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.

Dear 3 year old. You’re making the baby cry.

Dear sweet, precious 3 year old of mine,

I know that you love your baby brother so much that you want to squeeze him, but he doesn’t like having all his insides shoved into his chest.

I know that you have this weird ear fetish right now, and you think that other people like having their ears pinched together. But no one likes that.

I know you were only trying to give the baby a drink of water because you thought he was thirsty. But I’m sure you know that his mouth is not on top of his head, and now he’s soaking wet.

I know you were just chasing Daleks on your stick horse, but you trampled the baby and smacked him in the face in the process.

I know you were just trying to help him stand up because you wanted him to walk, but his legs aren’t strong enough yet, and neither are you, based on how you dropped him.

I know you were just trying to give him a hug, but you knocked him down sumo-style instead.

I know you were trying to help feed the baby, but onion skins are not for eating and, as it turns out, get stuck to the roof of one’s mouth – and you know, sweetheart, he only has milk.

I know you just wanted to cuddle, but when you climbed in his crib and fell on him, you scared him shitless.

I know you were just copying MmyMmy and pretending to eat his chubby thigh. But when MmyMmy does it, she doesn’t use her teeth.

I know you wanted to teach the baby how to catch, but now he has a black eye.

I know you still don’t grasp that pinching people hurts them. But it does.

I know you really wanted to play with the baby’s toy even though you have 100 of your own, but dammit, he had it first.

I know you were only trying to get him dressed, but you have to undo the buttons before trying to ram his head through it.

I know you were just trying to give the baby a treat, but he’s too young for chocolate. Now I’m the bad guy who took it away and there is chocolate EVERYWHERE.

I know that you just wanted to play hide and seek and thought that the best place for him to hide would be underneath a blanket, but he hated that.

I know you told him to run before you shot the arrow at him, but he can’t even crawl yet.

In conclusion, my dear, sweet little angel of a toddler: I know that you love your baby, and are confused as to why he starts crying when he hears your angelic, screaming voice coming his way, but for the love of God LEAVE THE BABY ALONE!

Because you’re making the baby cry.

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Happy birthday to my beautiful little man

Today is my sons’ 2nd birthday.  I have to admit…  I’m feeling rather emotional at the moment, trying to hold back the tears…

I don’t know why I’m feeling upset, but all I want to do is cry.  I think it’s the anti-climax to what should have been an amazing day for my little man.  As my husband has just pointed out, it’s probably all the build up to his birthday.  I got over excited myself, and to William, it’s just another day.  He may be able to say ‘birthday’ and ‘party’, but he doesn’t yet understand that today is a special day.  It was just a day where he was spoiled with wrapped up ‘pressies’ (as he calls them), and that he went out for dinner with his mmymmy, daddy, nanny and grandad…

The anti-climax?  Well.  William has decided to be in a bit of a ‘meh’ mood all day.  He’s over-tired.  He decided to start crying in Asda…  Then the screams come.  Then he decided to cry when we were out at dinner…

I don’t suppose that it helped me either, when the party next to us consisted of about eight-or-so (what I thought was) 16 year olds, and one of their ‘nan and grandads’.  The kids were all drunken, being loud, very disrespectful, and openly (and very loudly), swearing and talking about each others private parts.  The grandparents just sat there and said nothing.

Anyway.  It’s your party on Saturday, William.  You will be surrounded by family and friends who love you, and there will be no idiotic strangers anywhere near you.

Happy birthday, my beautiful little man.  You’re no longer a baby…  But you’ll always be my squish-faced, baby boy, no matter how old you are.

I love you ❤

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Oh this comfy bed…

My little man is 21 months old.  Since he was born, he has probably slept in his own bed, right through the night, for about 6 months in total.  That means my husband and I have had the pleasure of a third person in bed with us for roughly 15 months.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cuddling up to my precious bundle of joy, but there are some nights when all I want to do is sleep, without being pushed out of the bed…

Thus I have come to the conclusion that he doesn’t like his cot.

The cot in question is 32 and a half years old.  How do I know?  My dad built it for me.

It is made out of beautiful oak, and has been wood-stained mahogany.  When my dad found out he was going to be a grandad, one of the first things he did was to get my old cot and crib out of the attic to refurbish them.  My son was in my rocking crib for about 5 months, until he outgrew it.  He never had any problem in sleeping in there.  When we moved him in to his cot (in his own room), he slept right the way through for a while…  Then the wake-ups started.

Now I just think he likes the comfort of the “big bed”.  He often takes himself to bed (alone), and he will tuck himself in too.  Fancy that.  A 21 month old in a king-size bed.  Sometimes he shouts at my husband and I if we disturb him…  So there’s my predicament.

What is the right age to move your baby to a bed?  A real bed.  As in, with no “sides” to keep him ‘locked in’.

I’ve been looking at toddler beds recently, and they say “suitable for 18 months to 4 years old”.  Sounds good, and the prices are affordable too.  I could buy a wonderful ‘car’ or ‘boat’ frame for around £90 ($140-ish US), but then there’s another £200 ($300-ish US) on top of that for a mattress…  What an extortionate price for something that my little man will outgrow before his 4th birthday…

So, let’s forget about the interim bed and move him straight to a “real” bed.  In the attic, at my parents house, my old single bed is wrapped up in poly-wrap; as well as my (exceedingly!) comfortable mattress.  The whole thing is in excellent condition.  But do I just jump straight to this for him?  There’s the safety aspect that I would have to consider; for example, (again) my son is 21 months old.  Will he fall out of the bed, because it is too high?  I’d like to place a very large bet on “yes”.  So if I chose that path, I would have to purchase side rails for him.  I’ve just priced these, and for a “folding bed rail – in blue”, I’m looking at £25 ($40-ish US).  Would I need just one, for the top end; or would I need two to completely secure him, hence bringing us back to the same problem of the cot..?

I’m at a whim.  I’ll keep you all updated, because I can’t see him still having his cot by the end of summer.

Pipe dreams

I have so many ideas for things to do, events, etc. but they never seem to go anywhere.  So I’ve decided that I am going to do something.  For a start, I’m going to list my ideas here.  My pipe dreams, if you will.  Maybe if I see then written down, I may be inspired enough to do something about them.

Craft Fair Extraordinaire

I already have a small “craft” type business set up, named ‘Treasures and Trinkets’.  I made jewellery, accessories, and other little bits and bobs…  You can view the page here: Treasures and Trinkets.  I do enjoy attending craft fairs, and table top sales to sell my wares, but something always seems to come up that I think could be done better…

I had an idea that I pitched to my husband.  I know a hall that I can hire for a very reasonable cost, and I will set up my own craft fair.  I will invite local crafters / sellers to ‘purchase’ a table, and I will have an event schedule for entertainment purposes.  In more depth, here are my ideas:

*  I would set up the hall with tables (and a chair behind each one) for other local crafters / sellers

*  I would find someone who does face painting, for the children who may come along to the fete

*  I would find a local company who can offer an “all-weather” bouncy castle to keep the children entertained…  I would not pay an up-front fee, but request that they take their money directly from the parents / children who wish to have a go

*  I would offer cups of tea / coffee for a small charge

The fair would be a mixed bag, type of event, with tables selling home crafted items such as jewellery, accessories, cushions, drawings, cakes, jams, etc…  More of a “country fayre” type event.  I’ve been to a fair few, and I enjoyed them every time.

I would have no problem setting up the event, or even finding people interested to host a stall, but my problem would be in the advertising of the event to ensure that enough people came through the doors…  Facebook is a good place to start, and I suppose a leaflet / flyer drop would be good too.  Although, the hall is situated in the rural area of a town…  It’s a little tricky to get to, but the hall is beautiful, and has free parking.  So where would I ‘drop’ the leaflets?!  I suppose I could also ask the local radio station to do a quick mention of the event, but normally they would charge.  Afterall, if I was looking to make this a regular event, I’d want to be making a profit myself, rather that putting all the money back into the event immediately.  I’m sure you know what I mean.

Play Group Mayhem

Today, I took my son (22 months old) to a play group.  It was based in a local leisure centre, and had a large bouncy castle, balls, spacehoppers, an area for crafts (today was decorating strawberry plant pots to take home), and an area with “fruit kebabs and chocolate”.  It was rather cheap to enter, and although it was on from 10am to 3pm, we were only there for an hour.  The only problem I encountered was that the group was for ages 0-11 years old.  I noticed that my little man was the only one under the age of 5…

On my way home, I mentioned (again, to my husband) that we could set up something similar to that as we have the access to the hall…

I had an idea that we could create a “Stay and Play”, where parents / grandparents / carers could bring their little ones and play with them.  I would limit it to 3 hours, and charge just a small amount for entry.

*  I would get a large selection of toys, including balls, hula-hoops, teddies, games, etc.

*  I would offer tea / coffee to adults for a small charge

*  Free juice / water for the kiddies

*  Free fruit (I like the fruit kebab idea) for the kiddies

*  I would limit the age from 0-5 years old

*  Perhaps have a different style ‘craft’ on offer each time (make a greetings card, painting, drawing, etc.)

Again, my problem would be where to start.  I’ve already had a brief look into it, and I have discovered that I do not need to register with anyone, and (although I already have a full CRB check) I do not need a Criminal Records Bureau check as parents will be staying throughout the sessions, watching their own children.  I could easily get my hands on a lot of toys…  So that just leaves insurance.  What type of insurance would I need, and where could I get it for cheap?  I don’t think I’d be doing this on a regular basis, and I don’t want to pay through the nose…  And again, it’s the marketing side of things that I would struggle on.  What happens if it is super successful on one week, then flops the second and third, but on the fourth week, the hall is full to bursting point?!  Hmmm…

Thoughts welcome.

The Wait is Over

I’m a little late in posting this update, but everything has been a bit of a nightmare over the past couple of days.

Firstly, I am pleased to say that my husband’s surgery was a success.  They had to make one of the cuts wider that they wanted to, but the whole procedure was still classed as keyhole.  He returned home yesterday morning, grotty and in pain.  At least it’s over and done with now.  Happy birthday to my hubby!  But, I repeat, it’s over and done with now.

He was supposed to be able to remove the bandages today.  One (he has four in total) had peeled away under his t-shirt.  After a good look at it, it still looks a bit too ‘fresh’, so my first aid box came out so I could redress it.  That was the one that they had to open a bit more than they wanted too.  I said that we’ll try again later on this afternoon with two of the smaller wounds.  At least he can start to have a bit of fresh air hit the wounds to assist in the healing process.  As for the one I redressed, that just isn’t ready to be ‘naked’ yet.  The fourth is positioned in and just below his naval.  That’s the largest cut of all.  That won’t be ready to be uncovered for at least a few days, but I’ll have a look at that later too.

My hubby feels awful because he’s not been able to cuddle our 18-month old.  They said he would be ok to have our little man on his knee, but he us such a wriggler, and does tend to kick.  Playfully, of course.  But regardless, he feels guilty because he just can’t take the chance.

That all seems well and good, but what about this ‘nightmare’ I mentioned?

My little man isn’t well.

On Friday night, when my husband was in hospital, my beautiful baby boy woke up about 2:30am.  I thought it was his usual…  Wake up, cry, have a fight  with me to get him back to sleep…  But no.  This was something different.  It started off as the aforesaid, but then his breathing changed.  Next thing you know, he vomited all over the bed.  Obviously, because I didn’t expect it, I freaked out.  My little man…

He had seemed a bit off at dinner time, but I didn’t think too much about it because he can be a difficult eater.  He ate his supper with no problem, and was drinking normally, so I didn’t worry about it.

But he did.  When he was sick, he burst into tears and seemed to cower away from me.  I must have repeated “it doesn’t matter, baby” at least a hundred times, but he was still afraid.  I managed to strip the bed and get it in the wash, but instead of making the bed up again, I got the spare duvet and went into the living room to settle him on my recliner.

I’d just sat down when I decided to go and put the heating on…  Putting him on the floor, he began sobbing again.  When I got back into the living room, he looked at me with his beautiful, big, blue eyes and vomited again.  This time all over the carpet.  Three times…  I rushed him into the bathroom (we live in a bungalow), lifted the toilet seat and told him to spit (he’s just learned that after he brushes his teeth).  So the clean-up started again.  I decided to just change him into a vest this time in case it happened again.

By now it was about 4:45am.  I swept him up, lay him on my chest whilst in the recliner, covered us both with the duvet in the hope of getting at least an hours sleep.

To bring you up to date to now; he vomited on 5 occasions yesterday and had one bout of diarrhea.  Today he has had one horrific nappy first thing this morning, but he has had his breakfast and has managed to keep it down.  He has not vomited since 7pm last night.  Hopefully that was the last of it.  He’s still very docile today, but I would be too if I spent all day being poorly.

So, instead of me looking after my post surgery husband, I’m having to spend all my time nursing a once-rowdy, very poorly toddler.  Luckily enough that hubby can walk around and can make himself a drink…

There you go.  That’s been my last 48 hours.

Hush-a-bye baby – Night Eight

So, the experiment failed.  Last night was night 8, and we had resorted to the memory foam mattress being returned to our bed, and for the first time in a week, my husband and I spent the night together.  Our little man joined us about 2:30am after his wake-up.

I know it’s naughty, and I can’t tell you enough the amount of times people have said to us that we shouldn’t have him in bed with us, but there’s only so much ‘no sleep’ a person can have before you’re literally exhausted.  It’s just easier this way.  Afterall, we realised that we were getting much more sleep when our son was coming in to the big bed with us, rather than one of us being in babys’ room with him.

All the websites recommend trying to put your baby in their cot when they are very sleepy but still awake.  They state that at 18 months old, your child should stop getting used to being cuddled / rocked to sleep, and they should be able to get themselves to sleep.  Waking up  somewhere different to where you went to sleep is always a daunting task for anyone, but it can upset a baby.  The example it gives on one of the sites is based on an adult.  Imagine going to sleep on a pillow, then waking up at some point throughout the night to realise that your pillow has gone.  You wake up a little more wondering where it has gone, and eventually become conscious that it’s not there, eventually rousing you to fully awake…  If a baby were to wake up and things are different, this gives cause to wake up fully, and in a lot of senses, to get upset as things are not the same as when they went to sleep.

I understand the concept of it, and I understand the importance of it, and even though seeing it written down, makes a lot of sense, it’s so much easier said than done.

So now we’re back to phase one.  I have an 18 month old son who has one nap a day (of somewhere between 1 and 2 hours), and who goes to sleep for the night about 10:30pm-11pm, gets put in his cot, wakes up about 2am-3am and then spends the rest of the night in the ‘big bed’ with me and hubby…  He does usually sleep deeply and thoroughly when he’s in bed with us.

Does anyone else have something similar to this?  Has anyone else had something similar to this?  If you used to have this problem, what did you do to overcome it?

We have tried the whole ‘tough love’ thing, where we ignore him when he wakes up and cries throughout the night, but there is only so long we can leave him sobbing.  There was one night when he started hyperventilating because of all the sobs.  Hearing and seeing him like that literally breaks my heart.

I’ll make a post every now and again based on his sleeping schedule, but at the moment, it’s a nightmare.