big deal about it, or you may reinforce the behaviour. Even if you can’t completely disregard the behaviour, don’t scold or punish him for it. He’s too young to understand the situation, and your disapproval may only make matters worse.  Easier said than done, if you ask me.

Protect your child from injury.  
Check all the screws and bolts on your toddler’s crib once a month or more to make sure the rocking isn’t loosening anything. You can also put rubber casters on the crib legs and hang a soft fabric or quilt between the crib and the wall to reduce noise and to minimise wear and tear on the walls and floor.

Don’t put pillows or blankets in his crib to soften his surroundings, because these are a suffocation hazard. If you want to use bumpers on your toddler’s crib to soften his blows, make sure that they’re thin, firm (not puffy), and securely tied to the crib railings, so your toddler can’t get his head between the bumper and the railing.  This isn’t appropriate to us, as Donut has been in his own (toddler) bed for almost 10 months…

Try not to worry.
Your toddler may get a bruise or two, but don’t worry — head banging is usually a “self-regulating” behaviour. This means your child is unlikely to hit his head hard enough to seriously injure himself. He knows his threshold for pain and will pull back on the throttle a bit if the banging hurts.  Again, easier said than done.  

Help foster your child’s love of rhythm in other ways.
Your child clearly likes a good steady beat, so help him find other outlets for his love of rhythm. Experts often recommend dancing, marching, and drumming or clapping to music together. You might also try putting a metronome in your child’s room to give him the comfort of a steady rhythm. Make sure he gets lots of physical exercise during the day, too, to help him burn off some of the nervous energy that may feed his head banging.  We’ve noticed that if we put some loud music on, Donut tends to stop what he is doing, and dances to it instead…

Start a soothing bedtime routine.
If your child is banging his head as a way of “coming down” from his busy day, try setting up a relaxing routine. A warm bath, a calm rock on your lap, and a quiet story or song may help. You may want to spend a few minutes before bed rubbing his back or stroking his forehead. Soft music in his bedroom can be soothing, too.

Consult a doctor if your child’s behaviour becomes worrisome.
If your child bangs his head a lot during the day or continues to bang his head even though he’s hurting himself, you may have cause for concern. Though it’s uncommon, head banging can be associated with autism and other developmental disorders, which sometimes become apparent during the toddler and preschool years.

Autistic children generally don’t relate well to people. They often aren’t interested in physical contact with their parents and seem to look through people rather than at them. If you notice that your child is losing physical abilities, language, or other skills he’s acquired; if he’s becoming increasingly withdrawn; or if he’s consistently delayed in achieving common developmental milestones, that is the time to seek medical advise.


So, I think all in all, this is a common phase that Donut is going through, so it’s just a matter of riding it out.

First day of school

Today is Gning’s first day of “real” school.

Today he starts the Reception class.

He’s been in the nursery in the school for the past fifteen months or so, but this is different.  It means he’s growing up, and I don’t know if I’m quite ready for it yet.  He’s still my baby.  Yes, I have Donut, who is my baby (age 1), but Gning…  He’s my miracle baby, and he always will be.

Here’s a poem I found online…

Dear Teacher

I know you’re rather busy
First day back, there’s just no time
A whole new class of little ones
And this one here is mine

I’m sure you have things covered
And have done this lots before
But my boy is very little
He is still only four

In his uniform this morning
He looked so tall and steady
But now beside your great big school
I’m not quite sure he’s ready

Do you help them eat their lunch?
Are you quick to soothe their fears?
And if he falls and hurts his knee
Will someone dry his tears?

And what if no-one plays with him?
What if someone’s mean?
What if two kids have a fight
And he’s caught in between?

You’re right, I have to leave now
It’s time for him to go
I’m sure he’ll learn so much from you
Things that I don’t know

Yes, I’m sure they settle quickly
That he’s fine now without me
I know he has to go to school
It’s just so fast, you see

It seems like just a blink ago
I first held him in my arms
It’s been my job to love, to teach
To keep him safe from harm

So, when I wave goodbye in a moment
And he turns to walk inside
Forgive me if I crumple
Into tears of loss and pride

I know as I give him one more kiss
And watch him walk away
That he’ll never again be wholly mine
As he was before today.

From a scared parent…
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And here’s the reply I found…

Dear Parent,

I understand that you are scared
to wave your child goodbye
and leave him in a teacher’s hands
don’t worry if you cry!

I’m used to weeping parents
It’s hard to leave I know.
But it’s time to share him (just a bit)
To help him learn and grow.

Let me reassure you
That I’ll give your child my best
I’ll wipe his tears, soothe his fears
And change his dirty vest!

If your darling child is full of cold
I’ll blow their nose all day
Just like you, I’ll care for them
In a special way.

I’ll treat him like I would my own
I’ll catch him from a fall and
If there is ANY problem
I’ll be sure to tell you all.

It’s true he’ll grow to love us
They’ll talk of school a lot
It doesn’t mean they hate you
And that you should lose the plot!

I’ll tell you a secret..
That when your child is here
They talk to me as much of you
Of this please have no fear.

You’ll always be their mother
Whilst teachers come and go
To them you are their number one
This I truly know.

Soon you’ll see some changes
In your little girl or boy
They’ll become more independent
And to see this, it’s a joy!

I’ll teach them all I have to give
To share, climb and to write
But to you they safely will return
To tuck them in at night.

With love from a teacher…

An open letter to the mother who has to go back to work

To the mother that has to go back to work.

You may have been absent from work for a long time, but you’ve certainly had your hands full.

You, yes you, have brought a child in to the world.  Granted, there was someone else to help you at the very beginning, but it was YOU who gave birth – or, if you’re like me, you’ve had your tummy sliced right open.  Just for them.

If you put the child to feed on your breast, you’ve had the cracked and painful nipples.  Sometimes you’ve had the teeth too…

If you fed the child on the bottle, you’ve spent endless hours washing and sterilising those pain in the arse bottles.  Not to mention the scooping of the powder, and the constant temperature checking.  It may be ok for you to drink cold tea, and slurp scalding tomato soup, but the baby’s milk has to be perfect.

You’ve been pee’d on and vomited on – almost daily.

You’ve been elbows deep, sometimes literally, in baby poo.

You’ve found baby poo in your hair…  An hour after you changed the last dirty nappy.  You don’t even know how it got there.

You know exactly when your washing machine will finish the load – because it seems to be on all of the time.

You’ve watched your child grow from a pure and innocent baby, who was so delicate, to a smiling, laughing, possibly crawling, and maybe even standing, ‘not quite a toddler’ child.

But alas, you have reached that time where you can no longer put it off.  You’re venturing in to worlds anew – even if you’ve been there before.

You’ve made the hard decision to leave your child behind and go back to work.  Afterall, you need the money, right?  You need your career, right?

But don’t think of it like that.  Think of it as a new beginning.

You are going to miss your child.  You are going to constantly wonder if you made the right choice to return to work.  You are going to cry every now and again…  Afterall…  You’re leaving behind that pure and innocent baby behind…

But you will be ok.  

It is ok to cry.

It is ok to miss your child.

It is ok to wonder if you made the right decision.

Just remember that at the end of your working day, you have those beautiful smiles to go home to.  Those cuddles, that you now take for granted, are going to be cherished even more.  Bedtimes may still be a struggle – especially if you have one of those children (like mine) who doesn’t like to go to bed – but you will love the effort you have to put in.

Why?

Because that’s your child, and even though you are away from them the whole day, you know they are there, waiting for you when you get home.

From a mother who’s been there before x

My 3 year old photographer – Pic heavy

At the beginning of the month, the hubby took Gning away for the night, in a lovely little country inn, just outside the town of Penrith.  Now, my little man absolutely loves technology.  Because of his interest, hubby gave him his old Olympus digital camera (14MP), with fully charged batteries, and a blank SD card.

The following pictures were all shot by the Gning himself…  Bear in mind that he is only 3 years old.

(For a clearer view of each picture, you can click on each image to make it larger.)

The classic "foot shot"

The classic “foot shot”

Dear soon-to-be Mum of two

Dear soon-to-be Mummy of two,

I don’t know you. But I feel like I do.

I used to be you.

And I was terrified.

I thought of you today. I don’t know your name, and I don’t know what you look like. But I still thought of you. I wondered if you were holding your breath as you waited for the home pregnancy test to deliver your fate, not sure if you should be thrilled or petrified. I wondered if you are finding it hard to chase after your toddler because you are so exhausted from the constant morning all-the-time sickness. I wondered if you were crying over your child’s bed tonight, trying to figure out why you ever thought it would be a good idea to “try again”. I wondered if you looked down at your swollen belly with guilt, thinking, “How could I POSSIBLY love you as much as I love my firstborn?” I wondered if you looked at your firstborn with guilt, thinking, “How could I have done this to you?”

I thought of you … because I WAS you.

And I wish I could give you a hug and tell you that it’s going to be OK.

Because it is.

I wish I could tell you that from the moment your second child enters your life, you will feel strong and confident, and that that feeling will never go away… But I can’t.

I also wish I could tell you it was going to be easy…  But I can’t.

Because it isn’t.

Tough times are ahead of you. You’ll have moments when you’re trying to feed a hungry baby and cajole a grumpy toddler onto the potty seat and you’ll wish you had three extra hands, a second brain (or even just a single not-so-sleep-deprived one), and a carton of ice cream that no one expects you to share. You’ll likely leave at least one restaurant in tears, vowing that you’ll never again take your children out in public. You’re going to spend a lot of time breaking up arguments (and/or perfecting the art of tuning them out). You’ll wonder if you’re going to be able to sleep again, or shower in peace again, or carry on a thoughtful conversation again. For a while, you’re going to be wiped out.

I can’t tell you it’s going to be easy.

But I can tell you this:

I can tell you that one day your younger child will be trying to tell you a story but will leave out a crucial detail. And that, confused, you’ll turn to your older child, who will be able to effortlessly bring you up to speed. And then your world will stop spinning in one breathless moment as you realize that those two…  They complete each other.

I can tell you what I wish I could tell myself. That breathless moment? It will come. And it will make it all worth it.

That’s what you need to know, Mummy. Today, you worry about what your pregnancy is taking away from your precious only child. You worry because you’re too sick to cook wholesome dinners. You worry because you’re too tired to go to the park. You worry because trips to the library are being replaced with Netflix binge sessions as you collapse, exhausted, on the couch. You worry and you worry and you worry, because that’s what we do as parents. We worry.

But today, worry a little less.

This season of life…  It’s just a season. And everything that you’re “taking away” from your child will be returned tenfold. One day you’ll wake up and find your kids playing together. You’ll walk into the room and they won’t even notice you’re there because they’re too busy having fun together. They’ll be giggling and building and discussing and making memories.

That won’t be every moment of the day. It probably won’t even be most moments of the day.

But these moments will come. And they will make it all worth it.

So hang in there, Mummy. Be brave. Worry a little less.

Because life is about to get so much better.

30 Day Writing Challenge – DAY 4

Write about someone who inspires you

My eldest son, Gning.

He’s may only be 3 years old, but he is the reason I have done any form of crafting over the past 4 years.

Everything I have ever done (craft wise) has been for, and because of him.  It all started when Gning was in my tummy, and I had just left for maternity leave.  I had thought I would try making fashion jewellery and accessories to sell for a little bit of “pocket money” for my upcoming bairn (baby).

It all started off well, but soon faded out as interest from potential customers was lost.

10 ways that newborns are evil…

Sure, you love them, but babies are evil.  I can prove it too…  Just read the list below, and if you don’t agree, then please comment with your argument 😉  Alternatively, give me a big thumbs up if I have helped you to see the light.

1.  Newborns sleep all day and drink your bodily fluids.  So do vampires.

2.  Poop that looks like soft foods?  Thanks for ruining mustard, pudding, and hummus.

3.  During the daytime, everyone will touch your baby with their nose-picking fingers.  Your baby will wait until 3am to Linda Blair all over you, and your bed…  Until then, you’ve never had a reason to change your bedding at stupid o’clock.

4.  The only thing as scary as the sound of a crying newborn is Nickelback.

5.  You are so beautiful that a man wanted to procreate with you, or you are so financially stable that you could adopt a baby.  Caring for that baby will make you ugly and broke.  Babies love a cruel joke.

6.  Colic.

7.  Only debauched people eat and poop at the same time.

8.  Humans need sleep, your baby doesn’t.  Logic dictates that your baby is an alien.

9.  Newborn fingernails are the inspiration behind Freddie Kruger.

10.  Babies need constant care and attention.  If that fails call an exorcist.

Don’t forget to get your own back though…  Remember to sleep when they sleep.  They hate that.