2/28/14

I Confess, We Are Screwing Our Kid Up One Mispronounced Word At A Time...

It's finally happened, Ollie has mispronounced a word in such a way it's coming out a 'bad' word. And.. it's funny! So funny that I never miss a chance to get him to say it, and neither does FTD.  I know what you are thinking, it's Truck, or Duck, or Clock. NOPE!  It's something I never would have guessed. In fact, if Ollie didn't break out a visual while yelling the word, I would have been convinced he was actually calling me a, BITCH!
Hmmm... Or was he...
Cheeky little bugger.
Everyday when FTD comes home from work, he changes and then gets on the floor to play with Ollie by making a car or choo choo track. I take that time to relax and/or catch up on emails. All of the sudden, Ollie walks over from the floor to me sitting on the couch and says (with heaps of excitement), Hey Bitch! I was shocked into silence.  Surely, FTD would not teach him to say such a thing to me?  When the shock finally wore off, I mustered a, What? Again, Ollie shouts, BITCH!, then points back at FTD.  I look at FTD who is in hysterics!  I mean whole body shaking laughter.  I couldn't control myself, I started laughing hysterically too.  Now, I'm laughing, FTD is laughing and Ollie is pointing at FTD and yelling, BITCH! BITCH! BITCH!

OH. MAH. GAWD!  Beyond funny.

The mother inside finally overrides my child inside, and tells FTD in-between fits of laughter, that we are terrible!  We should not be laughing and encouraging this bad behavior.  Even if Ollie is calling FTD a Bitch, and it's the funniest thing he has ever said or done.  Toddlers do not use the word Bitch!

FTD, finally stops laughing long enough to call Ollie over.  Ollie runs over the FTD and pulls a Thomas The Tank Train bridge out from behind FTD's back.  He runs it back to me and yells, BITCH!

Dear God... he is trying to say, Bridge.

I look at him and say, OHBRIDGE. He yells back with excitement, Yeah, BITCH!

This could go terribly wrong for us if presented with a bridge in a crowd with Ollie.

I told FTD we were still terrible and needed to not encourage the wrong enunciation of words either.  FTD, said, Oh Balls, and walked off.  He maintains that this is one of the best parts about having a toddler. Ollie can yell Bitch-Ass-Shit and get away with it.  because really he is saying, Bridge and Ship. I had no choice but to agree. It's funny, and we are going to love it while it lasts.

As some of you know, I turned to my Facebook community of AWESOME! to tell about the Bridge/Bitch episode.  And as usual, my AWESOME community fired back with their own stories and confessions of laughing at poorly pronounced Trucks, Ships and Clocks. I even had a good friend of mine send me video of her son saying, 'Cock', instead of clock.  I bet I watched it two or three times, before calling FTD over to watch it a few more times with me.  It's funny, I cannot help it!

This is the time when toddlers will say the damnedest things! And dammit, it's FUNNY! 

Of course we will not encourage bad words when he says them on purpose, but the clocks, trucks and bridges coming out a little skewed... since all we can do about it is laugh, we might as freaking well!

What's your toddler saying?

It's 30/30 Challenge Time! Get Ready For... Mindful March.

Calling all you 30/30 Challengers... It's time for our first big challenge of 2014!

This challenge is just to get you thinking and moving baby steps style. Start thinking about your inner self: mind, body and soul. Don't worry, this one will be SUPER easy!  You can do it from your desk while reading the blog.  In fact, if you are reading this post on March 1st, count it as your first 30!



For those of you just joining us, here is a little background on the 30/30 challenge...

Last summer, I caught an episode of 'The Doctors' that changed my life. They were highlighting diet and exercise fads, including the 30/30 challenge. What the show did was get ordinary people to test each of the programs. The 30/30 challenge was tested by an average sized (10-12) mid-twenties girl.  She was to walk for 30-minutes for 30 days straight. She didn't have to change her diet, or walk fast; just walk. By the second week she lost weight, gained energy,  and got a better nights sleep, and overall felt 100% better. That was in just 14 days! By the end of the challenge she lost 11 pounds and her husband was now in on the walking too. Months later they were still exercising together and eating healthier.  All I could think was, hell yeah!  I can do that! 

So as you can see, as much as I would like to take credit for the challenge, I cannot, the Doctors made this up. HOWEVER! I make modifications to it, so that it is not only about walking for 30-minutes for 30 days.  Every month, I personally do mini 30/30 challenges. During the month of February, I did 30 of something daily-- sit-ups, squats, leg lifts, lunges... Guess what, by the second week I was feeling so good that I bought a three-month Groupon for unlimited classes at a Yoga studio!  I'm telling you, this thing works!



Ok, back to the challenge for March...

I dub this month, Mindful March, because that's all YOU.  

March is do anything for 30-minutes a day, for 30 days... Mix it up
walk, yoga, clean, shop, organize a closet, drink water all day instead of diet Coke, lift light dumbbells through the Big Bang Theory, visit your favorite fitness magazine website or Facebook Page for inspiration and tips...
Just be mindful of the challenge and your overall goal for wellness.

SET AN ALARM IF YOU HAVE TO!!!

Set an alarm each day for a time you know you will be free.  Maybe it's after the kids are asleep, or the time before dinner where you can escape for a walk around the block. Turn on some upbeat music and dance around. Get creative!  Just stay focused on yourself for 30-minutes everyday, and move as much as possible during that 30-minutes.  OR... Instead of moving, spend 30-minutes enjoying a healthy good for you lunch from prepping it to eating!  OR... if you are stuck at your desk, visit your favorite health magazine's website or Facebook page.  They are jam packed full of tips, motivation and recipes. Just do something. Take time for you and your overall health, and feel good about it!


I'll be checking in on you throughout the month, and offering a few goodies too!

Happy MARCHing...


NOTE:  To read more about the 30/30 challenge, to see the clip from the Doctors Show outlining the challenge, or to read about my first challenge, and the challenges lined up for the next couple of months, CLICK HERE!




2/27/14

There's Nothing Like Embarrassing Toddler Outbursts...

Over the past year, my little guy's vocabulary has grown as much as he has. At three years old, he can pretty much convey every thought or question he has. While most of the time it's wonderful to hear what he's thinking or easily figure out what he needs, there are those times where his lack of a filter creates uncomfortable or silly situations.



Like when I picked him up from his church daycare and the director pulled me aside and said:

Don't worry, it's not bad, and we hear all kinds of crazy things, but I had to share something funny Ollie said after you dropped him off this morning...
He said, "Mommy has a crappy car." I thought he said Crummy, so I repeated, Oh, no. You're mommy has a crummy car? But he shook his head and said, "NO! It's a crappy car.  Goddamn that crappy car!" 

Shoot. Me. Now.  He said, Goddamn that crappy car, while standing in a church! Here's the thing; yes, my car started to break down on us the other day, and I most certainly need a new one, HOWEVER! I never ever said my car was crappy, or to goddamn it. As for FTD, he may have called it crappy, but he doesn't say Goddamn either, so where Ollie picked all of that up is truly beyond me.  Now, had he said, my mommy's car is shitty, I would have taken full credit.

Then, yesterday, while sitting at a restaurant having lunch, Ollie points and YELLS:

Hey! That boy has two dads!

In an attempt to not draw anymore attention to us or the boy and his two dads, rather than look over, I just quickly replied, He sure does! What a lucky boy!" Some boys have two dads, or two moms, or like you a mom and a dad!

To my surprise, Ollie stopped staring and didn't ask any more questions about it. It turns out, my quick calm response was all it took for him to be content with the boy having two dads.

Sidenote: A few minutes later, I looked over at the table and saw two men and a little boy.  In no way would I have immediately thought they were two dads with their little boy. Somehow, Ollie knew. Now, I didn't see them walk in or sit down, but I can only imagine for Ollie to immediately think they were both the boy's dad, the two must have handled the little boy with the same love and kindness that FTD or I do with Ollie.

The worst was while standing in the grocery Ollie points at a lady in a mobile cart and says, "WOW Mommy, that lady has a really big bum!" Thankfully, she didn't hear him.  I immediately got down to his level and told him that while his observation was correct, it was not nice to point it out, and that everyone is different sizes and that's OK.

It's amazing how observant children are, and the way they interpret the things they see.  And of course, how they blurt those observation right out. That's why I have no doubt that many more of those wild comments are going to come out of his unfiltered toddler mouth. As much as I want to stick my head in the sand and hide, that's not the best way to deal with the outbursts.



I've realized that the biggest game changer will be how I deal with those observational outburst. Rather than get upset or berate him, I plan to always do my best to calmly honor his observation, and then deal with it appropriately.

It's so important to me that my kid feels comfortable sharing his observations and asking questions. If I yell or get upset with him, he will close up, and I don't want that. Most of all, I want to be the one to teach him that two dads or two moms are normal, or that while, yes, mommy does have a crappy car, it's not OK to say Crappy, and most certainly not OK to say goddamn. Ever. Most of all, I want him to understand that people are different, and to never ever judge someone based on an observation.

I firmly believe there are two roads you can take when a toddler has an unfiltered outburst: You can become embarrassed and yell, or stay calm and take the question seriously; one will hurt the child, the other will help.

What about you?  Have you had a toddler outburst yet?



2/26/14

#TechFail My Toddler Speaks Russian And Other Languages I Don't Understand...

On a daily basis I say the following to my three-year-old:  (Some multiple times!)

"Ollie!  Stop Speaking Russian!"

"Honey, Mommy can't understand the words you are saying. Please Speak English."

"ENGLISH! Watch English!"

"Yes, That's German. You can watch that."

"Dude? Is that even a language?"

"Your daddy is in SO MUCH TROUBLE!"

You all, Ollie speaks Russian! Not very well of course, but he loves to say the words and point to things and say the Russian word for them... at least I think that's what it is? It's so incredibly annoying I can't begin to tell you. He's picked it up watching Russian nursery rhymes on YouTube. Yes, I'm totally going to claim an epic parenting fail on this one. However, I'm deferring some of the blame on FTD.  Actually, 85% of it.

It all started when FTD showed him both English and German nursery rhymes on YouTube. I was all for it at first because Ollie was two and learning to speak, and LOVING the nursery rhymes.  I thought it was harmless, and in a way a teaching tool.  (FTD is not only an Australian citizen, but and Austrian one too. His father was born in Austria so by birth right, FTD obtained his Austrian citizenship.  He is fluent in German) 

HELLO BACKFIRE!

Just when I thought I could hand him a phone or tablet and get a few things done, I learn my lesson the hard way.  No longer is he allowed to watch YouTube out of earshot.  Not that it stops him from trying to watch his favorite Russian or German preschool shows.

Let me just tell you, nothing is more ridiculous than not understanding the words that are coming out of your toddler's mouth. What's worse. I'm fairly certain he makes up half the shit he says, so technically, no one understands the words coming out of his mouth.

His Russian speak has become a huge joke amongst our family and friends. Ollie will walk up to people and start speaking Russian or singing a German song. Imagine what a ding-dong I look like when people ask me what he's saying.  The sounds are so pronounced there's no question that he's speaking a different language.

The German part I guess is OK, because FTD can hold conversations, but the languages neither of us speak, can't be good. Unless of course we find ourselves stranded in Russia and need directions, food or the nearest Park for playing, but since me winning the lottery has a higher probability, I'm going to set that scenario aside.

I feel like I'm at a crossroads. Do I shut down his interest and understanding of multiple languages, or do I look for ways to help him develop is multi-lingual ways?



What would you do?  I know a few of you have mentioned your child loves YouTube shows and/or accidentally switches Apps to Spanish too, would you foster the love of languages, or shut it down until your child can properly learn a language in school?

Who are you calling, "Advanced Maternal Age?"

Who are you calling, "Advanced Maternal Age?"
So. I got a news flash recently. Apparently, because I am 35, I have been classified as being at an, "Advanced Maternal Age." My friends, I feel like that is the meanest, most nasty hateful name I have EVER been called.  It hurt.  It still hurts.  It's also scary as hell to think that now that I am 35-years-old, I am somehow damaged goods when it comes to trying to have children.  So. Not. Cool.

If you are just now hearing the term advanced maternal age (AMA) for the first time, here are the specifics according to the *mayoclinic.com: (I did quite a bit of research, and found the most concise list to share on the blog--without listing 10 different sites--is the following Mayo Clinic list.)



  • It might take longer to get pregnant. You're born with a limited number of eggs. As you reach your early 30s, your eggs might decline in quality — and you might ovulate less frequently, even if you're still having regular periods. An older woman's eggs also aren't fertilized as easily as a younger woman's eggs. Does this mean you can't get pregnant? Of course not. It might simply take longer. If you're older than 35 and haven't been able to conceive for six months, consider asking your health care provider for advice.
  • You're more likely to have a multiple pregnancy. The chance of having twins increases with age. The use of assisted reproductive technologies — such as in vitro fertilization — also can play a role. Since these procedures typically enhance ovulation, they're more likely to result in twins or other multiples.
  • You're more likely to develop gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes occurs only during pregnancy, and it's more common as women get older. Tight control of blood sugar through diet, physical activity and other lifestyle measures is essential. Sometimes medication is needed as well. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause a baby to grow too large — which increases the risk of injuries during delivery.
  • You're more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. Some studies suggest that high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy — before 20 weeks (chronic hypertension), after 20 weeks (gestational hypertension) or after 20 weeks and accompanied by protein in the urine (preeclampsia) — might be more common in older women. Your health care provider will carefully monitor your blood pressure and your baby's growth and development. You might need to take medication or deliver your baby before your due date to avoid complications.
  • You might need a C-section. Older mothers have a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications that might lead to a C-section delivery, such as placenta previa — a condition in which the placenta blocks the cervix. Labor problems tend to be more common in first-time mothers older than 35.
  • The risk of chromosome abnormalities is higher. Babies born to older mothers have a higher risk of certain chromosome problems, such as Down syndrome.
  • The risk of miscarriage is higher. The risk of miscarriage also increases as you get older, perhaps due to the higher likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities.

  • Dads, if you are reading this, bad news... women are not the only ones being called out for having babies later in life, also according to the Mayo Clinic...

    "Men might experience a decline in fertility starting in their late 30s. Some research suggests that children born to men 40 and older have a higher risk of autism than do children of men younger than 30. A 2010 study also suggests an increased risk of autism in children born to a couple in which the father is older than 40 and the mother is younger than 30. Further research is needed, however. Men older than 50 are more likely to have babies with certain birth defects, such as the bone growth disorder achondroplasia, due to age-related genetic mutations. The risk of cognitive impairment also might be higher for children of older fathers. In a 2009 study, children born to older men scored slightly lower on tests measuring concentration, memory, reading and reasoning skills through age 7."

    ARG!!!!  I just want to scream ASSHOLES, and have my memory erased, so I can forget this evil information.

    I'm terrified this list is going to apply 100% to me (35yrs) and FTD (40yrs)  Which is so wrong!  Should we not have children because of this?  Should we be taking this as a warning?  Because we are.  You all, I really want to give Ollie a sibling.  And now that I have hit the ripe age of 35, I am scared that I have waited too long, and will put myself and my unborn child at risk.  Feeling like this sucks. In my heart if feels wrong and wasteful to let this AMA classification bother me.

    But, I cannot help it...

    I am scared. Very scared.  

    I try to remind myself that I was scared when I got pregnant with Ollie; well before AMA was an issue.  Honestly, there are so many unknowns with pregnancy, it's scary no matter the age. This information has just managed to double the fear for me.  Which, sucks. Should I rush into pregnancy, before I get any older? 

    Truth be told, FTD and I are FAR from ready to have a second child. We are in the process of moving, rebuilding our finical status and have our hands full with one child! I'm just not sure we should be pushed into having a second child. That almost seems more risky than the risks associated with AMA! 

    My sister had her first at 36 and second at 38. Both of her boys are beautiful, articulate and brilliant. And really, is there an age for having children that does not have risks associated with it? All I am hearing is that, "Advanced Maternal Age" really means, shit or get off the pot... The longer you wait the harder it is to get knocked up, and the risks do increase, but NOTHING is definitive! My sister and her healthy happy boys are proof of that.

    If I said that I was going to put this nasty AMA issue out of my thoughts, let God work out the timing, and live my life, it would be a lie.  Since hearing that the age cutoff for AMA was 35, I have not stopped thinking about it. I really thought I would have until I was 38 to make the final decision over having a second baby. Just like my sister. My only concern is that, the mounting risks, thanks to being at an advanced maternal age, will send me into a tailspin of fear and desperation? Ugh. I certainly hope not...

    What are your thoughts?  Did you have a baby after the age of 35?  Are you in the same boat as me--35+ and want another child, just not now?  
       



    * To read more on AMA from the MAYO clinic, CLICK HERE

    2/25/14

    Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Awesomely Annoying Things About Toddlers.

    Ah, Toddlers.  Amazing little creatures aren't they?  Here are 10 of the 101 ways we find them annoying as hell complex Awesome!






    1. When they are screaming in public and you say, "Shhhh," they SCREAM even louder with balled fists.

    2. When they bring you the same book for the four-hundreth time that day, desperate for a new book, you say no more! The book gets launched across the room, while death stares are simultaneously launched through you.

    3. Three minutes after you pass the bathroom and are nearly to the car, they announce they actually do need to go potty.  But really, they don't.

    4.The minute you finish building the block tower or choo choo track, it is demolished with King Kong force.

    5. The minute you throw away their dinner, that they barely touched, they ask for it back, or worse, a snack. (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?)

    6. The last thing they want to play with in the house is their own toys.

    7. If you give them sugar of any kind, they turn into Gremlins in 8 seconds or less.

    8. Taking them out to eat is like trying to have a nice meal in the middle of a tornado.

    9.  Even though it takes twenty minutes to get them dressed, it only takes 3 seconds for them to get their clothes back off, especially in the back of the car.

    10. Long car rides with them are being considered by the US military as a new torture tactic to get terrorist to talk.





    2/24/14

    Baby-Led Weaning: Good or Bad?

    As some of you know, when I was given the honor of being a, Top 10 Mommy Blog of 2013, from Parenting.com, I was also invited to join their incredibly talented pool of freelance writers. (Gasp!) My first two assignments were cut and dry reviews of a product and service. My third assignment was to talk about the recent popularity of Baby-led Weaning; what it is and what the experts are saying.  At first I thought that it would be easy, since I know all about it and did a form of it with Ollie.


    I was so wrong. You all, this one got me...

    I had such a hard time writing the article.  I needed to stay objective, and not bring my preconceived notions into it. Which was hard, because to me, this was a big deal article. Writing about something as big as introducing solids to an infant, no matter what, I didn't want to screw it up. I also didn't want to mislead people, just to write a good (favorable) article.

    For those of you who do not know, Baby-led Weaning (BLW) is a method of introducing solid an infant by allowing them to self-feed, rather than be spoon-fed. Yes, it's giving a six-month-old solid food in finger sized pieces to feed themselves with.  No purees or parent intervention.  BLW is all about offering healthy finger sized soft foods to the baby to touch, smell, taste and then eventually chew and swallow. The control of how much food the baby eats is completely up to them. Where as with the parent-led spoon method, parents often feed the baby until the food is all gone.

    For me, BLW was a very scary thing.  All I could imagine was my son choking. For that reason, I fed Ollie purees for the first few months of his introduction to solids, then slowly switched to offering him finger foods. No, he never choked, but I was also VERY careful about what I offered to him, and probably didn't offer enough variety because of that.

    So here I am a year and a half later, writing an article on something that I was too scared to do properly.  Not to mention, when I asked Ollie's pediatrician about it 18-months ago, he thought the idea was too new, with not enough studies. Plus, he too was concerned about the choking aspect.

    All of the being said, I put my own opinions aside and did the research.  I too wanted to know what the experts were saying.  Had things changed in the 18-months since I was researching baby-led weaning for my son?  My friends, it had. In fact, as I type there are a multitude of studies going on surrounding baby-led weaning.

    The studies were showing the choking hazards were not an issue, the long-term effects led to a the baby having a healthier and happier approach to food, and most of all, a diminished risk for childhood obesity.  These are HUGE finds!  You can read all about the studies in my article on Parenting.com (Link below)

    What I really want to know from you is, did you do Baby-led weaning with your baby?  What was your experience? Is your child now a healthy thriving toddler?  Studies said the baby would not be a picky eater later in life. Is this true? Would you do it again with your next child? Any tips for parents giving it a try?

    Please, share your story.

    To read my article on Parenting.com, CLICK HERE.



    2/21/14

    10 Of The 101 Ways Toddlers Are Like Puppies.

    Yesterday while taking a walk with the wild-child, I thought I was going to die of old age before making it around the block. We had to stop every two feet so he could pick-up a stick or poke something with the stick. Sometimes he would poke a hole, drop the stick, back track to a different stick, then run back to REPOKE! the existing hole. It was the most annoying cycle of ridiculousness. It reminded me of how annoying it was to walk my old German Shepherd, he too had to stop every two feet to pick-up a stick or mark his territory.  And then it hit me... toddlers and puppies are EXACTLY alike.


    The more I think about the similarities between puppies and toddlers, the more I think the only difference is one has four legs. Which is debatable since toddlers walk on all fours too.

    Without further ado, the the first ten of the 101 million ways toddlers and puppies are exactly alike. 

    Toddlers and puppies...

    1. Drool on everything. The two could fill a lake in a afternoon together.
    2. Will happily poop and pee anywhere and everywhere and take months to housebreak.
    3. Will bring the same toy back to you a thousand and one times to play with.
    4. Chew on everything, including but not limited to, shoes, socks, toys, furniture, you, themselves...
    5. Bark constantly! They never ever seem to stop talking.
    6. Have no use for sleep.  Every once in a while they lay down, but it does not last very long.
    7. Refuse to wear pants.  Or any clothes for that matter.
    8. Eat off of the floor.
    9. Think baths are complete nonsense, and to prove it whine and splash the entire time.
    10. Even though you know they can hear and understand you, they still run away from you.



    This is definitely an ongoing list.  Can you add to it?




    2/19/14

    10 Things You Should Know Before Moving Your Child Into a Toddler Bed.

    With so many of us wondering when to make the move from crib to toddler bed, I thought I would find a few facts and tips to help facilitate the decision. All of the following tips are from doctors or sleep experts.  


    Unless this is your idea of a "toddler bed,"
    then you better be sure your toddler is ready....

    1. Pediatric sleep disorders expert, Deborah Lin-Dyken, says there's no set time to make the move. Studies show most children make the switch sometime between ages 1 1/2 and 3 1/2. 
    2. Don't rush right out and buy a new bed the day your toddler climbs out of the crib. This IS NOT an indicator that he is ready. Lower the mattress all the way, and discourage climbing.
    3. The switch may really freak your toddler out. Place the new bed in the EXACT same place the crib used to be. Use the same bedding, crib toys/stuffed animals... Change as little as possible. 
    4. Don't just spring the new bed on your toddler.  Start talking it up at least a week in advance.  One expert says throw a big party to celebrate the bed's arrival. 
    5. Independence is an indicator that your child is ready to make the switch.  If your child takes pride in individual accomplishments, including feeding and dressing themselves, then it may be time. Kyle Pruett, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center, in New Haven, Connecticut, says a sign of readiness is when your child calls out in the night and can be reassured just be hearing your voice.  
    6.  Don't introduce the new bed during potty training or moving to a new house.  Too many changes can freak a familiarity loving toddler out. -Dr. Laura Markham
    7. If the transition is due to the arrival of a new baby, experts recommend the transition be made and well adjusted to at least TWO months before the baby arrives.
    8. Let your toddler be involved every step of the way; including if possible, picking out the bed, and the new sheets, blanket and pillow if necessary. Make the new bed cozy and inviting.
    9. If you do not already have one, create a bedtime routine and stick to it leading up to the big night. Familiarity is key before this transition. One expert says to add white noise or music to the bedtime routine, if it is not already part of it, to help your child doze off.
    10. Be prepared for a long battle. This could (most likely will) be very scary for your little one, and may take quite a few nights of both, getting to sleep AND staying in the bed through the night, before things settle. Remember, this is ultimately your decision, you have to be comforting and understanding that this is very scary. Talk though your child's feelings and be reassuring that this is a wonderful thing.  'All big boys/girls sleep in a big bed.'

    I would LOVE to hear what parents have to say. If you have dealt with this already, please share your experience or tips.


    Side Note: As for now, FTD and I have decided not to move Ollie until he is fully potty trained.  He is happy in his crib, and we are happy to have him there.  He JUST turned two, we really do not see any reason to rush it along at this time. 


    2/17/14

    EPIC FAIL: I'm Raising A Picky Eater

    My name is April, and I am raising a picky eater. A very picky eater.  FAIL!

    While working on an article for Parenting.com about Baby-led Weaning, I began to evaluate my feeding style in regard to my son. It turns out, I kind of suck.  More to the point, I am raising a picky eater. I feed him only the food I know he likes because I want him to eat, which it turns out is so incredibly wrong. Alright, I knew what I was doing was not the best, but dammit, a hungry baby is a poor sleeping baby, and I don't want that. Come on, look at that happy 'Sghetti' covered face!

    2/14/14

    YAY!! It's Here!!! Potty Training Time!!!

    Ollie just pooped in the potty!!!
    He really did it! Wanna see? Just kidding. Do you really think I would post a photo of Ollie's first dump in the dunny? No. Of course not. That would be gross! Well... Unless you want me too... Because I did take a picture for his baby book. You know, so I could show his first few girlfriends. Kidding... or not. 
     (Ok, I didn't but I plan to tell him I did to keep him from dating until he is in college.)


    This is a photo of FTD's Dunny.
    Seriously.
    It used to be the outhouse at his holiday house in Australia...
    until his brother ripped it down.
    Actually, I think he burned it to the ground.
    NO, I never had to use it, there was a very nice working one IN the house.
    THANK GOD!
    And double Thank God Ollie's first Dunny dump did not have to be in one of those!


    My friends, at 4:44pm on February 13, 2014, Ollie crapped in the can. Oh what a joyous moment that was. Unfortunately, all the moments leading up to that crap were not so joyous.  

    Oh. No. 

    Not so joyous at all. 

    Allow me to start from the beginning...

    Right before Ollie's first birthday, FTD's mother told us that FTD was using the potty by his first birthday. Naturally, I wanted to rip her face off for saying that, because now the pressure was on. FTD was sure if he was crapping in the can by the ripe age of one, then his son should too. So, for Ollie's birthday, FTD ran right out and bought him a little potty.  A soccer ball potty to be exact...




    When Ollie would have nothing to do with it, we eventually put it away. Thankfully too, because quite a few of you pointed out that Ollie may spend his life peeing and pooping on soccer balls, and I certainly didn't want that!

    About three weeks ago, Ollie walked up to me and said, "poo poo."  While I was caught a little off guard by it, I thought he was just repeating words FTD taught him. Then, a few minutes later I look over, and there he is... filling his diaper.  Well, holy shit he WAS trying to tell me something!

    Sure enough, the next day he does the same thing; he says, poo poo, and does it. Being the smart little cookie that I am, I was ready on day three. When he said poo poo, I took him to the toilet, sat him on it ready for the magic to happen... Nothing happened.  

    When he got annoyed and wanted down (four seconds after being put on the pot), I let him down. From everything I have read and been told, I knew I was NOT to piss him off about pissing.  So, I just kept offering him the potty, and chasing him and his naked but around waiting for cues.  I finally gave in and put his diaper back on. Two minutes later he pooped.  

    The next few days played out the same. Not wanting to lose the momentum of him talking about pooping, I decided I would get the soccer ball, put it in the living room and let him diaper off free-ball it to be ready when the cues came. Long story short, he peed all over everything! Then, one day he pooped on the floor.  I saw him doing it and screamed out, NO! Much to my horror, he took off running mid-poop, but not before... running through a pile he already dropped. Sweet Geezuz of shitty foot prints. I thought I would DIE! I kind of wanted to when faced with cleaning it up. 

    Needless to say, the poop-prints taught me a lesson. NO MORE FREE-BALLING IN THE HOUSE! 

    The next two weeks were all about offering up the potty, then taking him in there. Diaper off... Diaper on... Diaper off...Diaper on... repeat one hundred times.

    He didn't always tell me when he had to poop, but he was still announcing it from time to time. And slowly but surely, I was learning to be prepared. We bought the super cool toilet seat and a stool to climb on.  I also learned that before going into the bathroom after a, "poo poo." declaration, I would bring my phone so I could put on YouTube to keep him sitting. 


    I LOVE THIS THING! $44 at hardware store.


    That's when it happened... the declaration came, I ripped off his diaper, grabbed my phone and off the potty we went! I sat him down, turned on Mickey and waited... Nothing.  Two minutes later he was down. Off he went free-balling down the hall.  I yelled for FTD to corral him back. This on-the-pot, off-the-pot, went on for about five minutes. Then he came back into the bathroom, got on the potty, and sat there for a few seconds then got off and stood in front of me. Next thing I know he started to let the beast free. That's right, he was starting to crap standing in front of me and the toilet! I picked him up, sat him on the pot and he kept going!  The poops came out, and so did my screams!!  FTD! FTD! FTD!!  HE IS POOPING IN THE POTTY!!!  

    FTD comes running, Ollie is in shock, I am holding him still on the potty while singing yelling Ollie's pooping praises!  FTD joins in. Ollie is shocked and excited. I tell FTD to go get the chocolate while I help Ollie down.  FTD comes back with the chocolate M&Ms... we shower him with praise and M&Ms, do the potty dance and scream some more.  Such a joyous occasion!!

    Will he do it again tomorrow?  Who the hell knows?  I am keeping my expectations low. Especially because he didn't exactly start the crap sitting on the pot. Still, it is a start. My boy pooped in the potty and I am super proud. While I know this whole potty training thing is a long road, one I expect to write many posts over, it beats the hell out of diapers 24/7 for another year or so.  Plus, I just witnessed the beauty of not having to change a loaded diaper. I am motivated to keep that up! 

    Now we just have to motivate Ollie to keep it up too... 




    2/12/14

    From Naughty to Not Nice, These Are NOT! Your Mother's Valentines...

    Today my friends, I am posting for those of you who like to, as FTD puts it, Take the piss out of Valentines day. A.k.a are completely annoyed by the holiday, and want nothing more then to send cards saying exactly what you are thinking... Good news, you are not the only one.  Here is a compilation of Valentines day, "piss takes" sure to make even the biggest V-Day hater laugh...


    Proceed with caution... you have been warned, and you know we don't mess around...
    Especially when FTD is involved...
    Who was that hairy man? The Hoff of course!



    FTD, this one is for you...

    and this one too...

    Speaking of FTD....


    FTD ALL DAY! 


    On to the other best Valentine...


    In other news from Taylor...


    It's OK Taylor...


    Besides...


    And I hate to point out...

    Kidding.  I love you. 
    In other news, for the new couples and newlyweds...


    And for the married with kids couple...


    And last... for those golden couples...





    2/10/14

    5 Tips For Brain Damage Free Potty Training! Plus, wait 'til you see this...

    Now that the man-child is two, and giving me cues... it's time for his number twos to go in the loo. Besides, I am so tired of dealing with crap! Literally. Now that my son is a big boy, it's time he acted like one. But before we started the daunting task of teaching our son to crap in the potty, FTD and I secured all of the necessary gear and tips to make this transition smoother.

    No, we did not get this...
    However, thanks to a tip from a been-there-done-that bestie of mine...we did find this little potty training gem at our local hardware store!

    What is it you ask? Good news, FTD and I made a video to explain it!

    Well... When I say, "FTD and I," I really mean, I tried to make this video educational, FTD... well... I am not sure, but you will get the idea of what I was getting at...

                  

    Very cool, right?  Beats the hell out of those little plastic potties you put on the floor. We bought one Ollie will only stand on. To which I realized I am thankful for. I have no desire to clean the crap out of his diaper, so why would I want to do it out of a plastic bowl for God knows how long? Seriously, what's the point of teaching my son to dame a dump in a plastic bowl on the ground, only to have to then teach him to do it in a porcelain one later? Screw that. I am all about one and done!

    In addition to the Miracle Maker seat, we also got super thick potty training big boy pants, about 400 disinfecting wipes and two cans of carpet cleaning spray. I also did the research for tips. I hit up the usual suspects from the internet, to books, to our pediatrician, to been-there-done-that parents... All agree on these five tips... then they go in wild directions and start scaring me with tips and theories...

    1. Wait for the cues, before forcing the poos. This seems to be the most important tip since EVERYONE agrees on it. Don't push your kid into potty training.  Nothing is going to happen until they are ready.  (Ollie is telling me he has to 'poo poo' then we run, and try... more about that later... As in later this week, I need more time with this for a proper post...)
    2. BRIBE IT OUT! That's right, finally the experts are saying we CAN bribe our kids! Use something like tiny M&Ms before and after. Think bribe then treat.
    3. Do the potty dance! Make it seem like your child just figured out the answer to ending global warming! Dance, cheer, clap, go crazy with excitement...
    4. Out on the town, don't pass up the porcelain crown- At home offer up the potty regularly, and when out of the house, don't pass a public restroom without offering up it's services.
    5. Patience is a potty training virtue. Eventually the diapers will come off... Don't get discouraged, or your child will be too.

     I'm so ready to do this!

    I only need one more thing before we start... your tips! If you have the answer to brain damage free potty training, SPILL IT!!!

    2/6/14

    Beat Those Winter Blahs With Me... It's 30/30 Challenge Time

    I have ZERO energy. Zero. I am tired and dragging ass all day. I sit on my fatty-fat-fat butt 80% of the day, and eat the other 20%. I know. I know. Tsk-Tsk! It's time to get off the couch. It's time to get my energy back.  It's time to beat the winter Blahs.  It is time for a 30/30 Challenge...


    Over the past two weeks I have noticed my energy level dropping. The winter blahs have finally gotten to me. It also does not help that the ground is so covered in snow and ice that one travel advisory after another is being issued.  SO UNMOTIVATING!  Poor Ollie is going a bit crazy too.

    As I sit here on my butt typing away, I am at a point where I am motivated to make a change.  I have had enough of the winter blahs.  More to the point, I am tired of feeling like a lazy good for nothing mother! I honestly cannot remember a time when I have had such low energy levels. I'm not even that worried about my weight right now. I can deal with that during the spring and summer months. It's more an issue of getting my energy up to do that!


    In order to get my energy back, I have a plan... A good one... But first, for those of you just joining us who do not know about the 30/30 Challenge, here is a little bit about it in it's original form.  (Link to a full outline of the challenge and a past challenge recap is at the bottom of this post.)

    What:  The 30/30 Walking Challenge

    When: Whenever! The minute you finish reading this post...

    Where: Anywhere your feet take you! (100% FREE!!!)

    How:  All you have to do is walk thirty minutes a day, for thirty days.  Here is the best part, you can walk at any pace you want, snail slow if you want, or train for the race walking Olympic team, just walk for thirty minutes. (NOTE: This is the original form, If walking is not your thing, you can do anything you want for 30 minutes.)

    WHY: In less than 30 days you will lower your heart attack risk, lose weight, sleep better, boost your mood and energy levels, create a regular exercise routine, set a great example for you family, friends, coworkers... and more!

    (Disclaimer: Consult a physician before starting any exercise plan)

    That is the original challenge laid out by "The Doctors" TV show (link to show video listed below.) I will be starting that exact challenge up again on May 1st, so stay tuned!  

    This 30/30 Challenge is going to be altered a little for those of us buried in cold winter temps and weather...

    THE PLAN: Starting on March 1st, do 30-minutes of activity a day, for 30 days. Whether it be walking, yoga, shopping, cleaning, chasing the kid(s) through the house... Anything, just as long as it is something for 30 minutes. This challenge is to just get you moving, and ready for spring.  

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE JOIN ME!  

    This challenge is a prep for spring.  A soft launch if you will to get on a steady exercise plan. The May challenge is to get us OUTSIDE!  If nothing else, I sincerely hope you will plan to do the May challenge with me. Imagine how nice it will be after a long winter to get outside for 30 minutes a day after dinner, before work, or even start walking to work, or even a brisk walk during the lunch break... I'm gitty just thinking about a warm walk outside! Can you tell I'm excited for May? (The more feedback I get on participants, the more I will reach out to sponsors for great motivating giveaways! Shoes... stroller... clothes... food...)



    Ok,  back to today... March 1st is GET MOVING MONTH!  I will post my activity on social media and do a weekly recap.  May 1st is Get Out And Walk Month!  So excited!

    As I mentioned before, I am going to start prepping for the challenge as soon as I finish typing, and I hope beyond hope you will join me after you finish reading this post! Here's how...

    Do something 30 times every day leading up to March...

    For example, (Start by picking one (Or More!), small baby steps...)
    30 Sit-ups while waiting for the coffee to brew. 
    30 Lunges while watching Mickey Mouse Club House with your little.
    30 Squats while Brushing your teeth
    30 jumping jacks with your little one to get that last bit of energy out after dinner.
    Lift your baby up over your head 30 times...  They love that! Or a sack of flour.. or a dumbbell...
    Walk in place while doing the dishes...

    You get the idea.

    HINT: Pick up your favorite fitness magazine and choose a different exercise out of it to do each day.

    The point is to start with a tiny attainable goral. For this of us who have fallen out of a routine, this is a great way to get exercise back on the brain.  Who does't have 30-seconds a day? My hope is that within a week or two we will see a noticeable boost in our energy levels.  And maybe, just maybe add a few more exercises each week, leading up to the March challenge! That being said, today my energy level is about 2 on a scale of 1-10.  So, just doing 30 of anything will be doing a heck of a lot more that I already am.



    WE CAN DO THIS!!

    More to come on the March challenge.  I will be posting ideas for the activity and any other information I come across to help keep us on track.



    I hope you will join me...  

    For more information on the 30/30 challenge, including the origin and how the first challenge on First Time Mom & Dad went,  CLICK HERE.


    2/4/14

    10 Tips For Hosting A Child's Birthday Party

    Even though this was Ollie's 2nd birthday, it was his first actual birthday party. Last year FTD and I decided doing something massive for Olli's first birthday would overwhelm him, so we kept it small, just us and my mom. So, when his birthday began to roll around this year, FTD and I toyed with the idea of having a large party for him.  When I say "toy"  I mean, agreed that we didn't need to spend the money on something big.  BUT!  We did want to do something. We just couldn't decide if it would be a small party at our house, take the little guy to a play land type place, or drive up to an Aquarium that is about an hour away for a family fun day.  In the end, and thanks to a winter storm that dropped 5 inches of snow, we opted for the small party at our house. Silly me, I thought this would be low key and easy...

    My friends, I made a few mistakes my first time out hosting a child's birthday party, and as always, I am going to share the lessons learned, so you will not follow in my footsteps.  So, without further ado I present to you, 10 lessons I learned the hard way hosting my son's first birthday party At my house...


    1. Make a birthday party room. If you are going to host a child's party at your house, start with prepping your house for maximum distraction.  Think, Dexter Kill Room.


    You might think I am kidding... I am not!
    Cookies, cake and chips crumble. EVERYWHERE!!
    If you are not going to make a kill room...
    Trust me on this, prepare a Cake Killing Spot.

    2/3/14

    Two. He is 2. My Baby is TWO...

    Two. The little bugger went and turned two on me. I tried to stop him, I tried to will him to be a baby forever, but clearly that is just not going to happen. Yesterday, my son went from being 'Months' old to being 'Years' old.  He is now 2 years and 1 day old. There is no baby about this toddler.  Part of me wants to cry, the other part is excited for what's to come.

    As I look back on the last two years, I realize just how much my baby has grown and accomplished. I also see how much FTD and I have grown and accomplished as parents. It seems like every six-months we grew exponentially as a family, and individually...

    Poor kid, you can see the look of,
    "You mean I am stuck with these people?"
    Damn right, kid!

    0-6-Months

    Slug. This was a very hard time for me. I loved the little milestones of smiles, coos, laughter, tummy time, crawling... but this time was full-on nonstop mothering. My life revolved around my son's schedule.  I don't recommend that, but that was how it was. I needed to be sure, 100% of the time, my baby was Ok. Not-to-mention, the ever important 'routine' HAD to be adhered to down to the minute...  Well, according to every book and been-there-done-that parent. I have to admit, it worked very well for us too...

    0-3 months was so full of fear of SIDS (Cot Death for my Euros) that I spent more nights staring at the baby monitor than sleeping. Then 3-6 months things got better, but still not easy with the wild sleeping and nursing patterns, and continued fear of SIDS. Oh, and figuring out how to nurse and my PPD didn't help either!

    I know... BACK TO SLEEP!
    And we always did it,
     but this time I laid on my bed staring at my beautiful baby in awe.
    I just stared at him the entire nap amazed that THIS was MY baby....
    True Love.


    6-Months

    My little slug was officially this super squishy fun baby. He was learning to crawl, eat solids and become this little human with likes and dislikes, smiles that melted my heart, and laughter that made the worst days better.  I was loving every minute of this stage... minus the still crappy sleep schedule, that never included sleeping through the night!
    I love this photo so much.
    This was taken at his 6-month well-baby check-up.

    12-Months

    My little squishy baby was now this walking, babbling, dancing, eating machine of a toddler. He was becoming independent, and able to express his wants, likes and dislikes. This was really the point when he was no longer a baby, I just refused to accept that.

    This was taken on his first birthday.
    He is so cool.

    18-Months

    At this point he was a full-on boy! A walking, talking, temper tantrum throwing, I-can-do-what-I-want boy! He was sleeping better, but eating like crap! Of course, I want to blame teething on this, but I think his developing taste palate had a little something to do with it.  For weeks all he wanted was pasta, yogurt, grapes and frenh fries. He would lead me on walks and blow my mind with his strengths an abilities.  This was the point when I had to enforce more limits and be diligent that NO! means, NO!

    Spot-on 18-months.
    So determined and full of personality! 


    24-Months 

    HELL YES! I love where my little guy is at now.  He is so much fun... OK, 80% of the time!  He still sucks at going to the grocery store, and throws fits when I say no or take something away from him, but it's minor compared to the fun we have.

    The other day we went out to dinner and I nearly died when, before FTD had his coat off to sit down,  Ollie said, "Sit down Daddy!" I had never heard him say something so well and clear like that. Then two days ago, from the back seat of the car I hear, A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-Day-say-ellllnnnoooooseee---- I was stunned!  He went through the whole alphabet, but only a few letters I could make out after I-J-K... And when he made me a picture in his Mommy's Day Out program... Holy Crap, I was so freaking proud!

    He is so awesome, and so much fun, and truly the greatest blessing.  I never ever could have imagined that motherhood would/could be this awesome! Especially back in the first 0-3 months when things were very scary.

    CHIP, MOMMY?!
    God, Thank You!
    He is So AWESOME!!!!!
    It's true, parenting is a wicked roller coaster ride. Some days its hell and I want to run away to I Suck At This Shit island, others it's absolutely the most amazing experience. All I know for sure is to cherish every single moment, and not let one milestone pass without celebrating it.

    I just cannot wait to see what the next six-months bring...

    SIDE NOTE:  I know a lot of you have birthdays coming up, so a big huge happy birthday to you and your little!  I hope that this past two years has been just as amazing for you too!  And stay tuned, tomorrows post is Top 10 Things I learned At my Son's Birthday Party... Trust me, you will learn thing or two from it, I know I sure did!!  ; )




    Check out this week's App review and Giveaway!!




    Baby Comes Home: Dudley Doodle (App Review)

    Today's app, Baby Comes Home: Dudley Doodle, is about such an important aspect to having children, helping the family pet transition to the new family unit. Something Alena, the App's creator and first-time mother, had first hand experience with.


    It is absolutely mind boggling what apps can do these days. Mind. Boggling. Between reading a story to your child, to the realistic sound effects and interactive abilities... I am completely in awe! And Baby Comes Home, has completely capitalized on this. But, before I go further into that... here is a little bit about the story of the sweet Labradoodle, Dudley, and his experience of having a baby come into his home,where he was once the baby...



    Like most pets before baby arrives, Dudley was the baby.  He got plenty of undivided attention, walks, games of fetch and fancy dinners made with love.  Then the baby arrives... No more  Dudley The baby, now it's, Dudley The NOT NOW!

    But isn't this kind of the norm when baby comes home?  My cat was mortified when I brought home Ollie! We had already had to have a talk about the fact that the new crib was not his bed, so when I put the baby in it... and then spent all of my free time cooing over the baby instead of him...  Yeah, it's a wonder I still have eyes....

    The story goes on to teach your child about the family pet, and the importance of finding a way to make time to show the pet that, in a way, it is still the baby too.  


    Now, about the App's fancy features!


    FEATURES:

    • The story can be read to your child, or the two of you can read it together.
    • As the story is narrated, each word read is highlighted to encourage reading and word association
    • Interactive features on each page. These are SO Much Fun!! Ollie loved knocking the milk cup off of the table... ONE MILLION TIMES!
    • Beautiful illustrations.
    • Realistic background music and sound effects, right down to the dog barks, panting and baby crying! 
    • Awesome way to create a dialogue about the family pet with your child.
    • Awesome way to remember that as a parent, you have to set an example.

    This app has so many great features, and the story behind it is sure to help many families out!



    Look for this icon...



    Want to win a copy of, Baby Comes Home: Dudley Doodle?  Sign up below for your chance to win one of FIVE Codes! (Codes valid for Apple App Only)