Mindsets…Yours and Your Childs

As I continue to expand my blog and community Facebook page, I devote a certain amount of time per day perusing through Flipboard and a few of my favorite pages to find things to blog about and share.   One of the articles I came across today was about mindsets and how you speak to your children can encourage them to be successful.  Normally, I would have shared this article on my Facebook page and moved on, allowing for the discussions to begin, but since I’m now focusing harder on getting Henry up to speed, I find myself needing to blog about this article, which I will include at the end of this post.

As many of you know, my children are with me daily, even though they are both in school.  I had the opportunity to put them both on the same days of the week, thereby allowing me some alone time, a chance to recharge, and even accomplish a few things I’ve put on the back burner since becoming a mom (MY BOOK that I’ve desperately attempted to edit over the past 4 years).  My husband and I discussed this option and we decided it best to separate the boys and allow for me to have individual one on one time with them.   So, as I’ve stated before, Henry is a T/Th student, while Davey is a MWF student.

When Davey was 4 months old, I quit my job and decided to be a stay at home mom.  I immediately jumped into my role, taking him to the library for story time, reading to him profusely, quizzing him on animals and their sounds, and even stepping out of my comfort zone to join a playgroup with other moms and their children.   I perused through the internet and pinned like crazy on Pinterest all sorts of ideas to get my child ahead of the game.  I’m not one for wasting time.  I have to be productive in everything I do, even if that productivity is only perceived through my eyes.

By the time, Davey was almost 2, he was enrolled in a Mother’s Morning Out program.  I was in the final trimester of my 2nd pregnancy and eager for a little breathing room and to get Davey into a routine that was all for HIM before Henry came along.  He was well ahead of the game when he started.   He was speaking at a 3 year old level, enunciating words, and learning how to grammatically speak correctly.   He knew his letters in order and randomly as well as numbers, shapes, and colors.   I was proud of him and my ability to get him there.

When Henry arrived, for obvious reasons, I was unable to devote all of my time to just one child.   I still worked with Davey, especially during the first couple of months of Henry’s life when he was nothing more than an eating, sleeping, drooling, and pooping mess.   I continued to build upon my foundation I had started with Davey and by the time he started actual preschool, he was ahead of the game, and still is.   As for Henry, I’ve struggled.

It’s hard to teach Henry the same things that I thought Davey, because Davey is always there and he wants to answer the questions.   He wants to please me and he wants to show me that he knows his stuff, displaying his fixed mindset, which discourages Henry from answering my questions.    When I ask Henry what color this is, I get, “I don’t know,” but he really does know.   How do I know this?   Because when I’m NOT trying to sit down and teach him, he’ll pull out a yellow crayon, for example, and say, “mom, I color this sun yellow.”   He knows his stuff.   I just haven’t figured out how to get him to sit with me and let me teach him or to show me that he is just as smart as I know he is and can be.

Henry has been in school for 4 days total so far, meaning that I’ve had 5 days (not counting Labor Day) with which he and I could work on the basic concepts every preschooler should know.   I had started the approach of the fixed mindset when teaching him, since that’s what worked best with Davey, and as a side note, Davey displays characteristics of both mindsets dependent upon what he is doing or working on.  Unfortunately, it appears that the fixed mindset doesn’t work with Henry and he needs to be challenged instead of taught in a basic setting.

He told me this week, while shoving flashcards of letters and numbers across the table, “I not want to do this.”   We’ve bought him a LeapFrog, but he doesn’t use it.   Davey loves ABC Mouse, and so I set Henry up with his own Avatar for it as well.   Nope, he’s not a fan, so I’m finding that I have to step outside of the box and find ways to be interactive and that includes walks in the park where I may take leaves and make a letter “L” out of those leaves.   He then will find rocks and make letters out of those, so you see he knows his stuff.

So, the article that inspired this blog is here:

If You Want Your Kids To Be Successful In The Future, Talk To Them In This Way

It doesn’t go in depth nor is it judgmental, it just helps with finding other ways to encourage your children to be successful.

Of course, dealing with Henry, has given me a new level of respect for teachers as I never really looked at the fact that each child is different (it’s obvious, I know, but I haven’t really considered it) and what these teachers must do and go through to reach each child, to help them to be successful and to learn.

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Kitchen Talk

In my short amount of years as a mom, I’ve learned a few things.   First, you don’t ever offer a toddler options…he’ll always choose poorly.   Second, snacks after 4 in the afternoon spell imminent doom for those of us hoping to enjoy a peaceful family dinner, and third…you learn a lot about your child when cooking together in the kitchen.

Allowing his little brother to help melt the marshmallows.
Allowing his little brother to help melt the marshmallows.

From the moment Davey was old enough to help in the kitchen, I had him with me.   I was a new and inexperienced cook at that point, eager to start a new adventure with my child.   I voraciously poured through websites, Pinterest, and our cookbooks looking for easy, yet fun and healthy things I could cook with my little one.   I wanted to create memories, to be the fun mom, to have something to do as a stay at home mom.   I wanted to document our cooking fiascos with my new camera and my insatiable desire to write.   The kitchen was my stage, my prop, the backdrop to my coolness as a stay at home mom.   What I didn’t know was how much I would learn from cooking with my son.

Adding in more marshmallows.
Adding in more marshmallows.

Before he could even speak, he was lining muffin pans, tossing cut up apples into batter, dipping his finger into icing and licking the spoon and bowl.  When I would suggest we make something, he would jump, grab his monster apron, a stool, and an eagerness greater than anything I’d ever seen.   One would think when starting in the kitchen with your littles, you would pick something easy, a Betty Crocker brownie, Pillsbury premade, precut cookies, or a Duncan Hines cupcake mix.   Me?  Well, I don’t like to start small, my goals are high and lofty, so we started with a made from scratch apple muffin recipe.   It took us nearly two hours, but we made some of the best apple muffins I’ve ever tasted and Davey was hooked.

A continual process of mixing and stirring.
A continual process of mixing and stirring.

Back then, he didn’t talk much.  These days; however, are much more different   These days, my son loves to talk about what he’s measuring, how he’s going to bake it, cook it, or grill it, how to decorate it, and who gets what.  This past week, I learned a lot more than I bargained for, especially about Davey’s fellow classmates and his teachers.

All ready to be cut out.
All ready to be cut out.

In celebration of Halloween, I decided we would make Rice Krispie treats for his class.  I decided to make them in the shapes of pumpkins and bats and decorate them with chocolate and candy eyes.   I even bought cake decorating pens to help with the faces.   As usual, Davey jumped right in, his brother even helping out, but the true fun for me didn’t really start until Henry was napping and Davey and I were left alone to decorate the treats.

The cut product.
The cut product.

For the better part of an hour, I spent the afternoon with my oldest son listening to him as he decorated the Rice Krispie treats.   He told me about the two Annas in his class, one of whom I knew from last year.   He picked out the pumpkin each one could have and told me the reasons behind giving them their pumpkins.  He told me stories of the boys in his class, how one always makes him laugh, how another one is really quiet.   He picked out bats for his two teachers and told little anecdotes about the things that he likes best about them.   I learned who he likes to sit alongside, who he plays with the most, who makes him sad and why, and what his favorite part about each person is in his class.  This was truly the first time when I wanted to put down the camera, the laptop and phone.   This was the first time in our cooking when I just wanted to totally immerse myself in the moment, the being, with my son, and savor every little morsel he wanted to share with me.

The bats.
The bats.

This was more than just a memory to be created.   This was more than just an adventure, or an excuse to write.   This was my opportunity to really get to know my son.  This was an opportunity I hope to recreate again for years to come as his love for the kitchen grows, but it was also an opportunity for a mother and son bonding experience that may one day go away as he gets older.   Needless to say, if you’ve had some sort of influence in Davey’s life, be it good or bad, then I’m likely to hear about it in the kitchen, while we cook, and dissect the events of the days.

The pumpkins that look like monsters.
The pumpkins that look like monsters.

Kitchen talk…it truly is a magical time.

***as you can see, there are no pictures from the actual cutting or decorating.   I was too wrapped up in the stories I was being told.***

Peaceful, Easy Feeling

I’m not getting that vibe right now.  Nope.  Not as I sit here and complete paperwork for my youngest to participate in a Mother’s Morning Out program.

Davey started at First Presbyterian Academy’s MMO program two years ago.  I was nearly 6 months pregnant with Henry and truthfully I enrolled Davey just so I could have a little bit of peace, even if only one day a week.   I wanted him to get set into that routine before Henry arrived, so that he would have at least ONE thing that wasn’t disrupted by the arrival of a new baby.

Being pregnant, I wasn’t able to participate as much in any sort of volunteer opportunities.  Truthfully, I didn’t want to get involved for one reason, but I used my pregnancy and the birth of Henry as an excuse.   My one reason…I’m not comfortable meeting new people.  I think I’m a bit socially awkward.   I’m not good at idle chit chat, and I don’t have a witty sense of humor, well not initially.   That wittiness usually arrives hours later after I’ve dwelled upon my uncomfortable encounter and replayed different scenarios and end results in my head.

After MMO was over for Davey, I enrolled him in K2 at the Academy last year.  Once again I didn’t volunteer for anything.  I did things on my own, secretly berating myself for being so insecure, thereby making my child suffer the repercussions of having an unwieldy mom amongst societal peers.   I did participate in the occasional classroom party, but I felt like an outcast.  In hindsight, I should have introduced myself to the other parents, but I didn’t.   After said parties, I usually came home feeling dejected, less than mom like, and a complete failure.   My poor husband not only had to deal with craziness at work, but also craziness at home.  This year, that’s going to change.

Right now I’m looking at a volunteer sheet for Henry’s MMO program.  I studied it for a moment and perused the options I had before finally deciding that I’ll volunteer to be Room Mom.  Yep!  That’s right.  I’m going to possibly coordinate Teacher Appreciation, Christmas gifts, and other little parties.   Of course, there’s a possibility that a more Pinterest friendly mom may win the position, but I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone and I’m volunteering.

I don’t have that peaceful, easy feeling.  No sir, but I’m going to do it anyways.   Stay tuned, for if I should get this position then I’m sure craziness will abound along with a few complaint from me, the occasional whine and frustration, and the desire to end my day with a little brown liquor.

Summer Break, Give Me a Break!

We are only two weeks into summer vacation, and this mama is absolutely exhausted. It’s nearly mind-numbing to me, not to mention physically taxing to come up with ways to not only keep my boys entertained during summer, but to also keep those brain cells pumping. And of course, there’s also the normal day to day activities involved with the upkeep of our house.

I swore to myself, more so than to my children, that I would keep them going during the summer. The television tuning would be and has been limited, that the educational experiences would abound, and not once would I hear the dreaded words, “I’m bored.” Well, truth be told, I’m not too ashamed to say that I wish I hadn’t made that oath to myself. I’m not that mom who seems to be able to function at full speed on the half charged “d” cell battery. I’m not the crafty mom, either. Forget finding acorns and painting and stringing them together into a beautiful key chain. That’s not me. Pinterest is really not my friend.

In my nearly two weeks, I’ve found only a smidgen of things to do to keep the boys occupied that will not break the bank. One of which included an air show last week. The downside to the air show was that it was brutally hot, something I should be used to being a native South Carolinian, and the almost 45 minute drive to get to it. It didn’t cost me anything except for the gas, and if I’m going to be honest, my mom and dad came along and they drove, so it really cost them gas. This is what I’m looking for, free things that are fun and educational. I know they exist, we’ve done them before. I’m just tired of searching them out and planning our weeks based upon these.

Once the air show started, it became a success with both boys. I’ll gladly take them to another one of those this summer, of course within a reasonable driving distance. I’m grateful for my stay at home mom status so that I was able to take the boys to the show since it was going on during working hours of a Wednesday afternoon. However, if I were a working mom, I wouldn’t be fretting with ways to keep my boys entertained during the summer. Someone else could handle that for me. Oh the insanity of it all!

Another thing I’m grateful for is our current location, nestled witin the rolling hills of upstate South Carolina. There are a ton of options for us, some of which cost money, while others are free. The one exciting item for Davey that I plan to continue on a weekly basis, a few days a week, is to take advantage of our Swamp Rabbit Trail.

Davey has really taken to his bike lately, and I’ve used the opportunities to add in some additional cardio for me. He’s started biking three miles, while I run/walk alongside of him as I push Henry in the stroller. It’s great for some fresh air and we’ve even managed to turn the excursions into learning exercises as I’m pelted with questions like, “why is that tree trunk falling apart?” or “look at that lizard, what is it doing?” And then I also get the opportunity to tell the story of the trail and it’s origins making for some funny antics as Davey tells his own version of events. At the rate we appear to be going, he should be without training wheels before his 4th birthday. Guess that means a new bike is around the corner.

We plan to hike, since Paris Mountain is right in our backyard, and learn about the different trees, their leaves, and how they grow. I hope we encounter a few animals, minus the snakes, and even get the opportunity to swim in the lake.

We have a neighborhood pool and a playground in our backyard, along with the one at the Runway Cafe not too far down the road. There are waterparks, $1 movies, and trips to NY planned for the summer. My only problem in all of this is trying to find some way to fit everything into the 24 hours allotted to me each day. Why oh why couldn’t the Lord make us to NOT need sleep. It is a waste of my time.

As I write this blog, Davey and I have practiced writing his upper and lower case letters. He’s drawn pictures, and is working a 48 piece puzzle, something he seems to be a pro at. Henry? Well, he’s napping, thank God for that.

Perhaps I’m the only stay at home mom who focuses and frets over summer breaks. Maybe I’m putting too much focus into their days and I should just throw them out into the backyard every day, but I can’t seem to let go. While I may be complaining about what feels like the added work of summer vacation, I’m also eternally grateful to have the days where I can do all these wonderfully time consuming and exhausting trips.

Santa Elf Davey

Well before my first child was ever born, I’d already jumped on the “Elf on the Shelf” bandwagon. I’d seen a co-worker bring one in and I thought, “what a marvelous idea! I wish we’d had something like this when I was a kid.” I wanted to purchase one terribly, but I didn’t have a child to give one to.

When I became pregnant with Davey, Elf on the Shelf was one of the first things I wanted to purchase. My sister-in-law beat me to the punch, having purchased one for me, her mom, and herself (in order for Davey to really buy into this, we had to prove that the elf really was everywhere he would be). Davey was 3 months old for his first Christmas, so I packed up the Elf on the Shelf and decided I would wait a few years to pull him back out.

Santa Elf Davey hanging out in the lamp.
Santa Elf Davey hanging out in the lamp.

Davey is now 3 and in preschool. He’s a lover of books, all books, any books, every book (makes this book loving mama happy), so I thought why not dust off the Elf on the Shelf and read the story. Plus, with the addition of a walking Henry, Davey is becoming a little naughty and territorial. I needed something to help keep him in line.

I told Davey a little bit about the elf, I read him the book, and told him we needed to come up with a name. I assumed the name would be Jasper, just because Davey’s grandfather calls him that (no clue why) and Davey must name everything else “Jasper”. This didn’t happen. Davey wanted to name him “Santa Elf Davey”, not just “Davey”, but we MUST say the entire name, otherwise he starts having a stage 5 meltdown and the toxic radiation from one of those could compete with Chernobyl.

That first day, Santa Elf Davey hung out in our Christmas tree. He was high enough up for Davey not to touch him, after all Santa Elf Davey could lose his “magic” if Davey touches him, and Santa Elf Davey had the perfect view of the room. All the better to see you with, my dear. Which leads me to the “creepy” factor of this elf “watching” my child. Truthfully, the elf creeps me out more than he does Davey.

Santa Elf Davey on the mantle.
Santa Elf Davey on the mantle.

For years, I’ve watched Pinterest and Facebook feeds. I’ve seen pictures and read blogs about how all these wonderful moms (not me) find creative ways to place their elves. Some of them are ridiculous. For example, I’ve seen pictures of some elves who’ve left messes with flour, sugar, and even toothpaste and I’m led to question some of these moms. Don’t you want your child to behave and doesn’t the mess just encourage the same from your child?

This morning I read a blog from another mother about her Elf on the Shelf experience and it pushed me to write about my own. Much like Tabatha Kammann from the blog http://kooperscoop.blogspot.com/, I’ve felt the guilt of being a not so clever mom bearing down on my shoulders. I pulled out Santa Elf Davey a week and a half ago. That’s 11 days. And in those 11 days, Santa Elf Davey has only moved from his spot 5 times and they haven’t exactly been clever. This has prompted Davey to inquire about just how authentic Santa Elf Davey really is, after all the story does state that he will be in a different spot each morning. I haven’t exactly been following through on my end.

Santa Elf Davey in his original spot.
Santa Elf Davey in his original spot.

There’s a lot of unnecessary pressure with Elf on the Shelf, thanks to all you Overachieving Moms. I struggle just to remember to brush my teeth in the mornings, so how could you possibly expect me to remember to move Santa Elf Davey?

Thanks to Tabatha’s wonderful blog this morning, I was reminded that Santa Elf Davey has sat atop that surround sound speaker for 3 days (and the speaker idea was thanks to my husband remembering to move the darn elf). Davey’s already asked me once if Santa Elf Davey perhaps didn’t go see Santa on Sunday, the day Davey was his naughtiest. No, Davey, he told Santa. And Davey responds, “Mama, is he for real? He hasn’t moved in days.”

When you have a moment, check out Tabatha’s blog.

Into The Woods We Go

I gotta tell you, I love this time of the year down South. The temperature is perfect. The leaves have changed and are nearly falling. It’s just a wonderful season.

This past weekend, the hubs, kids, and I toured yet another piece of property in our effort to vacate suburbia and move out to create our own little haven. The suburban lifestyle isn’t exactly settling with us like we thought it would. We feel cramped, like we can’t breathe. At times, thanks to our HOA, I feel like we’re constantly under the microscope, being spied upon. And while we don’t have a lot of yard to maintain, I’m stressed about making sure it’s perfectly manicured so as to avoid the unwanted letters and comments. The best way to eliminate all of that is to just buy a bunch of land, build a house, and make a cozy home.

I know a lot of people think we’re nuts. “Why would you want to move further away from work?” and “We won’t be visiting you as often if you move that far away,” are the comments I’ve heard most. My husband’s content with driving a little farther to work, especially if he gets to appreciate the rolling hills and beautiful farmland of God’s country. As for the second comment, I usually respond with, “you don’t exactly come visit us now.”

I grew up in a small neighborhood, in a part of town that wasn’t fully developed yet, of course that’s changed. We had pastures and woods around us, lakes and streams. My brother and I would spend our summers outside until it was literally too dark to see anything. Davey’s the opposite. He tells me it’s boring outside. Well, that could be because there’s nothing to explore in our backyard or in our surroundings.

I have this dream for my boys of having so much land to explore that I don’t see them for hours! I have this romantic idea of them being able to camp whenever they want and far enough away from mom and dad, but still in our backyard. I dream about the boys hunting with their dad and doing so in our backyard! We’d have our own garden. There’d be no 45 year old drunk neighbors driving home at 3 in the morning, or a neighbor’s home improvements commencing at 6 on a Saturday morning. There’d be no snide comments about our garage not being clean and therefore making the rest of the neighborhood look bad. There would only be us and the great outdoors filled with the sounds of God’s many delights.

I can’t wait for this day to come. I’m so intoxicated with the idea that I can’t seem to function. I’m up at night looking at land for sale, contemplating how we can afford it, trying to make lists on what we need to do to our current house, looking at floor plans for potential houses, and pinning ideas on Pinterest.

Saturday’s land tour was magnificent and I really wish we could just write a check and say, “we’ve found our new home”. Davey loved it. There were mud puddles, sticks, leaves, deer tracks, a running stream, the sounds of birds, and the occasional lizard. It was a little boy’s dream (and the dream of mom with little boys)

Could it be our new home?
Could it be our new home?
Could it be our new home?
Could it be our new home?

Sew Interesting

If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll see I have a board entitled, “Sew Interesting”. It’s little pins with helpful hints and tips, along with patterns for the beginning to intermediate to advanced sewer or seamstress. Last Christmas, at the age of 38, I got my very first sewing machine. You would think I’d have won the lottery. It was my greatest gift. Here’s the problem…while I’ve practiced on it some, I have yet to really use it until last night.

First off, let me preface this by saying that I purposely NEVER took Home Economics in high school. I didn’t want to learn how to cook or sew or be a good parent. When I saw my future, it was corporate America with business suits and high heels, board meetings and Starbucks lunches, last minute flights overseas and big deals being closed. I was to be nothing more than a career woman, and I hung true to that until my mid thirties when something happened and that dreaded maternal clock started ticking.

I became a first time parent at 36, as many of you know, and that completely changed my outlook and priorities in life. No longer was it important to be that more likable version of Hillary Clinton (better dressed as well), but it was important for me to be a mother, to raise the next generation of brilliant people. With all of that also came a desire to learn so many domesticated things that I had run screaming from for practically my entire life.

My mother made my clothes growing up. She made curtains and pillows, cushions and blankets. I’d love going with her to pick out a new pattern for a dress and shopping for the fabric from which it would be made. That was some of the greatest times of my life. And the things I once saw as great accomplishments…being the number one sales rep, having three degrees, and making tons of money, are no longer as cool as being able to sew.

Last night, I decided to sit down with my sewing machine after the boys went to bed. I took an old t-shirt of my husband’s, an XXL, and decided to do some alterations to make it into a shirt I could wear. I actually have a stack of old long sleeve and short sleeve t-shirts from my husband, along with dress shirts, he no longer wears, items originally to be donated. Why shouldn’t I just repurpose them into something I can wear?

It took me no time at all. I took a t-shirt of mine, did the measurements, cut the sides of my husband’s old shirt, measured and pinned it and then did a few quick stitches all the way up to the arm. I was shocked at how surprisingly easy this was. Here’s the finished product:

My new t-shirt for game days.
My new t-shirt for game days.

And like with most new things, this has become an addiction. I’ve even found ways to alter jeans to fit my “mommy” curves that I can’t seem to get rid of.

Stress-O-Ween

I don’t recall Halloween ever being stressful for me. Obviously, as a child I found it fun and even as an adult, I never had much problem finding or coming up with a costume. So why is it that since I’ve become a mother, I’ve found Halloween to be so loathsome?

I had grand aspirations about making Davey a Halloween costume this year. I thought, “hey, I’m a stay a home mom, I have some time, I love to pin on Pinterest, and I’m perfectly capable of doing something creative.” Boy, was I ever wrong! The last two years have been a piece of cake, but this year Halloween has become downright painful. And why is that? Could it be because I’m putting too much stress on myself? Let’s be serious. Davey doesn’t really understand the concept yet. Heck, he’s not even aware of what day it is, much less that the tradition is to dress up. So, what am I so stressed about?

I’ll tell you. I want my son to not just wear some mass produced costume. Yeah, yeah, I know a lot of moms and dads out there find it a lot easier to just buy a costume, even if their child will look like Billy Joe down the street. I know, it’s ridiculous for me to spend my energy fretting about something that really is so trivial. And I’m perfectly aware that Davey could care less. So, I guess it’s more about me.

Here’s my issue…I’m a stay at home mom. I should be able to make a costume for my son. I should be able to come up with creative ways to make him unique and I really thought I had this year. I really thought that this year would be different, but now I’m down to the wire and I can’t help but shake my head and say, “why oh why, Amy, must you put so much on yourself?”

And here’s my other issue, completely irrelevant to the costume…what about little goody bags for his friends at school? Should I do this? Is it acceptable? I know some moms out there are shaking their heads at this, telling me to relax, to not take on so much, but I desperately want to be THAT mom who does take on the extra tasks. I just can’t seem to find a way for it to NOT stress me out. Just a side note, even if I go the store bought way with a costume and don’t do little bags for the kids at school, I’m still stressed out. It’s just a part of my nature.

So, I guess there’s no hope for me, and I guess since NO ONE seems to sell plain hooded yellow sweatshirts these days, I’ll have to go to Plan B on the costume. At least I do have a contingency plan in place. Let’s just hope I can pull it off!

Happy Stress-O-Ween, Everyone!

Potty Training: Take 2

So, I started out strong back in March (or so I thought) when it came to potty training Davey. He had just turned 18 months old and seemed to exhibit some signs of it being time to start the potty training process. I don’t want to say I was wrong with that, but perhaps I overestimated Davey’s willingness and underestimated his stubbornness.

Of course, then I found out I was pregnant and I’ve since suffered from debilitating migraines and near constant nausea. Potty training quickly took a back seat, as did most everything else. I still did my best to hold my resolve strong that the two things I wanted and needed and would (will) accomplish before Doser 2.0 gets here are: 1. getting Davey into a toddler bed and 2. getting him potty trained.

At first, I thought the toddler bed would be a bigger issue, but fortunately for us this child has slept every single night for 10 + hours in his toddler bed WITHOUT getting up. Some mornings he gets up, grabs a book, and then climbs back in bed and actually lets us sleep until about 7. That’s huge! So, toddler bed transition was pretty flawless, not so much the case with potty training.

I’ve read all the blogs, magazine articles, Twitter tips and Facebook posts about knowing WHEN your child is ready to be potty trained. For those of you who are unsure, here are just a few samples:
1. has “dry” periods of at least two hours or during naps, which shows that his bladder muscles are developed enough to hold urine (some nights, Davey can make it all the way through without a wet diaper!)
2. urinates a fair amount at one time.
3. can pull his pants up and down.
4. shows interest in others’ bathroom habits (he’s always following his daddy into the bathroom and even me).
5. takes pride in his accomplishments.
6. demonstrates a desire for independence (oh, he’s done that from day one!)
7. gives a physical or verbal sign when he’s having a bowel movement (Davey squats behind the chair and grunts).
These are all just ways to know if your child is ready to begin potty training.

Well, at nearly 21 months, I’ve decided to give it yet another go. Once again, I re-read some blogs, pinned some interesting tips on Pinterest and even bought the book “Toilet Training in Less Than a Day” by Nathan H. Azrin. The book hasn’t worked for me, but I’m not exactly following it verbatim.

Today, I decided to take the approach of one of my other mom friends who suggested that I just let Davey go naked. When I told my husband I was going to do this, he said to not do it when he was around. So, I waited until this morning to start the new potty training agenda. I stripped Davey down, put him on our porch, brought the potty along for the ride and we hung out on the porch all morning. There were no poops, but two pees (both of which did not make it to the potty in time). I purposely did this on the porch because I knew it would be easier to clean. I just kept a squirt bottle of Clorox and water on hand to clean the messes.

Lunchtime rolled around and there was a poopy, but Davey didn’t show the signs (and by this point I had put a pair of training pants on him since I was bringing him into the house to eat lunch) and he pooped in his pants. I put him down for a nap, with a clean diaper, and he slept for 3 hours with no accidents. This evening, after dinner; however was our true breakthrough.

After eating, I put him down from his highchair and let him run around. Within a matter of minutes, he ran to his potty and sat down. I pulled him back up quickly unsnapped the onesie he was wearing (probably not a good idea), helped him pull down his training pants and put him back on the potty. As I took a step back, he began to pee. Most of it landed in the potty, but he did accidentally spray the floor, it’s to be expected. But I suppose the best part for me was after he finished peeing he put both hands in the air and yelled, “I did it!”

Yes, you did, my boy. Of course, as I’m writing this, I hear my husband groan because Davey pooped in his pants and not on the potty. Maybe that’s my fault for being in here writing and leaving the potty training to my husband. 🙂

Valentine Hugs

I’m a little late posting this, but I wanted to make sure that my in-laws received theirs BEFORE reading about it on here.

Davey made special Valentines this year for his Grandparents, Aunt, and Great Grandmas who live in NY.   I found the idea on Pinterest and thought it to be the sweetest thing in the world.   It took a mere 30 minutes from start to finish and cost a little bit extra in postage to send just because of the size, but it was totally worth it and my in-laws love them!

Basically, what we did this year was to send Valentine Hugs in the form of Davey’s actual hands cut from construction paper and a ribbon run between the two of them that served as his arms.   He didn’t want to play too much and I had to hold his hands (well we only used one and then just mirrored it to create the other) so that my husband could draw the outline on paper.   I retraced seven more hands to have four sets.

Davey's hands
Davey’s hands

Next I took a hole punch and punched a hole at the bottom of each hand.   Then I took a spool of red ribbon, had my husband hold Davey and stretch out his arms and then I measured his actual arm span and cut the ribbon.

ribbons representating arm span
ribbons representating arm span

Once one was completed, I just used it as a measuring stick for the remaining three strips of ribbon.Before attaching the ribbon to the hands, I printed out a little note that I then cut and pasted onto construction paper.   I punched a hole in the top of the note and then fed it onto the ribbon.   Once that was in place, I then fed the ribbon into the holes on the hands and tied the ribbon into knots at the end.

Valentine Note
Valentine Note

The finished product looked like this:

finished product
finished product

I received text messages and phone calls from all four receiving parties last night and they loved the Valentine Hugs.   His Grammy apparently continued to give herself hugs from Davey.

It was more of a craft for me since Davey isn’t old enough to really participate.   Hopefully next year will be a different story and I can at least have him glueing and possibly coloring.

I know it’s a little late for any of you to try to get this done and out for Valentine’s Day this year, but it’s definitely something to hold onto for next year especially if your littles have family far away.   I guarantee it will bring a tear and a smile to their face.