by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today, we revisit the several aspects of Father’s Day, focusing on Toddlers. This is second year that we have brought you this series. It is a holiday that was proposed to be a companion of Mother’s Day. It has not received the same press as has Mother’s Day, probably because of the very close bond between mothers and their children.

We have included the post from last year and expanded it to include additional background information on the fatherhood and parenthood. We hope that as you read this and the subsequent posts that you will gain new and fond appreciations for our fathers. They have provided us with the support and love that has nurtured us through the good and bad times.

Let us renew our commitment to become the best fathers that we can be to our own children and not make the mistakes that may have been made by our own fathers. GLB

[ This is Part 4 of 7. ]

    

“The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.”
— Clara Barton

“Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance.”
— Hippocrates

“Father asked us what was God’s noblest work. Anna said men, but I said babies. Men are often bad, but babies never are.”
— Louisa May Alcott

“All the learnin’ my father paid for was a bit o’ birch at one end and an alphabet at the other.”
— George Eliot

“I wasn’t allowed to go to movies when I was kid; my father was a minister. 101 Dalmatians and King of Kings, that was the extent of it.”
— Denzel Washington

“My father used to say, ‘Let them see you and not the suit. That should be secondary.’”
— Cary Grant

“There’s sometimes a weird benefit to having an alcoholic, violent father. He really motivated me in that I never wanted to be anything like him.”
— Dean Koontz

“There’s so much negative imagery of black fatherhood. I’ve got tons of friends that are doing the right thing by their kids, and doing the right thing as a father – and how come that’s not as newsworthy?”
— Will Smith

  

The Infant Grows into a Toddler

About to deal with the cute little infant becoming a toddler? Not sure of what to do with that little guy now that he was growing physically, emotionally, and talking? What should you expect during the terrible twos? The following is a reprint of a posting we wrote last year looking at this topic. Following that, we have included some thoughts of watching my little girls grow into a little boy or girl. GLB

(The following growing from infancy to toddler appeared in this blog on Tuesday, June 16, 2009)

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
— Elizabeth Stone

IstiandMateinfrontyard_thumb Parenthood is not always a planned event. It often takes us by surprise. Whatever our status is, we are never really READY for parenthood! But when that bundle of joy arrives, we adapt and most of us rise to the occasion. Our hearts go out to this living, crying, loving being we call our BABY!

“The greatest gift I ever had came from God; I call him Dad!”
— Author Unknown

As our children grow from infants into toddlers into young children, we are privileged to share this experience with them. We suffer when they suffer and we are happy when they are happy. They are truly an extension of ourselves, a real out of body experience. As they progress through school, as they play their baseball and/or soccer, as they become more careful with their time and other precious resources, we revel in this growth. We see ourselves in these little bundles of joy. This is true of both the mother and father, but I can say for myself that there is nothing so rewarding as seeing my girls grow into teenagers and onward into adulthood.

As I look at the photos of our family growing up, I fondly remember the events that are encapsulated in these photos. I remember them in girl scout uniforms, I see them in cheerleading/color guard outfits, I see them on various vacations. And from these photos, I remember some of the similar events of my youth. I now know how my father must have felt when I hit that home run, or received my Eagle scout award; I also remember the time he spent with me to develop my baseball skills or that special vacation we took through the Mother Lode country around Yosemite.

So why is this so significant? We all enter this world as helpless babies. It is only through the nuturing of our parents that we grow into young men and women and then into responsible adults. Fathers are special people because they enable us to become what we were meant or want to be. Fortunate children experience this nurturing. Those who grow up without such fathers must derive this nurturing from either our mothers, or more probably, close family men who will take on that role. These male role models are important for both boys and girls. With their help, we flourish!

Thank you Dad, for your guiding hand and presence during my early years. And, thank you to the many men (neighbors and other significant friends) who continued to guide our way as friends, teachers and mentors!

“Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.”
— Author Unknown

The Toddler

A_child_running A toddler is a young child who is of the age of learning to walk, between infancy and childhood. Toddling usually begins between the ages of 12 and 18 months. During the toddler stage, the child also learns a great deal about social roles, develops motor skills, and first starts to use language.

Physiologic changes
  • Abdominal breathing, respiratory rate slows
  • Heart rate slows further 110-90 per minute
  • Blood pressure increases 99/64 mmHg
  • Brain develops to 90% of its adult size
  • Middle ear infections still common
  • Stomach secretions become more acidic
  • Urinary and anal sphincter control becomes possible with complete myelination of the spinal cord
  • In immune system, IgG and EgM Ab product becomes mature at 2 years of age
Toddler profile
  • Gains weight only about 5 lbs. appetite decreases accordingly
2 years
  • Doubles birth height
  • Chest circumference greater than HC
  • New teeth
1/2-3 years
  • All 20 deciduous teeth are generally present
  • Subcutaneous tissue or baby fat begins to disappear as child changes from a plump baby to a leaner, more muscular child.
Body Contour
  • Tends to have prominent abdomen since his abdominal muscle are not yet strong to support abdominal contents.
  • Has lordosis because he is a beginning walker. As he walks longer, this will correct itself naturally.
Walking

To toddle is to walk unsteadily; the term cruising is sometimes used for toddlers who cannot toddle but must hold onto something while walking.

On average, a child begins walking between 9 and 14 months of age. The age at which children start to walk can generally be determined by their gender, physical attributes and family genes. Small, light children usually walk earlier than heavy, large children.

Language

Talking is the next milestone of which parents are typically aware. A toddler’s first word most often occurs around 12 months, but again this is only an average. The child will then continue to steadily add to his or her vocabulary until around the age of 18 months when language increases rapidly. He or she may learn as many as 7-9 new words a day. Around this time, toddlers generally know about 50 words. At 21 months is when toddlers begin to incorporate two word phrases into their vocabulary, such as "I go", "mama give", and "baby play". Before going to sleep they often engage in a monologue called crib talk in which they practice conversational skills. At this age, children are becoming very proficient at conveying their wants and needs to their parents in a verbal fashion.

Emotions and Self

There are several other important milestones that are achieved in this time period that parents tend to not emphasize as much as walking and talking. Gaining the ability to point at whatever it is the child wants you to see shows huge psychological gains in a toddler. This generally happens before a child’s first birthday.

This age is sometimes referred to as ‘the terrible twos’, because of the temper tantrums for which they are famous. This stage can begin as early as nine months old depending on the child and environment. Toddlers tend to have temper tantrums because they have such strong emotions but do not know how to express themselves the way that older children and adults do. The toddler is discovering that they are a separate being from their parent and are testing their boundaries in learning the way the world around them works. Although the toddler is in their exploratory phase, it is also important to understand that the methods used by the parents for communicating with the toddler can either set off a tantrum or calm the situation. This time between the ages of two and five when they are reaching for independence repeats itself during adolescence.

Self-awareness is another milestone that helps parents understand how a toddler is reacting. Around 18 months of age, a child will begin to recognize himself or herself as a separate physical being with his/her own thoughts and actions. A parent can test if this milestone has been reached by noticing if the toddler recognizes that their reflection in a mirror is in fact themselves. One way to test this is to put lipstick on the child’s forehead and show them their own reflection. Upon seeing the out-of-the-ordinary mark, if the child reaches to her own forehead, the child has achieved this important milestone. Along with self recognition comes feelings of embarrassment and pride that the child had not previously experienced.

Toilet training

Although there is a growing movement of parents who choose to help their babies use the toilet from birth (see "Elimination Communication" and "Infant potty training method" for more details), most children in the United States are toilet trained while they are toddlers. In most Western countries, toilet training can begin as early as 9 months (as soon as the child starts to walk) for some, while others are not ready to begin toilet training until they are up to three years old. Two important indicators of toilet training readiness are whether a child understands the concept of using the toilet and whether they have any control over excreting waste (parents who use elimination communication do not have to wait for these readiness signs to help their babies use the potty). This can be a frustrating time for parents. Some toddlers can learn this task in a week, while some take up to eight or nine months.

Traits of a Great Father

The AskMen.com website, in it’s article “12 Traits of a Great Father”, lists a number of characteristics that should help all fathers establish a good relationships with their sons (and daughters), especially during the toddler stage. It is included here for your convenience, but check out this posting as well as others at her web site listed in the “References” section below. GLB

“I’m quite sensitive to women. I saw how my sister got treated by boyfriends. I read this thing that said when you are in a relationship with a woman, imagine how you would feel if you were her father. That’s been my approach, for the most part.”
— Orlando Bloom

12 Traits Of A Great Father

In the spirit of Father’s Day, find out if you (or your pop) have what it takes to be the ultimate dad.

By Julian Marcus, Stress Management Specialist

"Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy." 
Anonymous

96_better_living A good father makes all the difference in a child’s life. He’s a pillar of strength, support and discipline. His work is endless and, oftentimes, thankless. But in the end, it shows in the sound, well-adjusted children he raises.

On Father’s Day, much of the world will take the time to appreciate the work of good fathers. While you show your admiration for your own dad, take the time to see if you yourself have what it takes to be a great father, whether you have children or plan to.

  1. He’s a good disciplinarian
    A good father loves his children, but he doesn’t let them get away with murder. He strongly disapproves of his children’s misdeeds, using tough love to prove a point. He does this through the power of his words, not his fists.

    Likewise, a father doesn’t reward his children for actions that are expected of them, such as helping with house chores or performing well in school. If his child drops out of school, the father demands that he provide for himself, considering the child no longer wants to invest in his own future.

  2. He allows his kids to make some mistakes
    A good father realizes that his children are human, and that making mistakes is part of growing up. Spending money recklessly, getting into minor car accidents, getting drunk and sick for the first time, even dating questionable women are rites of passage, and a good father recognizes this. However, he makes it clear that repeated irresponsibility won’t be tolerated.
  3. He’s open-minded
    A good father understands that times, people and tastes change over the years, and doesn’t try to maintain some gold standard of his own time. For instance, he realizes that body piercings are more commonplace than before, that more couples have premarital sex, and that people talk more candidly about personal issues. In other words, he allows his children to be citizens of their day and age.

    He shows his kids that everything has its value…

  4. He teaches his children to appreciate things
    A good father never lets his children take what they have for granted. From the food on the table to the good education he’s paying for, a good father will make his children see the value in everything they have. He’ll ask his child to get a job to help pay for a part of his first car, and take the time to illustrate how important a good education is. He doesn’t let his kids treat him like an ATM.
  5. He accepts that his kids aren’t exactly like him
    Everyone is different and a father knows this well. He won’t expect his kids to live the same kind of life he does, and do the same kind of work. He also respects their values and opinions, as long as they don’t harm the family or anyone else.

    To use a pop culture example, he’s like Martin Crane from Frasier ; the everyman blue-collar dad who allowed his pompous sons to steer their lives in a different direction, even if he didn’t quite agree with them.

  6. He spends quality time with his children
    A dad knows how to have fun with his kids too, taking them out to games, movies, and supporting their sports teams by attending their matches. He takes the time to listen to his kids and have a good, easy chat with them. He also makes time to help them with their homework, every night if necessary.

[ The last six characteristics will be included
in tomorrow’s posting. ]

     

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Toddler… 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toddlers

AskMen.com: 12 Traits of a Great Father… 
http://www.askmen.com/feeder/askmenRSS_article_print_2006.php?ID=http://askmen.com/money/body_and_mind_60/96_better_living.html

Brainy Quote: Father Quotes…
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/father_4.html