Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Headbanger's Ball

What would you say if I told you that my son was a headbanger?  Immediately images of an acne riddled 15 year old in a metal t-shirt with too tight jeans and long hair pop into my head* not a little cherubesque blonde toddler. 

A few days ago a concerned daycare employee approached us about Jack.  "Do you know why he keeps on banging his head on the floor?" she asked.  "Like falling?" I asked dumbly.  "No purposefully smacking the side of  his head against the floor, aggressively." she explained. I didn't know, I hadn't seen that new milestone yet and could only come up with a sarcastic answer like, "He's listening  to the ground." so I opted for silence.

Jack is teething like crazy.  He is getting 4 molars right now, one on each back corner of his mouth.  Unlike Molly, who would be writhing in pain, he's a little more stoic.  His cheeks are so red that he looks like a combination of the Flaming Stayt Puft Marshmallow Man and a Campbell's Soup Kid.

Image Courtesty of: ScrewAttack
Image Courtesy of Google Images via LifeOntheCutOff's Blog 

Over the next few days the head banging has progressed: he bangs it in the house, he bangs it with a mouse, he bangs it here or there, he freaking bangs it everywhere.  Sometimes he'll scream a short cry of pain, bang his head and then continue with his playing.  So I called our nurse practitioner, who assured me that it's (likely) related to the molars or some sort of ear infection.  We have an appointment booked later this week.  Either way we're dosing him up with Advil for the pain and hoping he keeps his "rocking-out" to a minimal. 

This assurance didn't prevent me from looking up some information about head banging:
  • Toddlers may bang their heads to distract themselves from pain
  • Up to 20 percent of babies and toddlers bang their heads on purpose**
  • Boys are three times more likely to be head bangers than girls***
  • Head banging often peaks between 18-24 months of age and is outgrown by age three

Most sites talk about it at bed time, although that's not when Jackie likes to Rock out a la Pantera's own Phil Anselmo.*****

Other things to remember:
  • Don't chastise them (I am finding this one particularly difficult, especially when Jack started smashing his head against the grocery cart the other day), they are trying to communicate with you, simply try to redirect them to another activity - like moshing.
Image Courtesy of Shirt O Fun

*Bad stereotype I know - but I am a child of the 1980's.
**Source: http://www.babycenter.com/0_head-banging-why-it-happens-and-what-to-do-about-it_63575.bc
*** Direct quote from my mother, "So now it's confirmed - it takes boys 3 times as long to figure something out as it does girls"
****Although hopefully less jerky and without a heroin addiction.  Maybe more like this four year old, but if she was slamming the side of her head against the floor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOAlX1PyPak

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