I’m about to offend many of you and possibly hurt your feelings. But if you were giving your kid sleeping pills before the WOD, I might take you aside and say, “Dude, don’t you think that could hurt her?”
I am not a doctor, so this rant is completely unscientific. But I am a mom of four kids, so I feel like I can tell you this with all love:
STOP FEEDING YOUR BABY CRACK!!!
It is ironic that people will spend months or years training to lift their own body weights, but they won’t take the time train their kids to sit still for more than 60 seconds. Apparently, a “good” kid is one who sits zombified in the corner with his own little flatscreen.
No, that’s not a well-behaved kid. That’s a kid on heroin. A well-behaved kid can sit in a corner for an hour and entertain himself with his own imagination AND stay out of the way of people lifting heavy weights.
Wait…what about toddlers, you say?
Toddlers are a breed of their own. And guess what? They’re not supposed to be QUIET. They are loud, screaming terrors who will exhaust you before they’re even awake in the morning. But is that any reason to give them a flat screen?
When you toss a baby a flat screen, you create an addict, and you fall victim to LAZY PARENTING SYNDROME. Which is harder to do: train a screaming kid or toss a sedative into the playpen?
Yes, a screaming kid is going to annoy people, but you CAN work through it.
Toughen up, buttercup!
If you can deadlift 115% of your body weight, you can handle a 20 pound toddler!
While there’s no “proof” that screen time is related to ADHD, you can look around you and know right away which kids get a LOT of screen time, and which ones don’t. Seriously. My kids get 1-2 hours PER WEEK, maybe 3-4 if they’re sneaky [*teenagers not included, as they are on their own now].
When my kids were babies & toddlers…NADA. I was afraid to let them watch Baby Einstein for an hour. By the time my kids were 3, I could reasonably expect them to sit still anywhere–from a seat on an international flight to a restaurant with cloth napkins and candles.
Work. Hard, difficult, gut-wrenching, grueling, sweaty, exhausting, emotionally-taxing work.
When we moved to Germany, I had 4 kids under the age of 6, and I found that during car rides, my kids fought MORE when they had personal video game gadgets. That’s because the video games encourage you to tune out the world around you, and overcome obstacles in the virtual world. And when anything gets in the way of achieving those false goals (like a chatty sibling), it creates tension and frustration–not exactly good qualities when you’re on a 12 hour car ride to Tuscany.
The thing that inspired today’s rant was an article someone sent to me about an infant seat that is equipped to hold an iPad above your baby’s head, which I thought was akin to child abuse.
Please, people. You’re harming your baby’s brain. Stop feeding them crap! If you Crossfit, you should inherently know the value of having tangible goals, of working your body to improve it. So why is inundating your child with a false reality ok?
What to do instead?
Give your kid a big, thick, heavy rope.
- When she’s a baby, she’ll drool on it.
- When she’s a toddler, she’ll stumble over it a few times before learning to climb over it.
- When she’s a pre-schooler, she’ll try to drag it around.
- When she’s school-aged, she’ll play tug-of-war with it (if her friends can lift their side).
- When she’s in high school, she’ll teach the kids she babysits to climb it.
- When she graduates, she’ll want to take it to college…
- …but you won’t let her because you’re hoping you’ll be able to let your grandkids drool on it someday.
Is the rope scratchy? Will she fall? Will she (gasp) hurt herself?
Maybe. But it’s better than a lifelong diet of brain damaging stimuli.
Afraid to use the words ‘baby’ and ‘rope’ in the same sentence? Get her a ball.
A big, heavy med ball.
She’ll drool on it. She’ll push it around. She’ll pick it up. She’ll break your Polish pottery with it. She might even piddle on it during potty training.
But she’ll be strong.
She’ll be like you.
Crossfit is not about muscle. It’s about grace, flexibility, perseverance and using what you have to leverage things that are difficult for most people. Parenting is the most difficult job you can have, but if you put in the effort, you’ll see the results.
Hang in there, friends. Don’t let iPad be your baby’s little addiction. Make her a Crossfit addict instead.
*For more info on tactical parenting, you can read the book I co-authored: The Gypsy Mama’s Guide to REAL Travel with Kids, available in hard copy through Lulu.com or digitally (ironic, I know) through Amazon.com or download directly from Uncommon Childhood.