For the first time in these past six weeks since he was born, sickness has hit the household, and it’s not just me. Within the past 48 hours, both my wife and I suddenly started coming down with something affecting out throat, chest, nose, and head. Being sick can be bad enough, but fighting back the gunk falling into the back of your throat, the burning sensation in your eyes, and having the baby screaming at the top of his lungs?
This is all new territory for us, my friends.
Last night, our dinner was a bowl of chicken soup, with hot tea (echinacea tea for me), and some hot lemonade for dessert.
Naturally, we’ve been incredibly concerned about possibly spreading it to our little one, and this morning, wondered if we already had. He screamed for well over an hour, and nothing could console him – not the melodies of Simon and Garfunkel, not food, not rocking, not snuggling, nothing. Imagine how scared we were to hold him close, too, considering our fears about spreading whatever sickness we’re carrying at the moment.
So, we called our pediatrician and expressed our concerns – especially his resistance to eating, whether it be breast or bottle.
He’s not running a temperature, which was a good sign, and they recommended running a cold mist humidifier, along with saline drops in his nose (to then be pulled out with a bulb syringe) to clear out his head. They said it could be that if he IS sick, that he could be stuffed up in his nose, making his mouth the only way he could be breathing. That means when he tries to eat, he is possibly blocking off his only way to breath, which could be why it’s been so hard to get him to take breast or bottle.
So, we’re going to see how things go in the day(s) ahead. I feel guilty that while I’m at work, she’s at home, dealing with a fussy baby who’s eating schedule is hit and miss while at the same time fighting off illness herself.
Any suggestions on keeping a six-week old from catching what mommy and daddy have?
We have had to do a lot of sterilizing lately.
No one is sick, but we have what you may call a “binky bandit” on the loose in our home. Binky being what we sometimes refer to our little one’s pacifier as.
At first, as we would reach for a pacifier and find it missing, my wife and I thought we might be losing our minds, finding them in odd spots throughout the house. Did we drop them, we would wonder?
Needless to say, we wouldn’t go popping them back in the baby’s mouth, and they’d instead get tossed into the “sterilization” pile for the next time we’d boil a pot of water containing pacifiers, bottles, nipples and the like.
Still, the mystery still waged on – short of growing legs themselves, what was happening to all these pacifiers. Was I sleepwalking? Egads, was the baby sleepwalking? If so, when did he learn to walk in these past five weeks?!
However, one morning, I awoke to hear some weird noises, like something being pulled across the floor. I followed the sound into the baby’s room, where I found, not our human baby, but our feline baby, Winston, looking up at me, with the pacifier in his mouth as if he were Maggie Simpson.
Now, I was unfortunately not quick enough with my camera to grab a photo of this bizarre sight. I wish I was, as I can not imagine how anyone would believe it otherwise. So you’ll have to settle for this “not as cool or funny” one from some time later.
There it was, though, our little gray guy – definitely the “baby” of our trio of felines, looking up at me as though this was perfectly natural for him to have a pacifier in his mouth like a baby.
Into the sterilization pile it went.
I think I’ve hit another milestone of fatherhood.
Sure, I had already been sprayed during diaper changes and been spit up on during burpings.
But as of this this past weekend, (drum roll please), I was pooped on…right into my hand during a diaper change. 🙂
And all I could do was laugh.
That is all.
After our boy got his very first bath in the kitchen sink, I sat him down on my lap and watched some classic 1940s Donald Duck cartoons. Even my previous blog post was about cartoon watching, discussing wanting to watch Inspector Gadget with him, only to be disappointed it was no longer on Netflix.
Fate works in mysterious ways, and it’s a good thing it’s not on Netflix, because I have, since that day, deeply regretted exposing my little boy, just three weeks old, to television. I just couldn’t shake the nagging feeling inside me that what I was doing was more for myself than for he, and was nothing but detrimental to his development. “What was I thinking?” I keep asking myself. I fear I’ve made a big mistake, and truly hope that there is still time to make sure he is not negatively effected by this weekend’s couch-potato activity.
I’ve done a bit of reading since the tinge of regret has slipped in, and have come across a great deal of work by Dimitri Christakis of Children’s Hospital in Seattle and how babies can be harmed by watching television and video. Here’s some information on Christakis’ studies from the website www.raisesmartkid.com
According to studies by Christakis, the first 2 years of a child’s life is a critical time for their brain development and watching television takes time away from a child exploring, interacting and playing with parents and other, as well as actively learning by manipulating things around him. These are activities that help your kid develop the skills they need to grow intellectually, socially and emotionally.
A lot more notes on the negative effects of television on child development:
- When your kid plays, he is actively learning about how the world works. He wires his brain by experimenting with cause and effect. When your kid interacts with people, he meets his emotional milestones. TV keeps your kid away from these activities.
- The first 2 years of your kid is also a critical time for learning language. Language is only learned through interaction with others, not by passive listening to TV. If you not respond to your kid’s attempt to communicate, your kid could miss this important milestone. Also, your kid will not learn to talk by listening to TV characters baby talk or talk down to him. Your kid learns to talk by mimicking adult language. He learns from the adults’ simplified but correctly pronounced speech.
- Note that when your baby smiles at the TV, the TV does not smile back. This may affect him socially and psychologically.
Researchers have found that over the last 20 years, an increasing number of 9-month-old children are having trouble paying attention to voices when there is also background noise coming from the TV. This may affect their paying attention in class when they go to school.
Also, when kids who watch TV go to school, they have to make a change from being primarily visual learners to listening learners. If a kid watches more TV than interact with the family, he will have a hard time making this transition, and his school learning will suffer.
Dr. Christakis has found that children who watched television as babies are more likely to have shorter attention spans, problem concentrating and impulsiveness by age 7. He also states that although Attention Deficit Disorder is genetic, TV can also trigger this condition because TV rewires the baby’s brain. The still-developing brain adapts to TV’s fast pace and overstimulation.
Also, in his study, Christakis found that children who watched TV as babies are less able to recognize letters and numbers by the time they go to school. A 2005 University of Pennsylvania study found that watching Sesame Street before age 3 delayed a child’s ability to develop language skills. This may be because babies are wired to be active and not passive learners.
- Many TV shows and videos geared to kids are actually teaching them the wrong things. They distort reality with their cartoonish and unnatural depiction of the world. Also, the pacing of these shows is fast and teaches the baby’s sponge-like brain to always expect fast-paced input. The real world, as they will soon find out, is much more boring and requires patience to adapt to.
- Many other studies have found that long-term exposure to television diminishes children’s ability to communicate via reading and writing. It can also lead to attention and learning problems in the long term.
In 2008, France’s broadcast authority has banned French channels from airing TV shows aimed at children under three years old. The High Audiovisual Council of France have found out that “Television viewing hurts the development of children under three years old and poses a certain number of risks, encouraging passivity, slow language acquisition, over-excitedness, troubles with sleep and concentration as well as dependence on screens.”
There are tips that are suggested regarding babies and TV watching:
- Child experts agree that children under 2 should not watch any TV at all – and this also includes videos, computers and video games.
- If you have to do work that requires concentration and you cannot multitask, do it at a time when your baby is napping. If this cannot be avoided, let your kid play with toys on the floor or in the playpen instead. Arrange a caregiver who interacts with your child if your child craves for human companion (which he naturally does).
- Interact with your child as much as possible. He needs this to build his brain. Respond to his smile, speech and actions. Entertain, recite rhymes, and sing to him in an engaging way. No show on TV can beat what you have to offer. Your voice, touch, smell, and your reaction to things he does are what he craves. Don’t let your baby be passive.
- Do not expect that you can use TV and video to tutor your child or will have any positive effect on his brain. At best, it should be a means for you to take a half-hour break from interacting with your child in a way that will help him developmentally.
- If your baby has to watch TV, watch with him, and make watching an interactive event. Reinforce what he sees on TV by talking or singing to him.
I’ve got a lot to learn about the dos and dont’s of parenthood, I fully admit that. However, I hope that I can take these feelings of regret of what I perhaps SHOULDN’T have done, learn from it, and educate myself as to what I CAN do to make sure my little guy becomes the magical child he can, and can live up to all his wonderful potential.
The great Inspector Gadget – hi-tech scourge of the underworld, has met his match, apparently. It was not at the hands of M.A.D. Agents like Presto Chango, Greenfinger, or even through the machinations of his arch enemy, Dr. Claw.
No, this time Inspector Gadget was finally done in by the villainous Netflix.
This past year I had relished the chance to relive a very vivid part of my childhood, courtesy of Netflix streaming the complete original series of Inspector Gadget. The complete series is not even available on DVD, yet here it was, readily available for my viewing pleasure at the click of a button.
The moment that simplistic, yet catchy theme song began and the voice of Don Adams hit the air, I was like a kid again, and I could not wait to sit down with my kid and enjoy the adventure.
I was around pre-school age or slightly younger when Gadget was originally on the air, and I remember how much a part of my daily routine he became. My naps were scheduled around him, and if I didn’t take those naps, you know for darn sure I wasn’t allowed to watch Gadget – something that little kid was not going to let happen.
I had the Inspector Gadget toy with extendable limbs, and a helicopter you could place in his hat. I used to run around the neighborhood with other kids, re-enacting the characters we watched on TV that afternoon. I was all over it.
So, imagine my disappointment when I say down with my son yesterday to introduce his open mind and imagination to the wild world of Gadget, Penny and Brain, only to find that Netflix has removed Inspector Gadget from its streaming. A quick search online revealed I was not the only one suddenly caught by surprise, with the series’ page on Netflix flooded with messages from like-minded viewers just wondering “wha’ happen?”
So, I picked up the phone and gave Netflix Customer Service a call. The gentleman I spoke with was great, and mentioned that he had just been watching the original series himself. A quick check and what he surmised is that Netflix’s contract with whomever holds the rights to the show likely expired. He said while that does mean it’s gone for now, it doesn’t mean it’s gone for good, and was nice enough to make a note and log the call as “wanting Inspector Gadget original series” returned to streaming, for what it’s worth.
Hey, cartoons are not what they used to be, so somebody’s got to make sure this next generation gets exposed to the “classics” of animation and preserve these animation greats. 🙂
And, just as Gadget says, “I’m always on duty.”