Pop Quiz: How Do You Break The Toddler Screaming Habit?

FTD and I are at our wits end with the wild-child's screaming.

He screams all day.


So Loud, FTD thinks he has hearing loss.

I am sure I have too. I am also sure my kid knows better, since he says, "no screaming" in a wisper tone before screaming his brains out. Whether he is scream-talking, scream-singing, or my personal favorite (Read: makes me want to dig a hole and bury my head in it), scream-screaming it's loud, obnoxious and officially out of hand!

It's like this, only multiplied by one-million and two--Both sound and frequency.

We have tried everything, from telling him "No Screaming" in a stern voice, to time-outs, to ignoring it.  NOTHING is working.

My friends, FTD and I desperately need your help. If you have any tips or methods to stop the screaming habit, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share them!  Or if this is a phase he is soon to grow out of, please tell me that.  I need something right now. Any glimmer of hope will do.  It's awful.

Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Poop... Welcome to the MBA--Mothers of Boys Association.

From the very beginning of my pregnancy, I hoped for a boy. As the proud aunt of three super rad nephews, I thought I knew boys. In my mind I was sure they were so much easier than girls. I was convinced that boys were content with flip flops, shorts and Hot Wheels. I really believed that was all I would need to have a happy son. Girls on the other hand... I was sure they needed all kinds of crap like matching head to toe ensembles and barbies with head to toe ensembles for them too, lots of frilly things, shopping carts and mini kitchens... Well, my friends,  just like with everything else I thought I had figured out about children before having them, I was wrong.

So. Wrong.

My life is all about planes, trains, automobiles and poop... crocs, socks, and rocks... dirt, sticks, forklifts and helicopters. My name is April and I am the mother of a boy.  A dirt loving, stick toting, HotWheel driving, helicopter flying future fireman police officer army dude.

Being that my life revolves around my son, by proxy it revolves around everything boy too.  First and foremost, Star Wars.  FYI: I have never seen a complete episode, though I expect that to change in a few years during a family movie night.

In an effort to provide a visual of an average day in the life of a member of the MBA, here is a little montage I put together for you...

The morning starts with a train track. I build it, he kills it, I rebuild it.  We do this for about 20 minutes...

Then it's off to pushing tractors and trucks around the house...

Then it's off to the store for snacks and the loss of my sanity...

Note: Even the books are boy related.
 Oh, what's that?  The forklift at the farmers market? No doubt we have to climb on it thanks to the encouragement of the original forklift driver.

Next, a stop at the mall... HELICOPTER!!!!

Then home for a nap, lunch, and then a walk... where he will pick up sticks and rocks, and play with dirt and worms.  WHOO HOO!

Sometimes we walk up to the fire station where the incredibly kind firemen put up with a very excited little boy...


Then FTD comes home and off we go to see the planes and helicopters....

All of that is possible in a typical day.  Even the planes and helicopters.  We have a small airport close by where the two of them go at least once a week. So as you can see, my life is all about planes, trains, tractors and automobiles. The poop part comes in with FTD. He and Ollie laugh hysterically over poop and fart jokes, and even burp together. I call them Thing 1 and Thing 2, because together they are dangerous.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, only making an observation. And even though I have grown to enjoy the boy stuff and reading through 20 truck books in one sitting, I just cannot help but wonder what mothers of girls are doing? What is their day like? I also think of dads of girls, and how they must feel as out of their element as I do. Maybe even more so!

I never imagined just how much my life would revolve around everything boy. Or that I would become a professional train track builder that can simultaneously name all of the different types of 'mighty machines.' Oh, yes, I am certainly a proud member of the MBA doing my best to find the joy in planes, trains, automobiles and poop...

P.S. Not only do our band aids have super heroes on them, I wear them!
That's my finger...

Resisting The Urge To Reduce A Low-Grade Fever

Like any good first-time mom, when my child gets sick I press pause on the world and obsess over his symptoms. Then once I've completely over analyzed everything going on with him, I start badgering every person I know for advice, remedies and slaps across the face to calm me down. Doesn't every first-timer? I used to think the fastest way to fix those aches, pains and fevers was to give him Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Little did I know, that may be to worst thing to do, and could even prolong his recovery time! #Fail

A couple of months ago, in the throws of the worst winter I have ever been through, Ollie, FTD and I found ourselves sick.

All. At. Once.

SUPER Sucked!

We all were running low grade fevers (99-102f) and plagued by the tell tale flu aches and pains. Yes, even though we had our flu shots! Immediately, FTD and I both took mega flu and cold horse pill gel caps, and gave Ollie a dose of baby Tylenol.

When after 24 hours Ollie was still running a low-grade fever, I called his pediatrician to ask for next steps. I told the nurse his symptoms; fever, runny nose, red sad eyes, shits... then when asked what I had been doing to combat it, I said only Tylenol and extra fluids.  The nurse said that the same illness was going around, not to worry and to STOP giving him any fever reducers when his fever was under 102f degrees.

Most of you are probably shaking your heads and saying out loud, DUH, low-grade fevers are a good thing. Well. Fine. I suppose I have always heard that... But! I saw 101.4 and freaked out. Must I remind you that I am a first-timer?! I realize that sometimes fevers are actually a good thing, because it shows that the body is working hard to fix itself.

That all being said, it's still hard to sit back and let nature do it's thing!  I am the mother, I want to fix my baby RIGHT FREAKING NOW! You would think after two years I would be less neurotic, but I'm not. I still worry and obsess.  My heart breaks when I look in his sad sleepy eyes. Even if he business as usual--running, jumping and trying to get into as much trouble as possible.

As I sit here typing, resisting the urge to reduce the low-grade fever he is running right now, I am trying to remind myself that even though during this past winter I wanted Mother Nature committed for the weather's bipolar behavior, sometimes she is the best mother for the job...

NOTE:  I am not a professional anything. This post SHOULD NOT be considered medical advice in any way shape or form. 

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30/30 Challenge- April's Mantra... If I Eat Like Crap, I Will Feel Like Crap!

Hello 30/30 Challengers!

I hope you mindfully marched through March and came out feeling healthier, stronger and more energetic! This month's challenge is all about feeding your new mind, body and spirit. That's right, this month is all about food! YUM. The goal for this month is learn what 'clean' eating is, how to incorporate healthier choices into your family's diet, and if nothing else, drink more water! 

I am of the school of thought that the word "DIET" is a filthy nasty word. One that is is not allowed to be used in my house. EVER!  I think diets are gimmicks that trick people into thinking that it will be the answer to their poor nutrition and weight loss prayers. NEWS FLASH: Diets are pure bullshit! What happens when they end? Because all "diets" end. All I ever learned on a diet was that they turn me into a starving raging bitchface, and even though I lost a few pound of water weight, I usually gained it back in real fatty-fat-fat pounds binge eating once the diet was over. Total. Bull. Shit.

I also think diets help to breed food obsessed people. If you spend every minute of your day starving and obsessing about food, then eventually that will completely consume you. No. Bueno! That's why this month is all about learning healthy nutrition, and preparing the meals and snacks that will make you feel full and energized for more than 30 seconds. 

Am I nutritionist with all of the right answers? No. But that is the beauty of this. WE are going to learn together! Every Tuesday during the month of April I will be doing a Top 10 Fun Facts on Healthy Eating/Lifestyle, complete with links to get more information if you want it.  I will also be posting healthy fun recipes on the MOM MEALS Page. And that's not all!!! I also have some super fun giveaways lined up to keep you working towards your goals.  I have Yoga mats, Smoothie gift certificates... I even have one of those new AMAZING Riiviva Microdermabrasion kits, WITH the cellulite removal attachment as the super prize! And so much more.  I am so excited!!!

Here is what you need to do for this month's challenge...

1. DRINK MORE WATER!  This it the MAIN challenge. I truly believe just drinking 8 glasses of water a day will make you loose 5 pounds this month! Along with gaining great skin and better sleep! Seriously. Those 8 glasses a day are going to change your life. Promise. I'll tell you why on Tuesday...

2. Make at least one NEW healthy meal for dinner each week.  I do this on Sundays since I have time to prep and follow the recipe. By the end of the month that will be four great meals, almost a weeks worth... who knows, maybe you will keep up the habit until that is ALL you cook for dinner!

3. Stay active. Hopefully, last month's challenge helped teach you to incorporate some sort of movement into your day, even if it was not a full blown work out. 

4. Visit a healthy lifestyle website/Facebook page/ Pinterest board/ magazine at least once a week to learn a few "who knew" facts about nutrition and exercise.  I LOVE SELF Magazine the most. (No one paid me to say that, I have had a subscription for YEARS!)  There is also Shape, Fitness, Women's Health, Men's Health and for us moms, Fit Mom Diet is a website full of inspiration from other moms sharing their stories and healthy recipes. I know a few of you out there are Gluten free, check out their recipe for Gluten free pizzas! For the kids check out the greatest website, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, HealthyChildren.org! Knowledge is POWER!!

5. Think of your body as a fine tuned machine.  Everything you put in has to be good for the machine, or it will fall apart and stop working. The same goes for your family. Make healthy choices.  Carrot chips instead of Lays. Grapes instead of gummy worms. Choose a healthier cereal this month.  Clean out those pantries. I think you will be shocked to find healthy choices are cheaper than you think. You can get two bunches of bananas or a pound of grapes for the same price as a bag of name brand potato chips! 

Your mantra for the month is: If I eat like Crap, I will Feel Like Crap!  


The Toddler Code Of Conduct Part II: The Age Of Independence. 20 New Rules...

As the man-child gets older and adds speaking freely, thinking freely and acting freely to his repertoire of toddler conduct, life has gotten much more interesting. It's become clear that more codes of conduct have been hard wired into his DNA than previously thought...

Without further ado, I present the latest installment in The Toddler Code Of Conduct--Part II: The Age Of Independence... 20 More Rules Toddlers Live By.

1. When your parent(s) appear to be having a deep conversation with another adult, announce that you have to poop. If you are still in diapers, extra credit awarded for grunting and straining to make it appear like you are trying to pass a brick. 
2. When being served a banana, if it breaks during the peeling process, REFUSE to eat it. Actually, make that the rule for anything that breaks before being served. Yes, even cookies. 
3. When out to eat, stand up in the booth, then turn around and stare at the person eating behind you for so long it becomes creepy.
4. If someone tries to take something from you, make them sorry.  Hold tight while flailing and screaming. If they manage to pry it out of your hands, channel the Incredible Hulk and explode on them.
5. Potty Training... (a.k.a The Great Chocolate Caper) Should NOT be easy for anyone involved. Well, unless chocolate and sweet treats are not your thing. The harder you make it, the longer you will get rewarded for crapping in the potty.

6. MAKE A MESS! That is your mantra. Make the most of every opportunity to wreck the joint. Get creative. Go nuts. Think: Filthy Wild Mess. Make sure it's clear where you have been...Store your toys in the hall, in shoes, in the cat's/dog's bed, in the refrigerator, in the toilet, bathtub, front yard... anywhere but where your parents want them.  
7. When you pass gas, laugh hysterically and then in your loudest voice announce, "HA HA I JUST FARTED." Legend status achieved if four or more people are present.
8. Before you touch anything on your plate, demand the food off everyone else's first. 
9. Shoes, clothes and vegetables are stupid. Avoid them. 
10. DO NOT sleep-in on the weekends. If the sun rises before you, then you have failed. If you do not see the tears in your parent's eyes when waking them up before dawn, then you have failed. 
11. Life is one big game of Tag. Everyone is 'It.' RUN FROM THEM! Use tables to play epic games of, You Can't Catch Me, by crawling under them and running around them. 
12. When no one is looking, try something really naughty. Something like climbing on furniture, jump on the bed, pull a chair over to the counter to grab a knife, chase the cat or dog. Something you are sure you will get yelled at if caught. Live a little. 
13. While out for walks, stop every six inches to poke, pick-up, drop or kick something.  Every dog in the neighborhood should be lapping you on walks.  Even the German Shepherd that stops every foot to mark it's territory.

14. Repeat EVERY word you hear. Every. Single. One. 
15. This is the only time of your life you can say bad words in public and not get in trouble. Remember, they think you are trying to say, truck, duck, chip, bridge, and ship. GO WITH IT! Drop Truck bombs all over the place!  
16. Phones and tablets were put on this earth for you. Seek them out. Always.
17. Act like a perfect little angel while in the care of others. Think, all smiles through Pleases and Thank Yous and well timed trips to the potty. It will keep your parents guessing and slightly annoyed. 
18. The backseat of the car is your domain.  Mark it by creating a sea of goldfish crackers. Feed the goldfish juice and crumbs whenever possible. 
19. Before you play with your toys, play with everything else first. Including but not limited to, everything in the house that is repeatedly referred to as, "not for you."
20. Last, and most important, to keep toddler legend perfect little angel status... at least once a week, WOW your parents with your undeniable wit and charm. One week bust out the ABC's or Itsy Bitsy Spider. Then the next week, count to ten.  In between, announce observations of your surroundings using words they have never heard you say before. Also, give kisses, hugs, cheeky grins and/or say I WUV You, the second you think they are on to you.

For the original Toddler Code of Conduct-Twenty Rules Toddlers Live By... CLICK HERE

Dear Karma, My toddler... My mom said to tell you, well played. #TerribleTwos

It's official, my toddler has reached, what I hope to be, the epicenter of the 'terrible twos.' From the constant screaming, to the tantrums, to the food thieving, to the boundary testing...All day. Everyday. Life around my house has become BEYOND challenging interesting for all involved.

The only bright side to it all is that I'm sure for every little bit of my mind I am losing over this madness, I am gaining a little bit more patience. Which really is a good thing, because as it turns out the only way to survive the terrible twos is to have an abundance of patience while riding out the storm.

My kid is a freaking hand full! No, make that TWO hand fulls. He is a full throttle wild-child that is clearly on a mission to test everything I say, and see exactly how far he can go before I will crack.

I guess it's possible that he has a hearing problem, because when...

I say, No! He hears, Good job, keep it up!
I say, STOP! He hears, HAUL ASS!!!!!!!
I say, no screaming! He hears, shatter eardrums.
I say, no more of something... He hears, freakout, flop around on the floor and fake cry..
I say, time for nap/nite-nite. He hears... nothing. 
I say, eat your dinner. He hears, eat everyone else's food first.

Amazingly, when I say, do you want some ice cream? He says, YES, peeease!

Looks like the hearing impaired angle is out. Terrible twos are back in.

My mom insists that he is completely normal, and that it's not really the terrible twos, it's the fact that toddlers live life constantly experimenting. They have to test things and try things for themselves. My mom also loves to remind me that I was a little toddler a-hole too. Thanks, mom.

I am trying to remind myself that his behavior is somehow normal. Including when he is acting bat shit crazy and not listening to me. I try to remind myself that every parent goes through this. I also remind myself that this is a big part of what parenting is all about; helping your child navigate the world, while teaching right from wrong. Even if it means spending the majority of toddlerhood saying, NO! This behavior is unacceptable because nobody likes a little a-hole...

I have been told that even if during the terrible twos... threes... fours... you do spend the majority of your time wanting to rip your hair out, this too shall pass, and by holding it together, you will raise a child that has their shit together too.  Ahhh parenting...

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Those Been-There-Done-That Parents... Why Do They Always Have To Be Right?!

I am so sick of those been-there-done-that (BTDT) parents saying, I told you so!  It's constant. And to add insult to injury, they are always right. ARG!

Even Ollie is annoyed...
Here are few examples of the BTDT "I told you sos", I have heard over the last two years...

ME: I cannot wait for my baby to start crawling!
BTDT: Yes, you can. Trust me, it's nice when they stay in one place.
Sure enough...Two months later... Baby starts crawling... far and FAST! Making it so I can no longer leave a room for a second without losing my baby.
BTDT: I told you so.

ME: I cannot wait until my baby starts eating solids! I might try rice cereal early...
BTDT: Yes, you can. And don't you dare! Rice cereal won't make them sleep through the night, plus life gets very messy when they start solids. They throw more food on the floor then they actually eat.
ME: Whatever...
Sure enough... He didn't sleep any better, and WHAT A MESS!
BTDT: I told you so.

Me: I cannot wait for my baby to start walking!
BTDT: Yes, you can. They want to walk EVERYWHERE.  Including the grocery while you are trying to shop.
Me: Whatever...
Sure enough... My son learning to walk turned out to be so annoying, because 9SURPRISE!) he constantly wanted to walk everywhere.
BTDT: I told you so.

Me: I cannot wait until I can hand my phone over to my son to keep him busy while I shop.
BTDT: Yes, you can.  You will never see your phone again!
Me: Whatever...
Sure enough... all he says is, "See Ollie! See Ollie!" He wants to look at pictures and videos. (For more information on this epic fail, see "Warning DO NOT give this to a toddler."
BTDT: I told you so.

Me:  I cannot wait until my starts talking!
BTDT:  Yes you can. They repeat everything you say.
Sure enough...
Me: Shit!
Toddler: Shit!
BTDT: I told you so.

And the latest... and yet to be seen...

ME: I cannot wait until my toddler can hold conversations!
BTDT: Yes, you can.  They NEVER Shut up!
Me: Whatever!  I cannot imagine wanting that sweet little angelic voice to "shut up!" I bet my kid will  say the greatest stuff too!  No way would I want that kind of funny to stop!  Yeah, whatever.  No way will I ever want him to Shut up...
BTDT: Trust me on this.

I know history proves I should believe the Been-there-done-that parent on this one.  BUT! BUT! BUT! ... But nothing, I have eaten my words enough to know I will want him to stop talking too.  Even if it is unimaginable now.

What words has a BTDT made you eat?


I'm Sorry I Can't Hear You. My Toddler Broke My Ears.

OK. So my ears aren't really broken. But if they were, I wouldn't be upset about it. Why? Because my toddler's volume control is stuck on scream. As in, he can only let sound come out of his mouth that resembles very poor operatic singing. He Scream-Talks. Scream-Sings. Scream-Cries. Scream-Laughs. Scream-Screams... Chances are, if you are quiet enough, no matter where you are in the world, you can hear my toddler screaming about something... or nothing... right now.

The scream-scream is the norm. All day long, my kid screams. It appears that it's mostly just for fun. Out of nowhere, he will just start screaming. I seriously think it's just to hear himself. Possibly, to piss me off.  Whatever it is, he is clearly enjoying it.

I always know when it is coming because he puts his hands over his ears. Yes, he covers up his ears before he starts the toddler opera from hell. Then out comes the blood curdling, ear drum rupturing scream. It usually lasts a minute or so, from first scream to last. What do I do? When he pauses to take a breath, I will interject a NO SCREAMING! with some sore of explanation why. Then I will either ignore him, or send him to time-out.  Sometimes just to let me know he is really the one in charge, after he takes a breath/finishes time-out he will tell me in a whisper, "no screaming," before covering his ears back up for another round of scream-scream. A-HOLE!

He sounds exactly like you would imagine this guy to sound. 
The worst of it is when we are out in public. If I deny him something, say NO!, or hold him back from something, he screams. And I mean, SCREAMS until he is red in the face and out of air. Fists balled... the whole shit storm. Then to add insult to injury, it never fails that someone in ear shot feels the need to either laugh or make a joke about it. It's usually something to the effect of, That's how I felt when I got out of bed this morning. Or, I hear ya kid, it is a tough world!  I know the stranger is trying to make light of it, or make me feel better... BUT! When I am trying to pretend like we invisible and no one but me witnessed the toddler shout out from hell, comments don't help. 

FTD and I are at a loss at this point. We have tried EVERYTHING! Time-Outs, Talk-it-outs, removal of toys, ignore him... Nothing helps. I keep telling myself that this is some sort of toddler phase from hell, and any day now he will be on to some other defiant annoying activity... I even try to tell myself that this is somehow a developmental thing. That the screaming is necessary for his growth and vocal/ear development--yes, that's how desperate I am.

Unfortunately, we are about three weeks into the scream fest, and there are no signs of him letting up.  Each time FTD and I explain that what he is doing is wrong, and then ignore him from there.  Sometimes we add in a timeout. We parent. He toddlers.  Business as usual...

Here's hoping it's over soon.

Are you, or have you already dealt with the scream phase?  Any tips? Please don't tell me it's only my kid?!

No, Mommy. I don't want what's on my plate. I want what's on yours!

What's up with my kid stealing wanting what I'm eating, even if he has the SAME thing on his plate?!


I've even made his dinner and my dinner on similar plates, with similar portions, and then showed him that they were the exact same, and still, he wants mine.

Being the loser pushover that I am, I switch the plates. Only to have him meltdown for his plate back! And God forbid I even attempt to eat anything sweet around him!

No. Make that, God forbid I eat anything sweet SLOWER than him, and then not hand over the reaming bites when he finishes his.

No. Wait. More Like,  God forbid I eat anything sweet before first giving him TWO of that same sweet something. One for each hand of course.

Is this just him messing with me, or is there some sort of screwed up method to the toddler madness going on?

"Mommy! Mommy! Chicken and chump chies!! Peeease!!!"
 OK. He will have chicken and chump chies, and I'll have a yogurt with granola please.
Or not.
He immediately crawled in my lap and went to work. 
I ate the chicken and chump chies.                 
I don't get it. I make the same dinner for both of us, and all he wants is mine.  Or worse I make him his favorite spaghetti and me steamed vegetables and fish, and he still will insist on the food on my plate. Then, to add insult to injury, he will take the broccoli out of my hand, take a bite then spit it out! Just to make me crazy, he tries to steal more off my plate. WHAT THE HELL??? I know it's got to be him testing me... I am convinced he knows how annoying I think it is. Possibly because I tell him...  Kid, you are annoying me, eat your own food! 

The madness started happening a couple of months ago with him always being interested in what I was eating, but now always wanting it. Now, it's just constant; he HAS to have it, regardless of what it is. Seriously. I cannot eat or drink anything without him wanting it. Which, SUCKS. I love spicy food, so nine times out of ten, I will spice my dinner up after cooking it tempered for the whole family. Of course I have to deny him what I am eating, which then results in a gargantuan meltdown. SO ANNOYING!

I also have to keep what ever I am drinking far out of his reach too. He has had a drink of my iced coffee twice, and liked it! Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I use too much sugar and flavored cream. Anyway. he drank it, and liked it and ow always wants it. That' my friends is a hell no. Giving caffeine to a toddler is the same as feeding a Gremlin after midnight. UGLY! I even keep my water out of reach thanks to the fact that he still has not mastered the art of drinking out of a cup without dumping it out on his face. SO ANNOYING!

My friends, I have joined the ranks of closet choco moms. You know, the ones who sneak away to a quiet place (closet, bathroom, car after a trip to the grocery alone) to eat candy or chocolate in peace. Here is me just the other day after grocery shopping alone. I'm eating a cookie in peace, and it is a beautiful thing!

If you're thinking, why do you put up with it, I'll tell you. Because, I am a first-time mom and didn't see this crazy food frenzy coming. Who knew my toddler would ALWAYS want what I am eating or drinking. Even if it is fish and broccoli?  Who knew my toddler would demand a cookie or cracker for EACH hand. That's right, each one of his hands MUST receive a snack before I do. At first, I was happy to hand over my food. This all started during a time when getting my kid to eat was an issue, so if he wanted to eat something, I would hand it over. Especially if it was something healthy from my plate. Little did I know, I was creating a food obsessed monster.

For those of you shaking your head at me, no need to be so disgusted...  I deny him my food now, and as a reward for great parenting, I get to listen to him meltdown until he either gets tired of fake crying, or gets hungry enough to eat what I have given him. Learn from my mistake. Don't create the food hoarding beast in the first place. Deny the little food thief before he makes it a habit.

You're welcome.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go eat a cookie in my closet. #NoShame #MaybeALittle

Please enjoy these words of wisdom while I am away...

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Whatever You Do, DO NOT Give This To A Toddler.

DO NOT under any circumstance, hand your phone over to a toddler. If you do, it will be gone. Forever. As in, bye bye phone. The toddler will become obsessed with it, NOTHING will compare.  They will search you, your pockets, handbag... EVERYWHERE, until they find their precious.  And when they find it, your...

  • Calls-Missed... Except those from people you are trying to avoid.  They answer those calls. 
  • Texts-Replied to with something similar to this, 'shjd;$@!32'- (Actual text sent by my toddler) 
  • Apps-Gone. Poof! Take screenshots of your phone pages so you can easily figure out what Apps have been compromised.
  • Social Media- New friends requests will be sent. In-laws unfriended. Wars started.
  • Photos, Music & Videos-Subject to toddler purging as well.
  • Passwords-Changed- Try something similar to--Dmns12zdn.';'f
  • Settings- Changed-Think 'Airplane Mode.' ALL DAY!
  • Buttons & Cracks- PACKED with peanut butter, jelly, bananas and Goldfish.

Should you fail to heed this warning, and hand your phone over to a toddler...
  • DO NOT Panic-...once you completely and utterly hate yourself for the poor choice. Panicking will cause you to make more poor choices.
  • DO NOT Chase After Them in an attempt to get it back. Most likely they will think it's a game and begin laughing wildly at you, whilst out running and mocking you.  
  • DO NOT Scare Them-Once they see the anger in your eye, and realize the game is over, that is when they scramble for a hiding spot. This is where things get very dangerous for the phone.
  • BACK OFF! If you are coming up to a body of water during the chase, STOP! The toilet is not where you want this to end, and they are more than happy to go for that. In fact, just back off the chase all together; it will not end well for your phone. Most likely, the toddler will panic when you get close, and try launch the phone with everything their little Peyton Manning arm has got. So should you be near an area that provides a large drop, hard surface, or deep opening when the phone is launched, its game over for your phone. So again I say, BACK OFF!
  • Play Dead. Your best bet is to play dead, while your toddler calms down in a quiet corner with their precious phone... and then MOVE IN! Grab it back.  
  • REDIRECT-If you want this acquisition of your property to go smoothly, you will need a redirect object, something like a cupcake, cookie, ice cream cone, chocolate or candy should suffice. Try to make the switch so fast they notice the cupcake before the loss of the phone.
  • NOW RUN! Once you have your phone back, RUN... to the nearest toy store and by something resembling the phone or a tablet, and pray like you have never prayed before that the new phone will work. If it does not, sorry my friend, the damage is done.  Go get your toddler their own phone/tablet and thank your lucky stars you made it out with all of your fingers and limbs...

Note: According to the 'Property Laws of a Toddler' (see below) anything, once handed over to a toddler, will become THEIR property. The minute you try to take back THEIR property, all toddler hell will break loose. Think: Hell Hath No fury! Your toddler will loose it all over you, innocent bystanders, roaming animals, furniture, food... pretty much anything within ear and arms reach will be subject to that hell. To prevent further mishaps, read the following list carefully...

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


5 Things You Can Do To Make Learning Fun For Your Toddler.

As much as I harp on about the trials and excitement of raising a toddler, there really are so many more positives and moments of joy. I sometimes wonder if I should be spending more time talking about the positives, like the fact that I am the proud mother of a two-year-old (25 months) that can say the alphabet, count to ten, recognize primary colors, read a few words in books, and carry on a conversation with full sentences. I am SO SO SO proud of this.  Granted, it took a lot of work, but seeing how that work actually, worked, has been a huge joy in and of itself!

After having multiple people comment about his abilities, including childhood development professionals, I thought I would share with you the five main things my husband and I did to help our son become this smart little man.  (I hope I am not coming off smug or too braggy. Because I promise that is not my intention. I just thought I would share what we are doing for those parents following in our footsteps to toddlerhood looking to find fun ways to help their child learn too!)

Needless to say, I am so very proud of my little smarty. What's more, he is proud too.  I love watching him get excited when he points out a number or letter on a sign or in a book. Or when he sings a nursery rhyme all the way through.  I get excited, he gets excited... It's pure joy for both of us.

Without further ado... Five Simple Ways To Help Your Child Be The Smartest In The Class!

1. Talk To Your Child.  I know this may seem like a "duh" statement.  But what I mean is talk to your child about every single thing you do, pass on the street, read in the book... Constantly keep talking and pointing out objects and explaining why you are doing something.  For example. While driving in the car, FTD non-stop asks Ollie questions... "Can you see a bus? Can you see the RED light? Can you see a tractor?..."  I'll admit, it was annoying at first--mostly because FTD would not shut up!-- but when Ollie began to point the things out before the questions, I got it. I started constantly talking to him during our car rides too. I could see why non-stop talking made sense, especially in a setting outside of our house where new things were constantly in front of us. It's those small things you wouldn't think of that add to your child's vocabulary and understanding of daily life.

2. REPEAT Everything!  I read this somewhere... not that I can remember where... When you hand something to your child, or point it out for the first time, you say what it is once, then slowly enunciate it a second time before moving on. The article I read said that when handing something to your child, say what it is, and then hold on to it firmly as your child tries to take it, repeat what it is for a second time, then release the object to your child.  I still do that to this day when introducing something new.

3. Count Everything. I read this tip somewhere too. Count the steps when going up and down stairs. Count the train cars when stopped at the railway crossing. Count each other's fingers and toes. Count the blocks, cars, dolls, bananas, and even the books on the shelf.  Count everything, every chance you get. At the zoo (we have a membership), he names the animal, then counts how many there are... "one, two, three gorillas!"

4. Get Creative.  I remember when I first tried flash cards with Ollie. He HATED them. I could not keep his attention through the first one. I quickly learned that if I wanted him to be engaged with learning it had to be fun! We now have puzzle flash cards that he loves, and bath foam tiles with numbers, letters and objects on them. I also love the puzzle apps that are made for toddlers that teach numbers, colors and letters. (That's right, I FULLY support screen time as a supplement for learning!)  I also use coloring books to talk through colors and shapes, and of course encourage book reading all day. I am constantly looking for fun ways to get him excited about learning the fundamentals he will need when he starts preschool.

5. Be Patient! From the minute I got pregnant I made it my life's mission to do everything I could to help my kid be the smartest kid EVER! While pregnant, I listened to classical music, I ate all the right foods, I took those nasty nausea inducing prenatal vitamins the entire ten months, I read out loud to my belly... I did everything I knew to do. Then once my baby was born, I started reading books to him. As much as I want to say it was this perfect mother son reading session, it was not. In fact, reading to my infant sucked.  All he wanted to do was reach out, grab the book and eat it. This went on for the first year of his life.  All he ever wanted to do was rip the book out of my hand and demolish it. I was terrified that my son was going to hate books.  Or worse, he was going to grow up to be Captain Beatty from Fahrenheit 451.  A book burning imbecile.

Let's just say the wheels on this bus have not gone 'round and round' for a very long time.
By the time my son turned one, every single book we owned had been ripped, chewed or missing a page or two. Luckily, I finally learned to stop buying new books, and read between the missing pages until this stage was finally over. It was more the act of reading than anything. I also learned to accept that there was no such thing as reading a book word for word straight through to a baby/toddler.

Today, at two-years-old, my son LOVES his books. LOVES them. We read "Easy Street" all (damn) day. He knows it by heart now.  Moral of the story, even though it made me nuts, I kept reading to a child who at first could not be less interested. I learned to be patient, while he learned to love books and learning in general. Now, he wants to read so much, I find myself dreading it at times. Still, I read...

The key for us was to constantly introduce new things in a fun and engaging way. I have no doubt if you follow these tips, your child will blow your mind with his/her brilliance too!

Do you have anything to add?


March On 30/30 Challengers!

Hello Hello March 30/30 Challengers!  I hope you are reading this post feeling taller, stronger and most of all, healthier!  I have had two incredible surprises this week from challengers.

The first challenge rockstar let me know the challenge has rubbed off on her husband, and for over a week now they have walked everyday and brown bagged it to work for lunch, saving money and calories!

The second was when a long time readers showed me the proof of the Challenge's effects!  While she has chosen to not weigh herself until the end of the month, she has CLEARLY lost weight.  Possibly a pant size!  She said she is physically able to do more everyday, and has even picked up her old favorite home workout video!

As for me, I am stronger, leaner and definitely walking taller! I am integrating Yoga, Pilates, Zoo Walks, and 30 minute dance/clean-up parties with ollie,where we put on music and dance around and pick-up the ridiculous mess we made all day!

For those of you just joining the challenge, here is what's going on...

In Short: The 30/30 challenge is about mini-monthly challenges with mini-goals to help keep you on track. The hope is that over the next couple of months, small attainable changes will deliver us to the healthiest most active summer of our lives! 

This month is ...

Be Mindful and Get Moving Month! 
March is do anything for 30 minutes a day for 30 days... 
Mix it up Walk, Yoga, Clean, Shop, Organize... 
Just be mindful of the challenge and your body moving each day!

 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! Turn on some upbeat music and dance around. Celebrate becoming a healthier you this month! 

I'd love to know how your March is Marching on!

Next Friday I will be back with the details of April's 30/30 Challenge... 

To read more about the 30/30 Challenge, Click Here! 


Finally, The Number One Parenting Question Answered-- Who Do You Use For...

"Who Do You Use For," or really just, "Who Do You...," is probably the most common question a parent asks. Lately, I have been asking that question about babysitters.  I need a babysitter, and before I break down and call an expensive service, I am trying to find someone through word-of-mouth. In fact, I ALWAYS try to find people in the service industry through word-of-mouth.  So, when the PR team from "WhoDoYou.com" contacted me, and said they knew how to find babysitters in my area through people I trusted, I was certainly intrigued.  They said WhoDoYou.com was full of word of mouth recommendations from my friends, friends of friends and people living right in my city.  Um... Yes, please.

Sure enough, I typed in babysitter and my city, and got this...

First it let me know there were seven relevant answers to my questions, within 15 miles of my location! Then, of the seven, it ranks the answers by which one is the most relevant.  I was able to click on the impost relevant to see the discussion. One thread alone had 14 responses about babysitters!  NUTS!

So how does this work?  Whodoyou.com works by tapping into social media, where most people are talking today, to find personal recommendations on multiple goods and services using keywords.

The mastermind behind WhoDoYou created the system when a few years back he and his wife did a massive home renovation. He contacted everyone he knew, every way imaginable, to find reliable contractors and help.  Now, he cannot find any of the recommendations he was given.  So, he developed a way to store the recommendations through his social media. Seeing how helpful it was, he took the concept mainstream, and BOOM WhoDoYou was born!

Today there are thousands of people participating in WhoDoYou to help drive the personal recommendation information train.  All you do is sign up, and your recommendations will be added too, or don't sign up and visit WhoDoYou to get recommendations.  It works for you any way you need it to.  But chances are... you will enter a search term and find your friends and friends of friends already talking about the things and people you need.  Try For Your Self!  To search WhoDoYou, Click Here!


WHOO HOO!!! My Sister-In-Law Just Gave Birth To One Big Ass Baby!

My sister-in-law just gave birth to a 10.4 pound baby. Yes, TEN POUNDS and FOUR OUNCES. And 23 inches long! That's nearly TWO feet! TWO! King-freaking-kong! She knocked out King Kong. And O'Natural at that! All I can envision is this massive six-month-old baby popping out and giving his dad a high five!

Photo Credit: Dan Finnen

First of all, I want to extend a HUGE congratulations to the proud parents and then to the rest of FTD's family. AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! He is absolutely adorable. 

Second, TEN FREAKING POUNDS. NATURALLY! To that I say... Amen! Holy Shit! & Someone get that girl a drink, or an award or something. And maybe some sushi, soft cheese, deli meat, wet nurse, back rub... Because would you believe...

She had a week long labor with Braxton Hicks on and off, was in and out of the hospital from Thursday until she finally gave birth on Monday, and though her labor definitely sucked, she pushed that King Kong baby out relatively quickly! THEN, a half hour later was up walking around and ready do go home! WHO DOES THAT? My Sister-in-law, that's who.  
FYI: She is also now a member of the, Two Under Two Club.
Her first child will not be two for another two months!

Would you believe when we found out she was in labor I looked at FTD and said, "You know, I'm really jealous she gets to have natural birth." While I am happy that my little 8.4 pound 20 inch Ollie was ejected safely out of my sunroof (C-Section), I do wonder what natural childbirth is like. Or what it's like to recover so quickly! Nature and the human body are just amazing. 

That being said... when I found out she pushed a MASSIVE baby out, I quickly changed my mind.  I am happy to just live vicariously thought her now.  And even though she, "pushed the big guy out relatively quickly," I have no doubt her pain threshold is MUCH higher than mine, because I am confident that in between me screaming every filthy word imaginable at FTD, I would be screaming at every doctor or nurse in ear shot to get me some drugs. I really just cannot imagine! 

It's just crazy how it all happens; After ten LONG months of pregnancy, one day this beautiful miracle comes into the world and completely flips your life upside down. So Amazing... and SO incredibly glad I did not have to knock out a ten pounder! 

Congratulations again to my beautiful sister-in-law and fabulous brother-in-law.  May your lives remain as blessed as the day your beautiful son came into this world. 

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