Tryptophan, insulin, and melatonin

toddler lying on pink fleece pad

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A few times now, I have gotten Fleur to sleep right after eating lunch. I know the daycare times it this way. It seemed arbitrary until I tried it and found it easy to get her to sleep.

Then I remembered something I read a while ago: Meats contain tryptophan. Fruits and sweets contain carbohydrates. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, we eat feel drowsy because of eating both. The carbohydrates prompts the release of insulin to use the branched-chain amino acids in rebuilding muscle, but the tryptophan is left behind. The tryptophan is metabolized into serotonin which is metabolized into melatonin. The last is what gives us that drowsy feel.

So, I now suspect the trick to getting the little one to take that nap is to get her full and use the excess melatonin as another nudge to “Go the #$@! to sleep!” That may also mean supper needs to be right before the bath when the neurotransmitter is maxed out.

The cookie

cookies on square white ceramic plate

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My father has a favorite story about me. Not sure when it happened, but it probably was around Christmas.

We were at my maternal grandmother’s house with extended family visiting. I ask my mother for a cookie. She says, “No.” So, I go into the kitchen looking upset. My grandmother asks why I look so upset. I tell her about not being able to get a cookie, so she gives me three. I walk back into the living room right in front of my mother to eat these cookies. She naturally reacts as any mother would about my having defied her and asks why. Taking my time by eating and talking at the same time, I tell her: Well, <munch-munch> Nannie gave them to me. <munch-munch> I have to do what you say. <munch-munch> And you have to do what Nannie says.

I totally expect my mother to exact her revenge by having Fleur do this to me.

Again

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Ride a horsey, ride a horsey

Down to town. Woah little Fleur

Don’t faaaaaaaallllllll Doooooown.

Fleur loves it. Over and over and over. Again. Again. Again. She doesn’t have the word, but she will get in place and help you get ready to do it again.

It reminds me of the engineer who built a ballista for launching balls for his dog. As the parent, I tire of the game before she does. That is why I have a spouse!

Facebook Memories effect on recognition

photo of head bust print artwork

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I usually show Fleur videos I make of her doing something and gauge her enjoyment. Her face lights up seeing herself do something she just minutes prior. (Well, seconds because she now comes over to check the screen after seeing me record it.)

A Facebook memory popped up with her saying “dada” around the first time. I showed her that video and got a puzzled expression. She likely did not recognize herself. nor remembered the event. But, she quickly changed the expression to amusement, so I wonder what she was thinking about it.

Facebook Memories is an useful tool to trigger fond memories about past events. (Though, I vaguebooked too much.) Seeing old milestones can change a frustrating day into a good one.

Demonstrate

A nurse showed an excellent approach to getting Fleur to cooperate. She took the temperature of the doll and thanked the doll by name. Fleur became curious and let it happen to her.

Recently, we took another trip to the doctor. She was resistant to this different nurse doing stuff, so I suggested the demonstration which helped a good bit. This nurse was not as enthusiastic.

Need to use this tool more often.

A Calming Brain Game

We are starting to see the tantrum behaviors manifest. As she has more autonomy through self-movement and develops preferences, sometimes we run into conflicts over wants. At present, these tantrums make me laugh because mainly they manifest as a little shuffle of her feet and the upset face. Occasionally Fleur lays down on the floor. Limited throwing, hitting, kicking, and screaming so far.

This Lifehacker article: Help Kids Calm Down With a ‘Brain Game’ looks interesting.

  1. Get their attention: They are consumed by their emotions, so it may be required to use a strange stimulus like a Light Switch Rave [1], jumping  up and down, or making a silly noise.
  2. Offer: Whisper… “Hey, do you want to play a little game really quick? It will be fun.”
  3. The Game: “Can you point out <number> things that are <property>?” Do a few of these until has a big smile.
  4. Explain what you intended that caused the meltdown. (Build empathy.)

Essentially, the amygdala reacted. They won’t have a fully developed pre-frontal cortex to properly manage the amygdala until their 20s. So, need to help them interrupt the amygdala by leveraging to hippocampus and memory cortex to distract the amygdala long enough for us to explain.

[1] That was a Strong Bad email #45 from Homestarr Runner reference.

Baby Shark

It is embarrassing how often I invoke Baby Shark. The simplicity of it makes it easy to use. But, kids recognize it. And Fleur smiles for it.

Apparently, protesters in Beirut sung it to a toddler upset about demonstrations.

Because it works.