Week 42: Angry Demon Baby

Whoa! This week NKOTB has really found her lungs.

From a pleasant, charming, quiet and guai (obedient) baby she’s turned into Angry Demon Baby. We’re talking the kind of red-faced wide-mouthed screaming, thrashing and tantrum-throwing that I can hear from the street.

We’re not sure what has caused this transformation but we no longer think it’s related to teething. It seems to be related to things that’s happening to her developmentally.

First of all she’s working out the mechanics of commando crawling and is intent on exploring everything around her – electrical cords, carpet fluff and chair legs (Tim put some band-aids on her as some makeshift baby knee-pads to help the carpet burn on her knees). She moves quite fast and maybe the new-found freedom of movement has made her more excitable than usual.

Her motor skills development seems to be coupled with some sort of mental connection whereby she’s worked out that Tim and I are separate people from her. So NKOTB is suffering from a severe case of separation anxiety. Not only does she scream when we’re out of the room – she screams even when we’re in the room and she can see us, but we’re not at her level. Or holding her.

At one point it was so bad that Tim couldn’t even put her on his lap facing outwards – she had to be facing inwards, cuddling up close to his chest. And I couldn’t have a shower with the shower door open, looking at her, without her crawling into the bathroom and wailing up at me like a lost puppy.

Having NKOTB clinging to us like a limpet for the last few days has made things really exhausting. I basically walk around the house wearing the ERGObaby carrier so I can carry her and actually get some things done around the house. It has also meant that at the end of the day I can barely stand up, let alone think of what to cook for dinner.

The third instance of Angry Demon Baby behaviour is that NKOTB seems to have taken an unpredictable dislike to the high chair. For two days in a row she ate breakfast and dinner happily in the chair, but come dinner time it was a screaming session until I relented and fed her a few teaspoons of food while holding her. On the third day she screamed at every meal time!

I think that NKOTB’s now at an age where she’s starting to test reactions and learn about boundaries. Once I figured out the mealtime tantrums were about a battle of wills I felt much better able to cope with them. So I just let her scream in the chair, occasionally talking to her calmly, until she’s calmed herself down and was ready to eat.

As for the separation issues – again I’m trying to put her on the floor / in the playpen, staying within her sight and talking to her occasionally, but essentially letting her cry until I’m ready to pick her up. It’s simply not sustainable for me to hold her all day and I think she needs to learn what’s acceptable behaviour and what is not.

My mum said something useful which I’d forgotten – we had to train NKOTB to go to sleep when she was younger. And thanks to our battle of wills at that time, NKOTB has generally been a good sleeper and goes to bed easily. I guess this is just more of the same. NKOTB, like all humans, will act on incentives, so if I pick her up every time she throws a tantrum she will know that it is a guaranteed way for getting my attention.

If there’s going to be a battle of wills, I must remember that I’m the adult in this relationship!

HOT: Mad Cow Thursdays, Hotel Nest, 111 Victoria Ave, Albert Park

Features:

  • pram access;
  • high chairs; and
  • kid-friendly standard menu.

A steak for $1? Too good to be true, I hear you say.

Well, on Thursdays at Hotel Nest they’ve termed it ‘Mad Cow Thursdays’ when premium John Dee sirloin steaks start from $1 for a 125g steak! The catch is that you’re likely to be spending more than $1 as the larger steaks cost more and sides and sauces cost extra.

While the normal a la carte menu is still available on Thursdays the steak deal was just too good to pass up. We opted for 250g steaks cooked to your liking ($5) plus two sides each ($3) and sauce ($1).

My medium-rare steak was cooked to the right degree with criss-cross charred grill marks and it came with fries and green beans. The side portions were on a measly side so I’d recommend ordering three items to properly fill up your plate.

Evidently word about Mad Cow Thursdays hasn’t got out too far yet. On our lunch time visit the airy Greenhouse part of Hotel Nest, filled with basket ferns hung against a white-washed backdrop, was reasonably empty. There was plenty of room for NKOTB’s high chair and I think she enjoyed the quiet green surroundings.

Hotel Nest doesn’t serves the best steak you’ll ever had but for under $15 in ritzy Albert Park it’s a cheap and filling pub lunch.

Mad Cow Thursdays, Hotel Nest, 111 Victoria Ave, Albert Park +61 3 9669 9744

Tue – Thu: 12:00 pm-12:00 am
Fri: 12:00 pm – 1:00 am
Sat: 10:00 am – 1:00 am
Sun: 10:00 am – 12:00 am
Hotel Nest on Urbanspoon

HOT: Jingle the Husky Pup

We have a category on the blog called ‘Geek Kid’ so it’s obvious that we’re not adverse to using technology to entertain children. So when we were asked whether we’d be happy to receive and review Jingle the Husky Pup we said yes.

Jingle the Husky Pup is the first character in Hallmark‘’s line of Interactive Story Buddies™, which are packs of books and soft toys with voice-recognition technology. As you read the story key phrases prompt the toy to make some sort of related sound.

All you have to do is press the left ear on Jingle and begin reading the book, Jingle All the Way, to hear him interact with the story. The text that’s marked in red is where Jingle makes a noise.

Even without the voice-recognition technology the toy and story are really cute. I loved the naive style of doll-like illustrations used in the book and Jingle is a very cuddly puppy. NKOTB liked batting Jingle around and looking at the storybook but I think she’s too young to appreciate how magical it is for a soft toy to come to life! In her limited experience, all toys make some sort of noise so hey a barking dog is no big deal.

Hallmark has also introduced a free Jingle All the Way App to complement Jingle the Husky Pup. The App includes a narrated version and the option to record your own voice reading the story. Jingle interacts with these readings and the App also features a range of child-friendly musical games and puzzles, though they are too advanced for NKOTB at this stage. We downloaded the App for free onto our iPad via iTunes.

Jingle the Husky Pup (book and toy) is RRP $34.99 and is available now at leading retailers, newsagents and selected gift stores nationally or online at www.hallmarkcards.com.au. Get him quick as Jingle sold out last year in the US. The Hallmark US site also shows other books featuring Jingle so you might be able to source a whole Jingle series.

HOT: Glottogon and Octopus Kids + Discount Code

I’m aiming to raise NKOTB bilingual so I was very excited when I discovered Glottogon and Octopus Kids at the recent Pregnancy, Babies and Childrens Expo.

Both of the companies sell books, CDs, DVDs and toys which use different languages, from European to Asian to Arabic to even Indigenous!

While I loved the Chinese character blocks on Octopus Kids I thought a better starting point for a baby as young as NKOTB would be the set of 6 baby board books from Glottogon ($24.50 + shipping). Since my ability to read Chinese characters is next to nil I figured that at least with a board book of animals, food and transportation I’d be ‘read’ to NKOTB without actually having to read the characters. Also I assumed that any audio resources would be in Mandarin Chinese, not Cantonese, ruling those items out.

NKOTB was quite fascinated with the books and fortunately I know 90% of the words without having to read the characters. Each page has a bright picture then the words in traditional Chinese, what I think is simplified Chinese (not sure as I never studied it) and English. I was quite impressed that the ‘animal’ book included a kangaroo and koala!

I’ll now have to intersperse storytime with English book and these Chinese board books – we’ll see how it goes.

Discount Code! Glottogon currently have a 20% off discount voucher which is valid till this Friday 2 December. Just enter MM20 in the voucher box at the checkout. Shipping is also free for orders over $75. Happy shopping!

NOT: Fisher Price 1-2-3 Crawl-Along Snail

Product Talk by Nuffnang

For a while NKOTB didn’t show any inclination to crawl, let alone stand or walk. But just this week she’s decided to start moving – it’s not so much of a crawl as a pull-along-on-the-stomach motion. So receiving the Fisher Price 1-2-3 Crawl-Along Snail to review was timely.

This colourful plastic toy has a mirror, music, sounds, lights and wheels that move and lock and is suitable from 3 months old.

NKOTB was most fascinated by the mirror (aren’t all babies?) and she liked looking at it and touching it while sitting up and on her tummy.

The snail comes with a switch for activating the flashing lights in the snails head and turning on the dinky music. I’m not a huge fan of tinny musical toys but fortunately the snail comes with a volume switch! On soft it’s not bad but on loud after a short time NKOTB actually seemed more freaked out than happy about the sounds emanating from the snail.

Plus if you hit the snail’s head or move the ladybug on its track the music keeps coming – a good thing if your baby loves it, a bad thing if your baby is hitting the snail to make the noise stop!

The mirror and rocking features of the snail did encourage NKOTB to move herself along to chase it. The sturdy plastic meant that I could let her bat the snail and roll it around without fear of breaking it. In fact her favourite activity with the snail at the moment is to whack it with her baby maracas like a drum.

Overall I think the snail is a good buy if your baby likes toys with lots of stimulation in the form of flashing lights and music. I think NKOTB is a baby who likes slightly quieter play. I suspect she’s like me – too much stimulation and noise and I just want to cry ‘too much!’.

 

Week 41: The Everything Critic

I think this Tshirt is very cute and it’s a very apt description for NKOTB’s week.

My little eat-everything-without-complaint baby has turned into one fussy, angry child. She has turned away from all her usual foods with disdain and disinterest, one day subsisting only on banana and rice cakes, the next day refusing both as well as water. If it wasn’t so frustrating the look on her face when she purses her lips together emphatically would be very cute.

In fact, it’s not just food that she’s been critical of this week. She’s hasn’t liked her soft toys. Or getting out of the high chair. Or putting on her hat. Or the sound of the vacuum cleaner. I tried to give her a baby massage this morning to calm her down and she literally shook with rage. It was quite frightening!

We’re putting it down to teething. We haven’t seen any signs of teeth coming through as yet but NKOTB’s unhappy screeching is very unusual and we noticed similarly odd behaviour with the last lot of teeth. Also she seems to be on-and-off feverish with her scalp a lather of sweat, but with no other symptoms of illness, so I think everything is just uncomfortable for her at the moment.

Which gives me hope that this is moodiness just a temporary phase, as frankly she’s been a handful this week. Coupled with her progressing to commando crawl and a loud dislike of being separated from either Tim or I, she can’t be left alone for even the shortest time. Fortunately she’s still sleeping well through the night so I’ve been able to face it with some measure of calm.

 

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