Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Potty Training: Day 5 CELEBRATION

I just realized this evening that this is more than potty training; it's so much bigger than that...

I am celebrating tonight because Mater got 10 stickers, all in one day!  My sister in-law and a niece were here briefly to drop something off and the two munchkins played until it was time for them to go.  While they were here, Mater earned two stickers; his final stickers to make 10 and get back one of his "big boy" items.  He was SOOO excited; he even made sure his cousin watched him use the potty.  He was so proud of himself.

Before we place the 10th sticker on the chart, I gave him a list of options as to what he wanted back and he said his (stuffed) tiger.  After we put the 10th sticker on, I asked him again, and again, he said he wanted his tiger. (FYI, his tiger has been "watching" him use the potty from the top of the messy dryer.)

Well, I pulled that tiger off the dryer, and Mater was so happy that he gave him a GREAT BIG squeeze.  It was so sweet.  From that moment until he went to bed (except for when he used the potty again), he didn't let go of his tiger.  He kept a tight hold on that tiger.  My sister in-law, whom works in early childhood education, said to me that she thought it was a pretty ingenious idea to take away and give back to them the stuff they already have, rather than buy them something new.

I guess you could say that it all goes back to the three R's.  In this house, toys, blankies, and books are a privilege, not a right.  He probably appreciates his stuffed tiger more now than he ever has before.

Potty Training: Day 5

Well, we are 5 days into this potty training thing, and I think it's going O.K.  Mater still won't poop in the potty though.

We had a hectic weekend, but we used the potty as much as we can.

I must admit that I kinda have a love-hate relationship with this no toys and movies/TV thing because I love the toys and movies too. (Did I mention I'm a kid at heart?)  It's pretty quiet around here, but I miss being able to play dinosaurs and tractors with Mater and Dorothy, but we have been pretend dinosaurs and monsters, so that's something.  He has even pretended that his cousins and/or aunts are at our house.

We some times really have to bribe him to use the potty (M&M, money for his piggy bank, candy, etc.).  Other times though, we don't have to bribe him; he will sometimes even forget that he is suppose to get an M&M or something, but other times, he is the one reminding me! HAHA  

Mater's Potty Chart and Stickers
(green rectangle hides his real name)
I decided to make a potty chart, which I made just late this morning.  After getting 10 stickers (he picks which sticker), then he gets one of his "big boy" items back, he gets to decide.  Once he is 100% potty trained, then he gets a new toy (a totally awesome Mr. Potato Head with all kinds of parts to mix and match with, like I had as a kid, that I have been looking all over for).  

As you can see in the picture, the potty chart is nothing fancy; just something I whipped together.  It's not perfect by any means, but lets face it, Mater doesn't care how perfection, just fun!  The star equals a reward ("big boy" item).  He wanted me to make a tractor; well, Mommy isn't very good at drawing tractors, but Daddy is, so Daddy drew a tractor on the chart for him. 

He has three types of stickers to choose from.  First, TMNT stickers.  Second, free stickers that grandma and grandpa somehow got in the mail, and third, foam letters that aren't actual stickers (didn't realize that till today, I bought them Saturday), so I glue them on.  If he picks a letter, we talk about what letter it is and what color the letter is, so we are sneaking in all kinds of learning without him even knowing it.

I keep reminding him that if he poops in the potty then he will get to watch a movie, so I'm working on some kind of poop in the potty movie poster thing.  When I get that figured out and done, then I will get a picture of it added.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Potty Training: Day 1

So when I went to bed last night, potty training Mater was the very last thing I had in mind.  When I woke up this morning, I started thinking about this potty training idea I got years ago.  I asked Donald his thoughts about this technique (he didn't have any opinions), and at 9:00 this morning, I started potty training Mater.  What is this technique you ask?  Well...

We picked up every toy ("big boy toys" to be exact) in this house, except for Dorothy's baby toys, and put them away into storage.  I put away most of his books, which he loves, because they are "big boy books."  I took away his "big boy blankies" and "big boy tiger" (stuffed that he sleeps with).  He can't watch movies or even "Curious George" because that is only for "big boys."  I even put him in the high chair, rather than his booster seat, to eat lunch today, and yes, I even fed him his lunch and held his sippy cup for him as he took drinks.  I put pull-up on him with "big boy underwear" over that.  I set a timer for 20 minutes, and every 20 minutes I got him onto the potty, one way or another.

We start PT (potty training) him after Dorothy was born, but we just couldn't get him to poop in the potty.  Well, Mommy is sick and tired of having two babies in diapers.

All day, we've talked about the "big boy" things he can't do anymore because he is a baby because he still uses a diaper.  We do use M&Ms as a treat for using the potty, so I use that as a way to get him to sit on the potty if he isn't doing it voluntarily.

He has already told me he wants his toys, but when I told him that they were only for "big boys" and he couldn't have them till he used the potty he got upset.  He has gotten upset a few times about it today, but that's OK; my job is NOT to make him happy 100% of the time.  He wants to play with his fire truck, but he can't.  He wants to play dinosaurs, but he can't.  He wants to play with his big combine, tractors, color, and watch "Peter Pan," but he can't because that is only for big boys.  I did tell him though that if he poops in the potty then we get to watch a movie together.

Before I started this huge task this morning, I did seriously consider the upside and downside of this.  Downside: we can't play tractors, dinosaurs, and watch movies together.  Upside: there is less crap in my tiny little house, he has to find something to do besides play with toys.

I have absolutely no idea if this is the right thing to do or not, but I don't care.  I'm trying it.  I seriously think it is going very well though.  I will keep you updated.

Not-So-Perfect Parents

I am not perfect.  I am not a perfect parent.  Whew!  There, I'm so glad I got that off my chest.  Here is a list of reasons why were are not perfect parents:

My toddler eats plain old boring peanut butter sandwiches.  Sometimes we add a little jelly just to change it up a bit.

We don't offer our son fresh fruits and veggies at every meal every day.  Offering it at one meal a day is pretty successful in my book.  After all, that stuff gets expensive, and I try to only go to the grocery store once a month.

We follow the 5-second (or however long it's been there) rule because a little dirt never killed anybody.

One day this week, my son found a pebble of poop laying on our carpet.  At least it was the toddler and not the baby, so he knew not to put it in his mouth.  (In our defense, the poop just blended into the color of the carpet, and here lately, I've been changing 95% of the diapers on the floor rather than on the changing table.)

We have never read parenting books.  I read some of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" when I was expecting Mater, but that's as close as I've come.

We are a meat and taters kind of family, which gets expensive too, but I mostly just prefer the taters, so I save most of the meat for Mater and Donald.

I buy clothes that are the cheapest and fit because they grow entirely too fast.  On occasion I will splurge a little just because something is cute and on sale, but that doesn't happen very often.

I am not oppose to hand-me-down clothing, toys, etc. for my children, especially if it's FREE.  If I get something cheap or on sale, it's great, but if I get it free that is even better! 

I have no problem holding a diapered child's butt up to my face and sniffing it to determine if they are poopy.

If I have a long enough fingernail to do so, I will picky my baby's nose with my pinky when a bulb syringe is not available.

In a good week, the kids get a bath once.

I have many levels of clean when it comes to clothes.  If it was worn once and has not spots of dirt or food on it, then it's still clean.  If it's been worn and just have a little bit of something on it then it is a little dirty but still wearable for at home.  If it is just covered in food and/or dirt then it is dirty and unwearable until it gets washed.  Even with following this logic, I always have a hamper full of my children's laundry by Friday morning.

When it is the proper time, I encourage my children to get dirty or won't stop them from getting dirty anyways.

I yell at my kiddo.  I love both of them to pieces, but sometimes they make mommy a little nutty, especially when Mater is having issues with selective hearing.

We have the parenting philosophy "no matter what we do, we are going to screw our kids up."

If at the end of the day the house is here, everyone has been fed, and everyone is still alive then we have had a GREAT day!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bat & Monster Craft

We love Halloween around here.  I saw this idea of hanging bats made of out toilet paper tubes, found here.  Aren't they cute?  I decided that I wanted some of these in our picture window, so we made a total of 7 monsters and bats.  Below are the results.

Paint, glue gun, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, etc. (please excuse the mess)

View from outside

View from inside

I just thought our flag was looking particularly beautiful at the time :)

Being Mrs. Mom

Being a stay at home mom, I've found that there are some people who think I do nothing all day every day.  On occasion (usually when he's just frustrated with the whole world), even Donald thinks that, until he gets a reminder of how "easy" it is.  There is a lot to being a SAHM.

Ideally, every day goes very smoothly, and I get everything that I want and need to get done in a day: breakfast, baby nap, unload/load the dishwasher, laundry, play with kiddos, vacuum, dust, pick up and put away toys & books, bottle, lunch, naps, bottle, another nap for baby, a good supper (I'm talking meat & taters kind of meal), another bottle, jammies, and straight to bed.  Yeah, um... that's not reality in this house.

On a good morning, Mater and I get the dishwasher unloaded/loaded and maybe a minute amount of cleaning done, in addition to the necessities (bottles, diapers, etc.).  Abut once a month I get so fed up with the mess I call my home that I do some "deep" cleaning.  By deep cleaning I mean vacuum all the carpet a little, give Mater the duster, sweep up the rocks and grass on the vinyl floors, and use the Swiffer to clean the floors real quick.  In my defense, the housework will always be there tomorrow because most days I have something more important to do besides cleaning.

So, what's more important than cleaning, you ask?  My kiddos.  Mater and I will watch Curious George and/or movies together (Peter Pan, Ratatouille, etc.), and I LOVE to watch with him; I love his reactions.  We read books and color.  We wrestle around on the floor and tickle each other.  Until recently, we were busy trying to teach Dorothy how to crawl, in between the three naps that she takes in a day.  I'm also busy just cleaning up the messes that my kids make, whether it's spit up on the carpet from the baby or baby powder that the 2-year old found and dumped all over the room.  Yes, spit up... my baby girl is constantly spitting up, so I'm always thinking about that and doing what I have to do to keep her urping to a minimum.

At 1:00 PM, it is naptime for BOTH my babies.  Ah... beloved naptime; the only break Mommy gets is when her babies are sleeping.  When both are taking naps, I plug my headphones in and play my Sims so that I don't wake up the baby girl because her bed (actually it's a pack 'n play because there's no room for her crib in our bedroom right now) is right next to my computer.  There's not much else I can do during naptime because it will just wake up one or both kids.  I think I mentioned that we currently live in a 4-room house, so Mater's room is right off the kitchen & living room; I can't even make supper when he's napping, unless I am willing to wake him up, and I am NEVER willing to wake up my babies.  I follow the "let sleeping babies lay" rule.  Have you ever heard the song "Mr. Mom" by Lonestar?  If not, check out the video at the end of the post.  That's my day, every day, in a nutshell.

Since I became a SAHM, I've always felt that I needed to prove that I did something and was productive each day, to my husband and myself, but honestly, I realized yesterday (after reading this article) that I don't have anything to prove because being a stay at home mom is a luxury for my husband.  Donald doesn't have to worry about who will take care of the kids when their sick, because I am always here to do so.  I do 99% of the laundry, dishes, cleaning, and cooking around here, so he doesn't have to do much of it.  We are the ones raising our kids, not somebody else.  I, a parent, make the majority of the every day decisions in regards to our children, and Donald trusts that I will do my best to make the right decision.  With me being a SAHM, our kids get the kind of care and love that we want them to get; mommy's care and love.

It seems to me that since the women's rights movement, society acts like being a SAHM is a bad thing.  Society makes it harder to be a SAHM.  What is so bad about being a SAHM?  I LOVE it!  I liked the job I had before and felt that I was good at it (until I got pregnant with Dorothy and completely "lost" my brain), but I think I'm better at this, being a mom.  I love the whole old fashioned idea of being a Miss Susie Homemaker.  What's wrong with that?  Do you think I don't have goals or have nothing to contribute to society or something?  Let me tell you, I have plenty of goals.  I want to raise God-loving, moral people who will make the world a better place just by being the best person they can be.  I want to have a house full of grandchildren.  I want to spend as much time with my family as possible.  (break time: dancing with kiddos to "The Hampsterdance Song") I know that they will make mistakes; I want them to make mistakes, and I want them to learn from those mistakes.  I want to give my kids the tools they need to explore and learn things for themselves.  These are a few goals, and notice that I do have something to contribute to society, my children.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Breastfeeding: An Untold Story

We always hear about how great breastfeeding your baby is, because blah blah blah....  Some folks are even good at making you feel like the worst mom in the world because you didn't breastfeed your baby until they were at least a year old.  Well, I don't think it's so great.  In fact, I'm just going to come out and say how I feel about it: breastfeeding SUCKS!  There, I said it. ;)  If you breastfeed currently or have done it successfully in the past then more power to ya!  You really don't need to read any further than the end of this sentence because this is more for the moms who have tried and failed (for one reason or another) or simply chose not to try breastfeeding at all.  I tried breastfeeding twice, and failed miserably both times.

First, I am a VERY modest person.  I would go hide with the baby in my bedroom to nurse and/or pump while other people (exceptions: husband, mom, sisters) were around.  Mater was taken via a helicopter (without me) to a NICU when he was 24 hours old, and when we had visitors, I would close the curtain and hide so that I could pump/nurse.  Either way, I hated it because 1) I thought I was missing out on something (like seeing our relatives who we don't get to see much) and 2) (the main reason) I didn't like them knowing that my tah-tah(s) was/were hanging out.  I don't people to see my tah-tahs hanging out, nor do I want to see people with their tah-tahs hanging out, whether its a mom nursing her baby or Miley Cyrus twerking in an "outfit" that leaves nothing to the imagination.

Second, the frustrating amount of time that I spent nursing and pumping I felt that I should have spent doing something else, like playing tractors with my son.  I didn't, and still don't, want to miss a thing when it comes to what my kiddos are doing.  Every moment missed is a moment that I can't get back.  Not to mention how exhausted I was, and that I unknowingly had good 'ol PPD, which made me want to spend more time with Mater than with Dorothy.

Third, it hurts like a son of a gun and just an all-around nuisance!  My son was a instant-gratification baby, and since he was in the NICU he was sometimes given a bottle so that the nurses could monitor how much he was eating; FYI once during that week he ate 8 oz of milk.  BOTH of my babies were big (10 lb & 9 lb) and had big appetites.  After deciding twice that I hated to nurse for various reasons, I just tried pumping (no nursing at all), twice.  I failed miserably both times.  For starters, I couldn't pump enough to keep up with those big appetites.

Lastly, and certainly not least (there were A LOT more details about nursing both my kids than I will even mention here), I hate trying to lug around all the extra weight.  All that extra weight is more than my back can handle.

The only reason I have ever tired breastfeeding (and will if a third baby comes along) is for economical purposes.  It is obviously a lot cheaper to feed your baby milk that your body makes than it is to buy formula.  My oldest sister told me something once, because I was feeling very guilty about no longer nursing Mater when he was a baby, she told me that women used to (before formula was invented) nurse simply because they really didn't have any other choice, NOT necessarily because they wanted to.

So, if you're like me and decide that breastfeeding isn't for you don't feel like you are the worst person in the world for giving up and/or not trying at all because it just isn't for some people.  I tried twice.  I failed twice.  I will not let people make me feel guilty for failing and/or for not enjoying breastfeeding their baby; I may have to remind myself of this again later.

If you are someone who nurses their babies, and have read this far, then that is awesome for you that you enjoy it/could make it work for you.  But, again, this particular post was not meant for you.  I see all kinds of breastfeeding mothers support out there, etc., but I never see anything for those mothers who can't or won't for one reason or another and made to feel guilty (especially by the government and healthcare industry) about it.