5/29/15

Pee and Donkeys: Such Is My Life With A Toddler #StopsayingDONKEY #ToiletsAreNOTCarWashes

Holy crap. I don't even know where to start! All I know is that I need to rant or my brain will explode.

I don't understand how one day my toddler is a joy to be around (Mostly), then the next day, he's washing his cars in the toilet and/or abusing the word, DONKEY.

Yes, Donkey.




Right now, I have two major toddler troubles:

1. My kid can't keep his damn hands out of the toilet.
2. EVERYTHING IS A FREAKING DONKEY!

I suppose I'll start this rant with my latest potty training issues...

FYI: Potty Training + Toddler Independence = Pee EVERYWHERE.

Being a first-time parent, I read everything I could find about potty training. I read that I should let my child lead the way. Not scold him for accidents. Use words like penis and buttocks.

So I did.

What did it get me?

Peed on.

I've also had my mop shoved in the toilet. (On TWO different occasions!) Hot Wheels taking a dip in the toilet. a.k.a the "car wash." Toddler hands, shoes, and God knows what else shoved in the toilet for God knows why.

In an effort to combat the germ explosion, in between scolding him for playing in the toilet and timeouts, I did my best to keep the bathrooms sparkly clean and disinfected.

What did that get me?

The realization that all that cleaning still could not stop my toddler from toilet terrorism.

Last night, while I started the bath, Ollie climbed up on the potty and proceeded to pee ON the toilet in his haste. He jumps down, and before I know what's happening, he grabs a washcloth, dips it in the toilet, PRE-FLUSH, then wipes up the pee... WITH PEE!!!

WHHHHYYYYYYY????

While most might cry, I'm so freaking used to his toilet antics, I only momentarily lost my shit! I took the washcloth away, put him in the tub, and proceeded to clean the bathroom. For the second time that day.

I'm so at a loss over his obsession with the toilet, and how to break it. I'm throwing up my hands and hoping this phase will pass. Soon.

The kid is clearly immune to timeouts and stern talks about proper toilet etiquette.



Being that clearly my toddler is on a mission to make me lose m mind, he's picked up another horrifying habit; He's got a problem with either asking someone if they are a donkey or just pointing and saying, You're a donkey.

The Donkey business is pure dumbassery.

The other day, we were in the checkout line at the grocery store when the lady behind us starts talking to Ollie. I'm unloading the cart, and half listening to the conversation, when Ollie says to the lady, while pointing right at her,"YOU are a Donkey!" and then proceeds to nearly piss himself laughing.

Again, while most might cry, I'm so freaking used to it, I only momentarily lost my shit.

WHERE DID THIS COME FROM??

Who? Where? How?

Who taught my kid to call people a donkey?

Of course, when I tried the whole, "would you like someone to call you a donkey?" he thought it would be AWESOME.

So much so, he called himself a donkey for the rest of the day.

In the back of my mind, I can't help but feel slightly responsible, my sense of humor is all jacked up too. I have a hard time with the word, Beaver. I laugh EVERY TIME I hear it. Every. Single. Time.

I suppose I should be happy that he doesn't know, ASS, is another word for donkey.





FYI: I'm not taking all of the blame for my kid's ridiculousness, FTD a HUGE part of the reason Ollie's sense of humor is jacked up...

I told FTD we needed a grand work of art to put over our fireplace... THIS is what he sent me... 







5/28/15

Looking For An Answer To A Burning Question? (Literally! HAHAHAHA) #OlaHealth #Review

*I've partnered with the Ola Health App to start a conversation about finding answers to your strange questions. All opinions are my own.


Do you remember when you were pregnant, and you would scour the Internet parenting forums and medical sites to find answers to all of your crazy pregnancy questions?  I know I sure do. Never in my life did I think I would look up information on what crazy cravings meant, or how to avoid hemorrhoids while pregnant, or my favorite, when will this ridiculous pregnancy gas go away. Don't even get me started on all of the millions of freak out questions about my baby... Baby hasn't moved in the last five seconds, is he still alive? Ahhh first-time mom moments...

And what's even more annoying, since none of those websites had good apps, or the forums never worked on my phone, I had no choice but to figure out how to prop both me and my laptop up, without melting the babies brain by resting the laptop on my plump belly.

Well, now all of that has changed! The NEW Ola Health App has those forums and answers, and sounding board in one easy anonymous app!


When the creator reached out and told me about Ola Health App, and how it was 100% anonymous and filled with everyday users just like every other forum I use, just without having to use my name. I was certainly intrigued.

Sure enough, all I did was download the app and I was able to go right into the forms and read questions and pose questions of my own. I have to say, it is nice to finally find an app that doesn't want my Facebook account info or my Social Security number and three more forms of ID!

I started by reading the "general" forum where recent questions and topics are being discussed.





I had a great time reading through the questions and responses, as well as the sort of status update comments where strangers just sort of started talking. Very cool.

Next, I checked out the parenting forum:


I found more of the same, great questions, comments and fun updates.

I have to say, the Ola Heath App is very cool! Being that it's free, anonymous and fun, it's certainly an App I will keep downloaded to have for those crazy questions on the go, or when I just want to see what people are talking about and jump in conversations. This app is great for those parents doing the 3am  feeding that no one is awake to keep you company.

Currently, the app is heavily used in New York! And you know how much fun New Yorkers are...

Bottom line: Love it. Download it.




To download the app now from the Apple App Store, Click here

To download the app now from Google Play Store, Click here.


5/27/15

It's Our One Year Home-A-Versary! The Before And Afters Will Blow Your Mind... #CapitalOneHome





Today is a monumental day for my family... One year ago today, we moved into our dream home! Our one-hundred-year-old, super fixer-upper, dream home... 


I LOVED our new house. I loved the promises it held inside its walls for my family. I loved how even though it needed a ton of updates, renovations and four million layers of wallpaper removed (That dated back to the dinosaur era!), with a little lots of TLC, the house was going to be fabulousness. 

In a way, it already was... even with its ancient wallpaper, filthy green walls, and questionable plumbing and electric, the house's beautiful bones were all I could see. Thankfully, FTD agreed. We were first-time home buyers, on a mission to find a fixer-upper we could make our own.


The house met our wish list of number bedrooms, bathrooms, garden, and garage, so what if we were going to have to spend the rest of our lives renovating it, it was officially our home, and we couldn't wait to get started! 

As my long-time readers know, the renovations were put into action IMMEDIATELY! 


Fixing the wall in our dining room, and painting was our first order of business. FYI:  This project delivered my biggest home renovation lesson to date, It's a process. And a huge labor of love... but so worth it. 

Believe it or not, FTD and I spent two years looking for our family home. We started right after I found out I was pregnant. Location was EVERYTHING to us. We lived in a super artsy, eclectic area of town, and no way were we leaving! A large number of homes and shops are on the historic registry. People come from all around to walk the historic street, eat the amazing food and experience the fabulous art and culture our historic neighborhood has to offer. We are super artsy and eccentric eclectic, we belong here! Besides, the suburbs would throw us out. 

Being that I had spent the last ten years renting, the unknowns of home ownership were scary, but the promise of FINALLY paying back into my pocket was amazing! I always looked at renting as throwing money out the window, but having a mortgage was a true investment. That being said, since FTD and I were first-time homebuyers, we had a lot to learn about the home loan process, and most of all, creating a budget and sticking to it! 

Having a clear understanding of our income and expenses was our first step. We needed to know exactly how much we could afford a month for mortgage, living expenses and still manage to put 5% aside for rainy days. While we were working on our budget, I started to really grasp the commitment of homeownership and compromises it would take to afford a house in my dream location. 

After a solid year of homeownership, filled with many ups and downs, I can honestly say it's even better than I imagined! Sure, at first I was worried about how we would afford everything, including the renovations, but we took each hurdle as it came, and pushed through it. 




We bought paint when we could afford it, and ate pasta and PB&J when we lost our minds at the hardware store. But above all, we spent the last year fixing up our dream home, while becoming a stronger family and making memories that will last a lifetime.




Oh, and if you're wondering what our next big renovation is? The kitchen of course!  I want to knock out walls, and gut the entire thing, and to top it all off, turn a window into a door so I can have backyard access from my kitchen!  

You know me, dream big or don't bother...

Seriously. Who puts an oven in front of an air vent? WHO? 

If you are thinking of embarking on home ownership, I cannot recommend it enough! Sure, it's scary at first, but with some preparation and a fabulous home mortgage lender, you can do it! Promise.

Here are a few of my top tips for first time home buyers: (Read: lessons learned)
  • Figure out how much home you can afford. A rule of thumb is to look at houses that are 2.5 times your annual salary.
    • Ideally, your monthly housing payment shouldn’t be more than 28 percent of your gross household monthly income.
    • Use an online mortgage calculator to help figure out what you can afford.
  • While 20% is the recommended amount to put down, you don't have to! We sure didn't.  There are many loan options available, so don't be discouraged if 20% down seems impossible. 
  • Understand that it may take time and a thousand open houses to find your dream home, but I can assure you the wait is so worth it! 
  • While you are looking for your new home, budget like you already live there. For example, even though our rent payment was half of our expected mortgage, I mailed the rent check, and then put the other half of what would be our mortgage in savings. It really helped to give us a clear picture of what our budget and lifestyle would be like once we bought a house. 
  • KNOW THE FACTS! There really is so much to know about being a first time homebuyer. From understanding your budget to gathering your financial history, to figuring out which home loan is right for you. 
Capital One Home Loans Online Neighborhood is an AMAZING resource for first time home buyers.The 'online neighborhood' is packed with tips, articles, videos and information first-time homebuyers need to know– from deciding whether now is even the right time to buy and how much home you can afford, to the documents you need to apply for a mortgage! It's an absolute must read, see and study for first time home buyers. To check out Capital One Home Loans Online Neighborhood click here.


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.



5/26/15

10 Ways Being A Parent Makes You Socially Awkward #EpicFail

Prior to becoming a mother, I used to be the life of the party. I showered daily, accessorized every outfit, and wore shoes with heels. Since becoming a mother... yeah...um.... Not. So. Much.

In fact, I'm borderline socially awkward, and I don't only mean in a social anxiety sort of way. Not only is my behavior and appearance socially awkward at times, I make people feel awkward when they have to point out my public fails.

Allow me to explain with today's' Top 10 Tuesday list of ways being a mother has made me socially awkward:



1. Thanks to a rough night with a sleepless child, you walk into the grocery store and realize not only have you not brushed your hair, you didn't even bother looking in the mirror before walking out the door. To everyone else you look clearly confused and homeless.

2. When you meet girlfriends for lunch--after running errands all morning--and one of them reaches out to pull a sticker (or two!) off your butt... #ClassicMomMoment

3. It's been so long since you've had a drink, half of one turns you into the blabbering town drunk. Your friends understand, but the bartender immediately offers to close out your tab and call a cab.

4. You officially have no clue what teenagers are talking about thanks to their new fancy slang... the Disney channel has yet to explain. Which sucks since that's the only channel you watch. (Dammit, I used to be so cool.)

5. You realize after ten minutes of driving, you're jamming to toddler tunes... without your child in the car. The cop next to you, even though he sees the child seat in the back seat, is questioning your stability behind the wheel.

6. The last time you had time to shave your legs your first child was conceived.

7. You are so excited you took a five-minute uninterrupted shower, you tell everyone.

8. When your girlfriend picks you up for a night out dancing, you shout, "YOU PICKED UP THE WRONG GIRL", while running as fast as you can to her car. It's your first night out in 5 months. To everyone else watching you dance like a freaking maniac on the dance floor, it looks like your first night out in three years... from jail.



9. Even though you swore you would never ever wear your PJ's out of the house, you find yourself in Walgreens at 9:30 in your pajama pants frantically searching for children's Tylenol. But to everyone else, you look like a crazy lady on dirty crack frantically searching for a fix.

10. You know way more about poop than pop culture.


5/25/15

I'm SO Excited About My Plan To Combat Summer Brain Mush #AnimalTrackersClub

*I've partnered with Animal Trackers Club to start a conversation about combating summer brain mush. All opinions are my own.

Even as a child, I thought summer break was way too long. Three months? Really?

Of course, I was excited for school to end and summer break to begin, but by July, both my mom and I were running out of fun things to do. By August, I was just plain bored and missed my friends. And I dare say, routine.

Looking back, I was just as excited for the first day of school as I was for the last.

Now that I'm an adult, and parent, I think a three month summer break from school is even more ridiculous. Three months is just too long for a child to spend in and out of summer camps, watching TV and being begged and pleaded with by a parent to,"Put down the video game controller and go play outside!"

Being that summer break is widely accepted as being much too long, a few school districts around the country have transitioned from a long summer break to year-round schools, with short breaks spaced throughout the year.

I'm not sure why all schools don't make that year-round school year transition. I know I would vote, Yes.

In an effort to combat summer brain mush, we are going on a Summer Safari through Africa... In our backyard! Thanks to Animal Trackers Club, a super cute weekly Summer 2015 learning program. Each week, we are going to learn about a different animal in Africa. Wait 'til you see...

I LOVE THIS SO SO SO MUCH!


I'm SO EXCITED!!!

I love the idea of spending a summer focused on a certain theme or country. And the way Animal Trackers Club works, each week a new animal pack comes in the mail. On Week 1 we got, The Zebra...

Full Disclosure: When I learned about the Animal Trackers Club,  I asked the founder to PLEASE send me a pack for review. I decided that if they really were super awesome, I'd want to share the program with you before the program actually started, and you missed the sign-up deadline. FYI: I love Animal Trackers Club so much, I've signed on to be a brand ambassador for the year! 


I was blown away. The Zebra kit had the coolest stuff! Ollie instantly grabbed the Zebra toy, while I inspected the Magic Noodles, activity sheets, mask, zebra magnet and few other fun activities.

FYI: I'm still not sure who was more excited about the magic noodles, me or Ollie! The second I opened the noodles and showed him how to wet one side...

It. Was. Over. He has SO much fun with them.

The really cool part was that the noodle activity kept him busy while I read the Zebra fact sheet aloud.

Something else that struck me was how excited Ollie was about having his own special lunch box to hold his animals and activity cards. He carries the thing around with him everywhere now.  Of course, a Hot Wheel or two has made it's way into the lunch box, but for the most part, it's for his "African Animals."




I love that we are already talking about different countries and the cultures, animals and climates specific to it. Thanks to Animal Trackers Club, over then next 12 weeks, I get to roll out the blanket in the backyard and take Ollie on an African Safari. My little guy is a sponge at this age, and I plan to take full advantage of it.

If you too are intrigued by the Animal Trackers Club, I really cannot recommend enough giving it a shot.

To get started, click here.









5/24/15

It's HERE! EWG'S BEST and WORST Sunscreens Of 2015 LIST... Where Does Your's Rank?

The Environmental Working Group's 2015 List of the Best Sunscreens of 2015 has been released! 

This year, more than 1,700 U.S. sun protection products were analyzed to highlight the best and worst in the 2015 Guide to Sunscreens. What's really scary is 80 percent of products EWG reviewed contained harmful ingredients, or offer inadequate protection against dangerous ultraviolet radiation. 


When it comes to protecting our Little's delicate skin, providing the safest "broad spectrum" sunscreen is essential. What you may not know, most of the safest sunscreen are inexpensive, you just have to know what you are looking for!



                         Why yes, that is Ollie and Professor "The Bloody Cat" playing at the beach!

The first thing that stood out to me in the EWG's 2015 Sunscreen Report was a finding on one of my most trusted brands, Nuetrogena:




"Neutrogena’s advertising hype is further from reality than any other major brand we studied. It claims to be the “#1 dermatologist recommended suncare brand.” Yet all four products highlighted on Neutrogena’s suncare web page rate 7, in the red – worst – zone in our database. Neutrogena’s “Pure & Free Baby” sunscreen claims “special protection from the sun and irritating chemicals” and “hypoallergenic,” but it contains a preservative called methylisothiazolinone, or MI, that some researchers call a potent allergen and that is deemed unsafe in Europe. 


Neutrogena boasts shamelessly sky-high SPF values. A dozen or so are labeled SPF 70; two claim SPF 100+ and one, SPF 110. The federal Food and Drug Administration says that SPF benefits max out at 50+ and wants to bar higher numbers, as the European Commission, Japan and Australia have done, but its proposed regulation, under fire from sunscreen manufacturers, has been stuck in bureaucratic limbo since 2007."

SCARY!


What's worse, the EWG's Hall of Shame findings are shocking. For starters, a few facts everyone should know:



  • Spray sunscreens can be inhaled, and they don’t cover skin completely.
  • SPF values above 50+ try to trick you into believing they’ll prevent sun damage. Don’t trust them. SPF protection tops out at 30 to 50.
  • Oxybenzone can disrupt the hormone system.
  • Retinyl palmitate may trigger damage, possibly cancer.
The Hall of shame outlines the absolute worst sunscreens you can use in 2015.  There is even a list for kids products:


11 Worst Sunscreens for Kids

These terrible kid and baby sunscreens have at least three strikes against them: 1) oxybenzone, 2) retinyl palmitate and 3) SPFs above 50+. Two have a fourth strike: they’re aerosol sprays that can harm sensitive young lungs. Convenient? Yes. Good for kids? Absolutely not.
Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Kids Max Protect & Play Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110
Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Coppertone Kids Wacky Foam Foaming Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70+
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Equate Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Kroger Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
Kroger Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Beach & Pool Sunblock Spray, SPF 70+
Up & Up Kid’s Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Now, for the Best...

Of the 1770 products tested, under 300 met EWG's criteria.  To see the best, mineral, non-mineral, SPF moisturizers and lip balms, click here.

Or: 

For quick reference, here are a few links to interesting findings from this year’s report:

5/22/15

Looking For A Super Cute Father's Day Idea? #DIY #Filmora

*I've partnered with Wondershare to start a conversation about getting creative with home movies.

With Father's Day just around the corner, I'm looking for the perfect Father's Day gift. After all, FTD is the very best Father I know! He deserves something super duper badass to match his fathering skills...


Lucky for FTD, he doesn't drink coffee or wear a tie to work, so the #1 Dad coffee mug and crappy tie are out. Also, being that this is FTD's third Father's Day, I'm going to have to get creative, since I've petty much bought him every Father's Day themed gift.

Challenge Accepted.

Ollie and I are going to make FTD ALL of his Father's Day gifts this year. That's right, socks, ties, and coffee mugs are officially out!  Hand made photo albums, toddler paintings and other assorted creative awesomeness are in!  But, what I'm most excited about is what I consider to be the best Father's Day gift ever, a compilation of videos and photos highlighting FTD's best parenting moments.

Being that I'm not a video editor, I've turned to my absolute favorite online video editing software, Filmora.  FYI: It's my favorite, because it actually has an easy button!  All I did was upload a few of my favorite recent videos, picked music, a few filters--and we're talking a few clicks-- And made this:

              

Of course, this is not FTD's actual video, that's going to be a surprise for him... but I just got so excited about the idea to create this video, I wanted to share... just in case you too were looking for the perfect Father's Day gift!

If you are crap at video editing like me, then you'll want to check out Wondershare's, Filmora, video editing program, it really is super duper easy, and offers a ridiculous amount of special filters, music and effects, and all you do is click the option, no real work involved!

              
To get the best online video editing software, complete with easy button, Click here! 

5/21/15

Hands Down, This is My Favorite Milestone... So Far... SO FUNNY!

I remember when my son was just a littler over 18-months old and I would practically do handstands to coax words out of him. I LOVED hearing his sweet little angelic voice utter Mommy, More or Hi. 

I also remember my been-there-done-that-parent friends telling me to, "Just wait, soon, you won't be able to get him to shut up."  

Now that my son is three, I guess in a way, my friends were right; it is near impossible to get him to shut up. But truth be told, 95% of the time, I don't want him to--I reserve the 5% for the times he says No! or Mommy, Mom and/or Momma four hundred times in thirty seconds. I don't really love that.

Now that Ollie can talk and fully articulate his day or thoughts, nine times out of ten, it's freaking hysterical!  Ok, sometimes it takes a while to find the humor...

This was last week when he decided to pee in that cup:
Look, Mommy, I peed in the cup and then poured it in the toilet.
I'm still not quite sure where he got the cup or the idea...
Or the sticker stuck to his forehead?


My favorite part is not knowing what he will say next...

Earlier this, Ollie and I were driving home from his Child's Day Out program when he announced that he, had to go home and smash all of his toys.  

WHAT?

Me: Huh? You have to go home and smash all of your toys? Why would you do that?

Ollie: Because, Mrs. Rosie said I can smash my toys at home. I'm not allowed to smash her toys though.

Holy crap. I laughed SO hard.

He sees and hears things so literally. He takes everything for face value, and believes pretty much anything he hears. (Which is super dangerous since FTD and I are his parents!)

A couple of weeks ago, he pointed to a photo of an anchor in a book and said, it's a hook.  I corrected him and then explained how boats drop an anchor in the water to keep them still. 

You all, I have no idea where it came from, but the next time he took a crap he yelled out, "MOM! Come see, I just dropped the anchor!" 

Oh. My... Funny-ass-kid. 

I laughed for DAYS over that one.

The real trouble starts when he tries to interpret things. Like the toy smashing incident. I thought I would never get him to understand that Mrs. Rosie didn't mean he should go home and smash his toys, but rather he can't just go around smashing toys in general. 

The little talking wonder is constantly telling me stories, or pointing out things or singing songs. Sometimes he will lay on the floor and read a book to himself using the pictures. It's absolutely brilliant and could listen to him all day.  



I love this book. I picked it up at Office Depot for $10 and it has been wonderful. He loves it. He reads through it on his own and counts things, points out the objects and answers the questions... #awesome


Another of his favorites is accosting strangers with his observations or questions:

One day a girl was running by our house, and Ollie yelled out, Hey! Girl! What are you running from?

Or when a new neighbor stopped by to introduce herself, she asked Ollie how old he was and he replied with, "I'm three! How old are you?"

Sometimes, he'll bring me a toy and tell me all about it-- like how the guy's arm moves, or how the plane flys and makes noise when he pushes a particular button.  

I love love love hearing my son talk. 

In fact, I'm not sure who is more excited about him being able to verbally articulate what he's thinking and feeling. 

While, yes, my been-there-done-that-parenting friends are right 99.9% of the time, so far, they are not right about me wanting the kid to shut it. My kid is hysterical, no-freaking-way do I want to mute him. 

Talking is the best milestone EVER!

What's the best thing your toddler has said?


5/19/15

10 TRUTHS You Need To Know About Potty Training

When I began my research on potty training tips, tricks and how-tos, I found a wealth of information. But what I didn't find was the parent support I needed. I never read warnings about how daunting, messy and LONG potty training can be.

So, my friends, for today's top 10 Tuesday, I am going to share 10 of parenting's dirty little secrets about potty training a toddler... 





1. Potty training is not an event, it's a process. Potty training can literally take years! It's not over when your kid becomes a daytime potty pro, nighttime is a much different story. 
Sure, some parents will tell you their kid was "easy" to potty train, but chances are, they have blacked out just how long and messy it really was.


2. Expect regular golden showers. You WILL get peed on, and so will every hard to reach crack and crevasse in your home. Especially if you try the 'free ballin' for a weekend' method with your little. Kids are really good about hitting those spots, especially boys. Parents of girls, just because your little isn't equipped with a firehose, don't think you are exempt from golden rainbows of pee, accidents happen to the best of us, especially the little streakers.

3. Daytime potty training is a completely different process from nighttime training. Some parents report an extra year (or two!) of nighttime potty training. Ollie is three, has been potty trained for about four months now, and still wears a pull-up to sleep.  I read until he wakes up for two weeks with a dry diaper, or begins to wake up and go at night, don't even bother skipping the nighttime nappy. 

I mean, how do you teach a sleeping kid to wake up and pee? Especially when you are asleep too! (See my post on the Chummie of you are out of your mind with nighttime training.)

4. It's Messy. Messy. Messy. Messy.  Do yourself a favor, stock up on antibacterial disinfecting wipes (For EVERY room in the house!) and LOTS of hand soap for you both.


5. Your days of wiping ass are FAR from over. Just because your kid can crap on his own, doesn't mean he can wipe his bottom on his own. I know my sister was still wiping my nephew's butt until he was nearly five.


TIP:  Buy stock in a flushable wipes company. The amount of money you will spend on the things will make you sick. Owning stock in a wipes company will replace your child's college tuition you had to spend on the damn things.


6. Not all toilets are created equal. Just because your kid is a potty pro at home or daycare, doesn't mean he'll crap in any ol' can. Kids are fickle about their potty place at first. Some will happily pee in their pants over an unknown potty.


TIP: Remember those nasty seedy public potties you had to use when you were pregnant, and SWORE you would never use again? Well... It's time for an Encore. With your child. Don't pass a potty without offering it up. Or, at the very least, decide which is worse, using that vomit vortex, or having pee pants? Plan for it by keeping a makeup bag in your handbag with travel size flushable wipes, antibacterial wipes and gel, and a folded paper towel or two for those bathrooms that are out of towels or only have a "super scary dryer". Also, investing in seat covers is not a bad idea...


GAME CHANGER.
 They come in a pack of 6 ($5.99 on Amazon) Buy it here

7. Teach the fundamentals first. The potty training game changer came for us when Ollie learned to take off his diaper on his own. (Pull-ups helped!) When he was able to take off his diaper and climb up his little stool to the potty, he really turned the potty training corner. It was like he was so proud that he could do it ALL on his own.


8. This Is Not A Boy Girl Thing! When we started potty training, EVERYONE told me to be patient, because, "Boys take longer to potty train than girls." Not. So. Much. Ollie potty trained before three Girls the same age as him. It's not a boy-girl thing, it's a one-child-to-the-next thing.  


9. Forward mail to your bathroom, because that's where you'll live for the next year. After talking with a few parents (read: trading war stories) about how our children are CONSTANTLY in the bathroom now that they can go alone, we came to the conclusion that our children never had a reason to go into the bathroom alone. Since most children find bath time a waste of time, the bathroom was never a fun place to be... until they controlled what went on in that tiled playground. My child is OBSESSED with the toilet. He loves being in the bathroom. If he's not climbing on the bathtub, he's playing in the toilet. You may remember the post on Be Very Afraid If Your Child Says This To You...



That one time Ollie mopped the floors with toilet water...

10. Age is not a virtue when it comes to potty training. Some kids get it immediately after turning one. Some get it, but don't want to bother with it until they are three. Other tots are just not ready, and won't be for some time; possibly not until they turn four. Your frustration will spill over to your child, so try to keep it together. The last thing you want is potty training regression. 

Your best bet is to wait for the cues before forcing the poos. And what ever you do, don't get discouraged, or your child will too.



What were you surprised to learn about potty training?





5/18/15

One Of My Biggest Parenting Lessons Learned To Date...

My friends, I have spent the entire weekend feeling like a crappy parent...

Ollie goes to a four hour Child's Day out Program Monday-Thursday. On Monday and Wednesdays he goes to one church and then to a different church on Tuesday and Thursdays; the same teachers travel between the schools. So even though he is in a different place, the teachers are the same.



Everything has been going great for the past year with him at the schools. He loves his teachers, his friends and the curriculum; from coloring, arts and crafts and even now learning to read and write!  However, over the last month, red flags have been going up all over the place at one of the schools.

When I pick him up from one school, he is happy, excited to show me his artwork, and always comes home with an empty lunchbox. Lately, at the other school, however, it's the complete opposite. He's not nearly as happy, barely gets excited about showing me his art and his lunch is barely touched.

In my heart, I just knew something was not right.

Then, last week, after a not so great Tuesday, my mother's instinct was RAGING!  I talked with him, about the school and he mentioned that a teacher was not very nice to him. This teacher, is also not very nice to me. She tells me to be harder on him, and not to let him get away with being a terror.

The thing is, part of why I like him going to school is so someone else can be the asshole!  Ollie is a handful. He's a toddler. A wild three year old toddler, and some days I feel like I am constantly having to scold him or put him in time-out. It's nice to have someone else on him to behave.

So... I let it go...

Then, on Thursday night, I look up his nose and see blood. Lots of it. Clearly, he's had a bloody nose... that no one told me about!  I asked him what happened, and he said he fell on the playground.

That was it for me. My mother's instinct was so wild inside, my heart was breaking.  I should have listened to it sooner. I should have trusted myself and my son, before the school.

After a weekend of agonizing about being a horrible mother for not addressing my concerns sooner, I called the director of Ollie's program first thing Monday morning.

I told her about my concerns and that I knew in my heart something was going on over there, and I could not send my son back.

She told me that she too noticed an issue with Ollie and one of the teachers, and had spoken to the teacher about it. She apologized that clearly she wasn't getting through to the teacher, and would remove her from Ollie's class immediately... and then some. (Each class has two teachers and one helper.)

The school really is amazing, and this is the first issue we have had, so, I am going to trust the director to fix the issue. I'm giving it to the end of this week to see things back to normal.

The moral of the story: This Mother's instinct stuff is VERY REAL!

I've learned my lesson. When my Mother's Instinct flag goes up, I will listen to it IMMEDIATELY!

I feel awful for letting the issue go on so long. My child deserves better.

We have a long road of school ahead of us, so in a way, I'm glad I learned this lesson now.  Never again will I let flags go up over school or anything else without addressing them immediately.

My friends, if you learn anything from this blog, I hope it's to trust your parent instinct, because it is very real.





5/16/15

The Toddler Code of Conduct-Twenty Rules Toddlers Live By...

After observing my toddler, and talking with other parents of toddlers, I am convinced that the little buggers have the following Code of Conduct hard wired into their DNA...

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

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


                                    


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

                                              

5/15/15

The Clueless Gardener's Guide To Gardening... With Crazy Kids

If you follow me on social media, then you know I am OBSESSED with my garden. I lived in a third-floor walk-up for ten years, so just being outside in my own space is bliss, but to have a huge garden I can do ANYTHING with, is freaking outstanding. Now, that being said, I have absolutely NO CLUE what I'm doing.  And wouldn't you know, I have a corner lot that was lovingly cared for by a proper gardener for years. So, in addition to not having a freaking clue how to garden, I have a hundred different plants I know nothing about, which need tending.

And to top it off, I have a toddler who follows me around, banging on the plants and/or plucking their leaves and blooms.

With a little trial and whole lot of error, I've figured out a few super tricks to not only figure out my garden, but to get my toddler focused and interested. I thought I would share them, so not only can you too figure out how to transform your space, whether it's a balcony, patio or full yard into a paradise, but get your toddler to help!

This was when we started out fruit and veggie Garden. When I sit still in the garden for long periods, I put up out table umbrella to help keep us cool and shaded!  

My best tip for the clueless gardener is to take pictures of the plants they have no clue about. and then go to the local nursery or garden center, and match up the leaves, or just ask someone. Finding out what you have, and how to care for it properly, is essential.  Or, if you have a hole you need to fill, watch the area for a day to see how much sun/shade it gets, then go to the local nursery or garden center, and look around for something that catches your eye, then check out it's tag to see what kind of care it needs to thrive in your yard. OR! just ask someone...

My Instagram followers may remember this from last year when we bought the house, and I was just learning about my garden, and tell the great stuff in it...





Make the most of your space. Even at my third-floor walk-up, I grew herbs and had lovely hanging baskets. Whether you have a ton of space, or are limited to a pot next to a sunny window, you can grow something fabulous!

First, decide if you want to eat it, or just stare at it. Herbs are great for windows, but so are African violets, you decide. I was FLOORED when I found out I could grow strawberries in a pot. And here's the even crazier thing, growing strawberries in a pot on my patio has turned out to be the easiest thing! They grow with JUST water and sun.

All I did was plant the bulbs in a pot, place the pot in a sunny spot, and then water them daily, and just like the directions said, strawberries grew!!!!
This is at 4 weeks growth.


Let your child pick out a plant or two to call their own. In an effort to help Ollie understand where food comes from, I took him to the local nursery and let him pick out two plants that are, "his special plants". He picked out blueberries and cherry tomatoes and was over the moon when I told him if he took very good care of the plant, he could eat the yummy fruit from the plant!




Throughout the entire picking to planting process, I have been over the top about HIS PLANTS and how he is so great for caring for them. To my delight, he has really taken to HIS PLANTS   We water them daily and check their fruit ONE THOUSAND TIMES A DAY, but the bottom line is that my evil plan worked. He is so focused on his plants; he leaves mine alone!

When it comes to toddlers, busy work is best. When I need to get work done in the garden, and the wild one is not interested, I find him fun jobs to keep him busy. My four go-tos are:

  • Dig a hole a to China. It worked for me as a kid, and now, thankfully, it works for him. I take the wild one to the back corner of the yard and tell him to dig for treasure. This usually amounts to him flicking dirt everywhere, but that's cool with me if it keeps him busy for 5 minutes.
  • Build a HUGE pile of sticks. I get Ollie all excited about building a HUGE pile of sticks, then send him out into the yard to collect sticks and pile them HIGH. This is actually really awesome because it's helpful for me too!
  • Wash his tools: I grab a small bucket of water and tell him to clean his gardening tools, which usually amounts to cleaning a few cars and sticks too. 
  • Chalk it up. When all else fails, I throw sidewalk chalk down and let him color the footpath in the garden. 

Gardening is such wonderful therapy for both adults and children.  The fine and gross motor, and cognitive skills, my son both uses and acquires while gardening, make the mess and mind blowing amount of needed patience worth it. Watching him love and care for his blueberries, strawberries and tomatoes is amazing. And the life lessons he is gaining from learning not only where good wholesome food comes from, but how to grow food for himself, is epic.


Will These Be The Next Big Building Blocks For Children? #KIDOY

I've partnered with KIDOY to start a conversation about the importance of open-ended play with children. All opinions are my own.


While doing research for a parenting app I was on the writing team for, I learned that, "open-ended toys," where the very best toy a toddler could play with. According toColleen D. Multari, LMSW, director of early learning at The Early Years Institute in Plainview, NY:
"Open-ended toys result in open-ended play. This type of play can evolve over time while also encouraging children to create and problem-solve as they explore the world around them. Open-ended play with peers encourages social development and social interaction while also developing cognitive skills. Children have to discuss and negotiate how to use the multipurpose toy. The social and developmental gains made by open-ended play far exceed those made by directed play."  
Research on the benefits of open-ended play is endless. I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting ways to incorporate open-ended toys or creativity.  So when the inventor of the KIDOY Dynamic Building Blocks reached out about my thoughts on a toy he had invented, that REALLY encourages open-ended play, I said Show me...



I LOVE the bendy and curvy ability. The possibilities are endless!

Look what you can do with KIDOY Dynamic Building Blocks...






KIDOY Dynamic Building Blocks Features:


  • Light weight
  • No Positive/Negative Edges (Everything works!)
  • Large pieces eliminate chocking hazard
  • Easy for little fingers to maneuver
  • Exceptional educational tool promoting open-ended play and creativity

Here is a video fully outlining KIDOY Dynamic Building Blocks:




So you wanna get your hands on them right?  Not so fast, you have to preorder the dynamic building blocks, but that ensures you get first run production!

Currently, preorders are only being taken through KIDOY's Kickstarter campaign. There, you can find all kinds of details about KIDOY Dynamic Building Blocks, and how you can preorder your child's set. To preorder now, click here.




5/14/15

My Poor Kid... His Parents Are SO Immature... #ParentFail

Just so we are all on the same page as to the maturity level of FTD and I, I thought I'd share a recent epic parenting fail caused by a dirty hoe...

Ollie: Mommy? What's this called?



Since saying, Honey, it's a hoe, without laughing hysterically turned out to be near impossible, I deferred the question to FTD.
Me: Go ask daddy. 
Ollie: Daddy, what's this called?
FTD: It's a HOE!
Ollie: A Hoe?
By now, I'm biting my tongue trying not to lose it.
FTD: Where did you get that hoe?
Ollie: Mommy got me the hoe.
          FTD: Awww, that's nice, your mom got you your first Hoe.  
My eyes are watering. My tounge nearly bitten off. I'm completely incapable of talking. Still, I'm managing to hold it together, minus the shaking from the raging internal laughter.

At this point, FTD has had time to think up his list of 'Hoe' related things to say, and so, he UNLOADS!

         How much was your HOE? 
Is it a cheap HOE?
Hey, buddy, can I have a go on your hoe?
FTD proceeded to bang the hoe on the ground...

Ollie: MOMMY! Daddy is banging my hoe! 

FTD: Look I just put the Hoe to work, and it's already making me money!



I CANNOT believe he found a penny in the ground. It's like the comedy Gods were shining down on him. 

FTD: Sorry I got your hoe dirty, buddy.  Don't worry, to get a dirty hoe clean, you slap it.





At this point, I'm laughing so hard no sound is coming out, and the fear of pissing myself is very real.

Ollie: Mommy, why are you laughing?

FTD: Because, mommy wishes she had a hoe too. 

I really do feel so sorry for the kid. FTD and I are so damn immature. If there is a joke to be made, we will make it. And since, clearly, we don't have any shame, and every one is fair game, my kid is facing a lifetime of being embarrassed by us. 







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