9/17/18

5 Tips For Nighttime Potty Training






1. The child HAS TO BE READY- Night time potty training is a Physiological Developmental Milestone more so than a learned skill. Wait until at least a week of waking with dry diapers before even thinking about beginning nighttime training without the diapers.

2. Get a waterproof mattress pad, and a few disposable puppy pee pads for under the top sheet to make changing the sheets in the middle of the night less painful.  One tip recommended layering the sheets and pee pads to make multiple night accidents easy to change.

3. Limit liquids before bed. No explanation necessary.

4. Have that little pee machine use the potty right before going to bed.  Doing this will not only help with accidents but start an important bedtime routine element.

5. Never shame your little for accidents. Scolding will only cause regression. And no one wants that!

The truth is, Nighttime potty training is a lot like daytime potty training, your child is in charge. If he's not will to work with you, you don't stand a chance in hell.  

READER TIP: "Before going to bed, wake your child up and take him/her to the potty.  Do this for 2-weeks straight, and your child will learn to do it on their own."

I never tried that. I wa afraid I'd never get him back to sleep. The kid is as chatty as me!





What's your night time potty training plan?

How to Choose the Right Insurance Policies for Your Family




Insurance often gets a bad rap, but the truth is that it is necessary for protecting your family and your major assets. However, the policies can often seem complex and let’s face it talking about insurance is generally not high on anyone’s list of things to do.

Add to this the fact that your insurance needs will change over time. When you are single or renting an apartment, you only think about having car insurance or renters’ insurance. But now that you have a family, you will want to cover everything from medical expenses from your children to your home and ever life – after all, you want to make sure your kids are taken care of in case you or your husband are no longer around. (Don't forget the Will! Visit Prime Lawers today for more info!)


With that in mind, here are some tips on how to choose the right insurance policies for your family. While reading this article won’t make you an insurance agent, it will arm you will some of the knowledge you will need to make sure your family is protected.

Disability Insurance

While many people don’t think about these policies, the reality is that more than 30 million people experience a disabling injury each year. As such not having a disability policy in place means they are risking securing any future revenue in case they can’t work. Sure, you could rely on Social Security, but who knows how long that will last.

With disability insurance you can cover up to 60 percent of your earnings and this money can be used to make sure you have enough coming in to cover your expenses while you or your husband are out of work. For those who are self-employed, and that’s probably most of us these days, you can get an individual policy.

While this might cost a bit more than a group policy from a large employer, it is well worth the expense. In fact, long-term disability coverage is even more important for contractors and the self-employed as it will make sure you have something to turn to in times of trouble.

Collision Insurance

While most people focus on liability coverage when it comes to getting car insurance, having a good collision policy should not be overlooked. These policies will make sure you can get money back if your car is totaled.

If not, then you might find yourself without a car and with no money coming back from your insurance company. This is not a good position to be in as it probably means that your family will have to cut back on other expenses to cover the cost of a new car.

So, don’t end up with a car totaled and no gap insurance, as this could end up being a big blow to your family’s bank account.

Life Insurance

When talking about life insurance, the conversation is all about protecting your family’s finances – especially when the coverage is for the main breadwinner. Without this protection, you might risk protecting your family’s financial future.

Granted, this is probably not something you gave much thought to when you were in your twenty’s, but now that you have kids, it makes sense to ensure that their future is secured in case you or your husband has shuffled off this mortal coil.

When put in these terms you can see why life insurance is not that expensive. On top of that, you can investigate options such as term life, whole life, or universal life. These types of life insurance policies have been set up to allow consumers to fit the policy to their need and their financial situation.

Homeowners’ Insurance

You might not think that this policy will protect your family, but if something were to happen to your home, then you would want to make sure you have an insurance policy that will ensure you can keep a roof over your head.

Granted most banks will require homeowners’ insurance when you purchase your home but even for those who are lucky enough not to need a mortgage they want to make sure their home is always fully covered. When looking at coverage for your home, you will want to make sure that it not only covers your home but also your possessions.

Beyond that, you will want to choose an insurance company with a good reputation for paying out claims. Even if the policy costs more, it will be well worth it as you can always increase the deductible to lower the overall expense.

When it comes to homeowners’ insurance, you will probably never need to make a claim but if you do you want to make sure your insurance company will pay out without too much hassle.


5 Lessons Learned During My Mom Strike

While surfing through the FirstTimeMomandDad Archives, I found the post on my Mom Strike. I laughed so hard at myself, I had to repost it.

Posted in April of 2015, I'd just spent two-weeks focused on a project, not on my house. In that time, left up to the husband and child, the house became a proper shithole. There were toys everywhere, socks and shoes thrown about, dishes piling high, laundry piles that resembled the great Alps, a toddler bedroom that looked like a tornado hit it. It was like I was living in a frat house that runs a daycare.



 I cracked.

And rightfully so.

Why in the hell should I have to do it ALL?  Why am I the only one racing around keeping the frat house with a daycare, tidy? I'd hit my limit and needed the boys to step up to the cleaning-plate.

Starting immediately.

Those two were going to help me, or be in big ass trouble! So, I announced that I was going on mom strike. I was no longer jumping to cook or clean. I was no longer going to do it all! I was going on a mom strike.

My mom strike lasted five days, and coincidentally, taught me five life-long parenting lessons...

1. I created the filthy beasts living in my house. 

I like things cleaned and organized a certain way, so I just did it myself. In the process, I screwed myself. I wanted the house cleaned to my standards, and I was sure the boys couldn't come close.

Wrong.

It turns out, with direction, they can. Kind of. Yes, I stood over them one or two times, but after that, they managed to sort their own laundry, clean up their own dishes, and work together to load and unload. Now, I just let them grumble and walk-off. They know what they're doing. Clean is clean, who cares how the shirts are folded, their put away and dammit, that's what matters.

Goats, husbands, toddlers. Same thing. 



2. My Timing and my husband's timing are WAY OFF. 

Every night after dinner, I do the dishes and clean the kitchen straight away. I can't stand having a messy kitchen. My husband, can. But only for so long. He prefers to wait until later that night to tackle the mess. While it killed me to wait, thanks to the strike I learned a very valuable lesson, my head and kitchen will not explode if the dishes aren't done immediately. In his words, "There are no Dishes Police coming to get you. Relax. It can wait." Let me tell you when my husband is the one doing the dishes, the wait is definitely worth it.



3. There is NO reason my three-year can't pick up his own damn toys.

I had a girlfriend who taught her toddler that the 'Clean-up Fairy' will come and take the toys not cleaned up at the end of the night. It worked for her son, and now it's working for mine! The trick is to hide the toys left out. The next night, when your child cleans up fearful the fairy will be back, put the stolen fairy toys back by morning as a reward for keeping his toys tidy.


4. I don't want a damn cape; I want a cocktail.

I'll be the first to admit, I need to chill the F*$k out. I run around like a crazy person trying to keep my house in tip-top shape. It's like I have something to prove to myself and the world. I waste so much time picking up and cleaning things that get wrecked 30-seconds later.  WHAT THE HELL?

It's so not worth it. It's like I think if I have a perfect house and a well-behaved child, then I get to go to the Hero Mom Ball at the end of the year and claim a super-hero cape. Well, screw the cape. I'll take a cocktail and a better use of my time.




5. Mom strikes are so awesome; I'm already planning my next one.  

If you're worn out, feeling under-appreciated, sick of being the one that does everything while your partner and child are having a blast watching you, then call a strike! Clean up after yourself ONLY! When they start complaining... FIVE DAYS LATER. (Filthy beasts.) Make a list of things you do, hand it to your family and leave. Go to the park with a good book. Let them realize just how much effort it takes to keep the house cleaned, cupboards stocked, laundry in the drawers, bills paid and any of the other four million things you do in a day to keep your family healthy and happy.

I'm sad it took me flipping out and letting my house turn into a shithole to get to this place. But, in the end, it was worth it.


9/12/18

Inspired by Liam and Miley: The So Not Right Sh*t My Australian Husband and I Do To Each Other.

If you follow any social media channel at all then you know, recently, Liam Hemsworth has been posting videos of himself scaring Miley Cyrus. It's so bad, but for me, so relatable. In other words, my Australian husband and I do the evilest shit to each other, too! Of course, it’s all in good fun. But, sometimes, only one of us is having fun. 





In order from when we met, some of the shittiest things we’ve done to each other:




Green Apple Splatters

While I certainly love a good Pale Ale, I also like fruity drinks. One of the first fruity drinks I had in Australia was a green apple flavored malt-ish beverage. Adam told me they were called, Green Apple Splatters. So the next time we went grocery shopping, while we were checking out he told me to go over to the liquor store, (he actually called it a Bottle Shop because that’s what a liquor store is called in Australia) to get my new favorite, green apple splatters.

When the bottle shop attendant asked me what I wanted, I said, "Green Apple Splatters." She looked at me confused. I told her that they were green apple flavored in bottles. She walked me over to the beer section, and the two of us started looking for green apple splatters. Within a minute, Adam walks up, and I tell him we can’t find them. He breaks out into a fit of laughter, then tells the girl exactly what it is that I’m looking for. She then breaks out into a fit of laughter.


I look at him. Now I’m the one confused. He says, "We call them green apple splatters because the next morning you splatter the toilet bowl when they run through you."


Payback, my first Thanksgiving in Australia.



Two days before my first Thanksgiving in Australia, while having dinner with my mother-in-law and two brothers-in-law, Adam says, "We want to do something special for you for Thanksgiving. How do you celebrate? What can we do to make it just like home?"


I told him that in America we dress up as Cowboys, Indians, and Europeans and have a huge battle in the backyard. Whoever loses has to do the dishes. They asked me questions, and I answered them to my best of lying abilities. The next day, when I was bombarded by the family with what they were going to wear, how they were going to battle, I came clean. I let everybody know it was bullshit. We ended up going to an American-style restaurant and ate a ton of french fries and fried chicken. #GoodTimes

His payback, Sea Same Chicken

 
Something that really amazed me living in Australia was that people thought American accents were "melodic and beautiful." They love to hear me talk. I once had two kids stare at me like I was an alien because they’ve “never met an American in real life.” 

So one night, shortly after meeting my husband’s best friends, Mr. J and Mr. D, we had a little get together and decided to order Chinese takeaway. My husband insisted that I do the ordering because they would love to hear an American. I went right along with it.

They gave me the order, which included sesame chicken. Except, Adam swore up-and-down it was called, SEA SAME chicken. His damn friends agreed. Y’all, I goddamn ordered the SEA SAME chicken. Needless to say, he and his mates full-on pissed themselves laughing.

My payback, fireflies.

When I brought Adam back to the States for the second time, it was mid-June. I had a third-floor walk-up with a really nice balcony overlooking a park. Not long after we arrived back, I hear him yell out, "Baby! Come here!" I could tell by the tone of his voice something was not right. I run out to join him on the balcony when he points out to mid-air and says, "Did you see that?"

I have no idea what he’s pointing at. A few seconds later, a firefly blinks right in between us. He points at it and yells out, "That! That bug just lit up!"

I said, "Oh yeah, they are government bugs. They take photos of us periodically."





Mortified, he runs inside and sits down at his computer. A few minutes later I hear him yell out, "They're bloody fireflies."



All of these things happened within the first two years of us being together. We’ve been together 10 years, and we still strive to shock the shit out of each other, trick, or scare each other every chance we get.  How else are we supposed to keep it interesting?


Bottom line:  Australians are a breed their own, and I’m so thankful that I get to call one my husband.




Oh! And for those of you shocked by Miley Cyrus saying, "C*NT," in Australia it's the equivalent of "bitch" in the states. Aussies will completely disarm an American of the word in two weeks or less.

9/10/18

6 Sanity Saving Survival Tips For New Moms

I have no doubt that every mother will agree with me when I say, during pregnancy, the only thing you get more of than stretch marks and bad gas, is parenting advice.  Between the always ready to share been-there-done-that mothers, parenting books, and online resources, the information available today for new mothers is overwhelming. What's more, you never know what to believe since one book will contradict the next, and what one mother swears by, another mother will insist did not work for her baby. Weeding through all of the advice can be daunting, to say the least.

Looking back, I wish I was given more advice on how to deal with becoming a mother, and less on the three million different ways to rock a baby to sleep. I needed to know about the self-doubt and the failures that came along with motherhood, or that having a baby would take a huge toll on my marriage and personal life if I let it. After talking with numerous other mothers, I realized we all struggled with the same issues; things it seemed no one bothered to warn us about in between lessons on feeding, changing and rocking our newborn to sleep.  I've put together a list of the top six things we all agree are so important for new mothers to know.  Things we wish we didn't have to learn the hard way.

Ollie and I at his 6-month well-baby checkup.


1Listen to your instincts, not Dr. Google. With so many parenting resources available, most contradicting the next, don't get caught up thinking these resources know your child better than you do.

For example: If you know your baby is hungry feed him. Who cares if it has only been two hours and the book says wait for three. Screw that! Feed your baby. There is no reason to let your baby get hysterical trying to follow the guidelines.

I cannot stress this enough, trust what your gut and heart are telling you, because 9.5 times out of 10, they are spot on right. Every minute you second-guess yourself you and your baby will suffer.  Go with your gut first. Always.


2. The decision between nursing or formula feeding should not become bigger than World War III. First of all, Breastfeeding is NOT "Plug and Chug!" Nursing is hard. Extremely hard. There is no plug in and feed feature to it. It takes time, a fair amount of discomfort and practice for both you and your baby to get the hang of it. (I mean weeks, not days) Ask for help. Find a lactation consultant. Be prepared for a possible battle that will take all of your inner strength to make it through...

Second, BREASTFEEDING MAY NOT BE FOR YOU. THAT IS OK! You, or your baby, may have a medical condition keeping you from being able to nurse. You may hate it. It may just not be right for you. This is VERY common, do not think you are a failure.

Plain and simple-You will either nurse or you will not. Regardless of what you do, your baby will be beautiful and wonderful and smart and articulate. Do what is best for you and your child. Do not let anyone make you feel otherwise. You are NOT! a failure. DO NOT LET THIS RUIN YOU!

3. Listen to your baby's cues. While babies can only communicate through body language and crying, within the first week you will begin to notice behaviors and different tones of crying that are clearly trying to tell you something.  Babies will give you cues for hunger WAY before crying, including things like REM, finger sucking and reaching with arms and legs. When you notice any or all of those cues feed your baby pronto, or the blood-curdling screaming will be next! If your baby is tired some of his cues might be pulling at his ears, yawning and or quick jerky movements. 

Pay close attention to those different cues and within a week or so you will easily be able to decipher what it is your baby is trying to tell you, and most likely before he even starts crying uncontrollably.

4. Do not get caught up trying to be the perfect mother. There is no such thing! In order to be the best mother to your baby, all you have to do is try your best.  Parenting is filled with both triumphs and failures.  Do not be hard on yourself, or get discouraged if you fail.  Just like with everything else, practice makes perfect. If you fall down, stand up, dust yourself off and try something else.

Above all, do not be afraid to ask for help!  If someone wants to bring over dinner, let them.  If someone wants to come over while you take a nap and shower, let them.  Graciously accept all the help you can get, because chances are the person offering the help has been in your shoes before and knows a little help goes a long way during those first few months.

5Don't forget to take time for your partner. It is so easy to lose sight of your relationship with your partner during those first few weeks and months of parenthood.  Between the exhaustion from the sleepless nights, the demanding feeding schedule, and your normal household or work activities, it can be hard to find quality time to spend with your partner, however, it is crucial that you MAKE time.

For example, Every single day during those first few weeks, make it a point to be affectionate, say I love you if possible eat a meal together and then during that meal try to talk about anything but your baby.

The key is not to build a new life around your baby, but to blend your baby into your existing life together.


6. Don't forget to take time for yourself. It is absolutely crucial that you take time for yourself on a daily basis. Every day you need to make it a point to take a shower, put on clean clothes, and eat at least two wholesome meals. Then aim to leave the house for no less than 10 minutes, at least every other day. Even a walk around the block does wonders. Just get away from that baby to rejuvenate, or you will crash and burn.   

From one first-time mother to another... Motherhood is a journey filled with ups and down. In the wee hours of the morning, when you have survived for days on little to no sleep and you are sure you cannot survive one more minute... you can. You will. Just keep repeating, This Too Shall Pass, until it does... Hold on tight to every moment and enjoy the ride, because it really does go by so quickly.  And don't listen to the doctors and nurses about those first smiles being gas induced, your baby is stoked to see you. ~April


Motherhood is such an amazing blessing that is so incredibly rewarding.  


9/7/18

20 Things All Toddlers Have Hardwired Into Their DNA

So, toddlers. A friggin breed of their own. I am convinced that the little buggers have the following Code of Conduct hard-wired into their DNA...

1.  You are the alarm clock for the entire family,  it is your job to wake everyone up at the ass crack of dawn every day. Every. Single. Day.  
2. ALWAYS crap your pants AFTER leaving the house.  Your best bet is to clench those cheeks together until you have left your street, and then EXPLODE!!! To achieve Legend status, do this when your parent is in a huge hurry to get somewhere very important.   
3. Do not be content doing anything for more than two minutes.  You have to constantly keep moving.  NEVER SLOW DOWN!
4. If you are not interested in being picked up, get as low to the ground as possible. Think dead weight. Feel free to flail and cry for added difficulty.
5. If someone tries to take something from you, teach them a lesson by first throwing it, then jump up and down while making your best "oh you are going to be REALLY sorry," face, then fall to the floor and start flopping about in protest; scream and cry extra loud if you are in public.

6.  If you do not like the food that is served to you, throw it on the ground in disgust, then at your parent, then at the cat/dog. For extra credit smash the remaining food into your hair and clothes. When you are given something to drink immediately dump it in your lap.
7.  Whenever possible terrorize the family pets so they know who is in-charge. 
8.  NEVER EVER let your parent get the house clean. EVER!  Once something is picked up off the floor, put something in its place. A good rule of thumb is dumping out the cat/dog food daily. Feel free to snack on it as well. 
9.   You are in control of your sleep schedule. If you do not want to go to sleep, then don’t, and if someone really wants you to go to sleep, then definitely do not do it. Do your best to get so tired that you become an evil miserable crying mess.  That will show them! 
10. Always do your best to be in the way, including but not limited to; playing at your parent’s feet while they are cooking, cleaning, fixing something, talking on the phone, getting ready for work, or doing anything that looks remotely important. 
11. Take ALL of your toys out of the toy box before playing with any of them. This goes for books too, rip all of them off the shelf before reading one. Your job is to make a huge mess. Hint: To keep things interesting, never ever play with the same toy or book for more than one minute. 
12. Under no circumstance will you make diaper changes or potty training an easy venture.  If poop does not get everywhere than you have failed.13.  Every time you leave the park throw a fit big enough to make it look like you are being kidnapped. If you are lucky this will buy you five more minutes on the slide. 
14. The minute you learn to walk, refuse to be held. Insist on walking EVERYWHERE! 
15. The minute you learn to talk, DO NOT STOP! Do not be discouraged if you are not understood - talk away anyway. It is not your fault if people are too stupid to understand you. 
16. EVERYTHING in this word belongs to you. Feel free to touch it, take it, hide it, throw it, smash it, break it and completely ruin it. HINT: ALL of the telephones in the house belong to you - store them in the toilet. 
17.  Your Mantra is, “Catch me if you can you silly fool.” 
18.   “No!” means, Good Job!  Keep doing that! 
19.  NEVER EVER do anything the first time you are asked. 
20. And last… The most important code of toddler conduct… For every five minutes you spend terrorizing your parent(s), sibling(s) and/or pet(s), provide one minute of pure sweet lovin' to ensure complete forgiveness.


                                 




BONUS!  The Property Laws of a Toddler.  (I didn't make this up, another genius did.)

                                              

The Archives