Raines is now 10 months old. I can’t believe it. And I started reading, “Happiest Toddler on the Block” by…you guessed it: Dr. Harvey Karp. It is, like his first book, pure genius. I love this man. I started reading it now because I was trying to avoid the whole reading-in-desperation-at-3AM thing — which is what happened with the first book. I thought I’d get a head start and get prepared to have a – sob – toddler. Which he defines as a 1-4 year old, primarily. I’m glad I started reading it now. He actually has several techniques which he wants you to start using at 9 months! Including…the clap-growl.
Ok – so I’m starting to realize that I haven’t really been parenting. Not really. I’ve been snuggling, and holding, and feeding/changing/rocking to sleep and showing off the world to Raines…but parenting? No. I don’t think you really need to parent a little baby. Basically, everything he does I think is wonderful, and everything I do he thinks is fascinating. Clearly this won’t last. And things are starting to change. For example, he is biting. He bites everything – including my face, legs, arms – whatever he can sink his 6 teeth into. And the kid can BITE. It kills. So. According to Dr. Harvey, when you see a “red light” behavior (aka BITING) you need to stop it instantly, so you should use the “clap-growl” to let your kid know that this behavior is not OK. As soon as you see the offending behavior, you are supposed to clap your hands very loudly, and, at the same time, growl. As in, like a bear. Or lion. Or whatever. Very fiercely. Have you ever tried to growl fiercely? Maybe guys have, but I think it’s hard. So I’m reading this book and practicing my fierce growl. Seriously – try it right now. You will sound like an idiot. (At least I sound like and idiot.) It turns out I cannot growl fiercely. Mike overhears me: “weak growl, Babe.” he says. Can he growl? He snorts, “of course I can growl.” Hmmmmmm….we wait for an appropriate growl moment. We have decided that the two red-light behaviors that will incite clap-growling are biting and trying to eat wrapping paper. (We have been working on unwrapping gifts so Raines will know what to do come Christmas. However, he chokes and vomits if he actually eats a piece of the wrapping paper. One would think the choking and vomiting would be enough of a deterrent, but noooooo)
So there we sit. Raines is playing with wrapping paper….wait for it…wait for it….there! Into his mouth! Mike claps his hands, and gives out this LOUD, hair-raising GROOOOOWWWLLLLLLRRR sound. I know it’s coming and I still jump half a foot off of the couch. Raines pauses, removes the paper from his mouth, stares at Mike (who is managing to look stern), waits a beat, then, “groooowwwlllrrrr” right back at Mike. Raines then puts the paper back in his mouth and keeps chewing. I am shaking with silent laughter. Clearly we are underestimating the fierceness level that is required.
Later that night, we are sleeping (it’s roughly 2AM) and Raines is sleeping between us. He whips his body up into a crawl position (he does this almost every night – it’s like sleepwalking, for which I blame my husband), anywho, Raines crawls toward me, I’m watching him with one eye open, and then “GROOOOWWWLLLLRRR” he says. Exhausted by the effort of practicing what he clearly thinks is a new skill, he passes back out on the bed. Mike’s head whips up, “What was that???” he asks. Oh, nothing, Mike. Just your little growling nemesis.
The lion costume we picked out for Halloween may have been all too appropriate (pic above).