Saturday, April 25, 2009

Potty Pains

April 25, 2009
Oh Boy. I was dreading potty training tremendously. In fact, I think I looked forward to labor more. And, now that I have begun the process, I find that labor was a bit more fun. I'm being dramatic (so out of character I know!) It isn't going that horribly, but we are definitely only getting started, and already I have learned a lot about myself. Potty training seems to be one of those things that really reveals your true self. I have seen my impatience, my desire to be in control, and my overall grumpiness when things don't go as I planned them.

This process is pretty difficult for me because it is really out of my control. Even though I read two books on potty training in a day, I have a bright daughter who completely understands the entire process (can explain it to you word for word and has taught her doll) and I had numerous treats, drinks, and salty snacks available, I couldn't make her do it. I couldn't make her drink as much as she needed to, or make her relax when she sat down on the potty, or cause her to pause from playing long enough to recognize the feeling before it is happening. Add to that an apparently large bladder, an aversion to drinking much, some toddler stubborness, and a larger focus on playing and laughing than pottying and you have a tough start. We began at 10 and ended training at 2:30 and she only went to the bathroom 3 times! First on the potty and then two accidents. That doesn't provide much practice and it was so irregular I couldn't get her to sit on the potty long enough to catch them. So I ended the day a bit grumpy and discouraged, and she ended the day with a sore bottom tired of on sitting on a plastic seat. Now, my natural inclination to quit things that I am not good at kicked in...but then, my productive side insists we not waste our time today. So, tonight a pull-up, and tomorrow more big girl underwear. And we will see what the day brings... We did enjoy our time alone together though - we made edible necklaces, read countless books, played with stickers, and she led me in "exercises." I sure do adore that little girl!

April 29th, 2009 Update
Still not going very well...causing anxiety for both of us. After consulting several friends among other literature, this morning, I decided to try again in a few months (or maybe even wait until we are going to try it with T). She is only three months over 2, so I think I will give her a little more time, hoping it will get easier later. However, just as I decided this, she also decided that she only wants to wear pull-ups and then that she should self-initiate going in the potty this morning...successfully. But, then she didn't do that again for the rest of the day. So, am I potty-training or not, you ask? I honestly don't know! What I do know is that the one-day methods put on way too much pressure and for no real immediate reason in our case. It is kind of like a five minute abs infomercial. A little too good to be true. So, I think more than her not being ready, I am really not ready. We'll try again later...and I won't be nearly as worked up. ;)

If you have any potty training stories or advice I would LOVE to hear it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Two in Two Weeks!

It is hard to believe it, but T will be 2 in two weeks! We had a little early cars birthday party with a few friends at the park to make sure daddy could come and see T blow out his candles.
I made him the Lightening McQueen cake with some imperative help from my friend, Anna.

T loved it when people sang Happy Birthday to him, though he did get a bit shy during the end and he tried to bury his face in me. Then after he blew out the candles and everyone cheered, he looked at me and said, "More?" He gobbled his entire cupcake, loved his party, and had a ball playing chase, swinging, climbing, and exploring with his friends. This was the perfect day for him. His favorite song to sing is "Happy Bee-You to you!!!!" after all. B had a wonderful time at the party, too, making sure T was going to share his cake with her. Unfortunately, she tripped towards the end and got a pretty nasty fat lip with some cuts from rocks. I'll spare you the picture. But all is well that ends well, she and T got to chase their cupcakes with popsicles to bring down the swelling!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Belated Easter Pictures

Here are a few of our Easter pictures - a bit late! J's mom, dad, sister, and brother came into town, and we had such a great time with them! We flew a kite at Huntington beach, got fun Easter baskets, had lots of laughs, and definitely ate lots of food. J and I are ashamed to say that we both gained a few pounds that weekend after being so spoiled! Thankfully since it took me so long to post this, I can happily say we have lost those again! Phew! Now back to the original pounds were were trying to drop!

Getting ready to deliver Easter treats to the neighbors.

Enjoying a bagel with Papa.

At the beach...

Exercising with Nana

Reading the Easter story with Daddy in our Easter best

Just a Day in the Life

This morning began promptly at 4:51 a.m. B decided she was awake, and even after giving me a few good tries of trying to fall back asleep on the couch with me, she just couldn't. We were up and at 'em! And she was a bit on the whiny side. J graciously gave me some rest when he woke up at 6:30 with T. Thank goodness!

We went for a walk with a friend in the morning, and she and I were able to have some great talks about life and faith and God, while the kids ate their way through her neighborhood. After fruit bars, crackers, bananas, oranges, and juice boxes, they were done, and we were off to our next stop: library storytime.

I took a couple of pictures of the kids in storytime today. Bethany was very excited about the poetry journal she received for free from the library for checking out a poetry book this week. (You can see her holding it in one of the pictures. This evening she told me a precious story which she drew and I recorded in my own "journal." Be watching for it in a coming blog post!)
The kids enjoy the songs like, "Where is Thumbkin?" and are okay with the stories (as the pictures demonstrates, one is more interested than the other who is looking in the opposite direction).

To his defense, however, this librarian was clearly trained in the Dewey Decimal System rather than early childhood education. Nevertheless, it is a pretty enjoyable educational experience. However, what you don't see pictured is the stand-off between T and myself once he got bored and started copying another little boy whose nanny was letting him jump around and yell. This led me to get a bit more frustrated once he figured out he could turn the lights on and off during the little story movie they show at the end. Ms. Dewey Decimal wasn't too impressed either. Then, thankfully storytime ended.

We walked down the street a ways to hit a couple of stores before our big nap drive. At the clothing store that was going out of business, I tried on a couple of pairs of shorts to which B told me, "I don't like it. Maybe you can try another pair?" and T told me, "It's too tall." Thanks to the less than overwhelming crowd approval we headed on empty handed. It is quite a different experience to try on clothes now that the discouraging voices are actually audible.

We stopped in Party City to pick up something for T's birthday and the kids started hugging each other and then holding hands. They realized that strangers love this stuff and give many happy "awws!" I just smile back. It's nice being the one with the sweet kids. Hopefully, none of these people saw us at storytime 30 minutes ago.

After a usual stop at Petsmart, with too many cute comments to record, we headed back up the hill to our car (giggling with B trying to tickle T's "arm pots (pits)") and a much needed nap drive. I read, wrote, and reveled in the silence and then we headed home to make dinner and "see daddy!" We had a quite normal day today, but a precious one nevertheless. I wouldn't trade these "normal" days for the world!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Eggs and Toddler Talk

I just finished putting B to sleep as I write this. She is so precious. She spent a good half hour stalling from going to bed by talking to me. She regaled me with quite the adventure of her stuffed bunny, and then topped it off with the cutest medley you've ever heard of "Itsy-Bitsy-Spider/Where is Thumbkin?/Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee." Each night she tries to talk to me for as long as she can. We usually talk a bit about the day and pray, but tonight I thought I'd indulge her a bit, because...well, she is super sweet, and I just love her and love the fact she loves to talk. Upon assuring her that we can talk again tomorrow, she finally laid down and drifted off to sleep.

Earlier today had been no exception regarding her and her brother's cuteness! We had the best time with them hunting for Easter Eggs with their friends. I wasn't sure if they would "get it" - that was a silly thought! They both marched around grabbing eggs and tossing them into their baskets. Then, with great anticipation they ripped them open at home to see the special treats which they got (in the words of B) "To celebrate Jesus! Jesus is Alive!" I had the best time watching them and their little friends have such a blast.

Another funny side note is the fact that B is rather enthralled with babies and babies being in tummies. A few of our friends are pregnant, and she has subsequently asked J and I if we have babies in our tummies. (That was not the cute part!) One of her favorite parts of the Easter Egg afternoon was a friend's sweet little 5-month-old boy. She sat and oogled over him tickling him and remarking about how much she loved him and how he loved her. You can see it pictured. In fact, she even said wistfully, "I wish I had a baby sister in my tummy..." Oh Boy! Surprisingly, having two 2-year-olds hasn't completely turned me off of the idea of having another baby someday. However, I just can't seem to imagine loving another little girl or boy as much as I love these two.

One final note...sorry, apparently, I blog post like I talk: a lot and in a random train-of-thought manner. This morning J and I were talking about how a friend had asked if she could share our story and give my contact info to a group of women adopting from Ethiopia. As we were talking about it, I turned to T. Here's how our conversation went:
Me: Do you remember Ethiopia, T?
T: Yeah!
Me: What was it like?
T: (Long Pause) Jesus!
Me: It was like Jesus?
T: Yeah!
Me: Did he take care of you?
T: Yeah. (then he nuzzled into my neck)
It's nice to know he was in very Good Hands before he was in ours. :)

We hope you all have a Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Boys will be boys?

"The difference between boys who overcome adversity and those who surrender to it always comes down to the emotional resources they bring to the challenge" p. 19

I taught third grade for several years, and have been working with kids in different capacities since I was a teenager, but I still don't think I fully grasped the differences between boys and girls until I had one of each. The differences seem to be quite innate to me as I watch my two children. For example, today the kids saw a reflection of rainbow on the ground. B tried to hold it in her hands and T wanted to hit it with his hands. That is just the way they seem to be. Both are amazing little people with the most most tender little hearts, but they do have some specific differences. T seems to be much more active, have less impulse control, and be a little tougher. The first two traits are the ones I didn't feel very prepared for. I have a good friend, Anna, who is one of the most thoughtful parents I know. She has two boys, and she recommended the book, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys to me. I just recently finished it, and I feel like I learned so much. It should be on the to-read list of every parent, teacher, or counselor of boys.

The authors discuss how through their years of specializing in boys' clinical psychology they have discovered that boys are very different from girls and these differences are things that we need to embrace. They also note that many of the problems men in our society face seem to be linked to the things that we assume and teach our boys. Some of these subsequent problems are lack of intimacy, depression, drug-use, anger, and violence. We tend to foster girls' emotional development and ignore that of boys, leaving them with little "emotional literacy" to draw from in life. Emotional Literacy refers to an ability to identify and appropriately deal your or other people's emotions. After reading this I saw how I do tend to focus on teaching B to understand and handle emotions more while expecting T not to think about them as much (when in fact, the authors describe how boys and girls both start out with the same capacity for emotional development.) Basically we should intentionally teach both boys and girls that it is normal to have a wide-range of emotions, and we should model dealing with them in healthy ways. "We know that mother's who explain their emotional reactions to their preschool children and who do not react negatively to a child's vivid display of sadness, fear, or anger will have children who have a greater understanding of emotions" p. 16.

Nevertheless, as I have sought out validating T's emotions so that he knows it is okay to feel sad or scared, etc., I have seen him be a lot more responsive to the emotions of others. The authors' do not discourage us from raising our boys to be masculine, but they encourage us to expect more from them emotionally and to respect and appreciate the ways in which they are different from girls, so we do not belittle them and ultimately damage their self-esteems because they are wired differently. "Boys have fears, boys have needs, boys are vulnerable, and boys have a capacity for powerful inner feelings. Acknowledging boys' fear will not make them weak; it will free them from shame and make them stronger. Boys are prisoners of those feelings as long as they have to deny the truth of them or require themselves to be fully in control of them" p. 251-252. They give suggestions for moms, dads, and teachers in a very interesting and readable way. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and feel much more prepared to navigate the world with my son. You should check it out, too. Here is a picture of my boy and girl getting a little giggly before bedtime.