The wheel is in motion

I thought it would be hard to part with certain baby items when they were no longer needed. My mom says I fail when it comes to the sentimental value of items, but that’s not true. There are some things that I will never part with. I don’t frequent diapering forums much anymore, but people used to save cloth diapers and put them in shadow boxes for display. I didn’t think I would ever do something that crazy, but there are definately diapers I had made for both Maggie and Liam that I wondered if I would part with when the time came. I wondered the same when acquired a much coveted Beco Butterfly carrier last year and though I can’t imagine why I would keep it around, I never pictured myself selling it.

Well, the time has come. I sold the carrier today to a nice girl named Amelia for her 10 month old baby. SHe and her husband are just getting started on having children and hope to have a few more. The carrier will work well for her and I was glad to have sold it to someone who really wanted one. The diapers are also for sale. I have several packaged and ready to go to the post office. It feels good. I don’t feel sad about selling our little baby items. The truth is, we can use the space for all of the toys, shoes and clothing that seem to be growing in volume by the day.

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The tides have turned…a new season

I can measure much of my life in seasons. Without elaborating in too much detail, the first season I remember in life is probably when I was 4, before my mom and dad divorced, the next season I remember is when I was in grade school and my siblings were my best friends, moving into adulthood there was the college season, then the season where I learned a bit about who I was in the Army, marriage, kids, divorce, remarriage, more kids. Seasons change and sometimes there isn’t really a defining moment, I just realize that something has changed and we have moved forward. Another season in life has recently passed and noticing Elmo on my Suburban DVD player brought it to my attention.

When we got the DVD player the movies were enjoyable for both Dorothy and Liam, poor Dustin has been shafted since the get-go. SpongeBob, Labryinth (yes, the cheese David Bowie muppets on heroin variety), and Nemo graced the screen so that the kids would ride in silence from point A to point B. Gradually Dorothy began to lose interest in the movies and they were specifically catered to Liam. If the DVD wasn’t on, Kidz Bop blasted from the speakers because Dustin, Dorothy and Liam liked to sing along. Maggie had no interest in the movies or the music, and everyone was happy.

Now that I think about it, I think the change was set in motion after a trip to visit friends when they loaned us a Baby Einstein video to help Maggie out on the ride home. It wasn’t immediate, Liam’s movies still took up most of the screen time, but since that point Maggie’s billing on the screen increased rapidly. Music has ended. Now, when we get in the car Maggie becomes anxious pointing at the drop-down screen, waving frantically and shouting *MELMO* until his little red body and irritating high pitched voice appears. Liam kind of watches, but Elmo is definately not his choice and he watches primarily when the batteries on his Leapster or Gameboy have died.

We have passed the season of “Anything to keep Liam happy” to the new season of “Anything to keep Maggie happy.” To an outsider, these may seem very much the same, but to me, there is so much more. My seasons of life have been dominated by babies and little bitty kids for a long time. The kids are becoming more independant every day. Dustin is growing into a young man and will turn 11 in March. Just a short time ago he was pushing a popcorn popper across the floor squealing in delight as he chased the dog, now he is trustworthy enough to leave home alone for a bit and asking for a cell phone. He had a girlfriend for a couple of days and the girls are starting to notice his big smile and deep dimples. I think that the next decade will be filled with the season of teenagers….

I don’t think I’ll jinx it…

Maggie started wearing big girl panties on Monday. No pull ups, just panties. She had 2 accidents on Monday, one on Tuesday. Today is Friday. She has not had another accident since Tuesday. I’m going to officially go on the record and say we are day-time trained. My biggest problem hasn’t been the training, it has been finding undies small enough for my 20 month old girl.

My mom swears I was trained at 18 months, and that I wasn’t exceptional or anything, that most kids were trained around that time frame 30-odd years ago. What has changed? As parents, are we so terrified that we are going to scar our children’s little psyche’s or that we want it to be *their accomplishment*? Are we just out of tune with our little ones because there are so many other distractions ranging from 2-parent working families, to internet, iphones, and satelitte television? Is it too inconvient to stay home for a few days or a weekend to accomplish the task? I really do wonder why the mindset seems to have changed, why 3 – 3.5 is the norm age and not the exception.

As a daycare provider I’ve told most of my parents that there are 2 big windows of opportunity for potty training. The first occurs sometime around 18-21 months. This is the time where a child truly is trained to use the potty. They go when mom goes, go when dad goes, when big brother or sister goes and they are mimicking behavior. If you miss this first window, most parents will wait because any further attempts are met with much resisistance. When this first chance passes, it can be like pulling teeth trying to convince your child to use the potty because most of them are into a very negative stage of life, fairly normal. It is when you frequently hear “I DO IT MYSELF”. Then, the magic window reopens a little more than a year later and the child wants to be big and you teach them to use the potty so they can be a big kid. Most people hit this second window and make a big production out of picking special panties/underwear and so on. I guess this is when potty learning, potty bribing and potty forcing comes in.

So even in my wondering where we as parents have gone wrong, I am guilty of missing the first window with both of my boys. I tried earlier training with both of them, but things came up in life and I failed to follow through, finding diapers for another year easier than the struggle. My girls were trained prior to age two, both boys right around their 3rd birthdays.

Enough analysis, check out my big girl!

Did that just happen?

One of my New Year resolves was to spend more time with the kids, not in front of a television. Last night I made good on my promise to them and took them to the library. The library can be a really great place to relax and spend time with children. Ours has a nice children’s area where you can sit and read, little kids can play or look at board books, and even a small screen for a puppet show. I let my children each pick a book and a movie. Then we all went to the seats, I sat down and read a story that Liam, Maggie and Dorothy enjoyed, while Dustin leafed through his new book.

Before I knew it, several children had gathered round the chair where I was reading to hear the story. The book took about ten minutes to read and all of the children, mine included begged for another story, but it was time for us to go. I felt somewhat uncomfortable leaving, though, because I didn’t see who these children were with, and they were not together. I asked who they were with and each told me either a mom or a dad. I’m not normally one to over-parent, or hover even, but these kids were no older than 3 and 4, who lets their child just wander the library?

We gathered our things, and headed to the check out. I saw a stand next to our checkout that was filled with “Hot Demand” movies and books. These items are new, only available for 3 days and carry a $1 a day fine. I ask if we can get G-Force, not sure if they were on hold since they were right next to the counter. The library lady says sure, so I reach out for the movie, my hand was no more than 5 inches from the movie. Suddenly, a 14 or 15 year old boy snatches the movie. I looked at the library worker, and THE BOY HID IT BEHIND HIS BACK. WHAT??? Really??? Did he really snatch my movie??? His mom just watched and said nothing. If this is how he acts in front of her, I wonder how he acts away from her! I bet she is the type of parent who would just let her 3 year old wander the library and sit with a stranger to hear a story.

Shopping with Dorothy

Yesterday, Dorothy and I went to Old Navy to get me some new jeans. Of course, I did get jeans, but Dorothy helped me buy something for her and the other kids as well. First of all, let me talk about ON jeans….The Diva, The Flirt, Boyfriend Jeans, The Sweetheart, these all have rises that are so short I can’t believe anyone who has ever had a child can wear. All of them showed both the front and back of my undies which made Dorothy laugh. I don’t mean kind of laugh, I mean a full belly laugh in the dressing room. One pair, I put on, zipped up and Dorothy said, “It looks like the top of the jeans is missing, Mom.” Yeah, I’ll say. So, ON has a new jean, I guess trying to capture the 30+ crowd. These are called “The Dreamer”. Clever. The Dreamer jeans are for those of us who miss our pre-baby bodies, who dream of a day where the pile of jeans we saved from high school will fit again, and who dream of the desire and time to do P90X. The people at ON are smart, they knew these jeans would have a market, and a big one at that. Capitalizing on the group who might normally be relegated to MOM jeans, they price these jeans at $34.50, about $15.00 more than their normal jeans, I guess the extra material and butt support panel costs more, but I think that they just know that people will pay more to look decent and still somewhat stylish.

I could have used 2, maybe 3 pairs of these great Dreamer jeans, but shopping with a budget, and my 8 year old didn’t yield more pants for me. Instead, we got some cute jeans for Maggie for next year – and they are PINK on the inside! Dustin got some normal boy jeans in a 12Slim, wow he has gotten tall recently. Dorothy just knew he would love them because they were a dark color, she picked. Liam got a Wolverine hoodie, I don’t know that he knows who Wolverine is, but Dorothy just knew he would love this. Finally, she got a shirt. She pawed over dozens, but ultimately decided on one with the Valentines Day Sweetheart candy. Of course. She is a sweetheart for sure!

I think our shopping trip was good. It was full of smiles and laughter, mostly at my expense….and I didn’t even mention how Dorothy was certain that a smaller size would fit me, and how she laughed when I nearly fell over trying to pull them up and how they wouldn’t go past my thighs….and it was a great time with my oldest daughter.

I don’t know that busy sufficiently covers it

but, busy is definately what I have been recently. Homework, games, working out, and a newly re-instated every other weekend date night, in addition to work, have kept me exceptionally busy.

The kids are growing so fast I’m trying to not miss anything.

Training for the Go! St. Louis is in full force, 6 days a week.

John and I are watching movies together and trying to find time to relax and enjoy each other’s company from time to time…who knew that finding time without kids would be so hard!

Snow, sleeping over and a date

You could smell it in the air, feel it on the breeze and our local weathermen confirmed that it was coming. Snow. The first big snow of the year showed up late Wednesday night, dropping about 5 inches on our town. That, combined with the very cold temperatures that accompanied it was enough to cancel school. We woke Thursday morning to a lovely blanket of snow covering our cul-de-sac.

My boys were eager to don snow gear and get out to play while Dad played with his snow blower. Dustin has been earning money during snows by shoveling, but yesterday he got to play with the snowblower for a little bit. It was so cold with the windchill that I decided he didn’t need to go around the neighborhood with his shovel. He was a bit disappointed, but I think he’ll be okay. Liam had to change out his hat, scarf and gloves mid-play because his were wet. Though our small John slept until noon, he redeemed himself by shoveling the drives and walks of my parents and his other grandparents.

Dorothy was quite sensible and stayed in the warm house to play with a friend. She and O played with the new, 4 foot long, Barbie Cruise Ship. This toy is amazing. Really. I think every little girl who is even remotely into Barbie should have this. Once you get 40 stickers into their correct places it is super cool. There is a pool that you can really put water into, made even neater by the waterslide that Barbie can ride into it! You can close the lid partially and there is a big round light, and music so Barbie can party it up poolside. No wonder the girls stayed indoors!

With a bit of encouragement, John II volunteered to let John and I go out for the evening. Miss Maggie was going to stay all night for the first time EVER with Gma and Gpa. Perfect! The bigger kids stayed with their brother and the littlest went to Grandma’s, so off we went to Fridays. We had a great, kid free, relaxing dinner, and the food was really good too! We didn’t mind that it was bone chilling cold outside, our date nights outside of the house are few and far between, though the older Maggie gets, the more frequent they are becoming.

I was a little worried that Mags wouldn’t actually stay all night, but my mom called me at 9:30 to tell me that bedtime had gone not just okay, but really smoothly, and that unless Maggie was super duper inconsolible at a 3am waking that she was committed to keeping her all night. I woke at 3 to check my phone for a text or a call. Nothing. At 4 am. Nothing. At 5 am, still nothing. It’s now 6:30 am, and I’ve gotten no call or text, so I can only assume the night went well and I’m very excited! This is completely selfish excitement initially….John and I can maybe go stay for a night somewhere KID FREE. We tried in the fall and it didn’t work out. It has been 2 years since we had a kid-free night, and I was about 28 weeks pregnant with Maggie….prior to that, I think it was another 2 years, when I was pregnant with Liam.

Non-selfishly, some of my best childhood memories with my Grandma and Grandpa were the times I got to stay over at their house. I remember my Grandma and I watching Shirley Temple in The Little Princess and Leslie Caron in Gigi. I used to like to put on all of Grandma’s necklaces, perfumes and lotions. I am certain Grandma and Grandpa contributed, possibly started, my coffee addiction because they always kept a little cup just for me so I could have coffee too. I can’t count all the times we played Frogo, a bingo game with silly frogs, or rummy. Now that all of my children can stay over with Gma and Gpa, I would hope that they all are able to form lasting memories of their time there.