Archives for posts with tag: toddler

I am a bookworm. I have been since before I learned how to read. I have vivid memories of my mom reading to me when I was a little girl. After learning how to read, I couldn’t put books down. I would spend hours in the library deciding on which books to check out next. It was always torture that I could only take a few at a time. My grandma would take me to the library with her and we would spend hours? there. To me it seemed like hours. I am not sure how long it was in actual time. As a child though, I was in that magical wonderful place for what seemed like an eternity. In college I spent a lot of time studying in the library. If I had time in between classes I would head there to read, study, work on things, or just be there.

I have worked to pass that on to Jackson and soon Alexander. Their book collection is extensive. I even have a book box where I add new books all the time and Jackson gets to pick a new book rather often. Last night I decided to grab two new books that I wanted to read to him. One of them is titled If I Could Keep You Little.

I bought this book a while ago. I read it in the store and cried. The premise is a mom who would love to keep her child little but knows she would then miss out on all the great things they did as they grew. I think this is my number one struggle as a mom. The idea that one day my boys will leave the nest. That one day I will have to let them go play outside in the big world without my hand a few inches away. I try to not be a total helicopter parent. I don’t hover constantly, especially in our home. I let Jackson play on his own. But outside, in the big scary world? He is only 3 & 1/2. I am not ready to let him wander. I don’t have to be ready quite yet, but one day I will.

The tantrums and arguing back can be hard. The bad days where we all don’t seem to sync up can be rough. But that is not the hardest part for me. With those moments I have about a 2 second rebound rate. I never feel defeated or that it drags out to the next day or even the next moment. Sometimes I can reset with just 20 minutes. It is the letting go that I know I will struggle with more and more as my boys grow.

Having a new baby on the way 4 years after we were expecting Jackson has proved that. I have seen now how much I have let go over the past 3 & 1/2 years. Much to my surprise. Things changed a little every single day. I do it, but it doesn’t mean that it was easy. To be honest, I usually still feed Jackson dinner. He can do it. He prefers me to help him. Much to my husband’s eye rolls. But one day he won’t want mommy to scoop his food and feed him. I will probably be trying to convince him to sit down and eat with us! Those are the kinds of things I think about. While I am saying “But Jackson, you are a big boy, you can feed yourself, right? You do it at breakfast and lunch!” In my head I am just perfectly fine with scooping that pasta into his mouth for him.

I made it through the book this time without crying. I didn’t even choke up when I read it to him. I even was able to point out similarities in his life and watched a big smile beam across his sweet soft face. My lap has less room these days. My belly is getting big. Less than 2 months to go until I have two boys squirming for space. But each day we cuddle on Jackson’s old rocking chair and we read books. We adjust every day to that growing belly. I suppose that is what parenting is. Every day you adjust to the changes just a touch. You have to wiggle something over to make room for something new and different. Some new skill, ability, task, thought, need, or want. Sometimes it happens without you even realizing it. When did my belly get so round? When did Jackson have to learn to sit differently on my lap? It wasn’t in one fell swoop. We grew together.

How I long to keep my boys little. Even looking back on infant photos of Jackson, which I have done more and more lately, I wonder, how did he grow into this boy? As we tucked him in and he had to show me one last fancy trick before being snuggled under his blankets I just watched his face. The book fresh in my mind. He used to be this squishy little infant, with a personality, but certainly not this specific personality. When did he grow into this little boy and leave that squishy infant behind? When did I stop using onesies? When did my world revolve around themed tshirts and pajamas? Spiderman adorned my sweetheart from head to toe last night. No more sweet baby blue footie pjs for him. He used to fit into all the clothing I have purchased for Alexander. Now, you couldn’t get a foot in some of those.

But, like that book tells me, if I kept him in those, I would miss out on him calling to me as I left “Mommy one more hug and kiss. Hugs and kisses are my favorite.” They are mine too sweet boy, whether you’re a newborn or a grown man. They will always be my favorite, in every stage you pass through.

Our growing family

Our growing family

Yesterday was my very first run while 8 months pregnant! Over 31 weeks along. I cannot express how much joy that brings me. I set a goal for myself to run throughout this entire pregnancy, until this baby boy is delivered. I know that is a rather big goal, as you never know what can happen on this 40 week journey, but it is what I have wanted to do.

When I was told about a month ago that my pelvis is separated, I really thought my running days might be numbered. I didn’t really speak of it in those terms, but in the back of my mind I was slightly panicked. This wasn’t my plan! However, I have good days and I have bad days. I am seeing the Chiropractor two times a week and it has helped immensely. On bad days I behave myself and I skip running. I turn to Pilates and swimming instead. Sometimes, even long walks with my older sweetheart. Yesterday was a good day, so I hopped right on that treadmill of mine. I have had to give up outside running because of the hills. Hills really can flare up my pelvis, which continues to separate even after being readjusted. My OB said this was likely going to continue to happen until after I give birth. At which point, when the hormones have cleared my system, she thinks it will return to normal. Even walking up a hill too quickly can cause some pain. So I modify.

I feel thankful to be a Pilates instructor. It has helped me to adapt to my situation. I am comfortable with modifications and understanding how the human body, specifically mine right now, works. It really touches into all aspects of my life. I understand anatomy. I read voraciously about all aspects of what I am dealing with, about Pilates, running, prenatal fitness, really anything I can get my eyeballs on.

Yesterday while stretching after my run, I could see how my right leg was aligned differently than my left. It was crystal clear to my eye. Which helped me to remember to change my gait and positioning to try to help the situation. I am feeling good again this morning. Nothing flared up from my run and swim yesterday. It is a good day. I was going to get another run in until I discovered that for some reason we do not have any water pressure this morning. Not just low water pressure, but literally, none. Nothing comes out of an faucet. I am taking a rest day at this point. I am not sure when my actual last one was. If I can’t shower I don’t want to be run stinky, I would rather try to be less stinky all day! Ha! I am sure I will get into the pool at some point though.

I have wanted more control over this pregnancy. I was so unsure with my first. I had no idea what to expect or what I was getting myself into, good and bad! I felt a little blind and nervous. This time around I feel so confident. I feel like a seasoned veteran. Things have been entirely on my terms. Same with my labor and delivery plans. I want it to be on my terms as much as I can this time. I am not afraid. When I walk into that hospital I won’t be scared like I was with Jackson, thinking “I don’t think I can do this!” Nope. I know I can do this. I have done it before. It is no big deal. It was over before I knew it. I wish I had this mentality with my first, but you live and learn. In order to grow we must experience. With this baby I do what I want. Please add a sassy head shake to the end of that sentence.

 

I should start this off with the fact that Jackson has been daytime potty trained since early this year. We started potty training in January. He took to it very quickly. His accidents were minimal. There were better days than others, but overall it wasn’t too tough for us to master! I really can’t complain about our potty training experience. We didn’t follow any kind of “method” or ways to do it in 3 days. We simply waited until he was ready. We rewarded him with small toys for successful moments. We eventually weaned that out and over half a year later here we are.

Sleep time potty training is another adventure. We haven’t pushed it, just like we didn’t push the initial potty training. We communicate with him and we have asked him how he feels about trying at night. He tried a few times here and there, a few successful sleep sessions and other accident ones. Totally fine. I tend to pick my battles with him. Eliminating nighttime diapers is not one I feel needs to be overly dramatic at this point. So, I go with the flow and keep our conversation open.

The last several days my husband decided to bring up that conversation again. Jackson insisted on giving it a shot! We haven’t had a totally dry night since, but he is really trying. He has told us he has gone on the potty once each night but had an accident later on. I always reassure him he doesn’t have to stay in bed if he wet it, he can come get mommy and I will help him. I also have told him if he wants help going he can come get me and I will be happy to help.

Friday night/Saturday morning he finally took me up on my offer. After an accident he came to find me. Around 1am. I heard a little voice say “mommy. mommy” It took a few moments to register that I wasn’t dreaming. He was crying and upset so I ushered him upstairs to help fix everything. My husband hopped out of bed and followed. I changed Jackson while Jason worked on the bedding. After all was dry, in his little tired voice, he asked “Can we read a book mommy?” Of course! We cuddled on his rocking chair and I read a book at 1am.

Unless he is sick he doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night anymore. He never comes to our room and crawls into bed with us. He loves his room and his bed. Even after transitioning to his big boy bed and then moving homes a couple months later we only had maybe two nights of him wanting us. I can’t help but totally love the other night. Even though I was a bit tired Saturday morning, being 30 weeks pregnant to start with, I am usually always a little tired! I loved that he found me when he needed me. He knew where to look and decided to remember what I had told him about if he needs me, I am there for him, even if it is nighttime.

I love my sleep, don’t get me wrong. Ha! But there is something about your little one needing you at 1am, and you being the one to comfort them, that just feels so special. I feel that it makes motherhood and fatherhood that much more sacred. No one else in the world is the one they want at that moment. That goes for a 3 & 1/2 year old or even a tiny newborn. You are their person. You are their home. You are the comfort. You are their warmth.

I have to admit that I am a little nervous about recurring sleepless nights come October. Mostly because this time I won’t have the same luxury of napping all day when the baby sleeps. I have a preschooler to care for too. But that little taste of being needed in the wee hours of the night helped to settle my heart about that. See, this time I am wiser. I know it doesn’t last forever. It may seem like it is lasting far too long, in that season. But at some point they grow. They are 3 & 1/2 and only come and find you when it is sickness or a bed wetting incident. They learn to sleep all on their own, every single night. That phase of your parenting fades away slowly over each day, night, week, month, and eventually years. You only have that for a short time.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be a day where I am crying to my husband that I really just need a nap and could he please entertain our sweet boys for an hour! Ha! No, we all need some sleep at some point. But my wiser parenting brain will be in the background reminding me how quickly it all changes. Sleep shall return and then I will savor the nights when a little voice makes it way to my side of the bed and whispers “mommy mommy I need you”

 

30 Weeks pregnant. Both of my little sweethearts!

30 Weeks pregnant. Both of my little sweethearts!

This month has brought so much joy with it! Mother’s Day was wonderful. My husband really went out of his way to make sure I felt special and appreciated. I was showered with 3 bouquets of flowers! One from each of my boys. I got several wonderful gifts, including a book with 50 reasons why Jacky loves me! Jason asked him all the questions and then filled out his 3 year old answers. It was easily the most precious thing ever.

We had our anatomy ultra sound, which confirmed the DNA results, we are definitely having another boy! His gender image was as clear as Jackson’s. I saw the penis before she even pointed it out. Everything else went well with that check up. My mom came with us and was able to get a real time sneak peak at her youngest grandchild. The kicker? He was waving at us. His little tiny hand waving back and forth near his face at one point. It was so sweet.

On the same day I reached 20 weeks, half way through, my sister in law was induced! The following morning at 3:03, my sweet pea niece was born. Oh my goodness! I am so in love with her. It is ridiculous. I have my boys at home, but to have a sweet little girl I get to spoil and send back to my brother and sister in law, oh that is just wonderful. I am over the moon with her. It is too funny because cause was born at 6lbs 3oz, and my child has literally never been that small outside of my uterus! I couldn’t believe how much of a difference a pound and a half and one inch makes in a newborn. I remember how little Jack was, but I could immediately tell she was so much smaller than he was. Babies are so incredible.

Jacky was a little afraid of her at first. He has never seen a baby that little. He didn’t want to hold her, but he was ok with touching her arm and face if someone else was holding her. When we got home we were looking at photos and he said “I love her!” They are going to be best friends! Our family is going to have three little cutie pies running around causing mischief. I cannot wait.

As far as this pregnancy, it is still far different than my first. My cravings are all healthy. I love limes, lemons, fruit, rice, more fruit, leafy greens, all natural almond butter, and so much water! It has been nice to not be craving junk 24/7. I move a lot as well. Having a 3 year old will do that to you. Life is different with a second pregnancy, but not bad. Just more to do and take care of. Less time to sit around eating and not moving! Ha! I will take it! On that note, today is a rest day. Mostly because My body is so sore from my workouts the past two mornings. But I will clean my home and move around.

20 weeks

20 weeks

This was yesterday morning. The middle of 20 weeks actually, but still in that half way point week. In all seriousness, I believe that 21 weeks will be the halfway point. Jacky was almost a week late. I have no misconceptions this time about my baby arriving on his actual due date. Ah, you learn so much the second time around! Two days ago also brought one more surprise. For the first time, we were able to feel Alexander kick by touching my belly! Jason was able to feel it as well. I know for certain we didn’t feel Jacky this early on. I know I was feeling movements, but Jason couldn’t feel them yet. I was totally shocked by it. Definitely happy, because it was an unexpected surprise!

I hope everyone is also having an awesome May! Here’s to the rest of the month being so wonderful.

I have heard that each pregnancy is often very different and unique. I have to admit, I stubbornly thought that was ridiculous until I experienced it myself. Regardless of the fact that I am having another boy, this pregnancy has been a lot different. I won’t go into each detail though. I do want to focus on one super cool aspect.

I felt this baby, Alexander, move MUCH earlier than I ever felt Jacky move. I am 18 weeks pregnant and I have been feeling him wiggling around in there for weeks now. It started off very faint. To the point where I wasn’t even convinced that is what I was feeling. As the days passed I began to understand exactly what I was feeling again. Now I feel him move every day, multiple times a day!

One of the coolest things I can do is actually make him move with some Pilates. It all started with a prenatal mat series I did on my vacation.

It starts with a series of half roll downs with bent legs. Roll halfway down, then all the way back up. You continue to build on that. You move onto rolling halfway down, holding, then tiny pulses up. The next part of the series is rolling halfway down, holding, then twisting to the right (obliques!) for several counts. Coming through center, hold, twist left for several counts, come center, roll up. Repeat.

Immediately after that you lie down for bridging. Once I articulate up into a bridge the little man moves to the very front of my lower abdomen. I can actually feel a little ball of a baby. I can feel him shifting around as an entire unit in there! It becomes so pronounced that my husband was able to feel the little baby ball (as I call it) as well! It never fails. I have done this series multiple times now and I can always count on him to wiggle his way to the front of my body and say hello to me!

It is no secret that I love fitness (um my blog name!) So when I find something even extra cool about it, I am overjoyed. I would do that series regardless of finding baby Alex in there, but the added bonus is a few moments of utter connection with my sweet unborn son. I love having this body awareness that Pilates (and proper fitness) provides you. Sometimes it feels like I am walking through this world with an extra sense. Or a more intense sense of feeling. Not emotional feelings, but a the actual physical sense of feeling within my own body and person.

Prenatal fitness is so important to me. Not just for myself. I advocate it to all women I know. I am probably annoying to those who don’t enjoy working out (which that concept is beyond my ability to comprehend, haha!) I truly feeling that staying active is vital to a long and healthy life. It gave me a nice healthy pregnancy the first time around. I didn’t know what I was doing then as well as I do now, with my added education in this field, but I found classes and videos. I searched for the answers then. The day I went into labor (past my due date!) I attended my prenatal swim class. I know every body is different and some women are severely restricted while pregnant, but if you are not, get up and move. Groove, dance, run, walk, find a class, do some planks, swim, just move. It is good for you. It is good for baby. And maybe, just maybe, your little one will poke to the front of your belly and say “hey momma! Thanks for moving and grooving this morning!”

On that note I will go up to my Pilates room and move myself. Tonight, we have plans for a swim in our pool. On top of chasing around a 3 year old boy! Moving is all I do. Ha!

It’s a few days into April here in the Chicagoland area. You wouldn’t think it though. It is still very cold and windy on a regular basis. I am not entirely sure summer will ever arrive for us. I am starting to accept that. (Ok, maybe not. I still long for warm sun and playing outside without shivering)

I am into my 2nd trimester. I have a 3 year old that is as active and hilarious as always. I also know what this second baby is as far as gender! We got our Panorama test results back earlier this week. My family is coming by on Sunday for us to tell them. I didn’t do anything cutesy with Jack and I decided I wanted to do something cutesy this time around. I am over the moon about what we are having!

My energy levels have been way up. As a matter of fact, today is my first “rest day” in over  a week! I have been running and doing Pilates. It feels great to not feel like total death on a regular basis. I feel slightly like my normal not pregnant self. Jack hasn’t asked me to “not be cranky anymore” in a while. So, he too has seen the improvement. I felt bad every time he said that to me, but hormones man, hormones. I always apologized to him and explained sometimes having a baby in my belly makes me cranky and it will get better.

The checkout girl at Whole Foods yesterday asked me if Jack was a “helper or a hinderance” as far as grocery shopping. He is a chatty kid and I always speak to him like he is an adult, so I answer his questions and have conversations with him. He was being his chatty self in line. Helping me put all the food on the belt. Talking about each item and asking me questions. I was answering them. Telling him no to more candy and reusable bags (the kid has probably 50.) The comment took me aback. Obviously he is my little helper. Even on days where I wish I could just do it all myself, I always think “one day I will want him to help and if I always deter him now, he may not be interested in helping at all” I wanted to tell her that. To give her my insights on how to parent, but I just smiled and said “he is my little helper!” I really try to avoid making him feel like he is in the way. I would certainly never tell a stranger, right in front of him, “oh, he hinders all of my errands. We never get anything done!” I am convinced that often, people do not think before they speak. I don’t think I would ever ask that of someone. And as a matter of fact on every other errand we have ever been on and someone sees his utter exuberance for life, they always say “You have a little helper on your hands!” They smile and usually tell me how cute he is.

My kid isn’t a hinderance. This second one won’t be either. Sure, sometimes it takes longer to get out the door than I would like. Sure, sometimes we have to stop in a public bathroom, which I hate because they are gross. Sure, sometimes he wants to put the jam on his toast and I am thinking we have to eat now so we can get out the door for school by 8:30. Sure, sometimes he spills food or drinks during dinner. But that is part of it all. That is part of childhood. That is part of parenting. That is part of this whole adventure together. It is my job to build him up, not tear him down. It is my job to teach him how to put the jam on his toast and to cheer him on as he does so. If he thinks I will scold him for those small unimportant mistakes, then what will he think when he makes a big one? I don’t want him to keep big things from me. I want him to know that he can come to me and sure, I may be upset, but I won’t hate him. I will help him. I will love him.

Don’t tell you kids they are a hinderance. Just don’t And certainly don’t ask someone that in front of their child.

I am sitting here on my couch, sipping my coffee, listening to Christmas tunes, and reflecting on the past year. Mostly thinking about the difference between last Christmas and this current one. They have both been very happy and wonderful. I thought last year was the biggest Christmas of my life, Jack’s 1st Christmas! But I have to confess that this year has blown last year out of the water. I know there is a lot of focus and importance placed on that 1st Christmas, but I think this year is even better.

Jack won’t remember a thing from last year. Not one second. He couldn’t open gifts. He couldn’t enjoy much Christmas food. I was still nursing. He has just sort of started sleeping through the night, but it wasn’t like it is now. He was not walking or talking very much. A couple times he got frustrated with the whole gift opening process. I was hosting both days. I was exhausted, swamped, and Jack really did not know what was going on. We had a wonderful time. I was excited for Christmas morning. I took videos and photos galore. I threw all of my energies into it, like I did this year. BUT this year there is a twinkle in his eye. He talks about Santa. He can actually open all of his gifts. He knows what a gift is! He knows what snowmen, elves, snowflakes, trees, lights, and candy canes are. He begged us to go play in the snow the other day.

He insists that Santa, Ho Ho, will knocky on the door, when brings Jack’s toys. Yes he says, door, knocky, Ho-ho! It makes me laugh. I have been telling him that I think Santa will be sneakier than that.

I am so excited for Christmas morning that this past week has been dragging. I am done wrapping every single gift. I really have nothing left to do for Christmas. I have to go get some food this morning, but that is it! I cannot wait for tomorrow morning. As a matter of fact I gave him one of his gifts last night. I really wanted to open it and play with it.

It is so different than last year. I see this joy in his face when he talks about all of the Christmas things. He gets excited. He wants to play with all of the ornaments on the Christmas tree. You know what, I let him. We have had a couple casualties, but mostly he only gets the shatter proof ones. I know that I am probably awful for thinking his 2nd Christmas is way cooler than his 1st, but hands down, it is. Seeing the Christmas joy in your child’s face and eyes makes such a huge difference. I imagine Christmas from here on out will be similar to this. Maybe each year topping the last. As he comprehends the world more and more.

Christmas in my house was always magical. Always. My mom went out of her way to decorate our home and our tree. I remember coming down in the morning to huge piles of gifts. Were they always super huge? Probably not, but to a child, any pile looks big. My mom always did the best with what we had for Christmas. I do not remember a non magical Christmas. Filled with lights, a tree, Christmas cheer, family parties, Christmas songs, and warm love. I have distinct memories of just the Christmas lights on in the evening as we all hung out, watching Tv or whatever. To this day I still love having only the glow of Christmas lights filling a room. I told my mom this year my passion for making Christmas so magical for Jack comes from what she always did for us. She told me it made her cry happy tears. I know now why she did it all. I thought I knew last year, but I didn’t truly understand until I saw his little face light up when I told him noises from the chimney/fireplace were Santa doing a practice run. He said HO HO! And the next time it made noise, he shouted HO HO again, all on his own. If you ask him who is coming in a couple days, well one day now, he will say “Ho Ho!” Can I stress enough how much he is into Santa? I know i keep mentioning it, but it is so cute I can’t even handle it.

Here is a look at last year and this year. Well, this year not exactly, since I cannot post Christmas photos I have not taken, but it is close enough, since Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving in this house. This year it started the day before because we were going out of town.

Last year Christmas Eve

Last year Christmas Eve

My love and me on Christmas Eve last year

My love and me on Christmas Eve last year

I took this the other day. This is one of his wonderment faces!

I took this the other day. This is one of his wonderment faces!

Loves the tree, lights, and ornaments

Loves the tree, lights, and ornaments

This was from celebrating Christmas with my inlaws last weekend. They went to SC this year to visit my sister inlaw. So we celebrated early

This was from celebrating Christmas with my inlaws last weekend. They went to SC this year to visit my sister inlaw. So we celebrated early

Merry Bearsmas. This was also our Christmas card photo!

Merry Bearsmas. This was also our Christmas card photo!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve and Day! I hope both days are filled with love, family, joy, happiness, excitement, magic, and just peace. I hope you get an opportunity to see the wonderment in a child’s face that I know I will be completely absorbed in over these next two days. Merry Christmas!!!! Also, feel free to share your thoughts on Christmas getting more awesome as your child grows. I hope I am not the only mom who thinks the 2nd is way cooler than the 1st! 😉

Pretty the Elf has been very busy since I last wrote about him. I have been having a blast with Elf on the Shelf. Jack is into it as well. He says ELLL for elf and always find him. If my scene falls down, he tells me immediately, so I can assist Elf back to his spot. Here is an update on Pretty’s or ELLL’s activities since I last posted about him. In all honesty, I came up with all of these ideas on my own. Somehow I pulled them out of my brain. I am still not sure what adventure he will have this morning. I felt that away a lot each morning. Then, I would be walking through the house and something would catch my eye, an idea would form. I am hoping that today the same thing happens. We only have a handful of days left. I would like to form all of my own ideas this year! No research necessary.

Peekaboo! I see you! Pretty/ELLL was playing hide and go seek

Peekaboo! I see you! Pretty/ELLL was playing hide and go seek

Rock climbing. This was a favorite of Jack's. At one point the tape gave away and he fell. Suddenly Jack shouted "Mom help!!!" I came over.He followed up with "Elll fall down!" Then as I placed him back up there, Jack insisted I add more tape.

Rock climbing. This was a favorite of Jack’s. At one point the tape gave away and he fell. Suddenly Jack shouted “Mom help!!!” I came over.He followed up with “Elll fall down!” Then as I placed him back up there, Jack insisted I add more tape.

Jack had a cold, and pretty caught it. Poor elf.

Jack had a cold, and pretty caught it. Poor elf.

He was having a healthy Sunday breakfast. No syrup and candy like Buddy the Elf

He was having a healthy Sunday breakfast. No syrup and candy like Buddy the Elf

A little gardening

A little gardening

Candy Cane zip line adventures. Another favorite of Jack's

Candy Cane zip line adventures. Another favorite of Jack’s

Snowball fight!!!!!!

Snowball fight!!!!!!

Ball pit. Jack's loves ball pits. This was another favorite spot. He talked about this all day. At one point he stole some of the ornaments but left Pretty alone!

Ball pit. Jack’s loves ball pits. This was another favorite spot. He talked about this all day. At one point he stole some of the ornaments but left Pretty alone!

Reading Christmas cheer

Reading Christmas cheer

So that is where I am as of yesterday morning. I have to come up with something fun for today. I have been glancing around my living room and Jack’s playroom as I sit here. No epiphany just yet. It will come at some point though. My favorite thing is when I ask him where the Elf is, he goes back to the exact previous spot from the day before. I love his memory!

 

Have you been doing Elf on the Shelf? What is your Elf’s name? Where do you get your ideas? Do your children enjoy it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.