Another Hard Toddler Lesson Learned

This past week was our counties big fair. We live in a pretty small town [to my standards] so when events like the fair happen pretty much everyone goes. It’s just how it is. I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but last year was my first year going and my camera was stolen from my stroller. So this year I was extra cautious to make sure nothing got stolen but go figure we still ran into some bad luck.

My son is obsessed with Pokemon. He wakes up talking about them and goes to sleep with them. It’s all I hear about all day long. So after using up all of our ride tickets we decided to let him play some games and try to win a prize. Of course he needed to win a pokemon plush.

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$15 dollars later and who knows how many darts the toy was his. I swear I’ve never seen this kid happier than when Piplup was handed to him.

Fast forward about 20 minutes and we were walking to the car. Everett was slow poking next to me. We had about a 1/2 mile walk and when we were almost to the car he shouts “HEY! Where’s Piplup?”

He managed to drop the toy and not notice on our walk back to the car. I went back looking for it with no luck. I’m sure someone either picked it up or it was kicked under a car.

We used the opportunity to teach him about responsibility and taking care of his things. I know he’s only 4 and the lesson is a hard one to learn. I can’t explain how happy he was when he won that toy only to lose it not even an hour later. I think of the situation like me getting a brand new pair of Tieks and then scuffing and ruining them the first time I wear them. It’s a total bummer but it teaches you to be more careful with your things.

fair1Regardless, the kids still had an amazing time.

… & I’m over here like at least this year we only lost a $15 item instead of my camera.

Happy 4th Birthday Everett Joel

I don’t know how it happened but this little dude turns 4 today! 4 years ago I was made a mother and my life has been flipped upside down but in the best way possible. This little man is so full of energy and has be constantly laughing until tears roll down my face. He’s incredibly smart, almost too smart for his own good. He uses words like “atrocious” and “putrid”.  I have no idea how he has time to learn so much because he’s always on the go and such a busy body. I love this little man more than words can describe.

Happy Birthday Everett.

We’re traveling today to Michigan to have a little celebration with both sets of his grandparents, go to my cousins wedding, and enjoy some fall in the midwest!

My Son Plays With “Girl” Toys

My 2 year old daughter is getting to the age where she’s starting to take a liking to particular types of toys. Completely uninfluenced by me, she’s gravitates towards cute stuffed animals and baby dolls. She loves her a good superhero but she’s way more into what you may call the “girly” types of toys. The older she gets, the more toys that she prefers accumulate in the playroom.

This in turn has led my 3.5 year old son to gain an interest in these particular type of toys. My son plays with “girl” toys.

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I’m almost 99% sure his fondness of these toys is because he knows that they’re his sisters and he can’t handle sharing. He’s awful at sharing anything with her. When I tell him he can’t take something away from her, that’s the first thing that he wants to do. He’s a typical defiant toddler like that.

Sometimes, he’ll pick up a doll and be playing “house” with it when Aria is sleeping. It’s actually adorable the way he just mimics what he sees going on in his world around him. He will put the baby to bed, pretend to feed her, and change her diaper. These are all things he sees me doing with his sister. Imitation is the highest form of flattery and if this type of roll play is teaching him about the importance of parents and family life … then who am I to stop it?

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I just don’t understand what a parent would do that is against their sons playing with “girl” toys or their daughters playing with “boy” toys. Would those parents take away the toy and explain to their child that they are playing with a toy that is not for them because of their gender? That is, bottom line, not what I want to teach my kids. It’s practically impossible for me to separate the toys and stop my kids from playing with whatever is in the playroom. I’m not about to battle all day long over something that isn’t important to our family.

So, I let my son play with “girl” toys. I let my kids walk around the house with babies in strollers and pretend to be parents to those dolls. As long as they’re playing nice, there is no foul play in my mind. He’s usually pretending the stroller is a race car and trying to fill it with gas before he zooms off and tells the baby to “hold on tight because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

The Toddler Snacking Epidemic Must End

I write this post with so much sarcasm I can almost feeling it coming out of my ears. Yet, there is also so much truth behind it. I’m well aware that children need to eat. It would just be nice if mine would eat something that is even halfway decent for them or eat a full meal so they weren’t begging for a snack 10 minutes later. Seriously, the toddler snacking epidemic has to end. It’s an epidemic that is quickly killing off what is left to my parenting sanity.

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A few days ago I decided to keep a log of every time Everett (my 3.5 year old) ate / asked for a snack. I wrote down all his ridiculous excuses for not wanting what I gave him and so on.

These were my results:

8:50 AM: (shortly after waking up) I offer him a waffle. He doesn’t want to eat that waffle because his teeth hurt. I assure you his teeth are fine.

9:07 AM: Asks for a pancake instead. I give him the damn pancake.

9:17 AM: Asks for a sucker.

9:32 AM: Asks for watermelon flavored candy. I don’t think he’s ever even had watermelon flavored candy.

9:58 AM: Asks for a snack. I tell him he must eat the pancake. He refuses. I decide to make them some scrambled eggs in hopes of getting them to get some protein.

10:03 AM: Hand him scrambled eggs with a green fork. He asks for the blue fork.

10:05 AM: “Don’t forget I need some milk with my eggs!”

10:25 AM: He’s still at the table slowly eating the eggs.

10:40 AM: He’s finally finished the eggs with his blue fork.

11:05 AM: Asks for another snack.

11:10 AM: Asks again in a very nice tone so I gave him a Nutragrain Bar.

11:30 AM: Comes walking into the room with the pancake I gave him 2.5 hours ago. He’s eating it.

11:50 AM: False Alarm. I find the pancake crumbled into a million pieces on the carpet.

12:25 PM: Asks 4 times for cookies while I’m making lunch.

12:40 PM: Gave them lunch minus the cookies that I was so annoyed with hearing about.

I swear I'm not starving my children.

I swear I’m not starving my children.

12:50 PM: Doesn’t want to eat his lunch because he “doesn’t like the way the sandwich is cut”

1:30 PM: Finally finishes the entire lunch.

1:30 PM: Asks for another snack.

1:40 PM: “I need a snack because I’m cold.”

2:00 PM: He asked about 6 more times and because I couldn’t handle it anymore, he got an after lunch desert of one cookie.

2:07 PM: “I’m a little hungry.”

2:55 PM: He somehow found another pancake from this morning and was trying to eat it. I took it away since it was as hard as a rock and gave him some applesauce.

3:15 PM: Asks for a snack.

3:23 PM: Asks for a snack.

4:03 PM: He was running around chanting “I need a snack, I need a snack.” I gave him an apple.

6:00 PM: I left for two hours to go grocery shopping. As soon as I returned the hounding of “what food is in the bags?” commences. I put away everything and made dinner.

6:20 PM – 7:00 PM: He’s eating dinner. Complaining he doesn’t like it but eats most of it anyways.

7:20 PM: At this point I just started keeping a tally. From this time till his 8 PM bedtime he asked 12 times.

I swear I’m not starving him. He gets milk through out the entire day and has a cup of water at all times. He’s just constantly wanting a snack regardless of the amount he just ate. I know he’s not hungry because over half the time he won’t even eat snacks if I give them to him. I’m sure I missed somethings during the day but you get the general idea. He just likes to annoy me with constantly asking, or so I’d like to think.

I’m trying for more of a schedule to see if it helps at all. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. We’ll see if it helps to establish more of a “I know it’s time to eat,” type thing. I’m doubtful and feel like we’re too far down the rabbit hole of the toddler snacking epidemic.

We Have a Pee Pee Problem

My son, who turned 3 in October, was 100% potty trained before his birthday. Well, except for at nighttime but that’s a completely different battle that I’m not even about to start fighting. He basically potty trained himself and everything was really smooth. That was until recently when he decided that if he was outside, he can pee anywhere he pleases.

everettpeepee

Little boys are hilarious yet extremely unpredictable. I seriously never know what this kid is going to do next but I wasn’t really expecting this problem.

It all started a few months back when my parents were visiting. My father is notorious for just going wherever outside as long as no one can see. I’m 99% he showed Everett this little technique and it hasn’t left him.

I had two incidences that happened last week (in the same day) that inspired this post.

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The first is the picture above. We were getting in the car pretty early in the morning and he said that he had to go pee. Of course, they always have to go as soon as you get them dressed and start buckling them in the car even though I asked 5 times before we left if he had to go. I told him to go inside while I buckled his sister in and go. I see him walk to the bush and just go.

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Second incident, he literally peed off the top of his play structure. I was watching him through the window and I see him pull down his pants and just start going. I was laughing too hard to run out there and stop him right away and of course I had to snap this picture. I went outside and was like “EVERETT! Did you just pee off the playhouse?!” His response, “Yup, and it was a lot of pee.”

The bottom line is I’m probably encouraging him with how hard I laugh when he does this but I’ve somehow gotta keep it together so he doesn’t start trying to do this in public places. That would just be my luck.

Everett’s Third Birthday

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It feels like just yesterday I found out my husband and I were expecting a baby, and here we are, three years old. Everyone told me how fast the time would go by and they were 100% right. I blinked and was throwing today’s birthday bash.

The month of October is completely hectic and insane for our family this year. I’m traveling a lot for weddings but we had to do something special for our birthday baby. So, on his actual birthday, October 6th, we made it happen.

I woke him up with a birthday message from his absolute favorite characters, Paw Patrol. If you haven’t signed up for this service, it’s a completely free, customized birthday call from a Nick Jr. character of your choice. He was so excited that “Marshall” said his name and the day was off to a great start.

We woke up his sister, had breakfast, got dressed and were off to the toy store. I know all kids are absolutely obsessed with the idea of going to the toy store but this kid asks about it on a weekly basis. I decided it would be a fun tradition instead of surprising him with a gift to take him and let him pick out his own toys. He was cracking everyone up in the store yelling “OH MY GOSH, LOOK AT ALL THE TOYS!” He settled on a Paw Patrol toy (of course) and a 300 piece set of building blocks. Seriously, kill me now.

During the evening we had a small birthday party with just a few friends planned for him at Chuck-e-Cheese. It’s not my favorite place in the world but on a weeknight it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was anticipating. The most important thing is that he had the best time. He was all smiles the entire time. It’s worth two hours of screaming kids to see your own that happy.

Now it’s time to overload you with pictures, duh.

He wasn't too sure about the place when he first got there. A little overwhelmed I'm assuming but that lasted all of 30 seconds.

He wasn’t too sure about the place when he first got there. A little overwhelmed I’m assuming but that lasted all of 30 seconds.

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He couldn’t get enough of this game. It’s basically just whacking things on a screen with a hammer. Whatever floats your boat kid.

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This is my favorite picture of the night. Can you get anymore excited than that? We went into the “ticket blaster” together where you just go and collect tickets that are flying around you. His grand total was 0.

Messy Cake Face.

Messy Cake Face.

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He didn’t want to end his night but finally I got him to settle down. He’s sporting some brand new PJ’s and playing with his entire Paw Patrol crew.

We had an absolutely fantastic day and most importantly he felt special, excited, and loved.

Potty Training: What Worked For US

It’s quite difficult to tell when your child is truly ready to be potty trained. Everyone on the internet and almost everyone that you meet is going to have an opinion on how to do it. You’ll hear stories on children being potty trained at a very “early” age and you’ll hear equal amounts of the counterpart of parents struggling after the kids are well passed their third birthday. In my opinion, both are completely acceptable. Every kid is different which means each of their potty adventures will be different. This is our story on what worked or has been working for us.

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Before I begin, the number one thing that I truly believe is to wait until your child is showing signs that they are ready. I don’t think it’s possible to force them into using the potty. I think that trying to start when they’re not ready will end up just delaying the entire process for you and them. So, some of the signs that my son displayed that he was ready to start this process were…

  • Showing obvious signs of discomfort in a dirty diaper.
  • Waking up at nap times dry.
  • Playing and showing interest in his potty chair.
  • Fighting diaper changes and refusing to put a new one on.

So on Sunday August 30th, he woke up and I began the usual routine of changing his diaper. He was very persistent that he didn’t want to put it on. In all honesty, I was lazy that morning and didn’t feel like fighting with him so I just didn’t. I decided to show him where his potty was and tell him that’s now where he goes poo-poo and pee-pee. Not even an hour later he ran up to me, more excited than I have ever seen him, and says, “MAMA, I poo-poo’d.” Sure enough, there was poop in his potty. We haven’t looked back since that morning.

To help him along in the process, I wanted to do some type of rewards system. He is a very food motivated child but I really didn’t want to offer candy or anything like that. So I decided to make him his very own sticker book. I had a few sheets of stickers from the dollar store and an old notebook. BAM!

PottyBook

You can tell that my “Type A” organizational side came out. I tracked when he was doing what just so I could understand any type of routine that he may have.

So, what worked for us:

  • Starting when he was more than ready. He is almost three which is just how it worked out.
  • We started him out naked. I didn’t want to fuss with underwear in the beginning and wanted him to easily make it to the potty. Three weeks later, we’re still struggling a bit with undies. He is more likely to have an accident or needs to be reminded when he has them on. It’s a work in progress.
  • We kept trips out and about short at the beginning but didn’t use pull ups. When we would go to a friends house we’re bringing his potty to keep up with familiarity.
  • Nighttime is going to a be a long work in progress. I’m not ready for interrupted sleep or a nighttime hallway roamer.
  • I think the biggest thing is not turning back. Once you and your child have  decided to potty train, just do it.

Everybody Has a Butt Crack

I obviously can’t go back and remember the first time that I learned all the little things that I know. I forget that my children are just children sometimes and are discovering this huge world little by little and minute by minute. That means that they’re also discovering their bodies. This past week my two-and-a-half year old son learned about “butt cracks.”

buttcrackIt’s not uncommon for my son to wake up a while before my daughter does. In attempt to keep him quiet and let her sleep a little longer, I often go into his bedroom and talk about the day or read him a few stories. This particular morning was nothing out of the ordinary of that routine. We’re slowly working on potty training so he asked me to take off his diaper that he wore overnight. Sure, no problem kid. I usually talk to my kids through diaper changes to keep their attention and try to prevent them from flopping around like a fish out of water. So I said to him, “wow, your butt crack looks a little red, does it hurt?” That’s when all hell broke loose. 

Apparently the only two words he heard from that sentence were “butt” and “crack” because he immediately started asking why his butt was cracked and why he was broken. This is a little glimpse into what the conversation went like:

Everett: Why is my butt cracked? What’s wrong?
Me: Nothing’s wrong! It’s normal. Everyone has a butt crack!
Everett: Oh, so you have one?
Me: Yup.
Everett: Daddy has one?
Me: Yup.
Everett: Aria has a little crack?
Me: *giggle* Yup, she has a baby crack.
Everett: OH NO, Don’t worry Momma, I’ll fix ’em all up!
Me: You don’t need to fix anything! That’s how our butt’s are supposed to be.
Everett: NO MAMA, *tears of defeat* WE’RE BROKEN.

He then got quite antsy until I took him downstairs and let him get his tools. I’m not kidding the kid ran down the stairs as fast as he could and went straight to his tool bench. He got out his hammer and made me turn around so he could fix me. He handed me the hammer and told me to fix him. This process repeated itself practically all morning until he decided that he was over it.

I guess in my day to day speech to my toddler, I need to keep in mind that words are taken extremely literally. I’d probably be terrified if someone told me that I was cracked too. I get it, kid, I get it.

 

The Real Life Struggles of Having a “BIG” Toddler

big toddler

Both of my kids are on the tall side for their age group. My husband and myself are generally pretty tall people and I have a brother who is about 6 foot 4. Tall runs in the family so I wasn’t surprised when I had lengthy kids. Everett, my 2 1/2 year old, is also pretty “muscular” for his age. He is just bigger than most of the kids his age which is why he often gets mistaken for a child much older. We’ve run into a few struggles regarding this in the recent months which is what inspired this post.

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  1. Diapers. Just because my kid LOOKS like he should be out of diapers doesn’t mean that he’s ready to be potty trained. On the outside he may look like a 4-5 year old to you but that doesn’t mean he is. The looks that I get when people think he’s much older and still in diapers is astonishing.
  2. Attitude. They call it the “terrible twos” and “threenager” for a reason. My toddler behaves like a toddler, a wild one at that. He really isn’t old enough to know better. He’s acting like most of his peers his age and not like the kids he may look like.
  3. Socialization. When we go places with other children he usually gets lumped in with the older kids and then they’re curious to why he can’t talk like them. I’ve seen other parents get nervous because of his size that he was going to “hurt” their kids. That fear is could be legit though, not because of his size, but just because the boy likes to rough-house. Ask his little sister.
  4. Clothing. It’s hard to find things that are long enough but don’t fall down. Seriously, the struggle is real.
  5. Shoes. My son has the widest shoes on the face of the planet. I’m all about dressing my kids as cute as I possibly can but with him and shoes it’s not possible. The Stride-Rite brand in EXTRA wide still are snug on him. I get to choose from about 4 shoes, all which aren’t very attractive.
  6. He doesn’t know his own strength. I think this goes for a lot of toddlers but he is STRONG. This can be useful but also horrible when he decides he wants to pour his own cup of milk from a full gallon.
  7. Manners. We’re working on them. He knows to say thank you, you’re welcome, and things along those lines but he’s still a toddler. He’s not going to use proper manners even half of the time.
  8. Kid Prices. Getting the “under two” rate for him was really difficult. I’m not about to carry his birth certificate around with me but it was coming to that point. The person at admissions wherever we would go would look at me like I was the biggest liar on the face of the earth when I asked for the “under two” price.

Overall, he’s really not that big and if you take 5 seconds to interact with him you can totally tell he’s two and a half. Just second guess yourself before you start judging other parents for things like behavior, diapers, and manners. The child might really just be acting their age.