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Saturday, July 04, 2015

Day 2 of #pottytraining Only two accidents. Yea! #kids #motherhood #boymom

I'm still on a high from yesterday's potty training success!

David was off work Friday so he took the lead on all the potty training while I spent the morning running all the errands to prepare for our annual Fourth of July party.

8:35am - David got Nolan up out of bed and stripped him naked. He immediately went downstairs on his own to pee. Yay!

David kept him naked through breakfast and morning play time in the play room.

11:15am - I get a call while I'm in Trader Joe's and it's Nolan exclaiming "I pee-peed and pooped in the potty mom, I did it!". Another yay moment! David said he stopped building a train track, jumped up and ran to his bathroom. Once in there and up on the toilet, he told David to "don't come in here, I need privacy". WTH? haha No clue where that came from, maybe Emily. So, David complied and stood out in the hall, peeking through the crack of the bathroom door. Nolan peed and pooped and said "I'm all done" and David went in to wipe.

12:40pm - I got home from the shopping, which included purchasing additional pairs of underwear, and David let him try a pair on and wear them around. I was against it as it lead to accidents the day before but didn't say anything and went on to fix everyone lunch.

1:12pm - Nolan peed in his underwear while sitting in his chair eating lunch. Boo :( David cleaned it up and reminded him that he wasn't wearing a diaper, he was wearing underwear, and if he feels like he needs to pee or poop he needs to use the toilet. After cleaning it up, he left him naked and let him run around in the backyard blowing bubbles and playing basketball.

3:10pm - Nolan came inside to pee all by himself.

5:45pm - While watching a show and eating dinner (such a bad habit we have GOT to break!), Nolan peed in his chair. Too many distractions!

6:50pm - After his bath and reading books naked, Nolan said he needed to go pee pee and went downstairs to pee successfully in the toilet.

Then, David dressed him in a night time diaper and his PJs and tucked him into bed.

I'd say day two was another success!

Accidents are expected and are normal, we are just going to keep praising his efforts and buckle in for the next couple of days.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Nolan: full-blown #pottytraining mode around here and he's blowing our minds! #boymom #SAHM #kids #parenting

Nolan has been OBSESSED with toilets and watching people use them for YEARS!

Since before age two, he would follow us into the bathroom, wanting an up-close and personal viewpoint of your business! He loved waving bye to the "business" as he flushed the toilet for you and always wanted to talk about your "business" experience once you were done.

By age three and a half he had the motor skills to pull his pants up and down by himself, climb up and down from a toilet, and, with some help, wash his hands; however, even with all of that, we noticed immediately that his body and brain connection regarding using a toilet just wasn't there, yet.

We had purchased him a potty seat and stool and helped show him the mechanics of using it and he did use it a few times but it was because we prompted and asked and physically placed him on the toilet, not because he felt the urge to go and just went on his own.

So, we just left it alone this last six months.

In the last 60 days, every time he was left naked between diaper changes, especially first thing in the morning and after his bath in the evenings, he would say "I need to go pee pee!", run downstairs, get up on his potty, and pee. Then, on Monday night, after bath, he jumped up from building a gear car and say "Mom, I need to go poop", ran downstairs, got up on the toilet, and pooped. It was beyond exciting, I tell ya! There's just nothing like watching your child "get it". It became clear that he was ready to use the toilet and we just needed to get on-board.

Can I just say that this was really hard for me?!?

Making the commitment to potty-training a child when you are a family that is always on-the-go is really scary! All I could think about was cleaning pee and poop out of his car seat, the playroom carpet, and changing bedsheets from nap time and bed time accidents. {sigh} While Nolan was ready, it was clear that I wasn't ready!

By Wednesday evening, I had gotten myself ready, mentally. I decided to give away/return all the diapers and get out the stash of underwear I had stockpiled and here's how it went:

Thursday - immediately after waking up and getting out of his night time diaper, Nolan went downstairs on his own and peed in the toilet. David put him in underwear under his clothes and he sat at the table to eat breakfast.

8:45am - Within 10 minutes, he jumped down out of his chair, grabbed a kitchen towel, and began wiping his legs and the floor. He had peed. We told him that accidents happen and that it's okay and we just need to change clothes and try to get to the toilet next time.

9:30am - After breakfast, I took him outside to water the garden and put in some new sprinkler steaks for my herb garden. Within about 20 minutes, he waddled over to me and said "I need mommy to change my poop". Umm. That underwear went in the trash and after cleaning him up, we put on a new pair of underwear and a new outfit and came inside to play.

10:00am - 10 minutes later, while sitting in the playroom reading books, he peed again and I noticed it when he jumped up and wiped the carpet, as if he was looking for something.

After stripping him of his soiled clothes, a lightbulb went off in my head: the underwear was still foreign and perhaps he needed to be naked for a while to make the whole potty-training experience more successful for him. I mean, he has used the toilet two dozen times or more in the last 60 days and every time it was between changes, when he was naked! So, I decided to leave him naked the rest of the day, beginning at 10:45am.

By lunch time, at Noon, he had stopped playing, reading, and watching a show to run to the bathroom and successfully peed in the toilet three times!

3:00pm - Because I was scared to death of him peeing in his car seat (I did mention this was really hard on me, right?), I decided to dress him in a pull-up (found three in my backpack) under his clothes to go pick up Emily from camp. Before getting dressed, he said he needed to pee and did so just before we got in the car. I explained that we had to wear clothes when we are not at home and that he needs to keep the pull-up clean and dry while wearing it. I told him if he felt the need to pee or poop to tell me and I would take him to the bathroom (we've used it every day for nearly two weeks so he knows where it is at the camp site!).

5:15pm - The kids play for over an hour every day I pick Emily up from camp until about 5pm. Just before we left, we walked down the hill to use the bathroom as we always do. Nolan said he didn't need to go pee pee but I asked him to try and he complied. Nothing came out so we drove home.

5:45pm - The moment we walked in the door, I stripped him naked and within five minutes, I saw him run to the bathroom and heard him pee in the toilet.

6:15pm - While the kids were eating dinner, Nolan got out of his chair and went to the bathroom and peed in the toilet twice.

6:45pm - After bath, before putting on his PJs, Nolan said "I need to go pee pee" and went downstairs from where we were reading in his room to pee in the toilet.

7:30pm - I dressed him in a night time diaper (one step at a time, people, night training comes next!) and his PJs and tucked him in for the night.

That is what I call a successful day!

I've heard about people stripping their kids naked for a few days to make potty-training easier on their kids (no false sense of security from the clothes, like a diaper, and no clothes to fumble with in case they are in a hurry to get to the bathroom) but truly never thought about it as an option. It wasn't something Emily needed and wasn't on my radar for Nolan. Until today!

My plan is to keep him naked again Friday (David is off work and home all day to help out) and discuss what underwear is and maybe try and find a video via a potty-training website to help him make the connection that underwear is not a diaper and you don't pee and poop in it. I bet it's simply a matter of creating that new habit and making it part of his daily routine.

Keep us in your positive thoughts! :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Nolan: Four Years Old #kids #parenting #motherhood #preschool

HOW is it that my "baby", my last child, is four years old?

Life sure has sped by since Nolan was born but, when I hold him in my arms as we sit and read books every night and he asks me for one more kiss, it feels like he was just born!

All about Nolan, or what I can recall at this moment:

Nolan is quick to memorize story lines from books, television shows, songs, and even movies and we often find him repeating them through out the day. For example: he knows the entire Team Umizoomi episode with Farmer Dan when all the animals go missing. He can recite every single line and gets a real giggle when you chime in to play one of the parts- I've watched it enough times I can almost play Farmer Dan myself! :) It's no secret he loves Frozen and knows nearly all the words to every song but it blows our minds that he can recite entire scenes from that film! He has his favorite songs that he will insist we let play over the radio when we happen upon them including "Sugar" by Maroon Five, "All About that Bass" by Meghan Trainor, "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift, and "Dark Horse" by Katy Perry. Oh, and only the artists are allowed to sing their songs, not anyone else in the car!

Nolan LOVES wheels!!! {That statement NEEDED three exclamation points because it's such a huge part of who he is} Wheels on the bike he learned to ride without training wheels at only three years old, wheels on the scooter he mastered before age three, wheels on wheelchairs, shopping carts, strollers, parked vehicles, stationary bikes at the gym, on his beloved train set, on the 200+ Matchbox cars he owns and plays with daily, and even the wheels on his sister's rolling backpack. The kids loves the mechanics of them and the push/pull action of playing with them. He's never not ecstatic about getting a new toy with wheels! Some other things he really enjoys is playing with Kinetic sand and playdoh, doing puzzles (especially shapes!), using the Tag Reader on the collection of books we have (Pixar's Cars are his favorites), building the marble run, using a cash register, building a set of train tracks, being read to and flipping through books himself, shooting hoops, using watercolors, building towers with Legos, riding his scooter and his bike, kicking his soccer ball, playing match games, climbing the big trees at our local parks, riding carnival rides at our local zoo, and swimming. We can't believe how good Nolan is at all electronic games. Like most kids, he was exposed to Leapfrog electronic hand-held games at an early age and is very savvy. He has his own set of headphones, thanks to Gram, and loves to just "play pen" quietly in our playroom by himself.

Nolan is a keen observer, sharply in-tune with other's feelings, often crying when other people are hurt or sad or having a tantrum for reasons that have nothing to do with him. He can be heard saying "oh, she's sad, she misses her mommy" or "oh, he has a boo-boo and needs a kiss", almost as a way to talk himself into not being upset and that everything is okay. It's very sweet to see so much empathy in my child. As parents, we have to be careful not to be too harsh or loud when reprimanding Nolan because it's easy to overwhelm him and hurt his feelings. He's quick to understand when he's made a bad choice if you address him calmly with a kind tone. He's also quick with the "are you okay?"s when someone falls down near him and the "I'm alright"s when he's the one to go down. David and I are thrilled at how clearly he communicates - it will serve him well in life!

He's a very affectionate child, always freely giving hugs and kisses and high-fives and "good-bye, I'll miss you"s. He loves to be held and hugged, doesn't resist hand-holding (much), and still loves to climb up in your lap to read books or watch a movie.

We don't have Nolan on any kind of rigid schedule... he has his whole life to be on a schedule! Whenever he wakes up for the day is when he wakes up and that's because I still stay at home full time with him and David works very non-traditional, late morning hours. He typically sleeps until about 8:30am, which is oh so lovely on weekends; however, I do have David get him up around 7:45am on the days I have an early gym class (Nolan goes with me every day) so that he has time to wake up, play, have breakfast, and is more willing to leave home. It's funny to me that Nolan is such a home-body. He loves to wake up on his own, be brought downstairs to the playroom, and spend a  leisurely morning playing with his cars and trains before having breakfast, getting dressed, and going about the day. I've learned you cannot rush this boy anywhere. It really stresses him out (he will start squawking and physically resist being moved!) to be told "hurry up!" so building in extra time for him on days we have somewhere to be helps a great deal with his willingness to do what you want him to do. Is this typical for four year olds? I'm going to assume it's typical for all kids of all ages. :)

Age three to four seems to be a huge time of transition for most kids, especially surrounding naps and bed times. We thought Nolan was transitioning out of his daily naps this last month as he would insist, nearly beg, he wasn't tired and wanted to play. After a few days in a row without a mid-day nap, he would become so overtired he couldn't even sleep at night! It was a rough recovery. So, I went back to putting him down for a nap every day, about 5-6 hours after he awoke for that particular day and he sleeps anywhere from 2 - 4 hours. He hasn't had any trouble going back to bed for the night, after he has had about a 12 hour day... so far. We will see how it all goes this fall when he starts Preschool and has to be up with an alarm (7:00am!).

For now, Nolan is still sleeping comfortably in his crib. Hey, if it's not broke, don't try and fix/change it! Right? :) He sleeps crammed up in one corner, on his stomach, with his knees drawn up to his chest. He will softly rock side to side as a soothing ritual to put himself to sleep and David and I both fear he won't do well in a "big boy bed" right now. And since potty-training is still spotty and definitely not something happening at night, we don't feel the rush to change anything right now. I think we will all know when that times comes. He's also so small, barely 36" tall and 34lbs, his crib is still perfect!

Ah, potty-training. It's clear he's beginning to make the body-to-brain connection as he has told us many times, when in the tub or between diaper changes, he needs to "pee pee" and has gone successfully on his own, but it's not something we want to push at all. We ask him every morning, after meals, before nap, and before bed if he feels the urge to use the potty and, lately, his answer has been "yes" more than it's been "no". He knows where the potty is, we've been working on the pulling down/up of his pants and Pull-ups (we wear them when at home), and we aren't at all making a big deal out of any misses or accidents. His Preschool takes kids in diapers no matter how old because age is not an indicator of readiness and we really appreciate this. He won't go to school in diapers...

Nolan is what I would call somewhat of a picky eater. Again, it's just not something we fret over because it's not going to last forever! He loves french toast and multi-grain pancakes, bacon, deli meats, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, cheeses, smoothies/yogurt, ALL fruits, broccoli, peas, snap peas, black beans, macaroni 'n cheese, and almost all crunchy, salty, snack items. He will eat pasta (quinoa and/or brown rice with Organic marinara!) and grilled cheese sandwiches as well. But not much else. I offer a serving of whatever we are eating daily but he continues to leave it on his plate. We're good with that! Emily's palate began to open up around 6-7 years old and I know he will come around one day, too.

Nolan is a petite little boy. He's just now wearing size 3T shirts and jackets but is still mostly in size 2T pants and shorts. He wears a size 9 shoe and size 5 diaper. He's pretty vocal about what he wears, wanting to choose his outfit each morning, and, ever since he dropped a toy on his toe and lost that toe nail - it was quite traumatic, he insists on wearing socks all day and night! David indulges him. :) He has his four year well check and physical in late July, when we return from our summer vacation, and I'm not at all looking forward to it as he has immunizations scheduled. Ugh. When does that ever get easier?

Nolan loves being around other kids! I've never met a kid more excited to enter a room, be it the gym daycare, the zoo, the children's museum, or when picking Emily up after school. He waves and often says "hey guys!". It's the cutest thing ever but you can literally hear his little heart break when they ignore him. He is eager to play beside anyone, regardless of age! I can't wait for him to start Preschool, he is going to LOVE it! I still take him places every day. Mostly the gym daycare but we also have memberships to the local zoo, three children's museum and our local aquarium and indoor bounce house that we visit once a week. His favorite part of the day is still when his sister comes home from school (about 3:00pm) because she really plays WITH him. She loves to get down on the floor with the train set, Maganatiles, puzzles, and Matchbox car race sets and engage him in play. They play chase and tickle Monster, too!

Nolan appears to be fairly patient and persistent with most things in general but when he's not able to get something to work quite right, he screams, swats at things, and often throws items he's frustrated with. {sigh} He has no trouble expressing himself verbally ("I need your help!", "The __ is stuck", "___ won't work!", "Help me ___") but we are still working on helping him not react physically. I guess we're just thankful he's not a hitter or biter! I think the peer influence from Preschool will help a lot with this. Any suggestions?

Emily is Nolan's favorite person on earth. It's clear he looks up to her for guidance and assistance and very much wants to do and have every thing she does and has. He loves when she acknowledges him daily, invites him to play when she has friends over, helps him build and play, and even when she offers him her daily hug and high fives. He knows her name is Emily but still prefers to call her "Bappy" and he notices when she's not around, asking when she's coming back. He's also starting with the "I want some, too!" regarding anything she has: new clothes, a snack, even punishment!

One thing that really upsets Nolan is when you leave his line of sight. He will start crying, calling for you, begging you to "come back to me". I can't take out the trash nor check the mail without him right beside me. It's sudden and came out of nowhere! He's fine to be left with the gym daycare or Gram or the other parent but if it's just me and him and I leave the room he's in, he panics. Also, I've noticed that the moment we pull into a parking spot and I turn the car off, he starts asking "are you going to leave me here?". I've never left that child in the car! It's the strangest fear of abandonment.

Nolan's favorite phrase is "I don't like that!". He got it from me, no doubt. I swear, I say it like a dozen times a day and had no clue until I heard him using it. ha! At least he expresses himself, right?

A little quirk about Nolan is that he can't stand for anyone or the wind to mess with his hair! He wants it laying flat down against his head at all times. No gel nor any kind of fancy cut for this man.

I'm sure there's more, couldn't we all just ramble on and on about our children? We just love our little Diggy and are really looking forward to upcoming adventures including Preschool and Nolan's first trip to Disneyland this fall!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Kinetic sand FUN! #wordlesswednesday #gifts #kids #parenting

Kinetic sand - inexpensive, mess-free, super easy clean-up and THE best fun for all ages!

This stuff keeps them busy for hours. They love to play together!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Shoe-thief: when big sister is away, little brother will play! #kids #littlebrother #boymom #motherhood

Emily was gone all Memorial Day weekend - it was the Girl Scouts' annual Exploree sleep-away camp!

Nolan asked "where's Bappy?" about a dozen times. It was more than clear he noticed she wasn't home.

We didn't want him to become jealous and upset so, we simply said "oh, she's not here right now, she'll be back soon" and that seemed to do it.

While she was gone, he snuck into her room on a number of occasions, to play with her toys, jump on her bed, and even, steal her shoes!

It's not just her shoes he loves. He can be seen stomping around the house any given morning in my rainbows or David's soccer cleats.

He's even tried wearing Gram's high heels a time or two when she's left them outside her suitcase!

Silly boy!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Open House - the time of year every parent of a school-aged kids looks forward to most #parenting #kids #school #thirdgrade #homework

Every year, Emily's school hosts an Open House. Usually in the month of May. It's one evening per year where the classrooms are open to the families for two hours and the kids get to lead you through all they've been working on.

Their class has some land snails!

The teachers are there to explain all the time and effort put into the projects, highlight which works your kid enjoyed the most and/or worked the hardest on, and to answer any questions you may have about any of it.

Fractions! So fun to see what she came up with: a bird chasing a mouse. haha!

Emily's animal report was a huge research-based project all third graders worked on for more than half the year. She had to pick the animal, research facts about it from at least two sources, produce an outline, animal interview, and rough draft. Then, final draft included typing it up and drawing and labeling a picture of it. Lastly, they had to make a diorama of the animal in it's habitat, complete with food source, predators and living quarters.

It's a super fun, relaxed evening where the kids are the stars of the night!

 This year's main field trip was to Hidden Villa. It started with weeks of preparation beforehand, including meeting their Naturalist guide and learning all the "do"s and "don't"s of visiting. Afterwards, each child had to write up (then type!) a report about what they saw, what they learned, what they loved, and anything else relevent that day.

Reading Buddies are something all third graders get. They meet with a Kindergartner they are assigned to every week to help them read through a book. This is the interview project done with her buddy, Chloe, this year. 

 The Otter is her school mascot. You can find one everywhere you look!

 Who doesn't love an alliteration?!? "Pink pip pippies pipping at parks"

Research-based papers are BIG in third grade. Lots of book and online research went into Emily choosing to do her "very important person paragraph" on Sojourner Truth.

They are teaching kids economics in third grade now, too! This was just one example of what they have learned this year. 

 One of THE BEST things her teacher does is turn things they are turning into little songs. The kids LOVE it and it really helps Emily remember things!

Emily's "area" model drawing 

Emily with the museum curator - they took a field trip to our Natural History Museum

"Then and Now" - a project about our city's main street downtown area 

Also, the MPR (multi-purpose room) is set up like an art gallery. The art docent program at our school is HUGE! It's a program lead by parent volunteers, with real curriculum, in which projects are done with each class once or twice per month. You might remember THIS POST where the main projects done each year are auctioned off for thousands of dollars. I bid the highest thus, winning Emily's class project this year! :) The art docents set up many of the pieces worked on each year, with at least two of each child's pieces featured.

And no evening would be complete without a super silly post with a friend! :)

It's just mind-blowing all that she has done and learned in only third grade. She's working really hard on learning to type by touch (they have time in the media center and classroom 3-4x each week to practice these skills and all tests going forward are computerized!) as all projects going forward have to be typed.

Homework is sent home weekly, which we choose to do a little at a time each day and includes:

30-40 minutes of free choice reading every day
1-3 math review worksheets
Online SpellingCity vocabulary games - they have a test each week

It's really not a big deal and takes less than about 45 minutes per day; however, Emily has suffered when she has waited until the weekend to do it all at once. Natural consequences, right? :)

Projects are only 2-3 times per year and we make Emily do it all herself. It's important to us that she does her best, on her own, so that she has something to learn from and can feel good about her hard work.

Right now, Emily's favorite period of the day is music. They have been practicing The Wizard of Oz play to put on for parents next week. Emily is one of the flying monkeys. She about died of joy when she got her part. haha My animal-loving girl. I hope to have pics of that next week.

At recess, Emily is really active and tends to choose playing organized games right now including: kickball, four-square, and volleyball.

She has a billion friends and is that super easy-going kid that will play with anyone who wants to play, too. I love this about her and know it will serve her well in life!

We are sad third grade is coming to an end but are very much looking forward to alarm clock-less summer days and non-structed play time!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

David's love of art is handed down again #parenting #kids

David is so passionate about creating things.

He's great with everything from mechanics to watercolor.

He especially loves to guide the kids with anything art-related.

Today, it was watercolor.

He takes the time to get out all the best materials including the correct type of paper and paint brush, and even makes certain to contain the mess by putting a smock on Nolan and protecting the table.

He's so patient, too! He'll sit there for hours with them, allowing them all the time they need to express themselves through whatever medium.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Riding bikes and scooters and even playing a little basketball #familyfun #kids #parenting

All of a sudden, every weekend here lately has been dreary, cold, cloudy, gloomy, and all those things that make you want to snuggle down in the couch all weekend.

Alas, we have two kids so that's just not happening.

Instead, we bundled up and walked down the street to spend a few hours at the school. We rode bikes and scooters and even played a little basketball.

The helmet Nolan has on is the very first helmet Emily ever owned. It's still beautifully decorated with all those random things she chose at the very first Bike Fair. Nolan loves it and gets complemented on it daily.

If there's one thing Nolan loves more than cars it's balls. Soccer, baseball, football, and most especially basketball. He scores more often than not, which is always surprising as the nets are so high!

Emily took some time to show off some of the skills she's been learning in gymnastics. Lots of flips over the bars and even the nets at the playground today.