(Editor’s Note: The following column is being reprinted from August of 2009, as the writer is on vacation this week.)
Approaching the 15-month-old mark in a few days, Beckett seems to have found the joy in being alone. That’s how it seems at least with a new hobby he has developed.
One of his favorite new objects to explore is a door, and he is fascinated by how it can open and close, most specifically how he can make it happen on his own. At this point, a door captures his attention as much as, if not more, than any other single toy in the house.
“Doh, doh” around our house stands for a lot. Therefore, it’s heard quite a bit. It often means Diego, his favorite TV character featured in “Go, Diego, Go”. Whenever that show comes on, he begins shouting “doh, doh, doh, doh” and sprints around the house in fits of excitement.
“Doh, doh” also means dogs, as in the two labs he shares floor space with around the house. He is always anxious to reach out for them and to make his version of barking sounds. Fletch and Bailey are not terribly interested in Beckett, but he makes sure to throw a “doh, doh” at them whenever he spots them.
“Doh, doh” has come to also mean a door. For a while, he was content opening and closing a door while he was being held. Not so much any longer, as he wants to walk it shut and walk it open and will repeat it as many times as you allow. All the while throwing out a few “doh, doh’s” and happy yelps.
This fascination with a door took an interesting turn the other morning. He has been known to mess around with the bathroom door quite a bit. He had been satisfied with simply opening and closing it from the outside. He now likes to get into the bathroom and open and close the door from inside. Sometimes, he will close it all the way and you can hear through the door, “doh, doh, doh.”
Well, the other morning, he had closed it all the way and could not figure out how to get it open, leaving him alone inside in the dark. I was standing by the door and could hear his “doh, doh’s” clearly. At first, he seemed happy as I fought off my curiosity and the parental urge to get him out of there.
After a few seconds, which seemed like hours, I could not take it any longer and found him sitting on the floor trying to put his feet in his mouth. He quickly jumped up and out he ran in a burst of laughter. He then proceeded to run back in, closing the door behind him as quickly as he could.
This routine repeated itself about a dozen times that morning.
One comment I often hear is how much easier it is to be parents these days than years ago.
I believe some parents of teenagers today would certainly disagree with that statement, as there are a lot of unique challenges, many stemming from technology and higher education pressures, today that were not a consideration years ago.
That being said, it does seem to me that technological advancements have helped ease some aspects of being a parent.
For one thing, every parent has a monitor of some sort today. We used a video monitor at our house up until last week when it basically died on us, causing some anxiety for Pam and I. We had become dependent on the thing because it allowed us to see what he’s up to in his crib as well as hear him at any given moment.
Rather than replace the costly video monitor, we decided to try out the audio type. It’s been a week now and I think we have adjusted to not being able to see his little body asleep in his crib. However, I do still miss waking up and looking over at the monitor to see him staring up at the camera blowing raspberries.
Other items that make life a little easier today would have to be the DVD players in the vehicle. These days it’s practically impossible to find any family-style automobile without them. This makes trips of any distance extremely easy. I know my parents wish they had these when we drove to Florida when I was 10. I remember well peppering them with “are we there yet’s?” even before we reached the bay bridge tunnel.
Exersaucers are another wonderful thing. For those who don’t know, they are stationary and can be adjusted for height. They are great at keeping kids entertained because they play music, give them toys to play with their hands and they can spin themselves. The best part is they cannot get out of it, allowing a parent in one-on-one coverage a little time.
Another helpful aspect around these days is Sprout and Noggin, two channels devoted entirely to young kids. There are other similar channels available, but these are my little boy’s favorites. Surely, cartoons and Sesame Street have been around for years, but the numerous channels devoted entirely to educating and entertaining toddlers these days can be a huge help. Put these shows on a 52-inch flat screen, again not around a while back, and it’s good stuff.
Lastly, while there are other obvious things left out here that have improved over the years, diapers could be the most important. I am constantly amazed at how well diapers are able to handle the elements, if you will. As my kid has increased his liquid and adult food intake, there have been some dirty diapers I hope to forget. The fact diapers are able to absorb and contain with such efficiency is wonderful.