Are all the other dads wearing cups?
November 29, 2012 1:03 PM   Subscribe

I feel like I’m getting hit in the gentlemen’s region by my baby/toddler more often than is probably normal. Also a lot harder than I would have expected. I have some questions…

I have a one year old daughter who is abnormally (gloriously) big strong and agile. 32 inches tall about 25 pounds, fast runner, good climber, throws things, etc. She is essentially a two year old except without the verbal, developmental, or communication abilities.

I love her to death, she is the light of my life and she hits me in the junk a lot. Like doubled –over-in-pain hard probably twice a week, maybe more. It should be noted I have taken a lot of hits to this area since middle school fights, so I might have simply forgotten what this was like.

As I’ve said she is really big, strong and fast. So the physical capacity to harm of a full on terrible twos toddler, but without any intention. She is just running, flailing her arms, stomping about. She is just about in-seem height so plastic cars and full size NFL footballs are whipping around at that level all day. Also if she is in a lap and music is on (or not) she will dance. Read: stomp.

I can’t really explain to her not to do this, we are more in the phase of not touching the lamps, or climbing into the tub, not climbing up to the TV, not knocking over chairs. “Don’t play near Dad” is about her level of understanding and not a rule I want to introduce.

So Dads: Do you just get really good at turning to the side all the time, like you are in a dance fight with your baby? Do you just avoid lap time? Develop ninja like reflexes? Start wearing a cup?

I suspect the answer might be “you’ll get used to it” but in case there are solutions or tips out there I would love to know them.
posted by French Fry to Human Relations (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Now that my youngest is 2 1/2 he can say' "ow, that hurts" just like he would if she head butted him. When the kids were younger, he just paid more attention and quickened his reflexes. They do have particularly sharp and pointed feet, don't they?
posted by PorcineWithMe at 1:09 PM on November 29, 2012

You'll develop ninja-like reflexes over time. They'll be insufficient and you'll keep getting hit. Eventually she'll learn a bit of inhibitory control and the problem largely just goes away.
posted by bfranklin at 1:12 PM on November 29, 2012 [7 favorites]

Mostly you get better at dodging, but I do have a friend who actually wore a cup until his kid got a bit taller and the kid's head wasn't quite such a nuclear crotch bomb.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:14 PM on November 29, 2012 [19 favorites]

They grow quickly at that age, so the best advice is probably: she'll grow out of it. You'll get used to it. Think of it as one of those things you'll look back on in 10 years and laugh about, or perhaps even embarass her about...
posted by contentedweb at 1:14 PM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

You gotta protect yourself. Shoes off in the house. Play different sorts of games for awhile. It's okay to say, "ouch! Careful when playing!" And it's okay to set her next to you or on the floor if you're getting hurt. Change things up when it's not working out. She will start to get more coordinated as time goes on but accidents will happen. But, tell her if you're hurt -- they understand far more than we give them credit for. Obviously, try not to scare her with the incidents but it's okay to react.
posted by amanda at 1:16 PM on November 29, 2012

My daughter used to, while sitting on my lap and getting excited about something, whip her head back so the back of her head smashed into my face, from about the age of 1 to almost 2. She hit me so hard I would actually cry. One time I thought she broke my nose!

My strategy was to not let myself get into a situation where she could hurt me. But if I did, I would tell her that it hurt me when she did that. eventually it began to sink in. But the biggest thing was avoiding it all together. If I paid attention to what she was doing, I could dodge my head out of the way before she hit it. Sometimes she hit me while sitting on my lap and I was talking to someone and therefore wasn't paying much attention, so I stopped letting her sit on my lap if I was talking to someone.
posted by sutel at 1:22 PM on November 29, 2012 [5 favorites]

This ability might be due to cat-like reflexes honed by years of gaming, but whenever my kids got into the sweet spot where I recognized my particulars were in range of their little hooks, I adjusted my position accordingly or gently redirected them. YMMV.
posted by Infinity_8 at 1:24 PM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Master the art of the "hip swivel". You just sort of pivot your hips just enough to where the brunt of the impact is taken on your hip rather than your junk. There is also no shame in getting your hands down there, free-kick-style.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:33 PM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have five kids and have learned to adjust position around children by reflex. Never wore a cup.
posted by tacodave at 2:50 PM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hip swivel and hand guarding is what my partner and I went with (him for the groin area, me for the ridiculously sensitive boobs). I always wondered why his father would sit with his legs crossed in a ladylike fashion (as opposed to the splayed men's style I associate with manly men) and my partner adopted it when our daughter started walking because it is much easier to swivel and protect one's groin from that position rather than the legs splayed, junk on display position. Similarly I can often be found with my left arm crossed over my chest and hanging onto my right shoulder (or vice versa) because then I have an arm in front of my sensitive places.

My partner also switched to jocks over boxers, to keep his junk a little more corralled (no swinging bits to get smacked into).

And always always always 'careful of daddy's bits' or 'mama's boobies' or, when I had a car crash/other issues 'mama's chest/belly'. Over and over and over. It sinks in eventually.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:56 PM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I can’t really explain to her not to do this

Sure you can! Express that you are injured, in a straightforward way, and ask her not to do it again. She won't understand, not right now, but over time she'll start to understand, just like you'll get better at dodging over time. If you really want it to work, walk away for a moment when you get hurt, kind of like when a toddler throws a spoon and you give it back, they throw it again, but if they throw it and you always take it away, they'll stop throwing it.

I remember lifting them up facing outwards to avoid this with my kids, but then they started kicking backwards...
posted by davejay at 4:58 PM on November 29, 2012


It's uncanny. When my oldest was a toddler, she would come up in bed. Mrs. Plinth welcomed her to sleep between us. She invariably kicked me in the nuts. I started sleeping with my hand over my junk and later just went to sleep in the guest bedroom. It's a wonder we had a second child consider the number of direct hits I've taken.
posted by plinth at 6:26 PM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

My 3yo will sometimes kick me (hard) in the nuts when I am carrying him. Not on purpose though.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:49 PM on November 29, 2012

BTW, my friend who wears the toddler protection cup, who is obviously something of a character, periodically announced, "Gotta be protected!" and rapped his knuckles on his crotch when he was wearing it. People would freak. out. It was hilarious.

So, make sure to do that part if you opt for a toddler protection cup.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:56 PM on November 29, 2012 [10 favorites]

She'll grow out of it - as she gets older (and taller), higher and higher body parts will become the target until she develops enough co-ordination/control/self-awareness that the problem will go away. This is just one of the fleeting benefits of being a father ;-)
posted by dg at 7:08 PM on November 29, 2012

I'm kind of surprised by this because I have a big strong daughter and she almost never hit me there, but many times accidentally hit/bonked me in the head, eyes, nose, face, etc. The key to minimizing those occurrences is to anticipate them, just like defensive driving. I'd be curious what situations you are in when this happens because it might be something about the way you play with her that is increasing the incidence of crotch crashes.
posted by Dansaman at 8:43 PM on November 29, 2012

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