Have you ever had one of those days (may be weeks or months) where you just had to scratch your head? It doesn’t make sense, you didn’t plan for it, and you sure as heck never asked for it. But there it is staring you right in the face, taunting you, “Come on, mama…are you woman enough to handle this?” Oh, yeah you got this, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to still scream at the top of your lungs, “You did what!?”

Wee ones [0-18 months]

On average, poop is 75% water and 25% solid matter.

Babies are curious. If they can get at it, they will pull it apart or put it in their month. On The Minds of Moms shares tips to keep them safe as they explore. iStock.com / Special to On The Minds of Moms
Babies are curious. If they can get at it, they will pull it apart or put it in their month. On The Minds of Moms shares tips to keep them safe as they explore. iStock.com / Special to On The Minds of Moms

Your little exploring Indiana Jones is ready for adventure and you do your best to clean, sanitize and protect. A shriek of terror is the only reasonable response when your wee one comes around the corner looking like he just devoured a Hersey bar, but you know…that’s not chocolate.

Once our wee ones are able to coordinate grabbing objects, they immediately make their way to his mouth. This is completely normal as he is simply exploring and learning. His mouth has many more nerve endings per square millimeter than any other part of his body. And he can control his mouth and lips much sooner than the fine motor skills needed for in-depth evaluation of objects with his hands. With his mouth, he can learn such things as the texture, taste, shape, and temperature of objects.

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So, since it’s inevitable he is going to put things in his mouth, it’s your first responsibility is to make sure your home is as safe as possible and you evaluate any and all choking and dangerous items. But as diligent as you are to create a safe place, something unsavory, that should not…repeat…should not ever, ever make its way to the food hole will…like #2! If your wee one does a little taste test on his own diaper surprise (excuse me I just threw-up a little in my mouth), remember:

  • Relax. As gross as it is, the odds are in your wee one’s favor that he will grow up without any ill effects from his poop escapades. So don’t get crazy. Start by getting him cleaned up with soap and water and do your best to rinse out his mouth. Then you want to try to prevent such activity from happening again. Make sure his diaper fits correctly and if he likes to weasel his way out of his diaper at nap time or during the night, consider slapping on a onesie and see if the little Houdini can get out of that.

  • Contact your doctor. Again, your wee one shouldn’t have any problems, but it is poop! If he develops a fever, stomach pain or diarrhea in the days or weeks to follow, call your physician. Lastly, any time your child eats something they shouldn’t, don’t hesitate to contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222.

Tots [18 months-3 years]

1 in 5 children will bite and around half will hit at some point in their tot years.

Your cute little tot is becoming so self-sufficient. He can express what he wants and what he doesn’t want or like. Of course the “what he doesn’t want or like” expression isn’t always expressed constructively. If you have ever taken a swift backhand from your tot you know he can pack a wallop! Behavior issue or next budding Muhammad Ali?

Jab, cross, uppercut

A tot that likes to hit can be very frustrating, but it isn’t uncommon. Our tots are still mastering the art of communication and using his hands to throw, push, and hit allow him to express what he can’t do verbally. So normal, yes, but that doesn’t mean it is behavior that you can just ignore. Here are some tips to help curb your tot’s desire to hit:

  • Take action right way when the hitting happens. Ignoring it can signal it’s OK to hit.

  • If hitting is what you are trying to stop, then why would you spank? Spanking says it’s OK to resolve a situation using your hands. Stay away from it.

  • There are times your tot will be simply trying to get your attention. Tell him “we don’t hit” and show him how to ask for help or what it is he wants. If he is hitting out of anger or frustration, give him the words to express those feelings.

  • Pay close attention to when your tot hits. Are there any triggers? Is he tired or hungry? Is he in a large group or not? Finding the situations that prompt him to hit can allow you to address the behavior more effectively.

  • When he does hit, remove him from the situation right away. Tell him, “No hitting. Hitting hurts.”

Finally, be patient. Getting your tot to stop hitting won’t happen overnight, but remain consistent. And lastly, make sure you are a good model of appropriate behavior. It can be very frustrating and embarrassing when your tot hits another child, adult, or you. Remain calm and address the situation in a firm manner.

Preschoolers [3-5 years]

Your nose and ears continue growing throughout your entire life.

Isn’t your preschooler so smart? ABCs, animal sounds, and days of the week are no match for your Brainiac. And he is such an investigator, learning all the time. Many of life’s puzzling questions turn into real-life experiments like, “I wonder if this pea would fit in my nose?”

As funny as some situations can be, lodged items in your preschooler’s nose or ear are a serious problem. Infections and long-term damage can occur. You want to address the situation right away, but you also don’t want to make things worse. Here are some first aid tips for when items make their way into small preschooler orifices they have no business being in:

  • Remain calm. Like every other situation you can think of, if you freak out, your preschooler is going to follow right along. Keep it under control.

  • Retrieve it. If you can see the object and your preschooler is calm enough to sit still, you can try to remove it. Do not use a sharp object or cotton swab. You don’t want to push the object further in the ear or nose or cause more damage. For items in the ear, have your preschooler tilt his head to the side the object is on and while gently pulling his ear up and out, have him shake his head (again, gently). Gravity may be enough to get the object out. For items in the nose, you can start with trying to blow it out while applying pressure to the unaffected nostril. For both the ear and nose, if the object is close to the surface and easily seen, you can try to get it with a blunt tweezer. But again, be extremely careful so you do not push it in further.

  • Contact your doctor. Vegetables, popcorn kernels, marbles, toys, candy…your doc has probably heard it all. If you aren’t able to remove the object or there are signs of other damage (bleeding, foul odor, hearing loss, tenderness) head to your trusted physician for extraction.

Big kids [6-9 years]

More than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related issues.

Big kids are going to run. They’re going to jump. And they are going to crash and burn! Cross your fingers they quickly learn the life-saving technique called the tuck-n-roll before becoming the spitting image of an all-star hockey player sporting a toothless grin!

Tooth for tat

As the mama, we are the booboo fixer. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can handle pretty much any low-level 911 event my kiddos can throw at me, but tooth injuries freak me out. Have you ever chipped a tooth and felt the searing pain of cold air hitting it? Makes me clench my jaw just thinking about it! So, what do you do when one of those pearly whites is in trouble? Here are some ti

  • If your big kid chips a tooth and it isn’t really bothering him, you don’t need to rush to the dentist. Fixing a chip typically requires a simple cosmetic procedure. If there is pain, give your dentist a call.

  • Now if your big kid cracks or busts off a tooth, time for a little tooth professional time. While there are times a cracked tooth isn’t obviously seen, it can sure be felt. Pain while chewing and sensitivity to temperature can be symptoms of a crack.

  • Knocking out a tooth requires some quick action. Start with taking care of the missing tooth. Do NOT touch the root if possible and gently rinse it off with saline solution or milk [tap water can be used as a last resort]. Next, you want to re-implant the tooth back in the socket ASAP if possible. More and more cells on the roots of the tooth die with each minute it isn’t re-implanted. So, get it back in place and have your big kid bite down on a gauze pad to keep it in the socket and head to the dentist. Can’t replant the tooth or worried your big kid will swallow it? Put the tooth in a glass of milk and make way your way to the tooth doc!

Tweeners [10-12 years]

A study on cheating at MIT concluded that copying homework can lead to lower grades.

Sure you have expectations for your tweener. Do well in school. Be kind and respectful. If you’re going to cheat, don’t get caught…wait, not so much? Good, that is the correct answer.

If you ask your tweener if cheating is wrong, he’ll say yes. But what if “everyone” is doing it? Technology has made it extremely easy for “everyone” to cheat. Sure old school cheating is alive and well, but technology can sometimes be its own worst enemy. Cell phones can take pictures of tests and then be emailed to a friend. The internet provides an opportunity to plagiarize on virtually every topic imaginable. So, does your child really know what cheating is? Talking to your tweener about cheating is important:

  • If it isn’t your answer, your words or your thoughts…it isn’t yours! Cheating can seem like a victimless crime, because he isn’t hurting anyone, well except your tweener! Cheating himself is a crime.

  • Cheating doesn’t just happen in the classroom and it isn’t just our tweeners we need to worry about. Make sure you are modeling appropriate behavior. No lying, stealing or cheating for you too, mama!

  • Letting a friend copy his answers on a worksheet isn’t helping. It’s cheating. Make it clear that he needs to do the work and so do his friends.

  • Yes, we want our kids to be motivated and ambitious, but not at the expense of being honest and trustworthy. Pressure to get high grades can prove to be too much for your tweener. Emphasize the importance of doing his best rather than just focusing on the end grade.

  • If your tweener is caught cheating, don’t try to justify his actions. You want to teach him to not lie, but to be honest and accountable…even if everyone else is doing it!

Teens [13-18 years]

In 2016, 49% of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3 pm and midnight and 53% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

It can be a parents'  worst nightmare, their teenager getting into a crash. Before they hit the road, discuss what immediate states they should take after an accident. iStock.com / Special to On The Minds of Moms
It can be a parents' worst nightmare, their teenager getting into a crash. Before they hit the road, discuss what immediate states they should take after an accident. iStock.com / Special to On The Minds of Moms

Sure you’ve talked about the responsibility of being behind the wheel. Don’t speed! Look both ways! Yield to the right! No stinkin’ cell phone! But are you sure you have covered all your driving bases? God forbid they ever get in an accident, but do they know what to do then?

No one wants to think about their teen being in an accident, but better to be prepared to handle such a situation than to be a hysterical mess, babbling incoherently to mama on the phone, right? Here are some basic tips to share with your driving teen:

  • Rule #1 in most ever situation…remain calm. Freaking out won’t help the accident go away. If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road and turn the hazard lights on.

  • Make it very clear to your teen that you DO NOT leave the scene of an accident! Things need to be resolved with the other driver and/or police. Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a hit and run and can only make a bad situation worse. Now if the accident is a mere fender bender and the other vehicle is unattended, say in a parking lot, instruct your teen that the right thing to do is to write a note including his name and number, place it on the car’s windshield and take some pictures of the damage. If your teen is in an accident where the other driver tries to leave, instruct him to do his best to get a description of the vehicle as well as the license plate number.

  • If your teen is hurt or anyone else in the vehicle is hurt, stay put. If someone is injured they should only be moved by medical personnel unless staying in the vehicle could create further injury. And call 911.

  • Calling the police is the next responsible move for your teen after an accident. They can help with any injuries as well as the accident itself.

  • Don’t discuss who’s fault the accident is with the other driver. Let the police handle this and write up an accident report.

  • It’s always a good idea to exchange names and phone numbers with the other driver as well as any witnesses to the accident. Also, consider taking pictures of the damage.

Stress the importance of always having his license with him as well as the current registration and proof of insurance in the vehicle. And the hardest part of being in an accident for your teen? Probably calling you! But mama’s gotta know! Let him know that after the police, you’re his next call.

This article used information from the following sources:

  • parents.com
  • colgate.com
  • kidshealth.org
  • teenhelp.com
  • parenting.com
  • washingtonpost.com
  • babycenter.com

Editor’s note: Story was written by Sheri Kleinsasser Stockmoe and originally published in the February/March 2019 issue of the On The Minds of Moms magazine. Forum Communications Company is re-publishing these stories as On the Minds of Moms staff members develop a new online community.