She Says… Shake it Off

Whew, that little illness was a rough one. Somehow, my kid can be happy as a clam with pneumonia or on the verge of a 105 degree fever, but this particular “head cold plus molars” thing really got him down. Oh, the whining, crying, demands to be held. The pain he feels on the inside has been expressed via pinching, biting, smacking and violently throwing himself on the ground (hence, the biting incident, which, in retrospect, makes a lot more sense). I know the poor thing is not feeling great and I’m trying to be sympathetic and give him the snuggles he needs, but MAN, it is challenging when he’s being so emotionally volatile.

Shake it off, buddy. Shake it off. I’d like my sweet little go-with-the-flow guy back, please!

Owen’s daycare teachers have reported that he has been a bit “feistier” than normal at school, too. Pushing boundaries and reacting emotionally when little things upset him. I think we’re just going through a rough few days over here.

To be honest, I guess this is what other parents with more sensitive children go through all the time. I get it now. In general, I am spoiled by Owen’s good nature. I often think back to the part in “Happiest Baby on the Block” (my favorite parenting/baby book) where Dr. Karp describes temperament and how a baby’s future temperament is often evident even when they are newborns. When Owen was tiny, friends and family (and even complete strangers) would often comment on how “chill” he was. How smiley and social and laid back. How easy it was to make him laugh and how he seemed content to just “be”. (Believe me, as any of you will remember who were reading my blog back then, he wasn’t always perfect, but that was the general way about him when he wasn’t hungry, tired or screaming because of reflux and breastfeeding issues). He’s a textbook example of Karp’s “easy child”.

The Easy Child: About half of kids are easygoing — waking up on the “right side of the bed,” cheerful and ready for a new day, Karp says. They’re active, tolerate change, and basically like new people and situations. They don’t anger easily but aren’t pushovers, experts say. Parents need to just use common sense if this is their toddler’s personality.
Happiest Baby on the Block

You know, the type who makes you want to have another baby immediately.

As Owen gets older (and especially these last few days of pain and illness), I see a little more of Karp’s “spirited child” temperament.

The Spirited (Wild) Child: About one in 10 toddlers is a strong-willed, challenging kid, experts say. “These roller-coaster kids have high highs and low lows,” Karp says. “Parents usually know they have a spirited child because they’re the ‘more’ kids.” More active. More impatient. More impulsive. More defiant. More intense. More sensitive. More rigid. The No. 1 recommendation to parents with this toddler personality type: Keep them active. Get them outside to play — a lot. These kids need to burn off their energy and work through their moods, experts say. They also need firm structure to keep them safe and stable — and lots of patience.
Happiest Baby on the Block

In general I put Owen firmly in the “easy” camp. But I’m getting a taste of the wild child right now!

Did you have an easy, spirited or shy baby? Do you think they inherited that personality from you or your partner? Nature or nurture?


8 responses to “She Says… Shake it Off

  1. Does Dr. Karp have a “Drama Queen” category? Because that’s the one my kid firmly falls in. 🙂

  2. My daughter falls in the “Wild Child” category for sure! She get’s it honestly tho. Her father and I were both the same way as kids, and still are pretty “wild.” Haha!

  3. Thanks for the link! I definitely have a shy child on my hands – with strangers he just stares. He takes his time before he participates in anything and it seems he only jumps in when he trusts that he can do it well…
    I was (and still am) a shy person, so I totally understand where it comes from 🙂 When he warms up to a person he acts normal and has a very good time, but he will study that person until he judges they are well intended and ‘ok’ to play with, lol

  4. My first is the wild child – “more” is the best word for it! My husband and I were bracing ourselves for our second because we thought that was how a baby/toddler was “supposed” to be! I honestly didn’t know how we were going to do it with two! And my second is amazingly, peacefully easy. I mean, he has his moments (he has reflux, so I feel your past pain!), but on the whole, he’s just an easygoing kid, perfectly content to sit in my lap and hang out. He’s eight months old now, and when my oldest was that age, he was already cruising the furniture and STILL wasn’t sleeping through the night. My second is happy to just sit and play with his toys (or be entertained by his wild older brother!), and he has been sleeping through the night since he was eight weeks old. I do think some is inherited (my husband was a wild child, I was the easy baby), and I think some has to do with the differences in pregnancy, labor and birth, and even the early days at home. Everything about my second baby was more relaxed and easygoing, while “drama” definitely punctuated all aspects with the first. It’s no wonder that he’s a little intense! 🙂

  5. WILD CHILD. i like the wording of wild. i like to call it “child with the worst temper ever”. never once has the word “chill” been used to describe my child. in fact, i refer to him as having “emotional difficulties”. but then again i have never lived with a toddler so i’m not sure if it is normal for a child to scream for 3 hours straight in the car or if scream so loud the neighbors check to make sure i’m not beating him EVERY SINGLE NIGHT while i make dinner or do dishes. i do know it drives me bonkers. and it makes me want to make him my only child; is it worth the risk of possibly going through this again? not sure!!!

    oh and P>S. husband was a bad baby and so was i. we are getting the revenge our parents wanted for us ?

  6. P.P.S. i didnt see ‘shy’ was an option. i think a baby can be shy and be easy OR be shy and be wild. blaine cried for 20 minutes because a lady said “hi buddy” to him at gymnastics class. i see a painfully shy future for him.

  7. Cameron is pretty much as Cinemarie described. He’s perfectly cautious in a way that I really really like. I want him to trust his gut and think before he acts, so I love that about him. I never had to worry about him catapulting off of something without fear on an impulse. He has this absolutely adorable coy/shy smirk that he gives when he’s being shy, but when he’s over the shy part, he’s happy to run around like a rambunctious toddler too. He’s not the type of kid that goes with the flow supremely easily, but with a slightly more patient approach, everything goes pretty smoothly (i.e. lots of warning that we’re going to do a, b, c before we’re out the door)

    Transition to his day home at 12 months wasn’t easy and it was really hard to leave him every day, and even though I wasn’t completely happy with his care giver, I think it did him good to have a different person calling the shots other than Mommy. At 18 mths when he transitioned to a bigger day care, it was like night and day – there has never been a screech or a tear when I leave. He truly LOVES it. However, I’m well aware of what sets him off (which seems to be primarily “Mommy attachment” based) and what he needs to ease into things, so I always stay and sit and play with the playdough or the crayons or the big lego bin or whatever activity they have set up for them during drop off and I tell him that it’s “Bye bye Mama” time and I have to go to work – love kisses etc., and even though he tries to coax me to stay by putting markers in my hands or taking off my coat etc., he never gets upset when I leave. I knew that with his personality, I should never ever try to sneak off without warning because it would only feed an insecurity. All in all he’s a sweet & gentle little boy who loves to hug and kiss the pets, stuffed animals and pictures in his books. He’s been pretty gentle with the pets from the get go (with some serious direction on the “gentle”)

    Lately though, I’m noticing he’s getting more particular about specific things he wants – i.e. not just “any” cup, must be “dat” one this time. I fully oblige because I think it gives him a small sense of control and satisfaction that we understand what he’s trying to communicate – he’s no where near where Owen is on the words and just starting to say more words. It’s funny because when he would say a word, I’d applaud it and he’d give that shy/coy smile and it almost seemed like he was too shy to say more words on a regular basis.

    Back when he was an infant, based on his need to be held 24/7 and his terrible sleeping habits, I would have pegged him as a “spirited” child most definitely, but as time went on, I think he definitely shows qualities from more than one category, but I’d say more with the “shy” camp. Hubs apparently was the “easy going” baby who didn’t say much for a long, long time and I’ve heard both that I had colic as a new born and that I was a “perfect” baby/child. I’m betting I wasn’t as perfect as my mom likes to remember considering the colic was mentioned more than once :-D. I do think it’s a combination of nature & nurture in the sense that if you don’t deal with these personalities in a specific way, it can have various affects in the future, like Dr. Karp says. (I also am a Karp fan).

    This is getting seriously long and I need to stop now. Wow, ask a Mom to talk about their kid and this is what you get! lol

  8. Oh my, I know I am a little behind on reading your blog Kate. Definitely my little girl has been keeping me busy! I for one can say, without a doubt, I have a lil wild child on my hands. My 19 mth old is not very good with change or with people; so I try my best to take her out as much as I can. Luckily, we have a park right across the street to keep her busy; especially with this gorgeous weather here as of late. I can say to anyone with a little fussy one, fresh air does wonders! Wish it was beautiful here all year round 🙂 Love the blog Kate! Hope you have a little time to yourself in Paris!

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