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Thursday, 22 November 2012 10:12

Felt Christmas Tree

I've been scouting out activities for toddlers lately, as well as great ideas for Christmas and I saw (on Pinterest, of course) a number of people who had created felt Christmas trees and ornaments for their little ones to play with.  When I went shopping for large sheets of felt, I speculated that I wasn't the first person to have this idea, because all of the packages of red and green felt were all sold out.

So, I made a white one.

And - because I have girls, and it goes with white - picked some relatively girly colours for ornaments. 

Initially, I stuck the tree to the wall with those Scotch reusable clear squares, which worked ok until a toddler pulled even slightly on the tree - which happened pretty quickly.  Then, thinking this would just help to reinforce the adhesion to the wall, I put three thumb tacks into the tree (through the Scotch tabs) at the top and bottom corners of the tree.

This lasted about 4 minutes, and I had to have a tack-hunt in Clara's bedroom. Fail.

Then Brian went out for a better solution - he bought a set of 3 3M picture hanging tabs.  They work kind of like velcro, you stick one part of the tab to the wall and the other to whatever you are hanging and they velcro together.  They stuck great that evening, and overnight, but the next day when there were TWO toddlers pulling on it, it came right off the wall.  Somehow the tabs stopped sticking to either the felt, OR the wall, and these two brilliant toddlers had no trouble pulling the 'velcro' apart either. 

So, I need advice.  We have regular painted gyprock (or whatever it's called) walls, and I don't really want to spend a fortune on sticky stuff, or put too many holes in the wall since it's a temporary toy... although if we found a good solution it's cheap enough to make something else for her to play with for the rest of the year - the materials only cost about $13!

How can I make the tree stick to the wall???

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 13:09

T-G-I-Naptime!!!!

This is not my best day ever.

There were monkeys.

Terrifying space monkeys, perhaps...

Today started with a temper tantrum about going to the potty.  Clara has this obnoxious way of curling herself up into a ball if you try to pick her up when she's having a fit, so that you can't put her down - or do anything else with her.  She has been having a lot of accidents lately, so I didn't really want to trust her 'I don't have to go pee' statement, and wanted her to at least TRY.

I managed to wrestle her onto the potty, but by then she was so worked up that there was no way she was going to go and kept throwing herself onto the floor anyway. By this time Audrey had also decided she was starving (or something) and was screaming violently from the other room.

Ok, fine.

Ten minutes later, Clara was sitting at the table eating cereal when I hear a stream of liquid hitting the floor.

Me: "Clara, are you peeing?"

Clara: "No"

She continued eating her cereal.  This one was strange to me for two reasons - first, she has never before acted like she didn't care about being wet and normally gets really stressed out when she pees herself. Second, she lied to me and normally even though she knows she's done something wrong she will tell me the truth.

I know she hasn't been feeling well lately - this one brought her total accident tally for the last 24 hours up to 6. Maybe she has a bladder infection, I'm not sure, but I pretty much flipped out.

Brian and I were talking last night about how my fuse with Clara is so much shorter because I feel like 'she should know better.'

That moment, when there was pee all over the floor and Clara didn't seem to care and lied to my face, I fell apart. Suddenly I felt completely defeated.  I hate the concept of yelling, but I have to admit that I yelled at her.  I was angry.  I used my 'angry voice' and told her repeatedly (as I was cleaning up pee from the kitchen floor) that it was bad to pee on her chair, and that she needs to pee in the potty, and blah, blah, blah...

And I'm ashamed to admit that I stayed mad at her - and continued lecturing her - until she cried.  And I felt ok about this in the moment, because I WANTED her to be upset about what had happened.  And yes, I realize that I just made her upset about something else, but for that moment it made me feel better anyway.

I feel like a terrible mother.

I'm ashamed of how often I've gotten short tempered and irritable with Clara.  How often I've told her 'don't' to things that aren't bad, but just annoy me for some reason.  I feel more like I've become more like an older sister somehow than a mother... and she just gets on my nerves.

I have this voice in the back of my head telling me that she desperately just wants my approval, and to know her Mommy loves her, but then another voice pops in and says 'Then why is she being so belligerent???'.

I love her immensely - I know that, but sometimes by the time I've finished dealing with her tantrums or cleaning up her accidents, I'm physically exhausted and too overwhelmed to just BE with her...

Does anyone else know what I mean? Or am I just a terrible person..

Published in Blog
Sunday, 18 November 2012 10:32

Schedules, Naps and Potty Training

Last week I did a post on how Clara is adjusting to the upheaval in our home with the arrival of Audrey, and outlined my plan to create a schedule for her to at least be a general framework for creating a routine for her, as well as to keep me 'on task' as it were.  Being new to the Mom-of-2 'thing', I know it will take me awhile to really figure this out (hopefully less than 18 years???), but here I begin..

This past week wasn't really typical in a lot of ways, because although Brian and I were both back at work (he was out of the house, and I was back to teaching piano), my Mom spent the week with us which made it way too easy for me to slack off. Thanks Mom :)

So, anyway, my Mom and I got a lot of 'prep' work done - meals made, etc. - for the upcoming few weeks, which will help tremendously when I'm trying to reorganize my life, but the schedule for Clara was almost completely non existent. I did manage to actively sit down with her to do at least one activity each day that required my supervision - on Thursday we strung red, green and gold beads onto pipe cleaners and made 'candy canes' to hang on the Christmas tree!

I will keep trying though - keep ya posted!

Over the weeks Brian was off work, we began to experiment with Clara's nap schedule. I had always put her down for a nap in the afternoon, but Brian began to suspect she didn't need a nap.  The trade-off was that if she napped in the afternoon, she seemed to spend that amount of time playing and singing to herself in her bedroom before falling asleep at night.  If she did NOT nap, she fell asleep instantly at bedtime, but we may or may not have to deal with a really fussy toddler from about 5pm until bedtime (finally) came. 

So, I decided that I would rather NOT deal with that fussy toddler time, and considering my situation would really appreciate the hour or two in the afternoon to either rest or get some house work done. So, I will start encouraging Clara to nap again on weekdays.  I will not, however, necessarily push her to sleep from now on.  I will let her stay in her room for awhile, and if she doesn't actually 'nap', that will be ok.  We will also not stress about her having a nap on weekends if there are things going on. 

This chair faces away from my desk in the Living Room regularly, I just spin it around to use - and I was just quickly getting something when Clara crawled up behind me and stood there.  Brian managed to snap a picture to show me.

Potty Training Update. 

Having 'potty trained' Clara so soon before Audrey was born, I knew we were risking some serious reverting after Audrey was born.  For the three weeks before Audrey was born, we were having occasional accidents - and often they seemed to happen all at once.  It would seem as though suddenly - for half a day - she was no longer potty trained, which could be really frustrating because more often than not it happened when we were busy.  On the day Clara met Audrey, she had two accidents - one in the hospital as she was leaving, and the other in the restaurant her Grandparents took her to for supper afterwards.

So we thought, maybe, we would have to watch her a lot more closely for awhile.

This wasn't the case, though.  It must have just been a minor setback, which she had experienced before Audrey was born, and possibly had less to do with Audrey, and more to do with the excitement and busy-ness of life at the moment.  We still have accidents occasionally, but rarely any puddles on the floor and usually we take some responsibility for not hearing her request to go potty, or not responding fast enough. 

She is really doing great for a little girl who is not yet 2 years old!

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 21:37

I Don't Want to Nap!!!

Where did our naptime go?

Over the past two weeks, when Clara's schedule was completely destroyed - Mommy and Daddy were BOTH home, there is now a new little person in the house, people were coming over to visit all the time, but not the people who normally come to visit, like the little girl Mommy babysits or the super-awesome teenaged babysitters who come to play while Mommy is teaching piano and Daddy is still at work...

Amongst all of the chaos that had become Clara's life, she seemed to suddenly no longer need a nap. 

Some days, we would put her into bed at the usual time shortly after lunch and we would hear her playing and talking to herself for up to an hour before finally falling asleep. I didn't really question this, because I had always been the sort of kid who took forever to fall asleep.  I remember getting stacks of books out of the library (chapter books, too), to keep beside my bed because just a chapter or two wouldn't cut it - I would fly through 4-5 or even more volumes of the Sweet Valley Twins books before finally nodding off.  I just assumed my daughter would be the same.

When Brian was home, however, he asked questions.  And after a couple days of skipped naps just because that was how our schedule worked out those days, and then returning to a few days of naptime, Brian noticed a pattern in her sleeping. 

If Clara took a nap during the day, it seemed to guarantee 1-2 (or even more) hours of play time in her room after lights out at night.  This meant she wasn't falling asleep until 10pm sometimes.  However, if Clara skipped her afternoon nap, she seemed to fall asleep within 5-10 minutes.

Yikes. I wasn't ready to be skipping that afternoon quiet time...

Brian informed me of his theory (that I had not noticed, because I had never questioned why she was staying up so late - she was just being like her Mommy, wasn't she?), and we spent a few days experimenting.  We allowed her to skip a nap one day, and then put her down for a nap the next afternoon.  The pattern held - the first day, she fell asleep nearly immediately and the second day she was up for hours.

This Monday was a holiday, but today (Wednesday) and yesterday, I have been home without Brian continuing the 'No More Naps' experiment. (Not to make my children into lab rats or anything, but that's often what parenting is, isn't it? Just one big experiment...?) Yesterday worked out pretty well, although I didn't do a very good job of keeping Clara occupied so she was a bit more fussy than I'd like by the end of the day. 

Today, was ridiculous. She definitely should have had a nap, which we realized at supper time when she threw a tantrum about not being allowed to stir her water with a fork, and then immediately forgot when she looked down at her plate and started happily eating, and then saw her water cup and started tantruming again, and then forgot when she looked down at her plate...

Anyway, I'm not really sure how to handle this.  I would like to try to schedule her day a little bit more predictably for her - but if she doesn't need a nap every day, this seems to just make our lives less predictable... how does this work for toddlers?

For those of you whose toddlers only have a few naps a week - do they nap on certain days, or only when they show signs of being sleepy? My daughter often seems sleepy when she really doesn't need a nap, so this could be difficult for us.  Our 'telltale sign' (Bo on the nose, and soother in her mouth) has become a much more frequent necessity, and certainly doesn't indicate a need for sleep... I don't think...

How can you tell if a toddler is ready to start skipping naps, or to eliminate them completely? Is it acceptable to ask your toddler to have quiet time in their room with the door closed - partly for you to get a rest, and partly to see if they might actually need to sleep?

Published in Blog
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