Parenting H

Month: January, 2014

H puts a red cylinder through the circle hole in his shape sorting toy. He fits it through easily and adds a second red cylinder through the same hole. Next he tries a blue cube, but he can’t push it through the circle hole. Without attempting the triangle or square holes or skipping a beat, H lifts the lid of the shape sorting toy and drops the blue cube inside. He throws in another blue cube and two green triangle pieces and places the yellow lid back on top.

The shape sorting toy solved, H turns his attention to one of his stacking ring toys. He carefully takes off the top two rings and puts them in his toy box, one at a time. He works at lifting a third ring, but it catches against the rubber of the stacking stick. After a second he abandons that effort, picks the whole thing up, and throws it in the toy box. Stacking ring toy solved.

I love watching H play. It helps me see how his developing mind makes sense of the world and how this understanding grows and shifts over time. Even when his play does not match what might be considered the intended use of a toy, I see him exercising creativity and ingenuity. It is pure joy to watch him.

My hope is that he always delights in play as he does now. That he never feels there is only one right way to solve a problem. That there is always a place for learning through play in his life. And that, even as an adult, he will see the value in unfettered play for the sake of unfettered play. My hope is, simply, that he always loves to play.


H received Hib, HepA, and varicella vaccinations at his 18 month well child check up.

Hib, or Haemophilus influenza type b, is a bacterium that causes meningitis when it infects the lining of the brain. Other diseases caused by Hib include sepsis, epiglottitis, arthritis, osteomyelitis, and pneumonia. The potential side effects of Hib vaccine are pain or soreness at the injection site and low-grade fever. Side effects, if they occur, appear within 48 hours of receiving the vaccine.

HepA, or Hepatitis A, is a virus that causes hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). Symptoms include fever, jaundice, nausea, and vomiting. Young children are often asymptomatic. The potential side effects of HepA vaccine are pain, redness, and tenderness at the injection site; and headache. Side effects, if they occur, appear within 48 hours of receiving the vaccine.

Varicella, or chicken pox, is a relatively benign infection that starts as red bumps that turn into blisters that cover the entire body. Varicella infections can have severe complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis. One out of every 50 women infected with varicella during pregnancy will deliver a child with birth defects that may include mental retardation and shortened or atrophied limbs. In addition, varicella blisters provide a pathway for the flesh-eating bacteria Group A streptococcus to enter the skin and cause severe or fatal disease. The potential side effects of varicella vaccine are pain and tenderness at the injection site, low-grade fever, and rash around the injection site (4 of 100 recipients) or rash more distant to the site of injection (less frequently). Side effects, if they occur, appear between 7 to 10 days of receiving the vaccine.

H received these vaccinations two weeks ago. Nothing striking happened, with the exception of some swelling at the injection sites and the acquisition of immunity from three diseases.

H peed on the floor during diaper free time today. I sprayed carpet cleaner on the pee spot and scrubbed it with paper towel. While I was scrubbing, H tipped over the carpet cleaner with the spray nozzle pointed exactly where he had peed. He grabbed the paper towel from me and scrubbed the spot just as I had been doing. When he was done, he handed the paper towel back and returned happily to putting B. blocks in a box of his outgrown clothes.

H does things like this.

He stabs at the deadbolt with my house key. He wiggles a toothbrush around in his mouth. He lifts his wooden baby comb to his head. He places his shoes and socks on his feet when he wants to put them on. He puts tissue over his nose and shakes his head while breathing in and out. He points at my shoes when he wants to go outside. He dabs at his mouth with a napkin. He insists that we hang up our coats when we come home.

H learned to do all of these things and more by observing the people and events in his environment. What else is he learning by observing? My intuition says quite a lot, including things I do not realize I am modeling for him. These things H does are adorable, yes, and also good reminders of how powerful an example I am to him. I am ever mindful.

How do you explain something sad to an 18 month old that you yourself at 40 do not even understand? You don’t know, and so you tell him the only thing that makes sense, the thing that you have told him since the very beginning.

I’m right here. I’m with you. We’re in this together. I won’t ever leave you.

It’s okay to watch your child. It’s okay to follow their lead. Yes.

This resonates with me.

We have been having fun standing lately. In the middle of play, H sometimes finds himself standing on his own. He points it out to me with something near incredulity. “Look at me!” he seems to be saying. “Can you believe this? I’m standing!” The look of delight on his face is infectious. I laugh and clap and he laughs until he either leaps into my arms or plops down on the floor, immediately signing more. I set him on his feet, and he lets go of me for another round of standing. Over and over we do this. It never gets old.