Archives for category: preschool activities

This is where I was 20 months ago yesterday.

my little Jack

Then I was here….

Still in the hospital. We both look like crap, not Jack though, he looks perfect.

Then 9 days went by and I was here

Family/newborn photoshoot

And here

Yes, there was a lot of crying

And here

Sweet boy

And here again but happier

Well happier-ish, he looks like he thinks he just wants some clothing on again

And here

peaceful

So that is where I was some 20 months ago. I know he is not 2 yet, we still have four months!!! But for some unknown reason 20 months feels big to me. Maybe it is just the number, counting by 10’s? I am not sure but I feel like this is a big deal. That we are so close to him being 2. I am not sad about this milestone. I am enjoying it. I look back at those photos and he looks so sweet and tiny. But he IS so sweet and loving today. I am getting sleep (I was getting no sleep then, that is not an exaggeration either) He cries now but he cried a lot more then. That peaceful photo wasn’t really how things were all of the time. There was a lot of crying and very little sleeping. I have to say that I love toddlerhood. Sure tantrums are not fun but the rest is a blast. I have more fun than frustration, usually.

I am enjoying the laughing, playing, silliness, conversations (yes this little dude talks up a storm), and random hugs and kisses. I just can’t get enough of his wonder and exploration. I truly believe I enjoy this stage more than I did newborn Jack. I loved him immediately but I was exhausted constantly. If I get an inkling to have a 2nd all I have to do is think about to how little sleep I got and it quickly vanishes.

 

This is where I was yesterday, 20 months after giving birth to this wonderful boy….

Like seriously mom? Taking photos while I clearly need help managing all my THINGS!

And here

I am going to get you and that phone

And here….

You can’t catch me!

And here

I steal your glasses (and say glass) because they are sweet aviators (good thing they only cost 10 dollars at Kohls!)

And finally here

Exploration

I just can’t get enough of these toddler moments. I am so happy to have helped him grow into this energetic, curious, brave, silly, funny, and loving child. I love that I can foster his love for cars, can you tell that he has a love for them? I am not sure how much I can gush. But it is all so amazing.

I thought I would be more sad that is he trucking on into 2 years old. But I am not. I am happy and I am enjoying it! Sometimes I think in the morning before he wakes up “I wonder what new skill he will have today? Or maybe a new word or a new phrase?” I look forward to that. You know when I carry him and if I trip a little (I am super clumsy) He calls me out on it. He says “fall down?” Or if he sees you trip or fall or if he falls. How keen!

I know he will be 2 the next time I blink. His birthday falls after all the Holiday craziness calms down. AND I am in school. The end of my course is the end of January, about a week before his 2nd birthday. Then I will also be focusing like crazy on my student teaching hours. The next 4 months are going to fly by. And I am excited for them. I am excited to see how much he will be doing in 4 months. Because me wondering what new thing he will be doing each morning is no stretch. It is literally like that these days. Each day there is a new skill or word or sentence. How amazing that I turned that little burrito in that first photo into the child I photographed yesterday. Even more amazing is that 2 years ago he was just half grown in my belly. And 2 years before that he was an egg hanging out in my ovaries. How incredible a journey this has been! I wouldn’t change a thing!

Ok I lie, maybe I would have gotten more sleep in those newborn days 😉

 

What do you love about toddlerhood? What do you think of every morning before your kid(s) rise and shine. Do you wonder what new adventure the day will bring? What stage have you enjoyed the most? Do you love watching them grow each day and do you look forward to what is coming next? What odd months/ages have you felt were a milestone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have been going to Gymboree since Jack was 7 weeks old. Tomorrow he will be 20 months old (yikes!). Recently they dropped his level 4 play class we attended. They have a few other times  but they don’t work with his schedule. They are all too early and we live 20-30 minutes away, depending on traffic. We used to go to an 11:15 class on Wednesdays and sometimes we would be a few minutes late. Jack sleeps very late in the morning. He is a night owl but sleeps until about 10am. Sometimes later. So they dropped that class because there wasn’t enough enrollment. This happened a month or so ago. Currently we are just in their music class, Tuesdays at 11:15.

He does not like music class like he likes other classes. He participates in some things but a lot of the time he walks across the room and stands by the glass door, wanting to leave. If it is scarf time, forget it, he wants nothing to do with me or the scarf. A few times he has gotten annoyed and throws the toys/instruments. Ok so if you know Jack he is not usually like that. Truly. I mean, sure he has his moments but overall he is a great fun loving kid. At home he dances and acts silly. But in this structured class, he doesn’t want to do much. He likes the time they get to explore the instrument box. That is the only time he sits entirely by me/in the right spot. Most of the other kids stay in/near the circle we sit in. Jack is not one of those kids. Yesterday we had to go sit in the main front desk area for a minute or two. He started throwing things, for no reason! We chilled out for a bit and I noticed they were starting bubble time so I was able to get him back in. After instrument box time we sing good bye. He went to the door and started whining to leave. He didn’t want to come back by me. He wanted to go.

When we arrived initially he tried to go to the play area, not the music room. He likes the play class, where he can climb on things. I just don’t think he enjoys music. What I described above was not an isolated incident. That is usually how music class always goes. I do not know why. He LOVES music. We are always listening to music and dancing at home. He has instruments he plays with. But something about this class makes him act differently. It is always stressful for me. I can’t remember the last time it went totally smooth.

I am debating if we should stay in class or not. I am so torn. I feel like he won’t get the same socialization if we drop it. We are still in swim class. We don’t know a lot of people in the area and so our play dates are few and far between. But he doesn’t like the music class. If I ask him if he wants to go to swim/pool he gets excited and says swim and pool over and over. Yesterday when I asked if he wanted to go to music class he said “park”. sigh…..And he doesn’t even really interact with the other kids anyway. All the kids in his class are girls right now as well.

I have been looking into things to do closer to home. I have a couple things. Two are free, nice! One is another play place called Treehouse. But they are not structured classes. Maybe that is better for him? We also have a Children’s museum membership.

I also feel like I would be losing something if I leave Gymboree. I think I have gotten attached to the teachers there. I feel like I would be leaving a part of his babyhood behind if I go. We have been there since he was under TWO months old! His whole life! I feel like it is a part of us.

I just don’t know what to do. I am usually not this way. I am not usually totally confused about parenthood. I have moments, sure, but not this big. I have a lot of confidence when it comes to parenting. As my previous post explained, I have been gearing up for it my entire life. It was what I was made to do, be a mom. I am usually able to adapt and get through a tough moment. But I am struggling with this one. I cannot make up my mind.

It isn’t that he is totally unruly either. He does get bored or frustrated after a bit and that is when the toy throwing starts. Sometimes he doesn’t like the current activity and wants the last one. Which also makes him mad. Yesterday he wanted the little butterfly finger puppets back. They do cycle through the instruments/activities quickly. He is 2 months below moving up to the next level. So I don’t think I should move him up out of boredom.

Is it wrong to force your kid to stay in an activity they are uninterested in? Should I take Jack out of the class and pursue other activity options?  Is he just being a booger? Or does he genuinely not like the class? I tend to think he doesn’t like the class because I always feel like saying “This is not how he normally is! I don’t know why he is being this way!!!” Have you encountered something like this before? How did you handle it? I may be opening a can of worms here but I have been witnessing this for a couple months and I just feel like sometimes this class is pointless but I don’t really want to leave Gymboree!

I have been a little quiet on here. I just seem to always have something to do. I have not been quiet in real life though. I have been busy with Jackson, who is 19 months old now! He definitely keeps my days action packed. I have been working out, cooking, going to family events etc. I have slowed down on running a bit. I actually took this weekend off from my run. It has been a bit humid and warm and the thought of running in that kind of weather made me want to crawl under the covers. I figured I deserve a break once in a while so I stayed inside and did workouts in my house.

I have two new videos. Both Jillian. I love that woman. She is the best. I have done my share of at home videos and she is still hands down my favorite instructor. Instead of buying the DVD I have started to use my amazon instant option. Jack has been getting his sweet little hands on DVDS and BluRay discs and managing to scratch them. The kicker was when he broke our BluRay player last week. So oh well!

I bought Kickbox Fast Fix and 6 Week Six Pack. Ok so I have to admit I am not looking for a fast fix in either case. I am a maintenance person at this stage. All of the baby weight is gone, I am mostly toned all over. I weigh about 120lbs. I wear a size 0 or a size 2. Extra small shirts. So I am not using these programs to drop or shed quickly. I cannot give a response on if they do any fast or 6 week fixes. I am going to assume if you are looking for that and you are honest and stick with these workouts as part of your regular routine that a difference will be seen. As with any workout. You have to be honest with yourself though, no cheating!

I am just looking for ways to shake up my routine so I stay involved and not bored. I love learning new moves and finding ways to challenge myself. The kickboxing is something I have always been curious about. I am not very coordinated. I am incredibly clumsy and I have a hard time learning coordinated moves. So for me kickboxing is a new challenge. I have to learn how to punch and kick in step. I am sure I look ridiculous but it is fun to try! Maybe soon I can take a kickboxing class out of the lovely shrouded privacy of my own home.

Speaking of workouts not at home we are thinking about joining L A Fitness. There is new one being built right down the street. I want a place for the winter. I am also now comfortable with having Jack in a babysitting program at a facility I choose. We went to an amazing place about 20 minutes away. We thought of joining there but the distance and the price differences in the new L A Fitness are tantalizing us! So has anyone been a member of L A? Any tips, any reviews? I know this place is new, not even done being built so we can’t think about location specific reviews. Also I tend to take reviews with a grain of salt, remembering that sometimes only negative people tend to review places. However the historian in me instantly gravitates towards doing my research on a topic. Any advice is appreciated so that I can make as informed of a decision as possible.

So my little man is now 19 months as I mentioned. I am baffled as to how this has happened. But I do relish in his growth and development every day. I love that boy so much. It is ridiculous. I love how much he communicates with me. I could listen to him talk all day. He has so many words. He is great at figuring out how to tell me what he wants. Yesterday morning I was getting us ready to visit my grandpa. I was making our breakfast and told Jack we were going to visit great grandpa! He said GA? GA?!?!?! And got very excited. He calls my mom Ga. He calls my dad Pa. So I think he thought I was saying we were seeing my mom, maybe because I threw the great in front of grandpa. Anyway I called my mom to tell her because it was so cute how excited he got at the thought of seeing her. She talked to him on the phone and his reaction was equally sweet. He got rather excited. He didn’t get to see her yesterday but I love how happy he gets when he thinks about her.

So we are eating our breakfast and he is quiet. Then decides to start saying “bye bye” and waving. I said yes we are going to go bye bye in a bit! Very good. I had said we were going bye bye to visit great grandpa. So he remembered our previous conversation. Then after I encouraged him he was right he said “bye bye! Park!” I was astonished. It was the first time he asked me to go to the park! It was amazing. I explained that we weren’t going there but we were going to visit grandpa and that was fun too. (he had a blast on our visit) I just love how he can tell me what is on his mind. I know people say I will get tired of that but for now I am not. I love it and I am excited for him.

Stickers have been a hot item this week. He has finally discovered their awesomeness. He used to think they were weird, probably because they were sticky. But this week he is obsessed and I love it. You should see the laptop I am typing on. The front of it was his white canvas and is covered in layers of stickers. I mean, I put any hipster to shame at this point!

He also has started to decorate us and himself. His feet and mine were covered in stickers last night. Then he started decorating his forehead. He managed to do this all himself without a mirror.

I have been enjoying these kinds of moments a lot lately and I hope they keep coming. He is such a sweet loving boy. I am so excited each day to see what he is going to learn, say, or show me he now knows. I look forward to his bear hugs and sloppy kisses. Being so consumed with love for my child is not a new sensation, in the least bit! I have known how overpowering that love is from the moment I held him in my arms, right after I pushed him out. Yet I am still blown away at times at how much love I have for him. Sometimes it knocks me off of my feet and I stop what I am doing and just think WOW I LOVE THIS KID SO MUCH! HE IS AWESOME. HE IS MINE! I hope that never changes. I hope that I can always be aware that my love for him is so grand it stops me in my tracks. I think that is a happy life. Being aware that there is love inside of you that is greater than everything and that trumps any bad moments or days!

Toddlerhood is challenging at times. It is not always a walk in the park. We won’t get into his separation issues with his cars and naptime/bedtime. So when you can relish in how amazing your love is for this amazing child, it makes those stressful small moments nearly vanish. It overpowers them and knocks them out. At least for me, and I truly hope that all parents can be in the place I am with that. It keeps my patience in check. I have more patience when I remember that he is a toddler and I could kiss those squishy cheeks and toddler toes all day long.

That is my update. Please if you do have any thoughts on L A Fitness let me know. We have never done a membership at a fitness center. This is the first time for me so I am a little unsure what to expect.

We moved out to the burbs 2 years ago September 1st! We have been out of the city for TWO years. First, that blows my mind. Time has really flown by. Sometimes I miss the city, but that part of our lives is 100% over. We finally sold our condo last month. Sure we can visit and do mini vacations downtown. But we won’t move back there. At least while Jack is living under our roof. If we don’t retire to Tahiti one day I am guessing we will retire downtown. But THAT is way off!

So we have been living on this lake for 2 years. For a while I thought, “how can I ever NOT live on a lake again?” The same as I thought “how can I NOT live in the city??” But much like my decision that I didn’t want the city life for Jack, I have started to feel this lake life is not right for us as he grows. At least not the house we are renting. We have been planning to move and buy in the spring. Initially I was clamoring to find a house on the lake we live on. I was desperate that we needed to find one. I can’t go from a life on the lake to a life without one as my back yard! I can’t do it.

I mean, look at the view…..

I know it was cloudy in this photo but it really is nice. Also, currently the lake has dried up THIRTY inches! We have had a severe drought here. But that is neither here nor there. I truly thought that I can’t live anywhere but the lake.

Then lately we have been in our “yard” which is shared with everyone, since it is a townhouse street. We have a board, an association, etc. Jason is constantly vetoing me getting Jack more outside toys because he is afraid one of our old bitter neighbors is going to complain. He doesn’t want us drawing with chalk too much because of the same reason. It drives me crazy. I don’t care what anyone has to say. I really don’t. I would tell them where to shove it too, no problem. Don’t mess with my kid’s happiness when he is being good.

That has been gnawing away at me for a little while. I want Jack to be able to have an outside play area that fosters creativity, imagination, fun, learning, growing, exploration, etc. I don’t want to have to worry about what some old guy or lady thinks.

Then there is the lake itself. There is luckily a line of shrubbery that loosely separates the grass from the beach/shore. But it is loosely. It is not a safe fence. Jack has NO freedom in the backyard. He is getting to an age where he deserves some freedom to explore, without me being his total shadow. That cannot happen here. I feel like a helicopter parent when we are outside, but it has to be done. It takes one second for him to bolt. I am afraid of drowning or kidnapping. Seriously. We don’t live in a “dangerous” neighborhood, but that hardly matters. Pedophiles, kidnappers, psychotic people are everywhere. And an open area like this makes it all the more easy for someone to snatch him. Then there is the fact that he could drown in that lake. He is constantly being coaxed back to our little area. I just hate it. I am ready for him to be able to have a little freedom in our yard, our fenced off yard.

Jack is a woof person. Woof is what he calls dogs. He loves our kitties, sure, but he tries to play with them like they are puppies. Two are elderly. The one that is younger is skittish and has recently scratched him. Don’t get me started on her. Anyway, I want to get him a puppy. That is not happening here. Especially because we don’t have a yard. That is the same reason we never got a dog earlier. Living downtown we thought it was unfair to have a dog. Some people do it, but Jason and I happen to agree we prefer our dog to have yard space.

All of those reasons have led to to the realization that I am ready to not live on a lake. I don’t think we have outgrown the house really. Although I would love a basement. But that isn’t really the reason. I just want us to have our own space we aren’t sharing with other people. To be able to enjoy our time outside, grow our furry family, and let my child foster some independence.

This was at my grandparent’s home. They have a huge yard, with a fence. He LOVED running around it on his own. I think this may have been a turning point for me. Seeing him play like this and enjoy exploring without me saying no jack, come back, over here, stop etc.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the future in this respect. How we will move in a few months and what adventure that will bring. I will miss this house. This is where we brought Jack home! His first bedroom. We painted it for him. He does love playing throughout the entire house. It will be strange to explain to him that we are moving, but it will have so many wonderful times. We won’t have to worry about signing a lease or feel like we can’t really settle in. It will be ours and we won’t be planning to move again for some time. I am just looking forward to being settled and done and be able to enjoy our HOME! Make changes if we want to. If something breaks or is running slowly or is old we can replace it without a middle man. WE can pick out what WE want as a family.

I never thought I would feel this way, 2 years ago. But I am glad that I am in this place. It will help the emotion of leaving the first home we had with Jack. I will focus on all the positive aspects. I hope the approaching holiday season helps speed up time. I say holiday season because we start celebrating in October, with Halloween. I think Jack and I are going to be pirates. He knows what a pirate is, calls pirates pirates.

Today I made a kid cry. Not my child. Not even a child I know. A stranger. Who was about 7. And here it is. I do NOT feel bad about it at all. Not one iota. Not even a itsy bitsy bit. He was a jerk and a brat. I wouldn’t change one thing of our encounter. I also hope Jackson NEVER behaves like he did. I also know that I won’t allow Jack to treat people the way this little brat was treating other kids.

We were at our Children’s Museum. Jack is 18 months old. One of the younger ones in the crowd. There were some younger kids, but they were mostly in baby carriers or wraps. So he is definitely in the youngest age group that attends this place. A Toddler!

He was being pushed around here or there. Kids trying to take things from him. I always intervene. Especially at this age. I also never take my eye off of him and never leave him out of arms reach. I actually play with him a great deal. I notice a lot of parents sit back and kind of let their kids run a muck. I don’t. The museum isn’t my babysitter. I am there to engage my child’s growing mind.

I politely had to tell a few kids that he was playing with something and they can’t take it from him. They moved on. It annoyed me but what can you do? I use these trips as parenting classes for myself. How I DON’T want to raise my son. He will never think it is ok to take things out of other people’s hands. If he does, there are repercussions. There already are at this age. Maybe I am strict. But I love him fiercely. I want him to be a good, honest, well mannered, kind, empathetic, generous, and understanding member of society. I don’t want him to be a crappy sharer who bullies other kids. Bottom line. We have been consistent in this approach in our parenting. Like I said I love him fiercely. So if he is honestly in the right I will fight to the death to protect him and correct a wrong done to him. If he is wrong, he will have to deal with the consequence. We have left activities because he wasn’t in a sharing or listening mood. I don’t put up with it. I often say I don’t negotiate with terrorists. When he acts like that he is being a very tiny cute cherub faced terrorist 😉

So when he is honestly the innocent victim momma bear comes out. I expect him to be treated with as much respect as I want him to treat others.

This kid was something else. There was this play house area. It was a home under construction. You could pretend to roll paint on the walls, check blueprints, lay carpeting, and even place these magnetic tiles on the wall. They had funky ugly wall paper patterns. You could rearrange them over three wall spaces! Jack LOVES magnets. He spends a lot of time playing with magnets on our fridge. He was fascinated by the carpeting initially. Then I showed him the walls. Oh he lit up! So we started moving things around. Another mom started taking some down to put back in this bin so the kids could pick out what they wanted and put them up. Suddenly I hear this kid start screaming at her. HE WAS PLAYING WITH THIS AREA AND HE DIDN’T WANT ANYONE TOUCHING THEM. He cried too. The mom felt bad. I was busy with Jack. I ignored the situation other than a sympathetic smile at this mom who made some strange kid upset. He was old enough to know better and know right from wrong. His parents? Not anywhere in that little room….

I kept helping Jack move these tiles. Suddenly out of my left side this kid comes up and rips the big tile Jack has out of his little 18 month old hands. “I AM PLAYING HERE. I DID THIS. STOP MOVING THEM”

Uh oh kid…..uh oh….

I took it out of this kid’s hands and gave it back to Jack. I turned to him and said “He is a baby. You do not take things out of a baby’s hands. He is playing here too”

He argued with me some more. I kept trying to help Jack. Then he tried again to take it from Jack. REALLY kid? He then demanded that we go away. He was playing here and Jack couldn’t play here. He wanted these tiles just how he put them up. ALL OF THEM.

I turned to him and calmly said “Well I am sorry but you have to share. This isn’t just for you. You have to share”

Jack looked up at me and repeated what I just said “share?”

“Yes Jack everyone has to share these things”

The kid ran off bawling hysterically. As if he had never been taught that he isn’t the only person in the world. As if we were in his personal playroom stealing his belongings. I could hear him wailing from across the little open area outside of the house. I caught him out of the corner of my eye on his mom’s lap screaming about what a mean lady I am. I heard “and then that lady…ajdksdfhsdfhds” I couldn’t make out the rest and Jack was talking to me anyway.

Yup. That is me. A mean lady who was probably the first person in the world who said the word share to that child. I was ready for that mom to come storming over and confront me. She never did. Maybe she knows she has a brat for a kid? I don’t know. But I wasn’t going to back down. He was out of line repeatedly. It wasn’t isolated and he was treating my kid like crap. I would be appalled if I found out Jack treated another child, especially a toddler that way. We would have left. That is that. If you can’t be a nice HUMAN BEING you cannot continue our treat of a trip to the museum.

Am I the only mom out there that thinks we have to raise good members of society? Sometimes I really feel that way. Another kid there today was a little old than Jack. Still a toddler. Any time Jack got close to him and the car he had in the car area he SCREAMED in Jack’s face “MINE”  I had my eye on him. Poor Jack just looked at him like WTH? What is wrong with you? Well one time it happened right in front of his mom. SHE FREAKING LAUGHED. LAUGHED like that behavior is funny. It isn’t. I could feel her try to make eye contact with me so we could be comrades in arms “ohhh toddlers, so silly!” No. not silly not ok. That is unruly behavior.

I did learn something though. I have a pretty awesome kid. He just kind of sat back a lot watching the chaos ensue. Content in his own world. Didn’t bully anyone else. He was able to adapt quickly and move on if someone else was being crappy.

I only had one incident where he got upset about sharing. At this point we had been there nearly 2 hours. I immediately corrected him. Gave the little girl the frog back and distracted him with something else. He moved on quickly. He knows I don’t put up with that. I explained to him that he can share and we don’t act that way. I am not going to stop that. If I get looks from other parents oh well.

Recently at a store he threw his cars in a fit of rage. Followed by a scream/growl at me. I got close to him and reprimanded him. “we do NOT throw cars” Picked up the cars and didn’t give them back. He started to cry. The cashier kept giving him this sympathetic look, like poor baby. Not poor baby. We do not throw things out of anger. We don’t. I let it go after that. I didn’t mention it again to him. He calmed down. I finished what I was doing, paying, and we left. I told him I loved him when we got in the car. Gave him a snack and we ran our next errand it total peace and happiness. We finished our errands without incident.

I guess I am a mean mom. I have rules. I do not spank him. We are big time out givers. He already sits on his stool. We remove him from the situation if he is being totally out of control. We do not negotiate. We let him know something was wrong firmly. We also always always let him know we love him and that is why we are trying to teach him something. And truly, these incidents are few and far between. He hasn’t had a time out in almost a month. He does get things taken away if he is throwing them out of anger. That is very effective currently. But like I said it doesn’t happen every day even. He had a bad tantrum phase a couple months back. In June. That was a rough month but we were consistent with handling it and things have improved. He understands every word we say.

But I will tell you one thing, that child loves me dearly. He is my shadow. He kisses me without asking. He hugs me, snuggles me. Our pediatrician begged me to have another baby because she loves how I am with him and that I am doing such a great job. She literally told me she hopes I change my mind because of the kind of mom she has seen me become. I don’t want another, but I am taking that compliment with grace. I appreciate it coming from a medical professional who has been with us since Jack was born!

I hope I am not alone in this quest to raise a kid who is nice. I really truly do. I hope that someone would correct Jack being that nasty. I know I wont be sitting in another area while he is playing by himself at a very packed museum. I hope I have mommy comrades that also believe in correcting inappropriate behavior of their own child. You’re out there right? Right?????

Monday night I went into a fit of creativity. I have had a step stool to paint for Jack for a long time. Maybe close to a year? It was sitting in his closet. For some reason Monday night I decided to go ahead and paint paint paint. The wake was Tuesday. I think I was trying to keep my mind off of my aunt and what the next two days meant. Usually it takes me a few days to finish a painting project. Not this time. I did it all in one night. A few layers of paint and everything…..I was determined. We all deal with grief in our own way.

Behold the Mater step stool. Or as Jack calls him “TOW”

Mater step stool

Side of step stool

I did this all freehand. No stencils. I basically took Jack’s Mater car and used that as my model. What I liked about this project is that it didn’t have to be perfect. Mater is rusty and has dents. He treasures those things about himself because they all tie back to wonderful memories. Mater has a thing or two to teach us.

I mixed a lot of colors to get the right shades. I didn’t go and buy any new paints or brushes.  I used browns, reds, oranges, blues, greens, and white to get the perfect shades for Mater. When I showed it to Jack he said Tow! He still isn’t so fond of standing on it too long. At least last night he kept wanting to get down and brush his teeth. It is a new thing though, standing on a step stool. He will get it and enjoy it one day.

It did keep my mind busy for a few hours. But Tuesday came. So did Wednesday. Wednesday was hard. Very hard. Yesterday was ok. Jack and I had a jammy day. Just hung out at home. It was raining on and off all day anyway. Today we have swim. I still cannot believe my aunt wont be around any more. I truly can’t grasp this concept.

 

Jack turned 18 months on Saturday. We spent the day at a baptism and then the funeral home helping with arrangements for my aunt. My original intention for that evening had been to celebrate his 1/2 birthday. Just the 3 of us. I have decided to start a tradition where we do that on his 1/2 birthday. He will get a 1/2 cake and we will just have a little family celebration.

Well we didn’t get home until after 5pm on Saturday. Jack had only napped in the car for a handful of minutes. It was a long emotional day. We were all exhausted. There was no way I was going to run to the store and buy cake stuff. But Sunday we went to the grocery store. I didn’t buy ingredients for a cake. Instead I picked up a small cake to just cut in half. I then decorated it myself.

I have never claimed to be the best cake decorator but for my boys it works!

Jason found the Lightning McQueen candle. Jack loved that. It was a team effort. I think it was a little celebration my aunt would have been very proud of. I think it is good to celebrate life. Even every 1/2 a year. We aren’t throwing him a huge party for his 1/2 birthday. Just Jason and myself and if grandparents happen to be over that is fine too. This year Jason’s parents happened to be coming over yesterday for my father in law’s birthday. Both my dad’s and Jason’s dad’s birthdays are around Jack’s 1/2 birthday. So it may or may not work out that way some years.

I also got him a small hotwheels car pack. I think it had 8 or so cars in it. I gave that to him Saturday. We brought it with us while we were out and gave it to him one of the times in the car. He was elated when he saw the box. Nothing crazy. Just a small gift. I am so excited to start this new tradition. I hope Jack grows up loving it.

I think he did this year….

CAKE!!! For ME!!!!

Cut out the middle man, his hands and spoon

Best 1/2 birthday ever!

I love this child so much. I want him to know he is celebrated every day. Which I think he is aware of. I cheer him on constantly. But I think setting aside some time to really focus on how special he is to both me and his dad is nice. We are lucky to have him. To have a child to raise and do our best to make a great member of society. Not everyone gets to do this. Some people take this responsibility and blessing for granted. I do not. I have learned in the past month how life can change in an instant. One choice can make a lifetime of difference. I am going to embrace the joys as much as I can.

That face up there is the most joyous thing! His innocent happiness over cake. You have to love that. As adults we lose so much of that innocence and that joy in simple things. We truly do. I try to step back daily and soak up some moment of Jack’s. Something he is doing. Even just watching him play and do his own thing. I just watch, quietly, let him do his thing, and take it all in. Imprint it into my memory. Sometimes that is my favorite part of the day. Observing him in his own element.

Tomorrow starts a couple days of sadness. I am sad to say goodbye to my aunt. Very sad. I hate the fact that Jack will not remember her. That he will only remember the stories I have told him and photos I have shown him. That makes my heart so sad because she was so amazing and strong. I am going to try to remember to live life as she did. Despite the difficult times she faced she was a lovely woman who brightened up a room. I know she loved Jack and me and I know she loved watching me with Jack. I am going to be the best mom I can be every day. Do special things like 1/2 birthday celebrations. AND glowstick baths

But still teaching him how to be productive. He started helping me mop all on his own. He loves to take part in daily chores around here. I fully encourage and support him wanting to help. Even if sometimes he throws out boxes of pasta that I have to take out of the garbage later. He wants to help and I am going to cheer him on every time!

So I will take these moments, hug my child, and love life as much as I can. I think that my aunt would like that. Tomorrow I will be filled with tears. But as Jason told Jack on the way to the funeral home on Saturday, his job is “to make people smile. That is what you are here for Jack.” I think that is fitting. He is bright spot on a dark day.

Happy 18 months my

sweet

loving

exuberant

funny

best dancing

extroverted

silly

little swimmer

chatter box

tough

courageous

helpful

generous

wonderful

SON!!! Thank you for letting me be your momma for this past year and a half. I know the next 6 months are going to fly by, because these last sure did. I am looking forward to all he is going to be learning and teaching me.

When you’re a parent it is your job to help your child through difficult parts of their life. Jack will be 18 months on August 4th, so the difficult things in his life aren’t overly tough to handle. For him they are, but as an adult they really are just small bumps.

I love to be creative. I am a creative person by nature. I have been my whole life. I march to my own beat. I have embraced that. Jack is a lot like me. I try to remember that when trying to overcome certain bumps in the road.

Most recently he went from going to bed quietly and peacefully to full on hour long scream sessions. He was tired. He goes to bed very late. 9-10pm some nights. But suddenly he was acting terrified of his crib. Clinging to me like he was terrified for his life as I tried to lay him down. His face would break my heart. I knew he wasn’t just being a brat. He was upset about something. It was like he was genuinely scared. We have crib toys that light up for him. Two of them actually. We turned them on for him, as night lights. He also knows how to turn both on himself. So he had a light night on a timer. But the problem wasn’t so much in the middle of the night as really when it was bedtime. We read stories before, we have those night lights. What is going on here? I can’t listen to this sad crying anymore! My poor poor baby! But I am also not going to rock him all night long and sleep in a chair. He is almost a year and a half, close to 30lbs and closer and closer to 40inches. He is a big kid and not a newborn!

Then we decided to step up our game. By nature, he is not a scaredy cat. Not at all. In fact he is incredibly brave and usually has no problem jumping right into trying something new out. So we decided to make bed time a little more fun. We started pointing out all the amazing things about his room and his crib. He is very bright and understands everything we say. He responds to requests and questions. He has a lot of words for a 17 month old. So we know he understands as we explain this. He has glow in the dark stars on his walls and ceiling. He can say star. So we reminded him of those and how at night if he is upset to look at them because they glow and THAT is awesome! We pointed out his Cars bedding, his sheets, big blanket, and pillow. Mater and Lightning are all over them. Then we point out his stuffed Lightning and Mater. We remind him that he can bring his books to bed with him, if he feels like reading. Finally we point out his amazing crib toys that light up and all he has to do is press the button!!!! He started to get so excited and smiled and REACHED for his crib. We have done this a couple nights in a row now. Bedtime has been going much more peacefully.

With Jack we are lucky to be able to put a positive spin on things, distract from the negative (most times, not always like a tantrum at the grocery store where he is DONE running errands! ha!)

We also recently did this with an amazing thunder and lightening storm. It was loud and bright. He is older now so I thought he might get frightened if this is going on when he is sleeping. We all went upstairs, to our bedroom. Opened our big blinds. We have huge windows that overlook the lake. I turned off all the lights inside and we watched the lightening like a fireworks show. Jason and I ooooo’d and ahhhhh’d. Jack LOVED it. Stood on the window ledge (we held him still) and tapped the windows, smiling, making noise himself. That night we didn’t hear a peep from him.

So we keep trying out these “making things cool trick.” It works for now. It is a great trick to have under my belt. It helps that his personality is more tuned into responding to this kind of spin. No doubt about that.

What do you do to help your child(ren) through a tough time or stage? Are yours easily frightened? Or do they tend to barrel through life and think after, like Jack. How do you handle bedtime protests?

Jack has been interested in small chores lately. Much to my enjoyment. Especially since he is still shy of 18 months old. I am not one to argue with him taking interest in the things I do around here.

He has been curious about my pantry and other food when I am unpacking the groceries. He actually enjoys playing in the pantry while I am cooking or doing something in the kitchen. The cans and jars make great stacking items. I let him explore away. I love love love watching him explore his world. I encourage all parents to let their kids get messy, destroy orderly things in the home, play with safe non toy specific items, and just explore the world around them. I try not to tell people how to parent in general, but that is something I really believe in. I always say “I am not one to stifle his creativity!” Obviously, unless it is downright dangerous. I am not going to approve playing in comet powder, ya know?

Just checking things out momma! Also ignore my pantry. I have never claimed to be an organized orderly person. I may be able to keep the house neat enough (usually, today is not one of those days) but my cabinets and such have a life of their own. I am ok with that. I have accepted that part of me. You should too! Ha!

Time to explore these neat items! No salt added tomato sauce? Don’t mind if I do, don’t mind if I do!

So he likes to help out in the pantry and I am not going to stop him. Sure sometimes I end up having to put away a bunch of things that were already put away but it is the thought that counts. He is interested in our home and the goings on. He is paying attention to the things I do around here and wants to participate. So I say, my precious boy, participate away!

Next up has been cooking. That has been in the last two weeks or so. Maybe a little less. It is half interested in the food and half wanting my attention because he is a momma’s boy. I say that but unless you have met him you have no.idea.how.much.he.clings.to.me. NO idea! It isn’t bad but it usually means that I am functioning while holding a 27+lb toddler. Not a big deal to me though. So I have tried to include him in the cooking time as opposed to him having a fit on the ground. First it started with me holding him and him helping with safe foods, no raw meat or eggs yet! Then we let him sit on one of our island chairs. That was a little nerve wrecking because initially we just let him sit on it and it is a very high chair. THEN the other evening when Jason wasn’t home yet I needed a solution. And DUH the kid sits in a booster seat at our normal table, so I transferred it to the island chair. Made life nice and easy. And he could help me cook. He was stirring food, stirring just in the bowl without food in there. Watching me and then mimicking me.

Showing him what to do with the spinach. Yes I sneak spinach into whatever I can since he hates green foods. 🙂

good job jack!

I was happy J was home to take these. This was the first time he really helped me out in the kitchen! I am so proud of my little chef.

Sous chef Jack

He is pretty talented at a young 17 months old! Watch out Jamie Oliver!

Yesterday I was running around doing things, or trying! He was playing in our family room/kitchen/dining room. (all three are connected so it is easy to run through them.) I was in the laundry room, off the family room, doing laundry. He peaked his head in and took interest. So I put the wet laundry on the door of the dryer and showed him how to put it in the dryer. It took him two seconds to pick it up. Then he started tossing whatever I put on the door in there! I was so proud. He was squealing with joy. I didn’t take a photo because I didn’t have my phone on me. I wasn’t about to run to grab it and ruin this lovely mother/son moment. It is in my brain though, and I won’t be forgetting it any time soon.

Another thing he has been doing a lot over the past month or two is trying to vacuum with his toy vacuum. When he makes a mess with food or a sensory bin he sometimes finds his vacuum and walks around trying to vacuum it up. He is fascinated by my vacuum and LOVES when I vacuum. LOVES it! Inspects the vacuum and tries to push it. That is where his interest in helping really began. I almost forgot about it because it has been going on for so long.

I posted a Facebook status yesterday. Regarding his interest in chores. I ended it with Dear daughter in law, you’re welcome! HA! I hope I can continue to raise my child to be helpful around the home. Or at least once he moves out and has a home and family of his own that he knows sharing responsibilities around the home is the way to go. That he can cook a meal and wash some laundry. I have been told his interest in helping me will change as he gets older. That may be true or maybe it won’t. Either way I feel I am instilling him with good habits. Showing him being helpful and doing things together is good.

 

 

 

Yesterday we spent the day celebrating the 4th of July. As did most of America. I couldn’t help but think back to where we were a year before. Jack was just 5 months old. He was starting to get fun. I am pretty honest about the fact that I didn’t LOVE the newborn phase. I found it really exhausting and I just didn’t love it. I won’t lie. It is a big reason why I don’t want to have another baby. He wasn’t quite out of that phase a year ago but he was getting there. I thought last year’s 4th was pretty fun. Sort of. I was tired from being up all night with my boy though.

When I think about yesterday it blows and I mean BLOWS the previous year out of the water. As a matter of fact it blows every single 4th of July of my entire 27 years out of the water. I had the best time. Jack was filled with such joy. Especially watching the fireworks. He had never really seen them before.

cooling off the American way!!! mmmm

Momma and ice cream, two of my favorite things

We started out the day heading down the street to our big park that was having a little festival. We played some games and Jack and Jason ate some food. It was a little too hot though. There were duck games in baby pools and my son kept wanting to crawl into the baby pool. So we headed home to our little water park set up in the back yard.

get dada!!!!

He LOVED playing with the hose

He loved loved loved playing in our yard. It made his day. He had such a blast. It was so hot out though. 100 degrees felt like 105! The ice cold water from the hose actually felt good, that is how hot it was!

He took a nice long nap once we were done outside. My family came over. My parents, one of my brothers and my sister in law. The 4 youngens went on our boat while my mom and dad hung out inside in the cool air conditioning. We did a lot of wakeboarding and swimming in the lake. My brother and I were even working on some tricks on the wakeboard. Trying some jumps! My goal by the end of summer is to be able to get some decent air and land without a wipe out. I have been able to do smaller jumps/hops without falling but bigger air is great until I hit the water again! HA!

After we were wiped out and exhausted from all our activity we headed back to land to eat. Then we were all so tired we lounged around for a while. We were able to catch the fireworks. From our boat! We casually meandered out onto the lake, with Jack. It was dark so we drove nice and slow. Most of the boats on our lake were out there to watch the show. We weren’t going to do this at first. We thought Jack might be too tired etc. But last minute we decided to just give it a shot. I am so thankful we did! Thank goodness for spontaneity! HE LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!!!!!! He loved the fireworks. He was cheering, ooooing, ahhhhing, and making this happy growl sound that only he can make. We got it on “video.” I write it that way because it was too dark to see us but you could hear all of his reactions.  The joy he had for the fireworks was so wonderful. It made my heart swell with joy. THIS is why it was the best 4th ever. I just couldn’t get over how much he loved it. He sat so well on my lap on the boat. In his life jacket. Even with the heat. He was just so taken by the boat, the water, and the fireworks. We even had to sit there for a while before the show began. He was an angel.

enjoying the show

It is incredible to see things through your child’s eyes. I never thought experiencing something through someone’s perspective could make YOU so happy. But it is possible with your child. I have been learning that since he turned 1. He grows daily in so many ways. The way he looks at the world and the things that bring him joy are just so innocent and pure. I love being able to see all of that. Sure his tantrums grow weekly. He had a few mini meltdowns throughout the day. The heat is hard on everyone. But that was all erased by the moment above. All I will remember about this 4th of July, 2012, is this night on the boat. The happiness at each exploding firework. His reactions and cheering and laughter. The way he would grab on to my hand or leg and squeeze very hard each time he got excited. I didn’t get to see his face much but I got to feel that. The way he went rigid with excitement and then would squeal so loud! It made my heart so happy. I look forward to what joy we can find in today when he wakes up!