Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tricks For The Car Seat

I have seen kids who can sit quietly on the car seat without any problems, and also difficult kids who does not like to be restrained. Unfortunately, my 1.5 year old son is the latter. For a couple of months, when I tried to strap him onto the car seat he would wail out loud non-stop until I had to give up. I simply wasn't able to drive with a wailing child inside the car. The car seat was installed at the back seat of the car.

Since the time he can walk until about a month ago, we always ask him to sit on the car seat but it was impossible. The longest duration he can stay on the seat was for about 30 minutes unless he was sleeping. Then he would jump around, annoying his Mama and I have always been worried because it's dangerous.

It wasn't once or twice that he fell onto the car floor, or hit his head to the window or other plastic parts in the car. Plus we are worried if we hit something or get hit, he would fall and be badly injured.

As he grow older and is now less dependent on breast milk, I can now occasionally take him out on my own so that my wife can take some "me-time" or when she has work to do. As a work at home Mama this time is very important to have.

Since this is the case, I had to move the car seat to the front passenger seat. Although the safest place for a child is at the back seat, I have no choice. I configured the front passenger seat so that it reclines to the back as much as possible, to minimize issues with the air bag (knock-on-wood).

Since my compact MPV does not come with a DVD player as a standard configuration, I tried to look for DVD players and flat panel. Big brands does not seem to have any model that are installable at the sun visor, so I had to improvise. I bought a Philips portable DVD player that comes with a mounting pouch meant to be used for the headrest. It's a misuse to strap it onto the sun visor but it works.

Problem is, my son is just like his parents - he gets bored easily. When he gets bored he would want to move around, stand up, dance, and jump even while watching DVDs.

So we tried to give him something to munch on. At first we gave him junk food like corn snacks (e.g. Twisties, Chickadees) but we are concerned about his tiny kidney.

Right now we try to vary the food we give him in the car. We look for his favorites. So far he loves to munch on everything so it's hard to identify his favorites. Well, good thing that he also likes dry food otherwise it would be very hard to feed him something like rice inside the car.

It takes time to train, but he's becoming better. In the early stages we had to give him food so that he becomes occupied even before strapping him onto the car seat. So far it worked. He just need to feel safe, and be assured that it's not so bad to sit quietly on a car seat.

One thing about this method is that a hand-held or small vacuum cleaner is necessary to suck those little bits of snacks from the tight corners inside the car. It's going to be a mess.

Last night I took him out on my own to fill up gas for the car. The journey from home was fantastically stress-free even without food. I was amazed when he agreed to be strapped, even without bribe and without the DVD player. At the gas station I bought some yellow raisins (Ligo) and on the way back he was happily munching them.

(I was actually cheating since I already know he likes the raisins. It's my wife's favorite snack too.)

It was a good night, and I was (and still) so proud of him for being such a good boy.

I am still thinking of healthy snacks to introduce to him, especially since I am planning for a vacation this year and it's going to be a longer journey in the car then what he is used to.

I liked the idea of something like Heinz's Rice snack but the flavoring is too light.

Do you have any idea? What kind of snack do you give to your children in the car? Or do you have a better suggestion on keeping children quietly strapped on the car seat?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Do You Want Your Kid To Grow Just Like You?

That's what many parents want - to have their kids follow their footsteps and become like them. I personally don't, so I work hard to be a great father.

I grew up without a father, and it made me lonely, angry, and stressful. I am angry at the world all the time. I am still trying to change that but it is definitely not easy.

If you read the previous post, it wasn't a real post: Cat's In The Cradle. It is a song containing a meaningful story of how a child turned just like his parent. I've liked this song even before I had my own child, because it's about life and I am very sure it's happening at this very moment.

Some peers complained that their used-to-work parents are now asking to follow them wherever they go because they are bored. The same parents used to leave the children behind to go places even for entertainment or weekend outings.

Think about it this way, you'll get old one day and your children will be the one taking care of you. The difference is simple - it is not their responsibility to take care of you. They have their own life, and you expect them to take care of you? How selfish is that thought?

If right now you send your children to nurseries, daycare, and any other type of places remember that they can one day send you to similar places, but for old people.

If right now you leave your children during weekends and outings, remember that they can do the same. They can have maids too you know.

The same thing is discussed in several books I've read. Children who are connected and bonded to the parents can easily share thoughts and experiences with the parents. It leads to more understanding, more discussions, and more matured teenagers. Maturity will benefit to decrease social problems. Most teenagers are embarrassed or shy to talk to their parents, and ended up taking chances. If they take the correct choice, it's fine but what if they take the wrong one?

Of course, there are instances where it's inevitable to work but there is no excuse of not bonding with your children. If you don't want to, why make them in the first place? Popular reasons from Dads:
  1. So that the kids can take care of me when I get old
  2. To show people how manly I am.
  3. My sperm count is normal!
  4. Pressure from elders
  5. Pressure from family
  6. I am afraid that one day when I am old, I will regret not having a child
  7. My wife wanted a kid so that I couldn't make "child" a reason if I want to get a second wife
The most popular reason to have children is to have someone to look after you when you get old. And today, you don't spend quality time with them. Remember, I am specifically looking at Dads now. But with that most popular reason and what Dads currently do, I rest my case.

P/S: Mom and Dads, please find time to spend with your children and you shall not regret it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cat's In The Cradle

by Sandy & Harry Chapin

My child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmmed,
Said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired and my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu,
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."