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  • Help me brainstorm

    Hi all, I'm hoping someone can help me brainstorm a dilema I'm having. Once a week I babysit two kids and bring my six month old son with me. The youngest of the two kids is about 1 1/2 years old and is a really big kid. My son has also just discovered the joy of continuous rolling, so much cooler than crawling right? And he covers a lot of distance pretty quick with lots of direction changes. One other piece of background, my son (Kana) only likes carriers if we are walking somewhere, or if he is napping, he doesn't like hanging out and observing in the carrier and insists on getting out once he adjusts to where ever we are.

    After one babysitting session of a combo of trying to hold Kana in arms and let him lay on the floor, he ended up with oatmeal all over his head..somehow from me while I tried to clean up the youngest boy and hold Kana. And he had a couple narrow misses of becoming a baby pancake on the floor. So my solution so far has been to take a walker with me so he can be in an upright position (his favorite) and he can see what the other kids are doing (another favorite) AND I can easily move him to keep him near me rather than try to grow eyes in the back of my head to see if anyone is trying to feed him anything. I've told the youngest that Kana doesn't eat yet and he always says ok, but he also often tries to share with Kana. He's a really sweet kid. So Kana spends the time in the walker some, in arms some and in the carrier when he goes to sleep...and I'll babysit any where from 3 to 6 hours each time. When the youngest takes his nap, I just put Kana on the floor and am next to him while interacting with the older girl.

    So, my new concern is that Kana is starting to learn how to manipulate the walker pretty well and I think forward motion is coming soon. I read so much about walkers being dangeous. There are no steps at their house for him to fall down but I've read the wheels can get stuck on stuff and the whole thing can fall. I can't quite see how since it is so wide, but apparently it happens. I originally didn't want him to stay on the floor because we had a couple close calls where it looked like he was going to get fallen/stepped/jumped on and I didn't want to set anyone up for that type of situation. Now I'm afraid to have him on the floor because there are so many small toys for him to grab in an instant. And I don't want to constantly frustrate him by "restarting" him after he works so hard at rolling to where he wants to get to. He is very content going from walker to arms and back...it's my fear that is making me question if we can still do it that way. I thought briefly of trying to get my hands on a playpen, but I can't see that working for him because he understandably wants to be in the middle of it all...and I want him in the middle of it all too.

    So far I have thought of two things. I wonder if those rubber things you can put under chair legs might work to prevent the walker from moving (BUT, he knows it moves and now gets frustrated when he can't move it...not much though, I might not be too late to make it stationary. But then I can't just roll him along with me.). The other thought is to just become really intensive with the carriers at home and hope he starts to like them in a different way, his opinion is pretty strong on it though and I can't see it changing but maybe I need to try new positions or something. I'm not feeling too hot about either of those ideas.

    The walker seemed like the perfect solution. He was with me, in his favorite position, he had some toys to chew on and he had a bit of a buffer so he wasn't overwhelmed with the other kids, plus the safety of not being squashed or choking. The thought of him using it to get around though really feels weird and I think we are really close to forward movement. He's been pushing himself backwards here and there, he mostly just hangs out or stands up and down on tiptoes. But maybe I'm just being paranoid because of what I've read. I'm all for using tools in moderation and in this case it keeps us connected, but I don't want to be unsafe.

    Can you help me figure this one out?

    Thanks,
    Krista

  • #2
    Hi Krista,

    I applaud you listening to Kana tell you what he wants: that he doesn't want to be carried if you're not in motion, nor does he want you "resetting" him every time he gets close to something. I think that's the biggest challenge we parents face--knowing what we want our children to be doing or how we want to parent them, but balancing our desires with theirs (because they do have opinions, and often very strong ones at that!).

    I remember having that same issue when Xander was entering the mobile stage, and Josh was 22 months his senior...except that instead of lasting 3-6 hours for a few days each week, it lasted all day long and every day! (LOL) I never used walkers, because I was concerned about the baby having mobility before his body was ready for it. They can grab too many things that were previously out of their reach when they have new-found-mobility coupled with new-found-height (items on tables, things dangling down from counters, electric cords, bookshelves, etc.) I liked the exersaucer, because it was stationary, allowed my little one to see what was happening, kept him from getting squished, and prevented him from grabbing unsavory items for mouthing. He could bounce and spin around in it, pick-up age-appropriate toys for mouthing, and I could remove the batteries from those obnoxious factory-set "musical" tunes.

    I just visited my brother's family, with a 7-month-old and 4-year-old. They use a stationary jumper, that is set-up like an exersaucer. It isn't the old-fashioned kind that attaches to a door frame (dangerous). This kind sits on the floor with a wide bumper around it. It doesn't have wheels. The baby sits in the seat and bounces around--he had so much fun in it! He especially loved it when big sister and his older cousins stood near him and jumped, too.

    Mixing age groups can be very challenging, but it's so incredibly rewarding for all of them: infants, toddlers, preschoolers, on up. Sounds like you're finding a delicate balance between holding him and allowing him to explore his new independence with the big kids. Kudos to you for finding ways to meet everyone's needs and desires in a safe manner!

    Warmly, Jessica Feltz Wolfson

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    • #3
      Hi Jessica,

      Thanks for the reply. It is so funny because I just told my mom about a month ago that we didn't want an exersaucer because it just seemed so big. But Kana tried one at a friends house and loved it so it was a tough decision to make. Now I'm here thinking about it again since I'm worried about the almost mobile walker. I'll search for a stationary jumper and see if that might work. If all of the exersaucers are like the one our friends had, I don't think I could lug that to the babysitting job each time (especially since I lug our big yoga ball each time to bounce him on ), but I haven't looked into what different kinds there might be. What your brother has sounds like it could be a good possibility.

      I really like that Kana is able to be around other age groups, he seems to really like observing other kids. He seems especially interested in kids around that 1 1/2 - 2 year mark, it's a funny trend that I'm seeing...but even the bigger kids, he likes to watch them IF he can feel in a space that isn't overwhelming, sometimes that is still my arms. At our Mother's Kitchen he got overwhelmed when all the bigger kids ran through at once, he was too low to the ground for that much excitement.

      Well, off to bed, I can renew my search tomorrow...stationary jumper is sounding promising though. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement.

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      • #4
        I'd never heard about walkers flipping over - I just thought the concern was stairs! I probably would have never worried about it!

        I agree with Jessica, my 2nd son loved the Jump-a-roo or whatever it's called and that might be a good compromise. And I hear you on the challenge of balancing the needs of many diverse age groups!

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        • #5
          Hello!

          I received an Excersaucer as a baby shower gift, and it was large and the toys seemed overwhelming, so we gave it to a friend. I also received a Jumperoo (stationary jumper) and my DS loved it. We loved the Jumperoo too b/c we were able to move it from room to room, although he did get frustrated that he didn't "go" anywhere. When he became more mobile (and outgrew Jumperoo), I purchased a walker (even though I heard the dangers) and he loves being able to move around in it. I don't really see any danger except stairs, but we use it on the first floor and he is monitored the entire time. I don't see any chance of rollover; it's a wide base. I never just let him use it without watching him, and all items are placed out of his reach. And we don't use it for an extended period of time. I just view it as another activity for him to break up the monotony of his day.

          I feel that if you have the ability and time to be able to monitor him while he is in the walker, then he should be okay. Use your judgement.

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          • #6
            i just want to throw this in there about walker hazards. take it w/a grain of salt, but feel compelled to share it. in addition to what's been shared, i have heard, too, that w/walkers, there's a danger of them breaking their feet/ankles. if they lurch forward, or if their feet get stuck, they've had cases of babies breaking their feet, twisting ankles, etc. i think it may be partly due to the fact that they're not physically ready to be moving like that yet. i've also heard of damage to hips and spine in them, too, b/c the babies aren't truly in a natural walking position. instead of helping babies walk sooner, it can delay walking in some.

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            • #7
              I neglected to post again thanking everyone for their help. I decided to go with a smaller exersaucer and it has been working really well. It isn't too overwhelming with toys and even the music is pleasant. Actually a funny thing happened when I took it to the babysitting job. The older girl does ballet and at one point I was her DJ and would hit the buttons that make the music so she could dance to it. (it has the baby einstein classical stuff)

              So thanks again everyone for the brainstorming, you guys rock!

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