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I have a 5-year-old boy who’s a pretty cautious kid. At first, I was fine with it because I thought he was just being safe. But it’s beginning to feel like he’s overly cautious. It’s like he won’t even jump off the balance beam on the playground without making it a crazy process. Is it possible to teach him how to take a few more risks?
Los Angeles, California
Hey, Stephen. Maybe it’s not all that bad. Just think of how much money you’ll save in medical bills. I, for one, had a slew of kid injuries including falling onto a nail at a playground, breaking my collarbone in the preschool sandbox, breaking my face after jumping off my bed while playing Superman, and getting bit on the head while bouncing on a trampoline, requiring multiple stitches. And all this before the age of 10. That said, I understand that an overly cautious kid can be troubling. Luckily there are ways to help.
You’re not wrong to want to take some action here. Overly cautious kids may be struggling with play. That’s a problem considering that play is how kids learn. And it’s not just the limits of their body that they’re learning. They are also learning about stuff like physics and biology, or teamwork and cooperation if they happen to be playing hard with friends.
But I’m happy to report that the solution to helping your cautious kid is as simple as it is enjoyable: show him how to play. Now, notice I did not say, “tell” him how to play. Because frankly, your kid isn’t going to get that. He needs more motivation. And right now that motivation is going to be you.
Your goal is going to be to get out with your kid once a day for some less-than-cautious play. Show him how to jump off that balance beam. Make a game of it. Get a little crazy. Because if your kid is seeing you having fun, he’ll likely want to join in.
What you don’t want to do is push him. Either literally or figuratively. He has to eventually break his own boundaries. You trying to force him past them by cajoling or shaming may only cause him to hesitate even more. So, encouragement is the word. Eventually, he’ll find where he’s comfortable.
Just, don’t overdo it with pushing past that caution. Sometimes looking before you leap is a really good thing. I know because one time I broke my arm falling off the roof.
My wife and I have noticed that on Saturday mornings the TV can distract our 4-year-old daughter and her 6-year-old brother enough that we can have coffee and grown-up talk undisturbed. Because our sex life has been a bit time challenged recently, I was thinking this might be a perfect time for us to get it on. But neither of us are really “quickie” people. Any pointers?
San Antonio, Texas
After seven years of parenting, my wife and I have come to embrace the quickie, Del. Does that make us “quickie people”? I’m not sure. But what it does make us is experienced when racing the clock to get off, which I can assure you, can be both a fun and productive experience.
That said, your biggest enemy is less time than it is desire. It’s one thing to recognize the opportunity, which you clearly, have. It’s another thing entirely to be ready to seize that opportunity (and whatever else needs to be seized). With that in mind, understand that you’ll need to shift your concept of foreplay. Obviously, the languid moments of touching and squeezing under the sheets you enjoyed as free people won’t cut it. There is simply no time.
That doesn’t mean abandon foreplay. Just change it. Because, like they say, the biggest erogenous zone on the body is the brain. And you have a direct hook up to each other’s brains in your pocket. It’s your cell-phone. What were you thinking it was?
The trick is to keep yourselves at a constant rev of sexiness. Send sexy texts. Flirt with emojis. Whatever makes each other smile. But, of course, not everything has to be digital. You can sneak a caress or whisper something naughty if you want to go analog. Just keep it sexy and somewhat discreet. You don’t want to have to answer questions about why you’re touching Mommy’s private square in the kitchen if your kid catches your shenanigans.
Which brings me to another important point. If your bedroom door doesn’t lock, go get a new knob. While my wife and I have found the perfect snack to Paw Patrol ratio to give us a few minutes of alone time, hearing a plaintive “Poppa?” from a kid in the hallway is not terribly uncommon. That’s a buzzkill, for sure. But those are the risks you’re taking. To make sure the risk doesn’t turn into a full-blown, “What are you doing?” crisis, you’ll want to keep the door locked.
In terms of positions, remember you’re looking for fast and easy. Aim for positions that don’t require full nudity and wear your comfy clothes that don’t require a lot of fastening, zipping, and buttoning. The elastic waistband is a quickie’s true friend. Good luck.
My wife and I had our first baby about three months ago. After months of exclusively breastfeeding, my wife has decided to pump more often so I can take some night feedings when she goes back to work. I’ve never bottle fed a baby so any tips would be appreciated.
Congratulations on your bottle duty, Trent. Honestly, some of my favorite times as a dad were listening to my boys gently pull on the bottle in the dark of the night, or talking to them quietly while they sipped and stared back at me during daytime feedings. You’re doing a good thing for both you and your wife. But there are some things you’ll need to know to do that good thing like an expert.
The first rule you must always remember: Do not warm up your kid’s bottle in the microwave. Microwaves have a tendency to heat milk unevenly. So even though it may feel just warm to you (tested by a drop on your wrist), the bottle could contain hotspots that could burn your baby. The better idea is to prepare the bottle by warming it in water so it heats evenly. The reason you’re doing this is that breast milk is pretty fatty. You want all of that fat to go from cold solid to warm liquid. Not only does it make the milk richer, the fat won’t clog the nipple.
Speaking of the nipple, keep that sucker half full and watch your kid for signs the milk is coming too slow or too fast. If it’s too fast they’ll likely have big gulps and wide eyes. Like a dude drinking from a beer bong. If It’s too slow there will be a lot of noise, worry, and effort. Ideally, your kid should drink with an easy rhythm and look and feel relaxed. Don’t worry about the short rest periods. That’s just how babies do things.
Hold your kid upright and the bottle at a slight angle. You don’t want them on their back, but you don’t want them completely upright with the nipple bent awkwardly in their mouth, either. You’ll find a happy medium. For help, watch your wife’s position next time she breastfeeds. You want the position and experience to be as close to breastfeeding as possible.
You’ll also want to pay attention to how much milk your kid is taking. Just because there is still milk in the bottle doesn’t mean your kid has to finish it. If they are pushing the nipple out of their mouth, chances are they are full. Trust them. Note that a feeding should really only take about 20-minutes.
Really, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to relax. More than anything, you want to use feeding as a time to bond. You got this, man. Enjoy!