Being an older parent of a preschool child, I marveled in the toddler stage at how much energy she manifested in the constant need to play, explore, and otherwise get into trouble. I wore a watch that tracked calories in the amount of moving and heart rate. Going to work and the gym, I would burn about 3,500 calories. Staying home with Fleur by myself, I would burn about 4,000.
Seeing this article about toddlers burning 50% more calories, I believe it.
Children’s metabolic rates stay high until age 5, but the rate slowly begins to glide down until it plateaus around age 20. Interestingly, adult rates are stable until age 60, when they begin to decline. After age 90, humans use about 26% less energy daily, Pontzer says.
Little kids burn so much energy, they’re like a different species, study finds. Ann Gibbons. Science. Aug. 12, 2021
So… I definitely need to get back into shape to keep up with the little Tasmanian Devil for the next decade.
I also will worry less about her eagerness for carbohydrates. She is burning through them hard right now. Will still push the proteins as she needs them to grow muscle.
At the botanical garden, Fleur started singing, “the way of the flowers,” over and over. I think we gave her the correct name. She loves being at the gardens and looking at the flowers. And even just being in nature. We try to go to places where she can.
Having the toddler potty trained is a relief. It makes life at home so much easier. Fleur tells she has to go and does.
The trick was away from home January to April were during the pandemic. Stores generally had open restrooms. Some parks we frequented did as well, but most did not.
There was also the visiting the restrooms because they are there. She saw a place we know has one and tells us she needs to go. I started to think of it as Pavlovian: seeing a place with one was a reminder that maybe she needed to go.
The anxiety mainly manifested when she said she had to go, but we did not have a clear place to take her.
There are portable seats. Maybe that makes sense when often find ourselves in that situation and/or with multiple kids. For us, it was 4-5 times a week.
We seem past the trials part and into a groove. The next problem was false positive claims of needing to go. She claimed to need to go and didn’t. That seems to have ceased.
She also has started sometimes wanting privacy. Which makes sense. I waited outside the stall but in the bathroom.
Yeah, the sleep deprivation as a parent is impressive. Before parenthood, I assumed it would end after the late night feedings. I saw the stuff about it lasting years. I didn’t grasp that it remained as strong for years and then maybe taper off.
But, yeah, Mondays are like walking into a wall.
My approaches are:
Coffee doesn’t help so much as mask the tiredness. I use it anyway.
Sleep when I can. (For me, I fall out hard early in the night which matches the kid’s usual pattern.)
Leverage the external brain (calendar, reminders)
My wife does similar, but her sleep cycle wants the hardest sleep starting after 4 am, so the kid waking up around then hits her harder than it does me. I try my best to get the kid quiet in another part of the house. But, still, the brain fog is hindering her more.
Every incident requires a bandaid. A wipeout in the road causes a scrape. The fix is a bandaid. An imperceptible maybe jammed finger requires one too. It hurts. Therefore it needs a bandaid.
In this case, causation doesn’t matter. What matters is how to make it feel better. Early on, I found much success in kisses. They were an accepted method of restoring health for not serious wounds. The more real injuries Fleur obtained, the less acceptable kisses were to hurts.
Placebos are powerful tools for healing. The brain being suggestible can run with them and cause impressive healing. Medicine accounts for them in efficacy studies as any time the patient believes in the cure, they can heal.
Our placebo bandaid are a cheap box of 100 I found. They barely stick. And fall off after a few hours. Just after the toddler has forgotten about the injury. In fact, if the complaint persists past the placebo bandaid, then I misjudged the injury.
Fleur asks for walks now. In another part of the neighborhood, there is a puppy who runs along the fence. Fleur runs back and forth along the fence because the puppy chases. This is great for tiring out the toddler right before either lunch/naptime or dinner/bedtime.
The neighbor one day let us inside the fence. He had setup horseshoes which surprisingly works well played with social distancing. While he and I played, Fleur got to get chased by her puppy friend. And found that the inside perspective is very, very different.
The puppy is a biter. And outweighs the toddler. My wife had a handful keeping the puppy from knocking Fleur down & getting scared from the attention. She is generally fearless (danger doesn’t phase her), so she still wants to go see the puppy every day.
In the original post, Sharing is Caring, I wrote about how I got Fleur to try new things by imitation of my eating them then how it morphed into her feeding me when she didn’t want it.
Now, my wife is concerned about my loss of weight. It has been about eight pounds in the past two weeks. Since discovering it and given that so much is up in the air, I have become more cognizant about what may have changed.
The familial isolation: we are holed up at home and limiting our going out. One would think that would mean being more sedentary, but I found that I burned 1200 to 1600 more calories on days where I stayed home with Fleur than days where I went to work without going to the gym.
Fleur play: To help Fleur sleep, we need her to be as active as possible. That means going outside and getting her to run and jump and move.
Dietary habits: At work, I typically ate breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, and an afternoon snack. I might miss the morning snack if things got busy but that is because I had a 3 hour window between breakfast and lunch and really I needed more time between the two. I am finding I typically miss the snacks at home because I am juggling work and toddler.
But, then there is also the toddler. She wants my food. We endeavor to give her the same food we eat at dinner. However, the food on my plate is the BEST food. She always wants it over what is in front of her. She especially wants my portions of her favorites. Portion control goes out the window when the toddler is taking some random amount of them.
When I was not much older than my daughter, I contracted a bacterial infection that gave me meningitis. I was in a coma for a couple weeks. As were several other kids. Contact tracing pointed to the same playground. The story I was told was most of the other kids died, but somehow I survived. The recovery was just as difficult in that I had to relearn walking, talking, etc.
Seeing there is now a vaccine made me extremely happy it is on the schedule. No families should have to go through this nightmare.
In the current pandemic, the tables are turned. I am less worried about her than I am the adults she loves and who care for her. We are doing the social isolation as best we can. Hunkered down. Limiting our trips out of the house.