Other Things I Learned
Use a Videocam
Out of experience, this is a big one.
Everyone has a photo camera, right? You're probably using it a lot to snap a lot of great pictures of your child, which is great.
What a lot of parents don't use is video.
I don't look at Andres' old videos often, but when I do, it's better than any blockbuster movie. Photos just can't give back the movements, expressions, sounds and feel of when Andres was way smaller. It is utterly amazing, believe me! I can't imagine how much I've forgotten in those few years.
Technically, I think the easiest format is to use is those small Mini-DV tapes, either a standard-definition or better a high definition camcorder will record an hour onto one of these cheap tapes costing just a couple of Dollars/Euros. Once a tape is full, just store it; no hassle to transfer the video to the PC as with memory-chip- or hard-disk camcorders. Tape also lasts way longer than DVD or even hard-drives. However, DV-Tape camcorders are getting rarer by the day, but remain the easiest to handle by stressed out parents. I would resist using the built-in video function in your still camera: the picture and sound quality usually cannot compare to a dedicated camcorder.
Andres is Grumpy When...
He was (and still is) grumpy, will say "No" to everything and cries a lot when one of three things is the case:
- He's tired
- He's hungry
- He's caught a bug (even though it might not show visible symptoms yet)
Get Liability Insurance
This is something I didn't think about until (sh)it happened - luckily we already had family coverage without planning for it.
Andres threw a tin can over the balcony.
5 stories below there was a garage with lots of new cars parked outside. The tin can hit a car and a dent was formed.
The next day he did it again with a shard of a broken flower pot - dent #2. Cost to get the car repaired: about 2500$ or 2000 Euros. He was about two years old at the time.
He scratched the side of my car with a stone at age 3 years and 6 months (a deep, long scratch).
He has shut down a running escalator in a shopping mall by pressing the emergency-STOP button (this could have caused major injury to persons riding it at the time - luckily it was running empty).
Stuff like this happens so fast there was no chance of me intervening. Once I'd noticed it was too late.
Insurance is the only answer.
[Andres was almost 3 at the time this happened]
This is really, really, really scary. If you've never seen a child drowning, prepare to be shocked! It happens really quickly and without a sound :-(. The child does not thrash about but silently remains head-below-water!
Lesson Learned: Never leave your child out of your eyes near a swimming pool or a full bathtub for even a moment if she can't swim!
We were in Spain for holidays for a week and they were absolutely marvelous! Great weather, food and lots of relaxation. We experienced a huge scare, though. Andres was playing at the entry point of the swimming pool, which consisted of a couple of steps leading to the shallow area. I decided to float to the deep part on a small rubber dingy. I'd swum a couple of meters when I looked back, wanting to ask Andres if he didnt want to ride in the dingy with me. I got the shock of my life! Andres was in the water with the water level at the top of his head. His hands were in the air but he was hardly thrashing about or making any noise. He was drowning with no way to make me notice. I dashed back and grabbed him out of the water and placed him with his stomach on my thigh, head down. He was choking. He recovered fast, but had there been a longer delay I cant imagine what would have happened. I'd never imagined that he wouldn't thrash or that this could happen so fast. It did and we need to teach him how to swim as soon as possible!
[Andres was almost 3 at the time this happened]
The second (and thankfully last) scare we had was at our departure from Spain at the airport. There was a long queue before the check in counter and Andres refused to stay with us, preferring to wander about and check out the counter and any other stuff which grabbed his attention. We reached the counter itself and we were discussing some detail when I lost sight of Andres. There was quite a crowd in the departure hall and when I walked to the point where Id seen him last just seconds ago he was nowhere to be seen. I walked up and down the whole huge departure hall several times but there was not trace of him. I was underway for perhaps 10 minutes but it seemed like hours. I was already thinking about how we'd handle a missing child while missing our flight back home. We decided to part ways in search of him, while keeping in touch with our mobile phones. Just when we were about to restart our search when who almost runs into me? Andres!
Lesson learned: Always keep your toddler next to you in crowded places, and don't lost sight of him even for a second, especially in foreign countrries where he has no chance to communicate with anyone who finds him. Have an ID-Tag or wrist-tag with your names and mobile phone numbers on him, especially on vacation.