The Feeling Festive Tag

Today I’m answering the questions in the Feeling Festive Tag created by Liv J Hooper on Youtube. There are 14 questions.

 

Festive Favorites

1. Favorite Christmas movie?

We’re not big movie people. I watch a lot of Youtube and so do my husband and daughter. We don’t really have any movies we watch every year or anything, but the movie that comes to mind first as my potential favorite holiday movie is Elf with Will Ferrell. My husband unfortunately, doesn’t think that movie is very funny, but he’s wrong Even so I can’t recall watching it in recent memory.

2. Favorite Christmas song?

I’ve actually been thinking about this for the first time ever this year. My daughter is very musical and she is almost four. So she’s learning all the Christmas songs and she constantly reminds us that her favorite song is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Typically she doesn’t tell someone her favorite thing without also asking their favorite as well so I needed an answer prepared. I think my answer is Winter Wonderland. I can’t say what it is about that song exactly, but I find myself humming it all year long and I just enjoy singing it. I’m also a fan of All I want for Christmas is You and Baby it’s Cold Outside.

3. Favorite Christmas television?

My daughter is obsessed with the claymation of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. That my little brother’s favorite when we were growing up too. I can’t recall one of those specials that I liked more than the others. My favorite Christmas television would probably be the I Love Lucy Christmas special. I love when everyone comes in dressed as Santa and then they figure out that the real Santa was there with them. We may have to watch that this year. My daughter is a big Lucille Ball fan somehow. She has the curly red hair just like Lucy. We also went to a Lucy museum this year and the National Comedy Center had a display about her too. And we have Lucy ornaments on our tree.

4. Favorite Christmas book?

I don’t think I have a favorite Christmas book. I can’t say that I’ve ever read an adult one besides A Christmas Carol. I might just have to choose ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

5. Favorite Christmas season snack?

The only thing coming to mind is Boom Chicka Pop. There are some great holiday flavors like dark chocolate and sea salt and hot cocoa marshmallow and this year I saw frosted sugar cookie. We’re not really popcorn eaters, but that stuff is so good. I’m not sure it will be in the budget this year though. Maybe Santa will put a bag in my stocking.

6. Favorite Christmas Day food?

We usually do a Christmas dinner type meal on Christmas Eve, but this year we won’t be. We’re planning to have lasagna. On Christmas day we eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast and I make a big pot of chili for lunch and dinner and any guests that may stop in to join us. I like the simplicity of the day.

7. Favorite Christmas decoration? Show us!

We really only decorate the tree. We’re not big decor people in general. We’ve lived in our apartment for eight years and have 10 things total hung on our walls, most of them were gifts that needed to be hung quickly so they didn’t get ruined in storage or in a closet somewhere. So for Christmas decor we have the tree and a small section of wall in the hallway that is strung with twine for the current seasons art projects from the kiddo. My favorite ornament would probably be the large plastic bulb that is filled with my daughter’s crochet (or knit) hat that she was given at the hospital and her and my husbands bracelets from the hospital.

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Haha you can see from the picture that we are not a fancy people. We didn’t have enough money to buy ornament hooks our first year together so we used plastic coated paperclips. They worked great and we always have them on hand so we still use those.

8. What is your favorite part of Christmas?

My favorite part of Christmas is watching people open gifts I chose for them. I love to see the surprise and happiness. This year I’m especially excited to see my daughter’s face on Christmas morning. She is so excited and very in to the Santa thing this year.

Traditionally Speaking

9. Tell us about your favorite Christmas tradition that you & your family have – either on Christmas Day, or as part of the season.

It’s not really a tradition yet because I haven’t done it with my daughter before, but we’re going to drive around and look at Christmas lights now that she’s big enough to see out the window in the car. I think she’s going to love it!

My favorite tradition that we have implemented so far is letting my daughter choose gifts for each family member. She gets to go to Dollar Tree with her shopping list and choose a gift for each person she will see at Christmas time. So far this year she has purchased either a character puzzle, like Paw Patrol or PJ Masks or My Little Pony, or a box of band aids for each person. This year she is learning how to wrap them herself. She loves choosing things for others and she really loves watching the other people open the packages she picked for them.

10. Any new traditions you would like to start? If you’ve already tried starting one, how is it going?

One thing I loved this year was my daughter shopping for the Toys for Tots box. She started seeing the boxes all over and asked what they were for. She asked if we could have a budget for a gift for a little girl to put in the box. We figured out a small budget addition of $10 for her and she shopped for a long time at Walmart. She finally settled on a Connect Four game. I was so proud of my kiddo. She didn’t ask for anything for herself and she came in under budget. I can absolutely see this being a a new tradition.

Giving & Receiving

11. What’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever been given – good, bad, or for any other reason?

The only thing coming to mind is for Christmas 2012. My husband surprised me with a NaNoWriMo winner’s shirt. I had won that year for the second time and this was my first winner’s shirt. I was so excited because I had been so disappointed that we had never been able to afford the 2010 winner’s shirt and that had been my first win. I’m still disappointed about not having that one actually. But that year, he was sneaky, which he never ever is, and thoughtful, which he has trouble with. He gave his dad cash and ordered it with his dad’s credit card so I wouldn’t see a charge come out of the bank. He had it shipped to his dad’s house so I didn’t know a package had arrived. It was very sweet. I still have that shirt and wear it when I need some writing inspiration.

12. Have you ever regifted something at Christmas that you’ve been given during the year?

No.

13. Do you prefer lots of little presents or one big one?

I have always loved lots of little gifts. Growing up, my little brother always wanted one big gift, a video game system or something else electronic. I ways wanted a hundred different gifts even if they only cost a quarter a yard sale. My parents were big yard sale shoppers over the summer so I would get a big box with fifty or more books every Christmas that they had collected over the summer. These day’s I still prefer a bunch of small things. For two reasons really. First, I don’t have anything big I really want. My wishes are pretty much books and stickers for my planner. Maybe organization baskets to try and contain the disaster that is our home. And second, I just love opening gifts. It’s magic to pull apart the paper and see what someone thought you would like.

I’ve done all of the shopping and wrapping since the baby was born so I don’t really have surprises these days, but there are still a few gifts from my parents for holidays that give me that spark of magic.

This Christmas

14.What are you most excited about for Christmas this year?

My daughter’s face on Christmas morning when she wakes up seeing what Santa left for her under the tree. I can’t wait!

What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?

 

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Our Family Christmas Traditions

Our immediate family consists of my husband, our almost four year old daughter, Pepper, and myself. My mother, step father, and father-in-law all live nearby, but everyone else lives in other states, mostly on the other side of the country. Today I’ll tell you how my immediate family celebrate Christmas.

The Christmas Tree

Our Christmas excitement really starts as soon as Halloween is over because that’s when the stores start to roll out the festive merchandise. It’s not easy to convince my three year old that it’s not Christmas yet when there are 20 trees up at Walmart. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday anyway so pre-child we always put up our tree on Halloween, sometimes earlier. After Pepper was born we started putting it up later and later in the year because it takes up so much space that is now occupied by toys and furniture I have to do something with the whole time the tree is up. This year the tree went up about one week before Thanksgiving.

My husband is not big on holidays. They were never a big deal when he was a kid. He is getting more in to them as Pepper grows up though. I care about the tree more than my husband does so I have the more difficult jobs. I clear the furniture, get out the tree and put it together, fluff the branches, test and string the lights, and string the garland (my daughter calls it garlic). Then the whole family listens to Christmas music and puts on the ornaments. It has been so fun to see my daughter get more and more excited each year.

The Christmas Countdown

I always want to do an Christmas countdown for myself. It’s one of the things I miss most about being a kid at Christmas. And they have such fun ones these days. They are so expensive I can’t possibly justify the cost. Pepper’s countdown has been different depending on the year. One year we did the book countdown where we wrapped 24 books and read one each day. This year we have a small parts container from Walmart. It has 30 drawers so we start counting down 30 days before Christmas and she gets to open one drawer each morning. They are mostly small toys, shopkins or something from the dollar tree broken up in to several drawers. This year we also have Christmas stickers and activities. The activities have been her favorite part so far. We have done things like Christmas crafts, coloring with mommy, reading Christmas books, playing a family game, etc. And we still have coming up playing in the snow with grandpa, baking with grandma, and driving around to look at Christmas lights.

This year she also has a small cardboard countdown grandma got for her that has a piece of chocolate behind each door. And we have an app on my phone that tells us how many more sleeps until Christmas. She asks to see it every morning.

Christmas Songs

We start singing Christmas songs the day after Halloween because that is when local station starts playing them 24 hours a day until New Years. This year she is learning all the words, and very quickly. She is very musical. Her favorite song is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and she sings it nearly non-stop most days. Sometimes she will sing a line and then I’ll sing a line and we’ll go back and forth through the song over and over. It drives my husband nuts haha We turn on youtube or pandora often and sing and dance along together.

Christmas Crafts and Activities

My daughter loves to do crafts. She likes to decorate for every holdiay and she likes to make little things that can be hung up. You can see most of our crafts on my instagram @allthingsmommablog

So far we have done a lot of bookmark making. We also made some paper ornaments for the tree using posterboard, washi tape, and stickers. She colored a Christmas canvas bag from the dollar tree. We have more coloring projects coming up as well as awooden Christmas Tree plaque to paint and then hang.

In years past we’ve made other ornaments by taking the clear plastic balls from the dollar tree and filling them with fake snow, or jingle bells, or green and red pompoms.

We also enjoy doing Christmas and Winter themed worksheets. I try to incorporate skills she is honing with so much fun she doesn’t realize she’s learning.

A place I had been looking at for worksheets is Education.com. They reached out to me and offered a fun winter worksheet for my readers.

Young readers can keep their spelling skills warm this winter with this “cool” word search. Continue to fire up those spelling skills by visiting Education.com for more fun activities.

You can download the word search here:

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They included the answer sheet too!

I love using word searches for helping my daughter learn to spell new and longer words. With a lot of new words I like to go through in advance and circle the first letter of each word to make it a little less challenging for her. She loves to find the words and color in the letters.

word search

I’ll be heading back to the website after I finish typing this to snag some mazes. She’s recently obsessed with them and both my husband and daughter are getting maze books for Christmas. I like that the ones on this website can be customized based on size and difficulty.

Christmas Books

No celebration would be complete for my little reading machine without books, books, and more books. This is an assortment of books from the library we had the first couple of weeks of December. More are on the way you can watch Instagram to see more of what we are reading.

 

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Pepper’s current favorites are How the Grinch Stole Christmas and a recordable version of Twas the Night Before Christmas that has her grandpa’s voice reading it to her as she turns the pages.

Gifts and Santa

Traditionally I shop for gifts all year long and stock up on things for way later. We have toys aged eight and above that we bought while I was pregnant. I keep a giant box of things for future holidays. And I’m usually done shopping and wrapping way early. For 2017 I wrapped the last gift on the 1st of July. This year was so so different. My husband lost his job in April and he’s still technically unemployed. He’s helping me with my freelance work, but we’re barely scraping by. So, no big gifts this year. We had to cut some people out of usual shopping list. But it will still hopefully be a great day. We have just a few things for me and my husband so Pepper doesn’t think Santa forgot us and obviously more things for her. And I still have four more small things I’m hoping to pick up for the hubby if we can find some wiggle room in the budget to do so.

I try to get my daughter things she will either love and play with for a long time or that are consumable so I don’t have to worry about long term storage. And this year especially I tried to get the few specific items she asked for. I enlisted help from grandma and grandpa for the item out of our price range.

Her wish list for Santa this year was:

  1. A big Hatchimal with blue and yellow spots
  2. A toaster with toast for her toy kitchen
  3. Monopoly Junior
  4. New Markers

Grandma is bringing the Hatchimal and Santa has the rest covered. She is still little enough that I can sway her asking to things I know are obtainable like the markers and things I’ve already purchased like the toaster. Now she thinks it was her idea and it will be amazing and magical for her when she opens exactly what she asked for.

As far as Santa goes, she’s a believer. So all Christmas morning gifts from him. She is so bright and observant and logical that I’m pretty sure this year is the last year she is going to believe in Santa as a concept so I’m trying to play it up pretty big on a limited budget. Any tips to make it extra special?

She has a cardboard mailbox under the tree that she sends notes and cards and letters to Santa in. He sends letters and other surprises back when he can. He is very busy right now after all. On the day we put up our tree Santa leaves her a letter and a gift hidden somewhere in the house. He gives her a clue so she can find it.

She also got a special letter from him. And she is sent a video from him too from www.portablenorthpole.com

Both the letter and the video are free. She loved the video last year and I can’t wait for her to see this year’s video.

As far as opening gifts, I’m terrible at waiting, but this year we have no money to buy anything other than what we already have, so Pepper got one gift on the day the tree went up and she has one to open half way through her coutdown when the drawer has a slip of paper saying to open a gift. So all presents from us will be opened on Christmas morning.

My mother and step father spend the day here on Christmas Eve and we eat Christmas dinner and open gifts from them that day. They go so overboard that we open for an hour or more.

When we wake up the next morning Santa has visited and we can open all the gifts under the tree and play with them all day. One rule I have is that she doesn’t have to leave home or her new toys on Christmas.

I make a big pot of chili and anyone that wants to come see her can come anytime after noon and visit with her or bring her more gifts.

My father in law is an organist at a church and works on Christmas Eve and Day so he usually ends up seeing her the day after. We’ll go to his house and he usually buys something big that we can keep there for when we are over each week for dinner and playing. It works out great. Big exciting toys for her and I don’t have to find a place to put anything else.

Christmas is a great low key day with lots of fun and surprises and love and coffee and naps.

After Christmas

We keep the toys out for a few days and then slowly find places for them among her old toys. The tree used to stay up much longer, until my birthday in the middle of February one year! But again, the space issue. I’m usually done trying to do things around it by the first week of January and we take it down. It’s darker and less joyful for a while, but then we get back to our lives and look forward to birthday week in February.

*My birthday is the 13th of February, Valentine’s day the 14th, and my daughter’s birthday the 16th. We end up celebrating for a full week and she gets a gift each day ending with a small party with the grandparents on the Saturday.

How do you celebrate Christmas? What is your favorite tradition? How long do you leave up your tree?

 

Yoga with my Toddler

My three year old is a wild child. She is never still or calm. Even in her sleep she talks and giggles and wiggles. She is a constant force of energy and chaos.

Several weeks ago, I can’t remember now if it was her idea or mine, I found myself helping her search Youtube for yoga videos for toddlers. She attempted some of the poses, really enjoyed the songs from one of the videos we watched, and liked having me be a tunnel while we were both supposed to be doing downward dog. Then began the constant request for me to play yoga with her.

After placing her an order with the library for a dozen books and half a dozen dvds about yoga I had visions of the two of us doing complicated poses and sitting in silence for full minutes at a time. That is definitely not what happened.

A typical yoga session:

Toddler: Play yoga with me mommy.

Me: Okay darlin, just let me finish up this task.

Toddler chooses a video from Youtube and begins to watch. I join her a minute or so later.

Me: Okay. Time to sit down in the butterfly. Do you see the girl on the tv? You have to do what she is doing. Are you listening to her? Do what she is doing. Come on girlie you can do it. Sit like a butterfly. Okay, we’re supposed to be a cow now. Can you get on your hands and knees? etc.

I would manage a few stretches with her crawling all over me and she never once listened.

Me: Okay darlin. Mommy is going to go back to work now.

Toddler: But mommy, I want to play yoga with you.

It was making me more frustrated instead of more calm. She just doesn’t cooperate. She’s three. What did I expect?

Honestly, I expected her to listen and follow directions, and maybe even be still for a few seconds at a time. It’s easy to laugh at my thoughts of grandeur now.

We are still reading the books here and there. Her favorite is called I am Yoga by Susan Verde. It’s not really a story, just statements about how she is calm. But the pictures are really nice.

Another of her favorites is The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Power. That one is fun, but it way too long for a bedtime story (she always chooses three) so we don’t read this one unless we have a sizable set of minutes to sit down with her and read the whole thing.

And we’re still working on practicing yoga. A few times a week she’ll pull up a yoga video on youtube and ask me to play yoga with her. I usually can’t say no, unless she chooses a complicated video. Mommy isn’t quite that flexible girlie.

We’ll keep trying and maybe one day she’ll take me by surprise and be still for five continuous seconds, but I won’t hold my breath.

~namaste~

*My 3.5 year old doesn’t say namaste she says ‘momma stay’ and it makes me laugh every time.

 

 

Here are most of the books and dvds we used:

Books

Yoga for You by Rebecca Rissman

A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu

Strike a Pose by Karen Birkemoe

You can do Yoga by Alix Wood

Yoga Bunny by Brian Russo

I am Yoga by Susan Verde

The Happiest Tree : A Yoga Story by Uma Krishnaswami

Yawning Yoga Laurie Jordan

Yoga for Kids: Simple Animal Poses for any Age by Lorena V. Pajalunga

The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Power

 

DVDs

Storyland yoga

Shana Banana

Family yoga connect, play & laugh

Good morning yoga:  a pose-by-pose wake up story

Kids world yoga

 

 

Mommy has Separation Anxiety

The past few days my daughter and I have been arguing constantly. She’s only three and half, but she is the most stubborn person I have ever met. I do try not to argue with her, but who am I kidding, it happens more often than I would like to admit.

I’m stressed about money and the dirty house, I don’t know what’s for dinner yet, I still have to make the shopping list, she suddenly hates her math curriculum, but wants to play chess constantly, and she’s woken me up at 2am three nights in a row. I’m exhausted and I’m done with anything that is not coffee, a book, or a nap today.

That’s not cutting it for her though. She knows every button I have and she pushes them with exquisite precision. She is a natural button pushing prodigy.

But I don’t want this dinner I asked for Mommy.

I don’t like math any more.

I don’t want to wear any of these clothes, I only want the one pair of shorts that are in the washing machine.

I don’t know where my favorite tiny toy is because I just threw it across the room for the 17th time. Can you find it for me?

I can’t reach my juice that is an inch away from my fingertips. Can you stop your work and walk across the room to hand it to me.

And on and on and on.

She is driving me totally insane and I think I would do anything for a break.

Then she asks if she can go with my husband to his father’s house. I agree. I send her off happily. I stay home with big plans for all the things I’ll get done without her underfoot throwing tantrum after tantrum.

I’ll get a shower. I’ll eat cookies and read a book. I’ll get some work done. I’ll get the house clean.

I start off fine with a shower. I plant her mum in a bigger pot (it’s been on my to do list for a week.) I sit down with a coffee and try to work. I cry instead. I spend the next four hours pretending to work, distracting myself for brief periods of time by watching Youtube, and crying because I miss my baby.

I was so irritated with her a few hours before, but now all I want is that sweet curly red hair in my face for a snuggle while she asks me for juice and a snack for the billionth time.

My husband is keeping me posted on their adventures as the day wears on, but each update leaves me with a small amount of relief that she was still alive and a lot more sadness. I am missing so much of her day, of her life. Logically I know missing one afternoon with her isn’t the end of the world, but anxiety, depression, and a deep, four year long, addiction to the girl that makes my life worth living hurt my heart so bad today.

We’ve never been apart for more than four or five hours. I work from home to be with her, I homeschool her because it is the best fit for her. I am with her every day, almost every minute. And today I felt the extent of my separation anxiety.

When she gets back we’ll both have more patience for each other. We’ll have a good evening. She’ll tell me all about her fun adventures while I get her cleaned up. She’ll never know how hard a time I had. And next time she asks to go, I’ll still let her. I try to never let my anxiety and depression effect her life. But tonight I’ll cuddle her a little closer. Enjoy the sweet things she does and try to be grateful that I’m with her for the annoying things she does. I’ll love that girl a little harder, happy to have her safely back with me again.

Does being away from your kiddos get easier as they get older?

A Trip to the Zoo

Everyone wanted to take my daughter to the zoo. It’s been mentioned by every grandparent on multiple occasions and by other relatives as well. I’ve never been a fan of zoos, but I couldn’t remember why I stopped going after the 2nd grade field trip.

My father-in-law took my daughter, my husband, and I to the zoo recently and I can tell you why I dislike zoos. They are so boring. At least the zoo we went to. I don’t know that I’ve ever been to any others.

It was short notice. We got a text message asking us to go to the zoo an hour and half before he wanted to leave. It’s an hour drive each way. The second longest car trip my daughter has ever been on. We were not prepared to leave the house. It had also been a long week of plumbing issues that had finally been resolved that morning so we were all looking forward to showers and I had planned to spend the rest of the day catching up on laundry.

My daughter on the other hand was so excited as soon as she heard the word zoo. We spelled it when we said it, but she’s a reader now so that doesn’t actually work any more. She was literally vibrating with excitement and telling me she was a zoo animal man and could we leave now for the zoo, please mommy.

We lost the battle of postponing the trip. We got everyone showered and ready to go within an hour a half and I stressed myself out about everything the whole time.

We finally got to the zoo after getting lost and making wrong turns twice, bought tickets for the zoo and the train, and went in to a building labeled zoo. It was dark and stinky and my daughter wanted nothing to do with it. I should mention none of us had ever been here before aside from my one trip in elementary school that I don’t actually remember.

My daughter cried and wanted to run or be picked up after each animal she saw. I had her on her harness which only she and I seem to be able to happily use together. No one else is quite as in tune with her and she tries to go one way while the other adult goes another way and they both end up grumpy. I just always know by her body language and watching where she’s looking which way she’s about to dart and I keep up with her pretty well.

I finally found an exit and got her out of the dark building and then just let her lead us where ever she wanted to go. She would walk until she found an animal display/cage/environment (I don’t actually know what the animal houses are called) and then call out it’s name before moving on approximately one second later. She was on the move going in circles for over an hour before she found a ‘park’. It was a wooden structure made to play on. It was a set of stairs, 4 bridges, and then stairs on the other side. This was officially what she wanted to do for the rest of the day.

We’re overprotective parents so one of us walked behind her the whole time she played. We all got our workouts in. We literally could have taken her to a park a block from our house and she would have had just as much fun.

We finally got her off the play area to go on the train ride. She enjoyed that a lot and so did I. It was probably the highlight of my zoo day. We were still, there was a slight breeze. If there had been an alcoholic beverage it would have been pretty close to perfect.

After the train ride we finally found a map so we could find the two things my daughter desperately wanted to see. The llamas and the zebra. The zebra was on the exact opposite side of the park. It was important to her though so we all set out to find him. And he was inside where we couldn’t see him. We waited and she was finally able to see his head poke out. It made her day, or at least her minute, before she ready to move on to anything else. The llamas she gave even less time to. She did have to buy a stuffed llama to take home though.

The only thing she was actually frightened of was the giraffe and she cried each time we happened to go past it.

Overall at the end of the visit I was exhausted and sweaty and my daughter was exhausted and cranky and we still had a couple more stops before the long drive home.

My overall impression of the zoo was that I could watch random animals sleep or otherwise ignore us on television and be just as satisfied. And I could do it without walking all over the place.

However, even though she didn’t stop moving the full two hours we were there and never looked at any one animal or object for more than two seconds at one time, she must have enjoyed it because she is still talking about getting to see a zebra and she is asking to go back to the zoo again.

Her enjoyment is what matters in the long run, but zoos are definitely not by cup of tea.

What do you think of zoos? Boring? or Amazing?

Potty Training Failure

I am a first time parent, but I am sure that potty training for 36 hours should not result in panic attacks for myself and near panic attacks for my three year old.

My daughter is three years and five months old. I and my husband are more than ready to be finished with changing diapers. My daughter had been showing interest in her potty chair. We’ve had it around since before she turned two.

Because she was showing some interest, when it was time to order new pull-ups, we decided to try her on underwear. She was terrified at first, but with some coaxing (and bribery) from grandma she kept them on for a while. She was very excited and telling everyone that she was wearing pretty undies with a bow on them. That lasted until the first time she wet herself a couple of hours in.

The whole ordeal was about 36 hours. She never once made it to the potty. She had a full blown freak out every time she wet herself and the floor and we were all done cleaning up the puddles after the first three or four accidents. We didn’t make a big deal out of it. We gave her lots of cuddles. The only advice I had ever heard on potty training was from people that love my daughter and the advice was to put her in underwear and not let her back out. She’ll figure it out and in a week or so we’ll all be better off for it.

So every time she would have an accident we would change her underwear, get her cleaned up, and calmed down and we would wait for it to happen again.

I did all the ‘right’ things according to the advice I received. I didn’t make a big deal about accidents, but did make a big deal about any effort to sit on our use the potty, I sat her on the potty every half hour or so, I gave her a sticker chart and fun posters by the potty, I read her books while she sat on the potty, I didn’t let her go back to pull ups. It just didn’t work.

That night at bedtime she hid herself in the big comforter on my bed and wouldn’t let me take the blankets off even though she was sweating like crazy. She couldn’t really tell us what she was doing, but our guess was that she was hiding her undies or trying to feel more safe. She would have another freak out every time we tried to take the blanket off. It was scaring me. I finally got the blanket off and she cried until she wet the bed. We got her cleaned up and one of us gave her cuddles while the other one changed the bedding. We discussed it quietly and decided to give her back a pull up for bedtime under the condition that she have undies back when she woke up. She agreed. We agreed. Everyone slept.

The next morning when she woke up she sat on the potty and then got her underwear back on. She immediately peed on the floor after she made it to the livingroom. Another giant freak out and I was done. I cried and squished her and asked if she wanted her diaper back. And she cried and squished me and said yes.

She’s been back in pull-ups ever since. During the underwear incident she stopped allowing herself to poop and we ended up having to get her a stool softener after about 4 days.  It took several days for her tummy to get back to normal.

It’s been a couple of weeks and she is still slightly traumatized by the experience. She still confirms that she is allowed to pee and poop in her pull-up and that she doesn’t have to use the potty yet.

The momma guilt is strong. It feels like I tortured my poor baby. But all of the advice I received I followed. All of the checklists say she’s ready. I did all the ‘right’ things. But they were only the right things according to someone else and according to the lists online. They were not the right things for my sweet, stubborn, and sensitive little girl. My daughter may be well past the ‘normal’ age of potty training readiness, but she is not ready to be potty trained yet.

 

For now, the potty has been put away, we’re letting her look at books about the potty, but only when she wants to, she’s watching dvds about potty training (and loving them). And we’re not pushing. We’re reassuring her that she can use her pull-ups as long as she wants to or needs to. And I’m working on better trusting my mommy instincts and believing that I know my daughter better than anyone else.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for those 36 hours, but I do know that from this point forward, first time mommy or not, I will not use any potty training advice that doesn’t feel right for MY daughter.

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Currently I am reading this book. Potty Training Girls The Easy Way by Caroline Fertleman, MD & Simone Cave. The advice givers scoffed at this book when I mentioned that I thought this approach would work the best for my daughter. It advocates potty training sessions, an hour at a time where she is in underwear and playing one on one with an adult. And that hour slowly gets elongated until she in underwear at all times while at home. Then we tackle outside of the house and then at night. It is all about following her lead and not pushing her farther than she is ready to go. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but it feels like the approach my family needs to take.

I let the pressure get to me before. I gave in when people told me that my daughter was too old to be in diapers still and that there was only one right way to potty train her and I let my daughter down. And I’m sorry my sweet girl. I’m just doing my best and I’m sorry when that’s not quite good enough.

I’ll be over here giving my girlie squishes and letting her be little as long as she’ll let me.

Purging Toys

How do children get so many toys so fast? My daughter is three and owns more items than I do!

 

Obviously I know where the toys come from. Christmases, birthdays, doting grandparents, and myself. I’m one of ‘those parents’ that let my child get some small toy every week when we go shopping. It’s never over budget, but it’s nearly every week she’s bringing home at least one new toy. Excessive, I know, but for now that expectation is not one I’m willing to challenge. We’re working on potty training, sleeping in her own bed, and being willing to try new food.

 

So, the purchasing of a small toy is not the current battle. The way the toys seem to have gone from a bit much to complete overwhelm in the past few months is. Christmas is a big affair, then shortly after is her birthday and then Easter. All big gift giving occasions for us and our extended family. Toys have simply ballooned out of control.

 

Purging items we have too many of or don’t use any more isn’t a problem when it comes to my own items or to household items, but I can’t quite get myself to purge my daughter’s giant stuffed animal collection. She does play with most of them at least from time to time, but 20 stuffed rabbits seems a bit much. She’s not quite at the point developmentally to be able to decide which five she wants to keep and to give the others to another child.

 

All purging decisions are on me and I can’t seem to pull the trigger on that one. Logically I can see that she has far too many toys, but emotionally I can’t get past taking away her toys that she loves so much or giving away things that were very thoughtful gifts or that she used her own money to purchase.  Why does it seem so hard to give my child a better play space? It may just be time to put on my big girl panties and purge those toys.

 

How do you deal with your child’s toys? A toy rotation? Periodic toy purge? How old were your children when you let them be part of the purging processes?