Archives for category: preschool activities

We all have days as parents where you think, I am awful and I totally suck. You get really hard on yourself. You wish that you could figure it all out, that you hadn’t lost your temper, or that you could just figure out the answer to the issue at hand. But then there are these moments that you feel so very successful. You think, huh, I am responsible for what just transpired here. Because of me, my child has a good head on his/her shoulders. I had one such moment yesterday.

I was in the kitchen. Jack was in the living room playing. You cannot see from either room into the other. I opened the fridge and suddenly strawberries and blueberries came flying out. The strawberries stayed in their box. The blueberries met a different fate. They went everywhere. I sighed, and thought, “really?” It was trying to make lunch, I was very hungry, and I just didn’t need that right then. In the big picture, it wasn’t a big deal, shame on me for thinking that way. I know. I quickly caught myself for feeling that way. Who cares? It is a small mess. I squatted down to clean. Jack came around the corner into the kitchen. He saw me with a handful of blueberries, squatting, picking up more. He said “uh oh! Clean!” And started helping me pick them up. I said, “You can give those to momma, I will throw them out.”  He walked right past me and said “gar” meaning garbage, and threw them out himself. He continued to help me and throw them out himself until every single blueberry was off the floor.

I was so proud of him. I was so proud to be his mom. He saw I could use some help and jumped right on in. He knew exactly what needed to be done. He didn’t want me to help him do the cleaning. I had my own task to worry about. Both of us know how to throw things in the garbage can.

It was one of those moments where I thought, “wow I am raising a great kid. I am really doing something right here.” He is a helper. He saw me in need of assistance and didn’t hesitate to jump in. I have a helper on my hands!

I love those moments in parenthood. I savor them. I thought about it a lot yesterday. Sometimes I feel like I don’t clean enough. Keeping up with a toddler boy is tough. I will clean and not five minutes later, it will be a mess again. I am always trying to straighten things up though. I am constantly washing the counters and I am constantly vacuuming. Jack plays cleaning and vacuuming. As a matter of fact he is getting a real vacuum for Christmas. This stand up dirt devil that he can handle. He can actually help me vacuum now! Our Dyson is too heavy for him. That all goes back to my initial paragraph. As parents, we often feel like we are not doing enough and we are not good enough. I think, though, that in reality I probably am good enough, even though I am my hardest critic. Sometimes, a moment like this is all we need to step back and say, yes, I give my best and this is the result! Bravo!

What have been your proud parenting moments? Where you step back and pat yourself on the back, because despite all the tough moments, there is a moment of sunshine where you see that you have done an amazing job? Are you too hard on yourself usually? How do you feel when you are able to relax that feeling a little? 

Not a photo of the blueberries, but we did spend some time duck watching yesterday. Another wonderful moment for me. He loves animals so very much!

Not a photo of the blueberries, but we did spend some time duck watching yesterday. Another wonderful moment for me. He loves animals so very much!

ducks2

There were a bunch of “ducks”out there, even though they didn’t show up in the photo. They were actually geese, but I am not one for semantics in a lovely momma/son moment. They can be ducks if he wants them to be ducks

Last night Cadillac training began. I am going to be honest here. I nearly threw in the training towel yesterday. I almost decided that I don’t want to do Cadillac training. We are done with Mat and Reformer. I was feeling satisfied with that. I have this immense passion for Mat work.

My week has not been butterflies and rainbows. I have been in the toddler trenches this week. It has been a rough one. Jack is in this full on tantrum phase. Kicking, hitting, biting, pulling hair, etc. I have spoken to his nurses and pediatrician over two days this week.

My mat class didn’t get put on the schedule before the holidays. I was all ready for it to be added. Then it wasn’t. I am going to admit that I was/am very let down. I was very amped up to teach this. I had a class prepared. I found out the day before it was supposed to occur that it wasn’t going to happen.

Both of those were going on at once. I wasn’t feeling very awesome. I had not much left to give to anyone. I was worn out, exhausted, and feeling a little defeated. Ok, very defeated.

Two things happened:

A dear friend could tell that something was off with me. I didn’t quite broadcast how miserable I was feeling about everything going on, but she read between the lines of a Facebook status. I wasn’t posting one of those annoying passive aggressive ones. I was very straightforward. I wrote about how Jack kicked me in the face during a fit. I know you shouldn’t talk bad about your kids. I wasn’t really. I actually made a sarcastic joke about it. Tied it into him securing his reign as an only child, that he was dedicated to this mission. Usually my updates about him tend to only be positive. So much so that a lot of people don’t believe that he ever cries. I have tried to keep that close to the vest. But when a kid kicks you in the eye, with a shoe on, sometimes it is better to post a status about it than take that aggression out on your kid. It takes unreal levels of patience to not flip out on a child that does that to you. You can’t do it back, I mean if anyone else in this world kicked me in the eye, I don’t think my only reaction would be to post a sarcastic Facebook status! That is the cold hard truth. They would have been kicked back. I don’t believe in kicking my child though, much to his relief, I am sure. (there I go again, being a smart ass)

She knew that I could probably use an email. I am so thankful for her and for that. Over a couple emails I vented all of my toddler frustrations. She has a 1 year old. She is heading down the same road I am in the middle of. She reassured me I don’t suck as a mom and that this too will pass.

I also talked to Jason about stopping where I am with my training. I told him I didn’t even feel like going to class last night. He kept saying that I should just get certified in this, even if I don’t feel like teaching it daily, it is better to have it in my pocket. I begrudgingly went to class. I decided I would go last night, see how I feel, and then make my decision.

I walked in the door after class, swallowed my pride, and said to my husband, “Thank you for making me go to class tonight. I really like the work on the Cadillac. I am going to stick with it.” It is difficult for either of us to say things like that. We are both incredibly stubborn. I knew he deserved to know the truth and the credit for encouraging me. He also had a smart ass remark. We are quite the pair over here. Our life together is never boring. But we did hug. I told him to not be a smart ass and take the compliment with grace. Not one second later, Jack realized I was home and started running and exclaiming MOM MOM and telling me about everything, Car race, Mater, Lightning KACHOW!! etc. I covered his cheeks with kisses. We had a lovely rest of the evening.

And suddenly. I was back. I had one day to feel utterly sorry for myself. We are allowed that kind of day once in a while. When all the crap seems to hit you at once. It happens. We are human after all. Yesterday was better than the day before that, and today is already better than yesterday. Yesterday I was feeling better about coping with toddler tantrums, today I am feeling better about completing my teacher training.

The thing is, everyone gets stressed during this time. Most say it is because of the holidays. For me, the holidays had nothing to do with it. My Christmas is ready to go. Everyone’s gifts are bought and if they have arrived (I ordered every gift online) they are wrapped. I know what we are doing for Christmas eve dinner. I know what is going on Christmas Day. Think family morning/afternoon. Then an ugly Christmas sweater party at my aunt’s in the evening. I have started bedazzling my already ugly Christmas sweater AND vest. I am at peace with the holidays. This stress came from every day, no escaping  it after January 1st, events. That is life though. Always there. But once that stress subsides and you kiss chubby toddler cheeks, hug your sarcastic husband, and everything falls back into place. (For now!)

I couldn’t resist. I could not contain my creative gene any longer. I did so for about 3 days and then I was plum out of uncreative ideas for Pretty the Elf! I have done it again, balls to the wall, with my creative ideas.

My husband is calling them my miniatures. And I think he is slightly disturbed by them. HA! Well not overly, since before he left this morning he added a little something extra to today’s scene. More on that later. For now, here are my 3 latest Elf on the Shelf ideas.

Date with the blonde

Date with the blonde

Ok Blondie here was one of two choices. I happen to have two of my old barbies here. The other is brunette. I went with the blonde because she fit in this truck better. They are at the Drive-In. Watching the latest Santa flick. It is a Rom-Com. Naturally, a great date movie. Don’t worry though, Pretty is not tied down to one gal just yet. He has a date with the Brunette later this week. This was Monday’s miniature.

Bros night

Bros night

He had to decompress from his date. He needed some solid bro time. Playing cards, enjoying some beverages, and some eats. It was a long night. Blue monster over there won this hand. He had a full house. Notice the dollar bill? That wasn’t me. My husband left that there before he went to work this morning. This was this morning’s miniature. Tuesday.

Pilates

Pilates

He had to work off last nights spirits and food. He is doing an Open Leg Rocker. I also built a mini reformer. I did not have enough regular sized legos to build the Reformer to scale. It bothered me a little, but I let it slide. It does have straps and ropes even! I would have put him on the Reformer if he wasn’t astronomically too large for it! the duplos would not have worked, since they don’t have any pieces thin enough for the footbar, shoulder rests, or risers! I had to work with what I had.

You will notice he also has a Magic Circle, a small ball, and a large ball. All for possible variations. He also chose a scenic location for his practice. By the gifts and the lit up tree. This is for tomorrow morning, Wednesday. I normally have been sharing my Elf photos in the morning the day of. I haven’t even shared this last one on Facebook yet! Aren’t you lucky to get a sneak peak, 😉 ha! I am just trying to only post one Elf photo a day, and that way I can look back at the dates as a reference if I ever need that for some reason. I was  bursting to share this one though. So I had to post it somehow.

So far, Jack has been amazing with not touching the Elf. Sometimes he wants the other parts of the scene, like on Monday he wanted some of his cars. Since he is just shy of 2, I let him have those parts if he really insists. But he leaves Pretty alone! He does enjoy looking at them and talking about what is going on in them.

I decided to start Elf on the Shelf this year. At first I was skeptical. I have been seeing all the ideas online since before last Christmas. I kind of thought the elf was creepy looking. At one point I remember even showing Jason a photo and saying, “this is a cute idea but this elf is super creepy.” He agreed. I thought about substituting the elf for something else, a snowman perhaps.

Then I looked into it a little more. I found out that it has a lovely book that comes with it explaining the elf. I looked at several sites with all the cute ideas. Slowly, I started to become sold on the idea. I purchased the set on Amazon around Thanksgiving time. Last Sunday I opened him up. I read the story to Jack. He LOVED it. He loves books. He has this deep passion for books and for reading. It makes me so happy, he gets that from me. I still read every single day. I get lost in books at night before bed.

I realized that we have to name the elf. I was not sure what to do about that. I did not want to name him myself, this is Jack’s elf. He is just shy of two years old but he is very verbal. We asked him what the Elf’s name was. His reply? “Pretty!” At first we thought, well we won’t give him a name then, let Jack try again next year. I thought about it though, and after some suggestions that we keep it Pretty, I have decided to indeed keep the elf’s name.

Introducing Pretty the elf!

photo 1

photo 2

I haven’t gotten overly creative this year, so far, at least. I think I am keeping it simple. He is not even 2, so I don’t know that he would appreciate over the top scenarios.

I am just happy about the following:

  • He understands who Santa is. He will say “ho, ho!” If you mention Santa. When I told him about Pretty after he found it the first day, I said he goes to the North Pole and lets Santa know that you are a good boy. Jack cut me off and said “HO HO!”
  • If I ask him to find the elf in the morning, he knows what I am talking about and starts to look for it. He actually heads back to the last area Pretty was hanging out. But I gently guide him to explore other parts of the house.
  • He listens when I say he cannot touch the elf. I explained that he has to leave the elf alone. He did not touch him once. Two days so far, Pretty was in reach of his little hands, and there Pretty stayed, untouched, all day and night.
  • He asks me to read the Elf on the Shelf book often.

I think next year I will step up the creative game. He will understand it even more and he will be familiar with this concept. Sometimes, simple is good. I am a creative person  by nature. I always go balls to the wall, excuse my phrase, but really it is true, when it comes to creative things. Jason says I put too much pressure on myself, but I use my above term to describe myself. I put all of my energies into creative tasks. It could get out of hand. But when your only child is not yet 2 years old, simplicity is sometimes the best route.

I am still deciding where Pretty will go today. I will likely be gone when Jack wakes up. Today is a class day for me. I already went over the details of finding Pretty with Jason. I will let him know the location before I go. I still think he is kind of creepy looking, but he is also beginning to grow on me. I think….

The past couple of days have brought a lot of changes in my toddler world. He is really growing up. Quickly. Each day I cannot believe how much more he understands and can communicate than the day before. At this point, I barely notice how big he is because physical growth is overshadowed by his cognitive development. I am in love and fully fascinated.

It all started on Thursday. We were playing upstairs, where the bedrooms are. We also have an open loft up there. We happened to be in Jack’s room. I looked over and noticed he was moving the rocking chair that was next to his crib. The very rocking chair I sat in day after day, night after night, nursing him for over a year. The very chair I spent too many sleepless nights rocking him and singing to him over and over. He was pushing it out of the way because he wanted to play in that area.

in my way mom!

in my way mom!

I thought, “huh, that is very smart of him” I helped him move it a bit more, of course. I even ran to my room to grab a sheet. I built him a fort. In hindsight, this probably sealed the deal for him. He loved the fort. We played together for a while inside of it. He finally said, “mom, out” and pushed me towards the exit! I couldn’t believe it. He then played in there alone for some time. The fort was taken down for naptime because it was partly draped over his crib. Thursday nights are one of my “school” nights. So I was gone. The boys hung out upstairs too. Jack moved that footstool to the rocker all the way from his room to our room. Pushed it. Well, there is a sign if I ever saw one.

On Friday we were back upstairs playing. I was in my room, while he played in his. He was rather quiet, which means I need to find him. He was in that corner again, playing quietly. He looked up at me and gave me the biggest grin ever. Sigh, I knew the rocker was on its way out.

Yesterday my aunt dropped off this amazing train table that was my cousin’s. She doesn’t play with it anymore, she is a big girl now. It is huge! There wasn’t room in our living room for it, especially with the tree up. We placed it in the family room, as we call it. It is really a room off the kitchen we don’t use for anything purposeful. It is out of sight of the living room though. Jack kept wanting to climb on the table. He could not be coaxed away from it. Our dining room is attached to the living room. They are separated by 2 steps and a banister. We decided to switch rooms. We rarely use the dining room table these days. Sadly, I have to admit that. Jack won’t eat at the table. He likes to eat in the living room while watching a show. He is a picky eater, so he has won that battle, because I am at least getting him to eat!

Jack's new playroom

Jack’s new playroom

Also, we are moving soon. Today we are looking at 3 houses. One is a home we are in love with. It is the 2nd viewing. The other two are new for us. One is at the top of our budget and the other is at the low end. The one we love is in the middle. We decided we are moving very soon, who cares if we switch up the layout of the house and it is a little odd looking for the next couple months? We should have made this switch months ago. We can still eat at that table, it is off of the kitchen! This actually makes a ton more sense. He was in heaven. I am working on rearranging a few more things.

Back to his room. I went upstairs after all this train table stuff. I wanted to get rid of his ball pit. He NEVER uses it. It became another toy storage bin. I know he likes the balls, so I was going to save those, but I was going to deflate the ball pit. As soon as it was empty he jumped in it and tried to stand up. He is too tall. A light bulb went off. My mom gave him a tent/tunnel set last Christmas. I ran to get the tent. I set it up, in the corner where he had moved his rocker. I moved the rocker, that chair I am so attached to, out of his room, for good. I put the tent where the chair had been. He was in love. In Heaven. ELATED. Jason even brought him his dinner and he ate in his tent. He couldn’t stop talking about it or playing in it. It took a lot to coax him downstairs so I could go make and eat my dinner.

photo 2photo 1 (1)

I texted my mom these photos. Telling her how sad I was. I was really sad. A part of his babyhood is gone. He is truly a big boy. He will be 2 in two more months, two months that always FLY by because of the holidays. He has opinions. He has wants and likes. I told my mom I was sad, but it is his room and he should be able to decorate it how he wants. She replied that I am a good mom. That made my heart warm. I was doing something that may have hurt me because it made him happy. I can’t force him to stay a baby. I have to let that go. I have to let him become a child and let him express himself. I know that he left infancy long behind, but I have used that rocker a time or two lately. Mostly when he was starting to get sick. I do sit in it and read to him before bed. But last night, we all read a tickle monster story together. With us on the floor, and Jack running around  being chased by Jason and getting tickled. We didn’t need that rocker. HE didn’t need that rocker. You know who needed it? Me. I am the only person that missed it. But, that would not be fair of me to force infancy on him for my own nostalgic needs. So I am letting go. I am saying goodbye to one of the last pieces of his infancy. I do it with some bittersweet feelings. I am crushed that he wants to grow up but I am also very proud of him. I am proud that he was able to express this to me. That I was able to understand the needs of my child. I didn’t ignore it for my own selfish reasons. I picked up on the clues, and signals. I didn’t tell him “put that chair back! That is naughty” I knew he wasn’t up to something naughty. I knew he just wanted to play in his space in his room.

It is a good thing that I am going to be working soon. He is only growing more independent every day. I cannot imagine what I would do once he was off to school and there I was sitting around thinking “what do I do now? Who am I? I was a stay at home mom to a toddler, and now he is in school? What do I do?!?!” I know that is what would happen to me. I am happy that I am working on something for me. Not that I am unhappy being home with him, I love being the person to care for him. I am sticking to very part time teaching at first because of that. As he enters school I will add more and more hours. Mostly during his school time. That is for another post though.

I let go this week. I let him grow. I let him explore. It was hard in some ways and easy in others. The table move was simple. The rocking chair, not so simple. I have let go of so many other things from infancy. Some have been tough and others have gone unnoticed because being a mom is nonstop action. This one was a tough one. Likely, because these things are less and less these days. It is a species near extinction.

Have you had to let go of something from infancy? What were your moments that were bigger like this? Did you feel like leaving infancy totally was a species near and then in extinction? Have you been able to let go of a baby routine that became more for you than your child? 

It is no mystery that I am the mother of a very vibrant, exuberant, active, and sometimes stubborn toddler boy. He will be 2 in just over two months. I have my hands full.

I am a creative gal. I love crafts, being artsy, creativity, and imagination. So does my little man. Recently I turned a near tantrum in the middle of the store into a Secret Spy Mission! Like I said, he is creative too. His eye spotted the crayon aisle as I was looking for tape for wrapping gifts. I let him get a new box of washable crayons (we can never have too many of those around here) But he also wanted a new coloring book. Those on the other hand we have a major surplus of. If we were to run out of those we would still have 6 containers of 12×12 scrapbooking paper, plus many smaller sized paper packs! Paper is not lacking in this house. He didn’t need a new book, and Christmas is around the corner. I said no. Something I am trying to do more with things. I have a a soft spot for buying him stuff. It is bad of me, I know, and I have to try to teach him patience. I am working on it. So I stood firm. He was not too happy. The beginning of whining and a possible meltdown was showing up.

Suddenly, for reasons still unknown to me, I said “We are on a secret mission to find tape! That is all we need, tape, it is a super important secret mission to find it. Can you help me?”

He said “SPY!?!?!” (We watch  A LOT of Cars 2)

I said, “YES!!!! We are secret spies. Operation find tape has begun.” I went on and on. I even crouched down and little as if I were slinking around in a secretive manner. It worked. He forgot all about the coloring book. We found the tape, proceeded to the checkout, tantrum/meltdown free. I was blown away by his intelligence. He knew what my initial reference was. I don’t think I expected that. I was just trying to diffuse the situation. I was trying to talk about something, anything, other than that coloring  book.

Yesterday, I was trying to get us out the door for a trip to Michael’s, the craft store. I wanted to get some Christmas craft supplies, not for me, but for him. We did that with Halloween  and he learned all the major Halloween decoration/images/character names. He even knows the difference between a pumpkin and a gourd. I wanted to do that with Christmas items as well. Plus, craft time is fun. He put on his hat but didn’t want his coat. So out came the spy mission, the same response from him, he let me put his coat on, and we continued on our errand tantrum free.

He even got an out of this world spy treat from me. Do not worry, he didn’t even come close to finishing it! I knew he wouldn’t and most of the other candy was chocolate, which he hates, or sour gummy things, he also wouldn’t like. The giant sucker it was.

Mission accomplished! We had a big bag of crafts to do and he got some big loot!

Once we were home we worked on some of our crafts. One was a bust. These felt-ish Santas you  have to assemble. It said to use white glue, which I did, but it wouldn’t stick together for the life of me. We moved on. 2 year olds do not have patience for Santas that won’t stay together. We moved on to trees! Jack loves trees! And poofs. Plus I found some candy cane looking pipe cleaners. He knows what the candy cane pattern is already. So he loved those. I may have helped him a little with these, but we created them together. The trees were even on clearance at Michael’s. So were the poofs. We have many more blank trees to use and make fun things with. It was nice to sit down and make something together.

Poof/sticker/pipe cleaner Christmas trees

See the wrapping paper in the background? I actually wrapped an Amazon box in it to store the craft supplies. I did not have a spare empty basket around the house, they are all being used. I got creative, again, and decided to reuse a shipping box. It works perfectly for this. There is actually a ton of room left inside in case we find more Christmas craft supplies. I even told Jack he could decorate the outside with stickers if he wanted, you can see the gingerbread and Santa stickers on the right side of this photo.

Overall my creativity has been rampant this week. Starting with our impromptu Secret Spy Mission, then our craft supplies, rounding off with re-purposing a shipping box into a cute craft supply storage box. I wonder what the rest of the week will hold? We don’t have to go anywhere during the day today, so maybe we will get super crafty.

I do start teacher training again tonight! We had a break for Thanksgiving. I am excited to get out of the house, those tantrums have been frequent because he is still sick. I won’t go into it, but I am pretty stressed out. He will be better when he feels better, we have gone through this before. I am sorta of feeling better today, so hopefully he is too. Maybe my patience will be better with him since I am not feeling as sick. Regardless, I am looking forward to 3 hours of adult time tonight!

I am back! My new laptop arrived today. It had quite the journey. My husband ordered it on Friday on Amazon.He paid the 8.99 shipping for overnight. Amazon is usually always reliable. We are Amazon addicts. I seriously had the UPS guy say this to me:

Him: “You really love Amazon, don’t you?”

Me: ::laughs uncomfortably:: “Yeah…”

Him: “I’ve never seen anything like it!”

So yeah, even he has pointed our our Amazon addiction. They have great prices, bulk options, great shipping, reliable, lightning deals (just scored my first Christmas gift deal last night!), and they are great. So imagine our surprise when Saturday came and went and no laptop. The tracking info had one scan. Sunday and Monday also came and went. Jason contacted Amazon Saturday night. They said it was UPS’ problem and refunded the 8.99 shipping. He then contacted UPS yesterday. They said it was Amazon’s problem. Sigh…I assumed that my laptop was never coming.

But it arrived earlier this morning. I had to get us to Gymnastics and later a trip to Target, so I didn’t get to play with it until after 1pm. The keys are different feeling than my old one, which was several years old. In the life of laptops it was a senior citizen! My typing is a little awkward feeling still, but I will get used to that. Other than that, I think it is great. It is very sleek looking. What kind is it you ask? I couldn’t tell you much more than an HP Envy 6 or something to that affect. Jason totally picked it out on his own. I just wanted to be able to store my photos and get online for blogging, research, articles, Pilates videos,  Facebook, and email. I don’t need something super fancy. This is one of the few areas in my life where I am rather low maintenance. In all honesty, I usually just get Jason’s hand me down laptops. He is the techie in the family. With Jack already pulling in a close second. He wanted to buy some robot bug at target today. I had no idea what the heck it was and I made him put it back!

So what have we been up to other than incessantly checking Amazon order tracking?

Last Wednesday I was practicing some Pilates stuff and Jack decided to help train me!

Then  later than night, after a long day of practicing Pilates at the studio while Uncle Matt babysat Jack, we made dinner. Here we are whipping up some Quinoa tortillas! They were tasty. Jack is a great assistant. I love that he enjoys helping me prepare food. He even says “cook!”

I discovered my son can make the “Elvis Lip”, as my family called it. I can do the same thing. I remember growing up my mom always asking me to do it. Jack was watching a show and thought something was weird or silly and suddenly started making this face, unprompted by me. Somethings are genetic!

Saturday night the hubby and I had a date night. We went downtown to see Louis CK! It was a blast. He was hilarious, as expected.

Sunday we went to look at a home with our Realtor. We have started the home buying process. By that I mean narrowing down the neighborhoods we are focusing in and starting to look at homes in person! I even went in my Trulia account and deleted all of the neighborhoods we have decided against. Afterwards we did some fall cleaning. I took down every single Halloween decoration that was still up. Jason headed outside to clean the patio and prepare things for winter a bit. Jack wanted to help Dad. It was a perfect day for it because the weather was unseasonably warm! Which promptly ended on Monday.

Yesterday was swim class and some other errands. Nothing crazy. Kind of low key. Jack was a bit cranky. He has a 3rd molar coming in.

Today he is feeling better and we have been having a wonderful day! We had Gymnastics this morning. He was a ham, as usual. During the warmup they have the kids stretch and do a few other things. The other little kids sat nicely on their mom’s laps. Jack wanted to be in the middle dancing and doing the stretches. She told them to open their legs wide, and I caught him doing it perfectly. He needed zero prompting from me. He listened to the teacher and did as she instructed the whole warmup! It is safe to say, the boy has my athleticism!

When the temps started to drop as summer ended we had some battles getting him used to wearing a coat. That has ended. He understands he has to wear it now. We are still working on a hat. Today I wore a hat. Then I had him wear one. He let me put it on him on the way into class and the way out. That was it for the whole day, but it is a small victory. Doesn’t he look cute?

So that is a small summary of our week. There are a million other tiny things and probably a hundred other photos. But I won’t cram every detail into this post. This new laptop is not happy with the WordPress page. It is jittery and delayed in the typing and frankly, it is starting to annoy me! Ha! Husband will look at it tonight and clean up some things. He is a techie genius! I am not exaggerating either.

I am happy to be back! I can’t wait to start finding articles to share. I have been reading them like crazy lately.

My mom used to say “I trust you. It is the other crazy people out there I don’t trust.” In my teen years this was often met with an eye roll and me thinking “year right. That is a cop out so you don’t have to admit you don’t want to do fun things” I didn’t say it. Well, maybe I did but my brain is blocking that out to maintain my mythical ideas that I was a perfect teenager! HA! I think she has said this to me my entire life. I remember it clearly. I remember hearing it a lot, at least a lot in the brain of a child/adolescent. Things always seem bigger when you are younger, like your elementary school hallways.

Here I am 27 and a momma to my own son. He is heading to two years old very quickly. Ok, I think time moves faster when you are an adult, similar to things seeming giant when you are little. Once you are old, or a real responsible adult, time moves faster to you, even though it is moving at the same pace it always was. I have been giving thought to those words of my mom’s a lot lately. I get it now. I understand what prompted her to feel that way and vocalize it to us. It is true.

I have been struggling with finding a sitter for Jack. We have a lot of loving family members but their schedules were not meeting the needs of my sitting times. Mostly day time. People have work, school, or both! I briefly searched a babysitting website. Got a few replies, only replied to one of those, and interviewed her. When it came time to call her references I couldn’t do it. This was a month ago, probably longer. I just let it linger and fall away. Never got back to her either. It made me sick, the thought of leaving him with someone that isn’t family. Or at least someone I don’t know through someone else. Why? A million thoughts run through my head, the biggest being what if he is snatched up? I know the people we are related to who have watched him would never steal him or abuse him in any manner. I just cannot feel confident about that with people I don’t know. I didn’t even like leaving him in the church nursery when we used to go to church. I would usually check on him at least once. It was an hour long service and we were literally on the other side of the wall.

I am attached to that boy. I wouldn’t let him sleep in the hospital nursery even though I didn’t get a wink of sleep for several days after all was said and done. Labor, delivery, hospital stay. No sleep. I was exhausted. We have been practically inseparable since the moment I conceived him.He comes first in my world. I do take care of myself, home, him, spend time with my hubby, but if Jack needs something he tends to come first. I tend to bring him most places with me. I enjoy taking him shopping with me. If I go alone I often think “I wish Jack were here. This would be way more fun” Even though sometimes he has tantrums. I still just love being with him. I miss him in the mornings, he sleeps late. I am always excited to enter his room in the morning and greet him very cheerfully. I love kissing and hugging him. I truly enjoy being a momma and especially his momma. I miss him when I go to my Pilates classes. It kills me to be away from him all day on Saturdays. So there, I am attached to that little boy. I admit it.

I often wonder how my mom let me ever do anything? How did she do it without completely going mad? How did she let me have sleepovers? Go on trips? How am I going to do that? How will I survive? Jack has never slept over at someone’s home if I wasn’t there. If we have had to have an overnight sitter it has been my mom and it has been at our home. Only my mom! I just cannot let him go when it comes to those things. We have gone out, sure. We went out to dinner and a casino last Saturday. My brother babysat. They always have a blast together. Jack loves Matt to pieces. But if I am going to have piece of mind, it has to be someone I know.

Recently we joined My Gym. This is more teacher hands on that Gymboree was. I am a very hands on mom. I am always touching, carrying, kissing, tickling, playing with, and snuggling Jack. It has been interesting for me to step back a little tiny bit and let other people teach Jack. Sometimes I have a hard time. I just want to do it myself. I get to participate a lot, don’t get me wrong. But it is a gymnastics class, so he does try out new equipment and does try tumbling. They spot him properly. I may be heading towards being a Pilates expert, but I won’t say I am a tumbling one!  So I step back and let them help my son try these new things safely. At first I wanted to shout, “let me do it!” I refrained.

I do not really chat with the other moms much. I tend to be very into what Jack is doing. Maybe this is to my detriment. Maybe I should make more mommy friends. Truth be told, I have never had a slew of female friends. I have always been the girl that has a couple very close girlfriends, but not 20 of them. I am comfortable with that. I don’t need to be miss popular to feel secure in myself. I am secure with the fact that I am a hands on parent. If only I could tell high school me that there is nothing wrong with this! We live and learn. The most I have chatted with other moms is during independent play time. The kids all go in the middle and the teachers interact with all of them. They play together. We sit on a counter in the front. The last two classes Jack has brought gifts over to me. A bunch of toys to show me. He doesn’t do so well staying away from me either. At least the feeling is mutual. Yesterday he brought all the stuffed animals to me, naming them all. It was hard for me to stay on the counter talking to him. I was dying to hop off and squat down and discuss all of the animals with him. DYING to do this. But when I have been sitting on this wall I have briefly talked to two different moms. One last week and one this week. That is it. I just get so involved with  Jack and cheering him on I lose sight of talking to other people.

So again, how did my mom do it? How can I step back more and more? Truth be told, I don’t want to. If I can manage our life that I am always involved with him I would love that. I am not saying he has to living in my basement when he is 40, please let’s not have that happen. But I would always like him to feel close to me, that he can talk to me, come to me for support or comfort. I want that door to always be open. I call my mom a lot. We talk a lot. She has left work to come be with me on particularly bad days with Jack. Moms never have to stop being moms. I don’t plan on doing that.

I will have to let him sleep under someone’s roof when I am not there, but I will cross that bridge when it happens. When he first asks me. I probably won’t do it unless I have to! He is young still, so there is no rush for his total independence. But that age is starting to sneak up where I will have to let go a little bit more every year. Preschool will start eventually. I can’t sit in the room all day observing. I don’t even want to think about that. I think that is a main reason why I started Pilates training. So I will have something to keep my mind busy when he does head to school.

So it does come down to what my mom always said. I trust him. I will trust him. I know that I am giving him good guidance. I just don’t trust other people. Adults or kids. Kids can be nasty. I see it already. My son is never the bully. I am not saying this out of blindness. I work very hard to teach him to share, say please and thank you (he already says please), to be gentle, etc. He gets things snatched from him way more often than he takes things. I know he will have moments of not being so nice, I will deal with them when they happen. But overall he is a good kid. Well mannered, sweet, loving, kind. I receive a ton of compliments on how well behaved he is, from my Pilates instructor to strangers who see us in the stores. It is going to break my heart the first time he gets bullied or something unjust happens to him and I am not there to step in and guide him to something else. Or to stand up for him like I have. I have to find that balance somewhere. To trust in my parenting, that he will have a strong voice to stand up for himself. That he will feel comfortable coming to me and telling me about his day, good and bad! How do moms do it? HOW!??!?! Maybe these babysteps are a good thing. Going to school, so spending time away a little bit. Taking him to these gymnastic classes that encourage him to trust other people a little bit, etc.

My babysitter problem has been solved though, as long as I work around his schedule. My brother got a car. So now he can come to my home easier. I just have to work around his school schedule. He is in college. In the area! So he can come and babysit. I held out and it was for the best. Now Jack’s favorite sitter can watch him when I need it. That is such a relief. I wasn’t ready for that gigantic step just yet!

How have you let your kids spread their wings? Do you get the “I trust you not others” motto? Has independence been difficult for you? For the kiddos?

Today was one of those days in parenting where I thought “you are really making it difficult for me to be the parent I imagined I would be” It was a tough day. Jack cut his first molar late last week and I am sure that there is another one nipping at that first one’s heels!

Here is what happened today.

  • We were running late to swim and Jack had to eat breakfast in the car. Which was milk and one bite of a banana because he refused all else.
  • Bloody murder screams about using the belly belt at swim class. That’s fine, I took it off. But it was loud.
    Other than that swim was great.
  • The Y told me I had to get a card or something. They changed their rules since our last visit 2 weeks ago and I didn’t know. I had to get a lovely (sarcastic) photo taken. Jack had to be patient after swim. I gave him most of a Kashi cereal bar.
  • I forgot my wallet at home. I was planning on going right to the grocery store after swim, so we had a small detour. Not Jack’s fault, totally mine, but it set the tone.
  • I didn’t eat breakfast but I DID work out. I ran out of time and frankly, the bananas that were left besides the one good one I was giving Jack were gross. Naturally I could come last in the eating department, the good banana was for him. Too bad he didn’t eat it!
  • At the grocery store around the bakery area, which we were 90% done, Jack grabbed a box of pumpkin whoopie pies off a display. He insisted on eating them right.that.second. I am adamantly against that behavior in a store. Snacks we brought with, fine. Snacks we plan to purchase at the end of our trip, no. That is rude and uncouth. Once they are scanned and I know I have my wallet and am going to pay, that is fine. So he had to wait. He was not happy and let everyone know. I ended up carrying him.
  • Immediate insistence on the aforementioned whoopie pies when he saw the cashier take them out of the cart. So he got a whoopie pie while we waited.

    whoopie pie…..sigh

  • Jack decided when he was done with the whoopie pie to whine the whole way home from the store.
  • Refusal to eat any lunch after nap time. I even made a grilled cheese and cut up strawberries, a sure favorite of his. Nope. Just wanted milk milk milk. I refused more milk unless he ate. That resulted in tantrums galore.
  • He kicked over a water cup because he didn’t want WATER he wanted MILK. He got a time out for that one. Still angry after the time out. I decided to ignore his cries after that. I heard him messing around with his time out stool. Peeked, thinking he was defacing it again. He wasn’t. He put himself in time out. Was sitting on it. I left an went back to preparing dinner. A minute later he came up and hugged me and asked me to carry him, which means pick up. His mood then improved. After a convo with my hubby we decided he can have mostly milk right now since we are certain his mouth hurts.
  • He refused sweet potatoes for dinner. But the general crankiness vanished.

So all of that together is frustrating. I felt like he got lots of junk food early on just to appease him at the moment. Which makes me feel like a failure. I am so health conscious with food that often I am racked with guilt if he eats too much crap in one day. Realistically he eats much healthier than a lot of toddlers, but it still bugs me. I was strict though and no more junk the rest of the day.

BUT there were a lot of great moments today too. A LOT! Most seemed to happen after that self imposed time out, hey we all need one of those once in a while! But a few were earlier too.

  • He was super excited for the pool. He didn’t even need to bring a car with him!
  • He didn’t cry during back floating time. That is hard for the little ones, they usually don’t like it. I think today was the first time in over a year that he didn’t scream and fight me on that! WOOO HOOO
  • He was kicking and scooping up a storm!!!!
  • He was awesome while we got changed after swim. That is hard because the locker room is FREEZING!
  • For 90% of the shopping trip he happily played his games on the ipad.
  • He played happily while I organized things for my pilates session with my mom. He let me get what I needed to get done. This was after his nap and before the time out incident.
  • For some reason there is a smiley face on the bottom of my white sock. I think it was from eyeliner shavings, I was in a crazy rush this morning and one of my eyeliners is all jacked up. Anyway I think I stepped on shavings and somehow it formed a perfect smiley face. Jack saw this later, I had no idea was there, he started pointing to my sock saying “ghost ghost” I looked and he was right, it looks like a ghost! It cracked me up. He sees things and thinks outside of the box.
  • We bought fish!!!!! 8 fish or sharkies as Jack calls them!!! The fish tank is in his room!

    sharkies!!!

    Sharkies

  • He listens very well when I need him to stay by me. When we entered the actual pool area I had to put our towels down. I tell him to “stop please and wait for momma. You can’t go near the water without momma or another adult” He stopped in his tracks and waited for me. When I have to put all 30lbs of him down to unlock the car (I misplaced my clicker) he stays by me as I instruct him to. He did not try to wander off. This is very normal for him but I want to share it because it is really great that he listens to my safety requests. I try to reinforce it daily. It has been showing! Way to go Jack!
  • He spent a lot of happy quality time with my mom today. He was obsessed with her. They laughed so much!!! I loved seeing that.

    Helping Ga with her Pilates moves

  • He thought it was hilarious when my mom and I would hug/squeeze and say squeeeeeze. He laughed and laughed. And said “again”
  • He said “crayon please” to me while we were coloring instead of taking the crayon I had out of my hand.
  • He put raffle tickets in my pant legs for about 30 minutes for no reason other than it was fun. It was pretty cute.
  • We played in his room and visited with his sharks. We named the green one Jen, since he has THREE important Jens in his life and his Great Aunt Jenny requested one be named Jen. I named the purple one Joseph Pilates and the blue one after my husband’s company.
  • Good story time before bed!

So I try to look at what went well. A large portion of the day was a bit stressful but it is what it is. There were many joyful moments as well. I am not a perfect mom. I lost my temper a time or two and scolded him. One time was after he tried to pull the cats tail and lost his balance and fell on her.  She screeched and ran away. I scolded him and laid him down to change his diaper. He had to air out because of his diaper rash. So he stayed on the floor watching his show. I sat on the couch and breathed for a few minutes. When I got up to put on  his cream and diaper I hoovered over him, he reached out for me and smiled, and I bent down to hug him back. We hugged for a few seconds, very tightly. I told him I loved him a lot and I was sorry to yell but he needs to be gentle with the cats or they will hurt him. I kissed his face. Then finished the diaper change.

I love him dearly and he loves me the same. Life can be hard and stressful and sometimes we don’t see eye to eye, like I think he should eat leafy greens and he thinks he should eat whoopie pies….But in the end we figure it out, forgive each other, and share our love freely!

He still didn’t eat his leafy greens or his sweet potatoes but he did eat frozen grapes and whole grain all natural bread. That was better than nothing and better than whoopie pies. So I count it as a win!

I am feeling a little unreasonably sad. My heart feels heavy and I can’t help but wonder what is wrong with me. Jack tried his first Gymnastics class yesterday. He loved it. When it was over and I asked him if he wanted to leave he shook his head “no”. I even asked him a couple times and each time he said no. I had to scoop him up and not give him a choice.

He got to do so many cool things. He did TWO somersaults, with help from the teacher. He went on a trapeze and a zip line swing. He played in a big ball pit. He went down a slide without any help from me. It was a blast. I loved the teachers. I loved how they would help wrangle the kids in when they decided to have an independent streak. Jack has a big one and when we have been at other classes I am always battling with him to participate. When they stepped in his arguments were not the same as with me and he generally listened and let them show him things. It was amazing! We went to our local My Gym. It was just right up Jack’s alley. He is so physical and active that this was a great outlet for him. He was even trying to do some tricks at home yesterday evening.

I am heart heavy because we canceled our Gymboree membership yesterday. We have been going there since Jack was 7 weeks old! I think I mentioned this recently. But he just was incredibly bored with the music class we were in. Their play classes for his level did not work with his awake schedule. He sleeps late in the morning and naps pretty late in the afternoon. He is not like most toddlers his age. I was like this when I was his age, so he is exactly like me. Anyway, Gymboree just wasn’t working for us anymore. Which is why I looked into other options. I love Gymboree. I love the teachers there. Two of them in particular. I am so sad that we are moving on. I feel really attached to that place but I know that Jack needs something else. Something more challenging.

I spoke to my mom about it yesterday. She explained this is all normal. This is not the last time we will have to leave an activity behind. He will be in tball, perhaps, and eventually he will be ready to move on to the next level and it is kind of hard.  You’re leaving the baby version of an activity behind. I know that Gymboree has activities up to 5 years old but what we could do now wasn’t working for Jack. I can’t force him to go to a class that he is uninterested in and just throws a fit about. I am going to miss my two favorite teachers. I am going to miss the atmosphere. I really am. I feel like crying. I haven’t, but I just kind of feel like I could.

I definitely can feel that I am leaving a part of our life behind. Change is good. Moving forward is good. That is what we are doing here. But when you have been going somewhere since your son was SEVEN WEEKS old it is hard to just close the door and not think twice. I guess it was my sanity in those earlier days. A solid reason to get out of the house in winter with a newborn baby who wasn’t sleeping at night. It helped me deal with how much he hated tummy time and learning to crawl. I picked up a lot of tips and I also had support to get through screaming fits there. I feel it really strengthened him to learn to crawl and walk. I met some great moms there. I just enjoyed it and myself when I was there. But it isn’t just about me, right? Ha! No it is about him and what he needs to grow and learn. A sport is something he needs. This gymnastics class is perfect.

I do have another month before it is totally canceled, since I already paid for this month. I can swing by for open gym to say bye. Maybe I will, but I am thinking I wont. I think I would cry then! I feel like it is a bit of a break up.

I guess all I have to do when I am feeling sad about this is look at the photos I took at My Gym. There is pure joy on my son’s face.

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Have you had to move on to a different program with your children? Were you heart heavy or a bit sad? How did you get over the breakup? Or was it an easy transition? Have there been activities where it was easier to move on than others?