Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Daddy's and Their Daughters

I love love love this picture. This quote goes quite perfectly don't you think. Daisy was attacking her Daddy with kisses. She adores him. So happy that I was able to capture this.
Friday, August 24, 2012

Potty Training Tips

 (the basket was our stool stand in until our step stool arrived)

I am recording these little pointers in hopes that maybe they will help things to go more smoothly when our second kiddo rolls around and approaches the potty training phase. I've concluded that potty training can be summed up quite simply in one word: patience.

Every child is so different. Some take right to potty training and for others it takes what seems like ages. Some need candy bribes and some need reward charts. Some don't mind a mess in their pants and others are uncomfortable with it. No matter what the child is like or what the scenario, patience is essential.  Prepare for lots of accidents.  Prepare for it to be exhausting.  Prepare for it to take a good amount of little girl's training has taken a couple of months and is still a work in progress.  Prepare for potty training to cramp your style.  It's a bit annoying to have a cart full of groceries while standing at the checkout and then to hear your little one exclaim loudly with wide eyes, "mommyyyy, I hafta go potteeeee!!" Ah yes, good times.

So, without further ado here are a few simple lessons I've learned thus far:

*Wait until your child is ready.  Don't worry about what other people are doing or what the "right" age is that you should be starting.  I've learned that there is such a thing as adult peer pressure but, I've also learned it feels great to ignore it!  Just pay attention to the cues.  If your child appears interested, then give potty training a go and if they reject it entirely, give it a break and try again in a few weeks (or months).  Don't force.  Don't push.  Patience.  It'll happen when it happens.

*Bring out your best inner cheerleader!  Prepare to praise your child up and down, left and right for every tiny little success.  Maybe you know a great potty song or a fun dance.  I couldn't think of anything clever so I just said, "YEAH, I am so proud of you," in a super obnoxious squeaky voice.  High fives are great and candy rewards are even better.  I rewarded my little one with two peanut m&m's each time she went potty and often gave her one just for sitting on the potty. 

*Make the potty a place that is worth going to.  I set up a toddler potty in front of our TV so that my little one could sit on it while watching a cartoon.  In the beginning it took her a long time to get her number twos out so it was great to have a distraction to keep her there.  In the regular bathroom I would bring books, toys and my iPhone so that she could watch YouTube videos on it.  Reward as often as possible and learn what best motivates your child.  Some kids are happy as a clam with a sticker but, that wouldn't remotely interest my daughter.  Candy is an essential in our training!!Keeping the potty training experience pleasant for toddler and mommy is ideal in my book!

*Don't rush into real underwear unless you are okay with extra messes to clean up.  Some kids take to potty training in a day or two and in that case underwear is great.  Nearly 2 months into potty training my little one still has accidents on occasion.  I always put my gal in pull ups at nap time, bedtime, when we go to friend's houses and in the car seat.  When she wears a pull up it minimizes clean up drama and stress.  It's a win win.  She has learned to go potty wearing pull ups as well as she could have learned in underwear.   I made sure to treat the pull ups like underwear.  We call them big girl panties and as a result she does not associate them with diapers.  Again, each kid is different.  I am reporting simply based on what worked for us.

 *Do what you need to do to  make the potty training experience easier for yourself....not harder!!  I kept a toddler potty in the back of my SUV for the first 2 months and I kept a toddler potty in my living room on a towel.  Classy, no but, beneficial, YES!  I stuck my kiddo on the potty every time we pulled up to a store and every time we left.  It slowed down our outings but, it helped cut down on a mad race to a hidden bathroom in a store.  The potty in the living room is tacky and seems inappropriate to some but, it was a HUGE life savor in the beginning when she couldn't hold it long enough to get into the bathroom.  I kept my little one naked 24/7 when we were home so that she could easily sit on the potty by herself when she wanted to.  I always keep a change of clothes, plastic bags for any messes, candy rewards and lots of wipes in the car. 

*Patience. Patience. Patience.  I can't tell you how many times my kiddo has said she needs to go potty in Target or any other store for that matter.  I run like a maniac for the bathroom only to discover that she only had gas and couldn't tell the difference.  hehe.  I think we did that 3 times in one shopping trip on one extra special day. lol  I still celebrated with her every time we sat on the potty and gave her a tic tac and a big hug.  Lots of positive reinforcement no matter what!  Even kids that do take right to potty training will still have accidents from time to time.  My little gal still doesn't quite know how to take her own panties on and off which also makes things tricky. Today she had her first accident in a while because she couldn't get her pull up off in time and I wasn't close enough to help...being on the potty myself.  She tried really hard too because by the time I found her she was naked...just didn't quite make it in time.  Regardless, I was still so proud of her for trying and actually getting out of her pants and pull up by herself!  She got a candy just for the effort.  I'm a sucker what can I say.   Kids will often regress during training.  They can appear to be doing so well and then have a set back.  My little one got diarrhea for nearly two weeks and it pretty much set us back at square one.  Within two weeks she was back on track.  It's best to prepare for set backs.  Then you won't be as frustrated when they arise.  Also, when your little one actually figures out how to tell you that they need to go potty (took my daughter 2 weeks to learn that), you may have all of like 30 seconds to rush them to a potty before they has an accident.  Get them to a potty quickly!  I like to think of potty training as a 6 month adventure...sometimes longer. 

Have fun and good luck!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

28 Months

I don't keep track of my little ones age by month anymore but, today just so happens to be her 28 month "birthday" so it seemed appropriate to name this post as such." Just two months shy of being 2 1/2 and as always the time continues to fly by.  Not a single day passes that I don't stand back in amazement and awe of the new things that my daughter is learning. After our California trip her vocabulary took off and her sentences got considerably longer.  She still loves to babble in her own language (which is a riot if you haven't heard it yet) but, we can communicate so well now.  An example of her toddler sentences: "Mommy come pwey wif me in mye pwaywoom."  It really does sound like that I promise.  A few of her favorite phrases: "whyyyy notttt (with her hands turned up and her shoulders shrugged..a sad face usually follows), mommy I hafta go potty, I no like, I huwt my finguh mommy (when she wants attention), WHOA didju seedat, wuts wong, NO I don't want, whe is Daddy, awwww I so pwoud of you (to her baby dolls!), wook dey are buddies (about any two items brought together).  

I will warn you that this post is insanely long and is only long because I like to document all of the little details for my own memory since I don't have a memory.  It has been really helpful to look back on some of these things but, for the rest of you...enjoy the pictures and save an hour of your life! :) lol
Her favorite things to eat right now are cheese of any form, crackers, applesauce (with her face and without a spoon....we have to work on that), oatmeal, strawberries, toast (which she picks at and eats holes out of), edamames, meat (all meat is called steak), sub sandwiches, macaroni (sometimes), steamed broccoli salted and buttered, bacon (I think this is her absolute favorite!), eggs (sometimes), yogurt or gogurts, fresh salsa with cilantro on chips (she devours it!), cereal with kefir or milk, tater tots, corn on the cob, beans, tacos (another favorite though she mutilates the heck out of the taco...another thing we have to work on), pizza (she loves it), garlic bread,  and olives are a huge favorite.  Basically she has become a much pickier eater over the past couple of months which I was anticipating but, it is still annoying nonetheless.  If she doesn't want to eat something I don't make her but, I also don't go out of my way to find something that she will.  I am not a fan of food battles but, this is me talking about a two year old.  I'll get back on that in a couple of years and see if my tune has changed! LOL
She loves candy and sweets just like her momma but, because I am not a big nighttime dessert person she has no concept of dessert after dinner so we don't have that issue to deal with yet.  I make her 100% juice popsicles and she thinks that they are the coolest thing ever and they completely satisfy her sweet tooth.  I am not opposed to letting her have a few little candies every now and then for potty or good behavior rewards.  She also loves my coffee and expects a sip every morning.  I generally oblige because it isn't a big deal to me.  It actually surprises me that she enjoys the taste of something that can be bitter at times.  Silly girl.  I look forward to coffee dates with her when she is grown and I can tell her silly stories about how hard she would try to sneak a sip out of my cup when I wasn't looking.  Or stories about how she would let out a long, "mmmmmmmmmm dats yummmmy," with every sip.  I A.D.O.R.E her!
She wears mostly all 3T clothes now except in pants.  Her legs are a tad short (also like her momma).  She wears size 6.5 or 7 shoes with a little wiggle room still.  I'm already scouting around for some cheap winter slip on shoes for her feet.  I'd love for her to have a pair of shoes that she can learn to put on by herself...but, I don't want Crocs...please forgive me Croc lovers.  I am just not the biggest fan but, I see myself getting over that when I realize I don't have too many other options for easy on and off shoes.  Any other suggestions?  She no longer wears diapers.  Wow.  I can't believe I can say that!!! This is the first time that I have not needed to record a diaper size.  Now we are using pull ups and panties.  Pullups size 3T-4T and panties are the same.  My favorite place to shop for Daisy is Kid to Kid, our local consignment shop.  I am able to get great quality clothes at a fraction of the price which is my favorite way to shop.  I've been able to score Daisy lots of Gap and Old Navy clothes there, which is so wonderful as those are the stores I would shop at if I had the $$ to do so.  Or maybe I wouldn't...who knows.  I am also a huge sucker for Target...HUGE.
She still loves to watch TV and movies though it bores her much faster now days. Her favorite shows as of the past few weeks are: My Big Big Friend, Bo on the Go, My Little Pony, Timmy Time, Shawn the Sheep, Veggie Tales, Noonbury, Oscar the Lizard, Care Bears, Wild Crats, Super Wide, Jungle Junction, Cat in the Hat and Sid the Science Kid.  Her favorite movies: Madagascar, Shrek (which I don't like her to watch...for various reasons, but dangit she loves it!), Horton Hears a Who, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Finding Nemo, Wiggles (STILL...crazy I know), Open Season and Meet the Robinsons.  I must add that I have no doubt that the reason Daisy loves Shrek so much is because of Princess Fiona.  She is obsessed with all little girls are.  I am not ready for her to watch the fabulous Disney princess movies though and I hardly let her watch Shrek.  Call me weird, (actually you can think whatever you like of me and that is just fine) but, the bottom line is that I am selective and cautious about what I let Daisy watch and be exposed to.  It's just the way I am and will always be.  She will definitely watch all of those awesome movies in time but, it has to be when the timing feels right.  Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid happen to be two of my favorites so I can't wait to watch them with her and then to throw Daisy her first Princess Birthday party!  In time.
I get really bored being in the house all day with Daisy.  I'm not sure if it is because Daisy has never been that great at playing with her toys by herself and as a result I play with her and I don't want to play with a fake baby for 8 hours a day or if it's just that I like new scenery.  I love teaching Daisy things but, I do not strive to create an educational activity for every day as some of my friends do.  I wish I was more like that but, I'm not so que sera sera.  That being said, we go out almost daily at least once.  I usually take her to a park, a store to walk around, a mall to ride the train or the carousel, to the lake, pool, or to a museum to explore for a few hours.  I like getting out and doing things.  Daisy seems to favor water activities.  She is in absolute Heaven in a pool or at the lake and she has begun to really grasp how to swim and balance all by herself.  I would venture to say that water activities are her absolute favorite thing to do right now. She is a total fish for sure! Are you more of an in home activity mom (I admire you!) or a must get out of the house mom?   
If we do stay home we usually go into Daisy's play room (which I just set up a couple of weeks ago and has a ways to go still) and explore the various toys that can be found there.  She loves to play with her hot wheels race track, have tea parties daily, push her babies around in her stroller with 5 or 6 purses on her arms full of stuff, cook and cut velcro vegetables, play store with her new cash register, coloring, playing with play doh, singing into her  microphone and dancing, playing my acoustic guitar (while supervised), playing drums (she is quite the musical kid and I think I am going to get her a drum set for Christmas..crazy me), collecting rocks (I find them in the weirdest places around the house) and occasionally reading books.  I am sad to say that book reading is not a favorite for my little gal. Daisy is completely bored and disinterested in them.  I'm trying to pass on my love for books but, it's not looking so good! :)
She is a TOUGH kid.  Instead of crying over little boo boos she tends to hit something and get mad.  I have noticed that anger is Daisy's first response to pain and to most other emotions as well.  It's interesting to me that this behavior can be seen so early on.  I am trying to help her learn how to sort out her anger in healthy ways, as hitting isn't always the best idea. lol  Instead of running to me with every little owie, she will even push me away and get mad at me for trying to comfort her.  Now don't get me wrong, this is regarding smaller injuries not the major ones like when she hit her noggin on the side of a dresser recently.  You better believe that she came running to me after that.  I've also noticed that when bigger kids push Daisy around or take a toy from her that her tendency is to push right back no matter what size she is dealing with.  Hmmmm...I think the words spirited and passionate come to mind.  She is not a super cuddly or affectionate little girl but, she always likes to have someone close by for security.  If you invade her space for to long she will let you know that she does not approve.  Mommy and Daddy definitely have a special place in Daisy's heart (of course).  She is super sweet and affectionate with us and she will give hugs and kisses to other family members but, after that, "back off people." Bottom line, she likes her space...surely you know some people like that? lol  I'm actually a bit like that myself so I can relate.  Boy she cracks me up.
She gets scared and nervous around most dogs probably because we don't have one so they are intimidating to her. I still remember my nervousness around dogs even in elementary school so it makes sense to me.  She adores cats.  Maybe someday we will get one for her:). She LOVES observing animals.  We often go to the pet store just so that she can check out the fish, birds, cats and reptiles.  I would go to the zoo more often but, it is a bit too far away unfortunately.  She knows all of the animals names and the sounds that they make.  I love that she calls a peacock a peacup.  I think she is mixing up a teacup (her favorite toy) and a peacock! hehe. 
Daisy has almost entirerly overcome the separation anxiety that was such a challenge during the first couple of years of her life.  Now when I drop her off at Sunday school she runs in with her backpack on her back and she goes straight to the toys and I don't hear a peep.  I get to leave her without the stress of my heart being ripped in half and I get to enjoy the church service without any worry or concern.  It is absolutely Heavenly to say the least.  If you have had a child with severe separation anxiety I think you can understand what a relief it is when that phase is outgrown.  Everything becomes a little easier.  I am so proud of her progress and thankful that I was patient and let time sort it out instead of forcing a change that she wasn't ready for.  She still gets nervous and clings to me more around men but, I know that will also pass in time.
Daisy is still just as animated as ever as you can tell by the pictures above.  She has more expressions than I can count.  Perhaps she is bound for a broad way career or maybe stand up comedy?? lol  Her faces give me so many laughs on a daily basis.  She has an expression that she makes when she is embarrassed and I am one of the few who recognize it.  I would love to capture that face on camera. It melts me. 

Daisy doesn't like things in her hair and will take them out at any chance that she gets.  She loves fastball pitching or karate kicking her toys across a room (I'm not a fan).  I see softball or soccer in her near future.  She loves when she hears the skype ring on the laptop and can't wait to chat with someone.  Talking on the phone is a blast for her.  She loves babies and wants to have her hands all over them.  I would love to give her a baby brother or sister to play time hopefully:).  She has a new habit of wanting to eat her food with her hands instead of a spoon.  Thunder scares her as do loud noises and she usually runs around with her hands over her ears.  I would not consider Daisy a fussy child.  She is not a whiner either but, she definitely has her moments and when she does they are intense.  The sound of Daddy's loud exhaust pulling up in the driveway lights up Daisy's face.  She is obsessed with her Daddy! She climbs all over everything but, she is still a pretty wobbly climber so I have to monitor her like crazy.  She's gotten MUCH better.  She doesn't really interact much with other kids but, she likes to give them hugs and kisses.  She prefers to play alone without other kids and is very independent most of the time.  She LOVES all things princess.  Every time we go to the store she tries to stick a princess toy in the cart.  She recognizes all of her colors, the alphabet song and counts numbers one to eleven.  She loves to sit with her ankles crossed. Such a little lady.  She LOVES going to sunday school and running around in church when it's over.  She loves carrying her big girl backpack into church and she waves at all the ladies and says hi as she walks in.  I die.  Her hair grows incredibly slow and is very fine.  Not like her momma at all.  She weighs 29 pounds as of yesterday.  She loves trying on shoes at the store.  Sparkly things make her happy.  She loves getting messy and is not bothered by dirt or sand...bummer. 
We are dealing with the usual two year old "mine" behavior.  Daisy has not remotely accepted the notion that she is supposed to share.  We work on it daily but, I can tell that we have a long way to go because my little gal is a stubborn one.  Very stubborn.  That is the joy of being a parent though right.  We have the honor of teaching our children in the way that they should go.  Bottom line, kids are a crack up and just as much as we are teaching them...they are teaching us how to lighten up, laugh more and love more.

She prefers being barefoot and prefers wearing shorts or skirts...well, technically she prefers being naked but, we only allow that ever so often.  She gets annoyed in pants and says they are itchy.  I have given her hair one small trim in the back to even out the length.  I am satisfied with that and I plan to let her hair grow long.  She likes painting her little toys and I LOVE her little toes.  She has the cutest little sausage toes. She could drink juice all day long.  She loves drinking and prefers it to eating.  Wakes up happy and in a good mood almost always.  She is a really cheerful kid 99% of the time. Loves climbing into mommy and daddy's bed.  Is not a good shopper and does not like to sit in a cart anymore.  I try to avoid taking her with me at all costs. She also does not like to sit in restaurants so we avoid them also.  We are a strictly fast food family at this time.  Quick food with a fast escape route if necessary. hehe  She loves to help with everything; vacuuming, dusting, laundry, emptying the dishwasher, loading the dishes, making coffee and baking.  She is a great helper when I have the patience for it.  She LOVES her pacifiers (poppy) and her satin edged blankets (bunkies).  She must have them at bed time or else.  Still in a crib...thinking about transferring to a bed around Christmas time or shortly after.  Doesn't like bugs and has learned to step on them...surprisingly I did not teach her that!
One of my many favorite things about Daisy is the way she sings Jesus loves me while resting her head on my shoulder every night before I put her to bed.  She wants to.  She asks me to.  It relaxes her and gives her peace.  I couldn't ask for more.  Then as I lay her in her crib the first thing she says to me is, "let's pway mommee."  I turn to mush every time. She reaches for each of my hands and then I ask her, "what do you want to thank Jesus for Daisy?"  Lately her responses are the various names of her family members and then more random things like, her yellow spoon, her belly full of juice, flowers, her buddies, popsicles, cheese, thunder and then randomly she often asks, "whe ish daddy? Ish he coming?" lol She adores her Daddy. I absolutely cherish these times of song and prayer with my daughter.  The most important thing in the world to me is that Daisy learns about Jesus and His great love for her.  That He willingly laid down his life for her sin and that this life on Earth is only the beginning of her journey.  Faith is a life long journey and hers has begun.  There is nothing sweeter or of greater value in all the world that I could hope for her.   
Oh wait! Here is the embarrassed face below!  It looks as if I managed to capture it after all:). Isn't she the cutest.  I could just eat her up. 
Daisy is so hyper! She can't sit still for more than a minute or two.  As a result she can't stick with any one activity for long. It seems that just as soon as we set out all of her tea cups for a tea party that she is bored and ready to move on to the next activity.  Her mind is always racing as are her legs. JUST like her Daddy!! I could sit in one place all day long reading a book or writing a story but, not my Daisy bean.  Full of energy 24/7.  She goes to bed around 8 or 8:30 and wakes up around 7 usually.  She naps from 1 or 1:30 until around 4:30 or 5.  She is a great napper and sleeper. Thank you Daisy!
She has really done an amazing job with her potty training. She took to it so well and so fast. She didn't actually learn how to tell me that she needed to go potty for nearly 3 weeks. I wasn't sure what to do but, I kept her panties off always in the house and she would simply run to the potty by herself and go when she needed to and I would ask her frequently to remind her. Then we started wearing pulluops (mainly because I didn't want to deal with messes to clean up all day in regular panties) and she learned to tell me that she needed to go because she still doesn't know how to take her pullups on and off. Last week she came down with a bad case of diarrhea and that has set us wayyyyy back.  She can't make it to the potty in time.  She has been going in the middle of the night a lot and she is gassy and gas is confusing for a potty training toddler.  She is all out of sorts and I am tired of diarrhea messes but, I understand that under the circumstances things are going to be off and I just want her to feel better.  Otherwise I am very proud of her and can't complain.  I think that in another 4 months or so we will be much more consistent.  I take the toddler potty with me everywhere I go.  I keep it in the back of my car so that she can get to it quickly and so that I don't have to deal with disgusting public bathrooms if I don't want to.  It's quite nice actually.  We still use candy rewards but, most of the time she doesn't even ask for candies anymore.  She is doing awesome!

And that my friends concludes this week in the making, MONSTER update post.