Life Family and the Pursuit of Sanity

or… adventures in infertility and babies and family drama!

Toddlers and Discipline April 27, 2013

Filed under: We're parents? — arminta @ 12:59 am
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Interesting factoid about two year olds of which you may not be aware: They do whatever the fuck they want, whenever the fuck they want and you and your silly rules can go to hell.

 

We had a good day, can you tell?

 

Let me preface this by saying, Lil G and Ladybug are actually not “bad” by toddler standards. They don’t listen like they should and they get into a little mischief here and there, sure, but they don’t do a lot of breaking/wrecking/disobeying on purpose for the fun of it. They are two, which by default means that their little brains simply have not developed the cognitive ability to exercise impulse control in all situations. The fact they exercise impulse control as often as they do is really quite remarkable. Knowing this does not make it any easier on me when we have days where I have toys thrown at my head, I get hit, fishing poles get tangled into light fixtures (don’t ask) and there are lots of toddler vs toddler death matches.

 

When we have days like that, I am not a very good Mommy or Nanny and that needs to change. I have to admit that I had a temper tantrum today and put the kids in a long time out in their beds. I also popped both of the kids on their bum (separate incident, not two punishments for the same incident). I feel HORRIBLE. I spend all day saying “We don’t hit” and “Please don’t scream” only to turn around and scream and hit. I need a new discipline method up in here. I don’t like the one I’m using and it isn’t working anyway. Not that I would like it better if it were…

 

My experience with discipline is primarily of the dad will beat you and mom will scream and flip shit over on you variety. My parents were not “abusive” although, my dad did take corporal punishment a little far. Of course, their parents were far worse, so you live you learn, you improve from the generation before. This is NOT about criticizing the way I was raised, nor anyone else’s discipline methods. If your method is working for your family, then great. I obviously have 0 legs to stand on in the judgement department, and am super glad for you that you found something that works. Also, I don’t necessarily believe that punishment is 100% all bad, all the time. It just doesn’t feel right to me, for these kids at this time.

 

I love these kids. I want them to listen and obey because they WANT to listen and obey. (I get that they are two and their desire to do whatever the hell they please is going to trump their desire to make me happy. It’s not about making me happy.) Or rather, I don’t want it to JUST be a reaction to fear. Let’s face it, at this age they are going to fight, they are going to do whatever they want sometimes. Even when they know it’s not allowed/OK.  The thing I constantly have to remind myself is “they are new here.” Sometimes the lure of Daddy’s fishing poles is just going to be too strong. That doesn’t mean that I have to let them play with the fishing poles, but there are other ways to enforce the boundary than yelling and time outs.

 

Ultimately, the goal is children that exercise self control and exhibit moral/ethical behavior naturally as adults, right? So, I’m researching ways to get there without all of the stuff that I’m feeling negatively about. Again, I’m not talking about being permissive, just disciplining a new way. Because I don’t like ME right now and we sure as shit aren’t making any headway on the behavior front. I think we’re going to start with Mommy having time outs when ever she feels a temper tantrum coming on…

 

Compromise: Haircut Edition April 18, 2013

Filed under: Baby G,We're parents? — arminta @ 2:15 am
Tags: , , ,
It’s no secret that I did NOT want the boy’s hair cut. But, obviously, at some point it was going to have to be done. It was getting in his face in the wind and honestly, the hack job bangs were looking worse and worse as the back got longer. So, we took him in to get it cut…
Sitting in the big chair like a big boy.

 

Being much better for the stylist combing his hair than he ever is for me…

 

First snips!

 

Hey, this is fun!

 

He was so tired, but he couldn’t suck his fingers because she kept getting in his way.

The only thing he really didn’t like about the experience was the hair landing on him. He kept telling her she was making a mess on his knees!

Now, for the big reveal!

Not so different you say? You’re right!

We ended up going with a trim up, rather than a full blown cut. So, the bangs are blended into his hair better and she cut some layers into the back to help with brushing it, but only took about an inch and a half off of the length. Just enough to make it more even and off of his shoulders.

Front view. His hair flips out on one side and in on the other like mine!

 

The mad face. Because he loves making the mad face.
Before
After
 

The Message March 20, 2013

“Even in the kindest and most loving families two year olds must be reminded a hundred times a day, perhaps by words and acts of their parents, perhaps by events, by Nature herself, that they are small, weak, clumsy, foolish, ignorant, untrustworthy, troublesome, destructive, dirty, smelly, even disgusting. They don’t like it! Neither would I. Neither would you.” John Holt

 

Life with a two year old is hard, friends. They are small, weak, clumsy, foolish, ignorant, untrustworthy, troublesome, destructive, dirty, smelly and even disgusting.  They wreck your house and demand unhealthy snacks. They are fiendish little tyrants. They are emotional and fearless (often the reason for being untrustworthy, troublesome, destructive and/or dirty). They soak up knowledge like sponges (even things you don’t want them to soak up). They are bold adventurers. They are… people. People who are still developing their sense of self worth. People who think YOU are the be all and end all of awesome (unless, you are denying them said unhealthy snack). People who take your opinion of them quite seriously, making it kind of important that you don’t let them know that you think they are small, weak, clumsy, foolish, ignorant, untrustworthy, troublesome, destructive, dirty, smelly and even disgusting. Even though they are.

 

Recently, I have been looking for more structured activities to do with the Little Twosome. Partially to help fill our days with more doing and less TV. Mostly to encourage the learning. And somewhat to help combat all of the “when are you going to send him to preschool? and get his hair cut? and good god, you’re doing it all wrong!” comments (fyi… I’m not, when he’s good and damned ready and eff you). The point… I’ve been researching different homeschooling methodologies, by accident, as I’ve been looking for more activities. The two that really seem to resonate with me (for this age group, anyway) are Unschooling and Montesorri. The main message they both present for educating this age group are: “Holy shit, they’re two, let them play!” The main message they both present for learning in general is: “If you take the fear of failure out of the equation, kids tend to learn better.” I think I would be afraid if the primary vibe I was catching from my main caregiver, and life in general, was “Wow, you’re a real pain in the ass!”

 

If your every effort to help around the house was met with an exasperated sigh and being told to go play somewhere else, you’d probably get tired of the rejection, right? If every activity you wanted to do was not a good one for “right now” you’d probably stop asking to do activities, huh? You’d probably start soaking up the message that you are inconvenient. I think I’d probably be scared to ask to do anything if I felt that I was viewed as an inconvenience to the people I loved most in the whole world. I think that would be a terrible feeling. So, why is it OK to make our little people feel this way? Yeah, because it’s not.

 

I am as guilty as anyone of needing to watch my tone and loosen up a little. I have to remind myself everyday that the world will not end if the toys stay on the floor for a couple of days. Nothing bad will happen if the laundry takes a long time to fold and not all of it is done “right.” Water can be mopped up when spilled, dishes can be rewashed if necessary. At two a child’s main learning takes place through play and play is usually pretending or imitating.

 

Let them help with the dishes. Let them fold the towels. Let them help out. There is no higher praise to a two year old than “Wow, you’re a great helper!” except, maybe “You sure are an excellent helper.” Let them make messes. Let them help clean up after they’ve made a mess. Let them have adventures. Let them explore daily life. It may seem boring to you, but they’ve only been here a couple of years and they’ve only been big enough to help for a few months. This is still all quite new and exciting to them. Tell them that they are big, strong, learning, trustworthy, helpful and loved (even if they are stinky and dirty, and then give them a sensory bath so they’ll be clean and smell nice). That is the best way to help them learn at this age. Plus, you know, it helps with their self esteem.

 

So, that’s what we’re working on around here, more daily life DOING. More letting them help. More showing them how capable they are. Well, and letting them make giant messes with sensory bins, ’cause that shit is fun.

 

 

Surprise! March 15, 2013

Filed under: Baby G,Expanding Their Minds,We're parents? — arminta @ 11:40 pm

Lil G is not always into the sensory play stuff I put together for him and Ladybug. Sometimes he surprises me, though…

There is a person selling this setup on Etsy (like exactly, same ice molds and everything) as a “Sensory activity for toddlers.” I didn’t think there was any kind of way stuffing puffballs into ice molds was going to be fun for a kid, so obviously I had to try it. Well, shockers! He flippin’ loved it.

Notice the dino dig and dragon taking a back seat to puff balls and ice molds? Cray-cray.

On the other hand I thought he would be all over gluing little tissue squares into pictures. He loves glue and he’s got a little OCD streak about making patterns (can’t imagine where that might have come from… la la la). This was the goal:

This is what happened…

So, that was time well spent cutting up tissue squares.

Anyhoo, my point? Little kids are fickle ass creatures and you never know what they’ll like and what they won’t, so try lots and lots of stuff 🙂 When all else fails, break out the Lincoln Logs

so they can do this

 

She’s So Pretty March 4, 2013

Filed under: Baby G,We're parents? — arminta @ 10:00 am

My boy has long hair. I just can’t bear to chop off those curls. I mean seriously…

 

Plus? He loves his “yellow hair.” He’s very proud of it and talks about it almost daily. True, he does hate having it brushed or washed (both tasks would be easier with a haircut), but he loves his hair.

 

Recently, though we’ve been getting lots of people calling him “her” and that is bugging me. Not to any extreme amount, or anything, but enough to bitch about it. See, thing is, I don’t buy into the whole gender roles thing. I think kids should be who they are. That said, most boys will naturally mostly gravitate toward things that society associates with boys. There’s a reason society has made that association, after all. The same holds true for girls. Most girls will naturally gravitate towards mostly “girlish” interests. Over time. Some boys like trucks and baby dolls, for that matter so do some girls (Ladybug is currently the only child in our family that plays with the car ramp on a regular basis). Some girls prefer blue and brown to pink and purple. That’s OK. I’m all for individuality. Tu-tus and Superman shirts, Darth Vadar and baby dolls. Whatever makes the kid happy.

 

That said, I buy my kid “boy’ish” clothes. Because that’s what I like on him. If he were to specifically ask for a pink shirt, I’d buy it and let him wear it. But, he doesn’t ask for pink. When he asks for anything at all, it’s Hulk or Star Wars. (He really doesn’t care that much about his clothes, though, he’d rather be naked.)

 

This is why I’m confused and irritated with all of the “she’s so pretty” comments. Typically, my kid is wearing blue, brown, red or green. Always, he’s always those colors. He has a deep little voice (for a toddler). He refers to himself in the third person (when not referring to himself as “mine”), and his name is NOT ambiguous. The absolute ONLY characteristic people could be using to make the determination that he is female is the length of his hair. Which, is a terrible indicator of gender:

 

None of those people look like a woman to me and all of them have longer hair than Baby G. It occurs to me, though, that Chris Hemsworth, or rather Thor, may be the reason Lil G loves his yellow hair so much. “Mine IS Thor” is a commonly heard phrase around these parts.

 

Now, the husband is wanting to get the boy’s hair cut (you know to stop him becoming gender confused), and I don’t. I love the curls, he loves his hair and ignorant asshats be damned. Right? Right…?

 

Learning is Fun March 3, 2013

Filed under: Baby G,Big C,Expanding Their Minds,Family,Ladybug,We're parents? — arminta @ 1:48 am

Oh Pinterest! I love you, but I hate you, too. Your recipes are mostly conglomerations of canned/boxed/processed ingredients dumped together to make “the best thing ever.” Your fashion advise is questionable at best. Your memes used to be second to none, but they are lacking of late. Your ideas for creative shit to do with my kids, though? AWESOME! Left to my own devices I’d never have come up with all of these activities. The kids love them, and the Dollar Tree is raking in the dough now that I have talked G into giving me an “educational supplies” budget. Which is mostly spent on baking soda, vinegar and crap from the dollar store.

 

Our first forray into Pinterest inspired mayhem was “Snow Paint.” Don’t let the name deceive you, this is not paint. It is shaving cream and white glue (equal parts). It does dry puffy.

Snow Paint

The idea was to paint paper snowflakes with the snow paint, then tape them to our picture window. We ended up with four snowflakes taped to the window.

Somewhere along the way, I decided “Hey, let’s give two two-year old’s glitter!” because Am.Dumb.

The reality of snow paint and glitter with toddlers.

 

Next, we decided to do a baking soda and vinegar experiment. But, I didn’t get all fancy with it. Just bowls of each element for each kid. Obviously, any time they can make a mess and create a fizz, it’s a good time.

 

The boy even made it a real experiment by making it “rain” into his “science.”

 

She is skeptical as to whether or not this counts as “experimenting.”

 

Let’s see, also, we made Mardi Gras crowns (while listening to zydeco music, which Lil Miss loved).

The cuteness is too much!

Please ignore the janky dishwasher, being held together by packing tape. It does a fine job washing the dishes, but the metal piece that covers the front part got dented and now falls out anytime the door is opened. So, I took it off.

I promise everyone is wearing underwear, their t shirts are just too long to see them. Also, we don’t wear pants.

 

One day when it was just me and Lil G I actually did a full on “invitation” and everything for the baking soda and vinegar game.

He had more fun mixing the colors with the syringes. How sad is it that I had 5 extra medicine syringes, and only one kid…

 

 

You know how sensory bins are a huge thing now? Yeah, I didn’t either, but Pinterest informed me otherwise… I went shopping for my first sensory bin on Valentines Day, thinking I’d get cheap Valentine’s stuff. No. The Dollar Tree had that shit cleared out and the green was in full effect. So, we have a St. Patty’s tub. Because they are two and have no idea.

My mom’s friend said “So, a sensory tub is just a box full of random stuff?” Yes, sometimes it is…

 

Lil Miss played with it for an hour. She doesn’t do anything other than sleep for more than five minutes at a time.

 

The boy, on the other hand, lost interest after about 20 minutes.

The most recent activity was another bin. But, this time it smelled good and had dinosaurs buried in it. Lil G still lost interest after about 40 minutes. Ladybug would have played in it all day if we didn’t stop to Skype with Nana.

 

Even Big C liked this one. I wish Pinterest had been around when he was little.

A real smile on a nine year old boy?!

 

As you can see, this is not an activity for those who like clean…

So, that’s what we do during the day… I have tons more ideas to try based on stuff I found on actually creative mommy’s blogs! I even “lesson planned” next week. This whole “having fun with the kids” thing is getting out of hand 🙂

 

Things to Never Forget: I Wuv You January 12, 2013

Filed under: Baby G,We're parents? — arminta @ 2:53 am

Last night my little family went shopping. I was perusing the lingerie department for a 50DDD bra (I will find one eventually!) while the boys were trying on sunglasses. As I hunted and pecked I heard the most awesome wonderful voice call out from nearly across the store “Mom-Mom I wuv you!” I called back “I love you, too, Buddy!” he replied “Wuv you more, Mommy! Wuv you the most!”

Undoubtedly his Daddy was feeding him words. No matter, it was still so sweet.