Friday, 22 March 2013

Earth Hour: Kingston Unplugged

Massive tantrum in the middle of a store, the kissing that's the best I've ever had, the chalk board and her new sudden independence. It's been happening and I'll be blogging about it all.... 

After I get past running this:

Friday, 8 March 2013

International Women's Day ~ I am toddler, hear me roar!

In honor of International Women`s Day today we went to our first social justice action event together: a freeze mob held on the university campus. 

Coming up with a slogan for Penelope's sign was challenging. What DO you put on it that will really get people talking and more importantly, thinking!

Then a friend suggested "Feminist since 2011"... and although we are more egalitarians than feminists, the language was simple and I thought hopefully it would drive home the point that there is a 19 month old at a demonstration for equal rights, a demonstration that said I'M PROUD TO BE BORN A FEMALE, a demonstration that pleads to the world for women to be treated well, as all humans should be.

While I shot the demonstration for a story for the weekly I write for, my amazing Poppet grabbed people's attention, and inspired discussion. She even made it to the daily paper. And, of course when I submit my story for Kingston This Week she'll be included. Hey, if it gets people talking! 

The one thing I was not expecting was the rush of emotion as these women banded together in solidarity.
With a cello and violinists playing tragically beautiful sounds, women emerged from the walls and their seats in the cafeteria of Queen's University (and again at the mall later in the day) to display their messages and draw people's attention to the fact that people still aren't treated equal, from job promotion to sexual satisfaction.
Standing frozen among many of the women there was my amazing kid - she stood perfectly still for the entire five minutes. Maybe it was the music, maybe it was being part of a united front, maybe it was how strong she looked woven in with these incredible people in our community, and maybe it was the thought that I truly hope she chooses to fight for the rights of herself and others as she grows up... but the tears just started flowing! I've never been so proud! This took the emotion of hearing "mama" for the first time and squashed it flat.

I can't help but wonder... will she be doing this in 20 years? What is her future going to look like?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Bitten, Bruised and Battered (or, How to Handle Getting Your Ass Handed to You by a Toddler)

When I say my toddler kicked my ass, I don't mean she has been rambunctious all day and I'm tired, or I had to physically chase after her so much that now everything between my neck and my feet are begging for a hot soak in the tub. When I say that I had my ass handed to me by a toddler, I'm talking about her physically hurting me. 

Our house is full of love, hugs, kisses and random dance parties. Yes, we've got our stressful days but we don't yell, or throw, or hit. Even though we try to teach by example, it's not enough. Tonight I was pinned to the floor by a 19 month old ninja trying to fight her way onto my chest in order to get a handful of hair in her fist and my shoulder in her mouth. 

When she's not going Hannibal Lecter or Ninja Baby on me, she's pinching, slapping, or hitting with her toys. Or, she's biting through clothing. Tonight she bit a hole through my skirt. 

How do you get it through to her at such a young age that it's not cool to smash your mama in the face with your sippy cup, bite her on the back of the thigh or grab a chunk of skin (and sometimes flesh), dig your nails in deep and twist?!

"No" doesn't seem to work. She giggles when I use a stern tone of voice. "Stop" makes her want to do it more, to the point of chasing me around the house to try and get a grip on one of my limbs so she can sink in her tiny little fangs. I haven't seem to have mastered "the look"... although I'm working on it. Give me time.

I understand that at one and a half, a child's language is developing and due to their lack of vocabulary, they rely on actions to communicate. Incoming molar aside, the hitting and pinching is telling me she doesn't like me; that she wants to cause a reaction in me. Is it as simple as her needing more of my attention than she's getting? 

My big question: How can I help her channel this energy so she's not hurting people? What are the great activities that help curb toddler aggression?

My new approach, as I attempt to cease the bloody marks on my skin, is to reinforce the "gentle" instead of responding with the negative, "no"s, "don't"s and "stop"s.  And maybe take a time out myself before reprimanding her. 

Suggestions, advice, and guilty confessions of your reaction to an aggressive toddler welcome! (and politely begged for --- see the comment section? leave 'em there")