Tag Archives: Toddler

My Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Hustle for the Kiddos

Why is it late on Sunday night and I’m watching the Grammys while getting together what my kid is going to bring to school for Valentine’s Day tomorrow? What a sham.

Every year at the last minute I jet to the drugstore (because by the time I remember to do this, the grocery stores in the suburbs are closed!) I end up buying what others have passed over for Valentine’s Day gifts. Then I’m scrawling out names of Logan’s classmates on these cheap-o gifts. After that, I’d usually swing by the grocery store in the morning and pick up an astounding amount of cupcakes to somehow make up for my shortcomings. (Why do I think that they’re judging me as a mom based on my Valentine’s Day contributions? It’s all in my head, but still I do it. I suppose it’s like penance.)

This year, I was so proud of myself because I bought little candied gifts (Dum-dum lollipops with cards and “shiny” stickers) three weeks before the blessed event. There was no need to overspend on cupcakes or other sugary treats, for once I was ahead of the game.

But this year was different. This V-Day I’m a mom of two. The obstacles are higher.

Each day, I’ve been taking Logan to daycare and I’ve also got 5-week-old Ethan in the car, which means I would take the little guy out amid sub-zero temps to walk his big brother inside the school. The daycare director then told me that she could come out to the parking lot and get Logan, which is great. It mends the gap between the non-choice of leaving Ethan in the car alone or toting him into the school.

With this new solution of the director picking up Logan in the parking lot, I miss all of the posters/notifications about what’s going on in my guy’s class. So I’m in the dark this V-Day. I forgot to ask the director if anything was needed for the party, or even if they plan a party. (Again, I always try to contribute to parties or classroom supplies because I feel it somehow makes up for me picking Logan up late or not being able to attend school events because of work constraints.) Nevertheless I’m now on maternity leave and here I am with Dum-Dum lollipops for Logan’s classmates, still in a last-minute effort to scrawl out their names on these 3-week-old candied treats.  Ah well, I suppose I’ll just say it’s a pre-Valentine’s Day family tradition and look forward to next year’s last minute scramble.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Surviving the Birthday Party With Cake and a Smile

I confess. I didn’t do what I said I was going to. Remember how I planned to not stress and just have a few friends over and order pizza for Logan’s birthday? Ha, well, not so much.

About an hour after I posted that I remembered, my little guy doesn’t like pizza. (What kid doesn’t like pizza?) Then it looked like the few people we invited might not make it, save for one child that Logan doesn’t really know. That’s when I decided to invite his two best buds from school.

Logan's blowing out the candle on the construction cake at his 3rd birthday party.

And here’s where the party went from easy to not-so-easy.

A week before his party I remembered to buy invitations for the daycare kids and wrote them out in the school parking lot. Our friends got the ever-so-convenient Evite. While grocery shopping at the new store in the ‘hood, I ordered his cake. (Me? Bake? Whatevs, not since college.) Then I caught my hubby’s cold and that knocked me out for days.

Everyone we invited RSVPed yes. Whoops. I told myself: OK, remember, this is supposed to be *not* stressful.

Thankfully the day before the party, I began to recover and could get things together. I ordered food from the same see-and-be-seen new grocery store, then swung by the party store for a few decorations.

Unfortunately the forecast called for rain, so no outside play for us. We have a split level town home and it gets packed easily. Especially when calculating the extra space toddlers need to bounce off the walls. I started racking my brain to figure out what to do with the little people.

I hate party games, well, save for drinking games and you can’t really do Beer Pong with kids. Thankfully I like crafts so I set up two craft tables for munchkins. (Translation: end tables and small chairs) I had marshmallows in the house and toothpicks to make tinker toys. The second table was for making bugs. Logan and I sometimes do that with egg cartons, eyeball stickers, pipe cleaners and markers.

Alas it was party day and I was stoked. Hubby played with Logan while I picked up the goods. The cake looked so awesome, I found myself showing it off to strangers in the aisles. Who was this crazy woman and what has she done with the previous me?

The first two guests were Logan’s best buds and he exploded with shrieking, hopping excitement as they arrived. He gave them a tour of the house “Shawn! This is my bed! Cali! This is our stove! Shawn! This is my mom’s…” He also loved sharing his toys with his friends, showing them how the excavator worked and even thought it was fun to have the other kids help him open his gifts.

It was a fun free-for-all when unwrapping the gifts.The crafts were a hit. Helping six kids make bugs was a bit like training kittens to jump through hoops, but it was fun nonetheless. While all the kids were downstairs, most of the parents were hanging out upstairs talking and noshing around a graveyard of toys.

After the party one mom gave me the best compliment. She said it was great because she was able to relax and enjoy herself without having to think about her kid too much.

I figured that though I didn’t have a party that was stress-free for the hostess, my kid was over-the-moon happy. And if I provided a place for other hardworking parents to get a little respite, well, that was more than good enough for me.

Believing It’s OK to Stutter

Several weeks ago I blogged about my concerns on whether my son had a stuttering problem. He was really struggling to get out the words, especially ones that started with W. He’d ball up his fists and his face would turn red as he tried to force the words through. It broke my heart a bit.

After that post, I got numerous responses from people about their child going through a stuttering phase. Thanks for everyone’s input, you know you’re never alone in this parenting gig, but it’s great to have concrete reminders. It makes the phrase: “It’s just a phase” seem real instead of just something people say.

I talked to the pediatrician’s office about it and the nurse asked me a few questions. How often does he do it? (Whenever he’s excited, sometimes when he’s not.) Is it mostly with the letters L, T, S and N? (No, it’s mostly Ws.) She told me that his stuttering appeared to be what they normally see in kids this age, especially boys. Sometimes it’ll last for a few weeks or a few months, then slowly disappear. It’s just their mouths trying to catch up with their brains. Since we have an appointment for the end of August, she said the doctor was fine with evaluating him at that time.

That response was fine by me. I was worried, but not to the point of being obsessively concerned. Also, my school district (as do, I believe, most districts in the U.S.) offers an early childhood intervention program. Ours is pretty good in that it screens kids for all special needs, speech, cognitive, motor skills and youngsters considered “at-risk.”

If it’s determined that your child needs a little extra support, he or she can attend a class twice a week to work on those skills. I’m really impressed with how it’s set up and recommend anyone with questions about their child to contact their school district to find what’s available.

It’s interesting to see where Logan is now. A week after my post, I noticed he tried to stop using W words _ the most popular being “why?” And switched to “how.” It was like he figured out a workaround. After a few weeks of “How we going to do this?” (Translation: Why are we doing this?) his stuttering dramatically decreased.

We have a day or two where he stutters a lot, but now we’re generally stutter-free. I have no disillusions. I know it’ll return, I’ll wait for it to waft away, not make a big deal out of it and we‘ll just see what the doctor says. 

The Sleep Battle: Will This War Ever Be Won?

I got kicked in the nose. Time: 1:53 a.m. Place: My bed. Alleged Offender: My kid.

Sound familiar?

Hey fellow moms, what is it with this sleep, or lack of sleep, thing? He’s almost three and we’re still struggling with sleep issues. He used to be a good sleeper, but that was ages ago. Now going to bed is increasingly a chore because all he wants to do is play with mom and dad, even pulls out the “I miss you” line which yanks at ye olde heart strings.

Then once he’s down, he gets up in the middle of the night, probably three times a week. We try not to bring him into our bed, but sometimes you know that you’ve got a tough day tomorrow at work and you’re already at the end of your rope, and you just. need. sleep. He comes into our bed once a week and last week I slept on his floor one night. (My back loved that.)

Most of my mommy friends stay at home or as I prefer to call them: Work Inside The Home. Most of their kids don’t do this. I know we shouldn’t compare our kids to other kids, each one is different yadda,yadda,yadda, but the truth is we do. So anyway, most of them don’t have this issue. Many of the working moms I do know struggle with this problem.

It all makes me wonder if it’s because moms who work inside the home are able to be tougher on letting their kid just cry for an hour or two. It sucks if you’re tired all day and home alone with the kid. You’re grumpy and struggling not to kill them. I’ve been there. However, when I’m going into work the next day, I’m grumpy, struggling and I could screw something up, causing even more ramifications later in the week.

I obviously don’t have a solution, or I would have written a post about that. I am just curious as to if anyone’s has noticed that same difference or if it’s just that I need to get a better balance of friends who work inside the home vs. outside the home. Or maybe I just need to stop comparing my kid’s sleeping habits to others, accept that this is how things are and suck it up.

Thoughts?

When It Comes To Our Kids, How Much Is Too Much?

We went last night for our parent-teacher conferences for our toddler. Yes, our toddler. We met with the teacher that we’ve been underwhelmed with and we were again, underwhelmed. (First of all, why can’t adults sit at big people tables, do we really need to sit where our kids do?)

We got a little report card-like sheet that had a million checkoff items and came in quadruplicate. (Triplicate wasn’t enough.) We talked about Logan’s strengths: he talks a lot, plays well with others, knows his colors and letters on sight and his daily journal is spectacular. (It amuses me a 2 year old has a daily journal.) The teacher said that like other kids his age he needs to work on writing his letters and numbers and how to measures items (Even I still struggle with the ruler.)

Now I know we chose this day care because of its fancy-pants curriculum and fork over several shiny pennies each Monday morning. But sometimes in talking with the teachers it amazes me all that they do and how daycare has evolved.

Not too long ago wasn’t daycare just filled with singing, dancing, play pens, coloring, snacks and naptime? Essentially organized play? The kids all seem to really enjoy their classes and activities, I’m just floored by the thought and rigidity behind everything. Each class is supposed to have a syllabus, we even got one in the infant class. There’s daily activity sheets and quarterly reports. Though we got our first quarterly report from this class just yesterday, which it turns out was the fourth quarter…

Obviously, our teacher seems less inclined to document and follow through on the administrative side of her job, but I honestly would rather have her really involved with our kids than the paperwork. Besides, he’s moving up to another class in August and that teacher is rock solid. (FYI, we talked to her about the stuttering and she’s noticed it a bit when he’s excited, but thinks it’s totally normal.)

I wonder what daycare will be like in coming years. Will each kid be required to bring an iTouch along with their extra change of clothes and naptime blanket? Will there be homework? And how much is too much? Again, we chose this place and despite my grumblings about his current teacher, we are happy with them. It all just makes me wonder, are we getting over the top?

Does My Kid Have a Stuttering Problem?

My little guy, Logan, has always been a talker. His parents are talkers so he had no choice in the matter really. He has a great vocabulary and we chit chat about everything, which sometimes feels odd considering he’ll be 3 in August.

In the past few months hubby and I have noticed that he’s starting to stutter, but we didn’t think too much of it figuring it for just a phase. Now in the past few days it’s gotten a lot worse. Yesterday in driving home from daycare he asked me if we were going to drive on the bridge, which he often does but it took him a good 15 seconds to get the W in the “we” out. I wasn’t sure what was happening all I heard was an increasingly loud “wuh wuh wuh wuh wuh” so I turned to look at him and saw his face was red. My heart broke a bit. He was fighting to get the words out.

Later that evening hubby and I talked again about the stuttering. It only happens when he’s excited, you can see the wheels turning in his head and he is getting frustrated he can’t get the words out. Sometimes he gets so worked up and starts to jump as if to shake the words loose. It’s always the first word of the sentence once he’s over that hump, the words tumble out rapid fire.

I Googled stuttering toddlers and found that sometimes it’s the kids looking for the right word to use. That’s not my Logan, he knows what he wants to say he just can’t say it. Most of the websites said to respond with patience, maintain eye contact while they’re stuttering and not to make them feel self conscious. Then you are to repeat the sentence in your response so they know how it’s supposed to sound.

I also found that stuttering runs in families and we’ve got stutterers in ours, plus it’s more common in boys than girls.

We have a friend that is a speech therapist and I’ll give her a ring as well as see what his doctor thinks. I know there’s tons of great resources out there, why not try them? But I have to admit it’s a bit scary. Though it’s not anything near like a terminal disease or even a curable disease, you just don’t want your kid to have any issues. I think of the little boy in school who was teased for his stutter and had to leave class to meet with the speech therapist. I don’t want my little boy to be that little boy. But inhale. Exhale. It’s just a stutter and I’m sure it’ll be fine.

What Makes Me a Better Mom? No Kids and No Hubby

After my whirlwind weekend away with the girls, I noticed I was basquing in an afterglow of sorts. When my toddler dove into shrill screams of protest, I shrugged it off and kept going. When hubby forgot to take out the trash, again, I sighed. Well, he’ll just have to do it later.

Wait. Who is this patient person?

I noticed she shows up like clockwork right after I get a break from my husband and my kid and get to be me, not the cleaning-cooking-nose-and-butt-wiping-attentive-partner me. But just me.

This past week I’ve brought more order to my house, crossing items off my to-do list that have been there since January. I’ve been able to listen better to the trials and tribulations of my husband’s job and my little guy’s tantrums seem less intense and more amusing. I even made Mickey Mouse-shaped, whole wheat pancakes on Saturday, which *totally* isn’t me. (It was bad. M&Ms were the eyes and nose, and I carved a strawberry into a smile.)

I believe I do a really good job of carving out “me” time. Out of all my mommiefriends I feel I do that the most and I think I’m much better for it. It can be hard to take time away, you feel guilty for not wanting to be with the loves of your life, but you have to remember, you are a love of of your life too and you must nurture that.

Plus your partner appreciates you more when he’s walked a bit in your shoes and your kids are sweeter (even if it’s short-lived) because they’ve missed you.

All mommies know this, we just need to force ourselves to make it a priority. It’s easy to lose who you are in the day-to-day grind of life, but taking time out to do whatever you want without your kid and your soulmate is an essential touchstone. It makes me a better mommy and wife because it keeps me happy.