Friday, January 23, 2015

Bedtime Routines

I hate saying this, because every parent knows that when you start talking about how things are going really well, all of a sudden things change. But I feel like after 2 weeks of success with our new bedtime routine, it might be okay to talk about it. I guess we'll see!
He's a sound sleeper
A couple weeks ago I decided to change our bedtime routine up. You see our bedtime routine had been:
6:55 pm pick up toys
7:00 pm brush teeth with tantrums surrounding the actual brushing of the teeth (he loves having his teeth brushed, just didn't want to go to bed)
7:15 pm put on pj's
7:18 pm pick out 2 books to read
7:20 pm sit on couch and read 2 books
7:30 pm tantrum starts because he doesn't want to go to bed (this was the bedtime he'd previously had without any problems)
7:36 pm walk away from tantrumming child toward his room
7:38 pm deal with tantrumming child on the floor in his room
7:45 pm potty
7:50 pm turn off lights, turn music on, cuddle
7:55 pm he's in bed.
Sounds like fun doesn't it. Yeah. So one night a few weeks ago I actually timed the amount of time he wasted throwing tantrums - he threw a lot of tantrums that night - and I told him "Bubby. You just spent 25 minutes throwing tantrums. Tomorrow night we're starting the bedtime routine 25 minutes early." So the next night I did! I set the timer for 6:30 pm and gave him 5 "extra minutes" to play and our evening went like this:
6:35 pm clean up
6:38 pm PJ's
6:40 pm brush teeth
6:43 pm pick out 2 books
6:45 pm read (we started on the couch and then one day at nap I realized he did much better when we read in his bedroom - so we switched to him picking out books before PJ's and bringing them down to his room where we read).
6:55/7:05 pm potty
7:07 pm lights out, music on, cuddle
7:10 pm he's in bed.
Times are not exact - but I'm now out of his room by 7:10 pm at the latest. There are no tantrums (or very few and in the past two weeks they've been rare) at all at bedtime because I discovered I am getting him in bed before he's ready to crash - whereas before I was starting the whole process when he was crashing. AND the added benefit - he's now sleeping in till around 6:45/7 am! The past couple days (without heat) he's woken up earlier than that - but still, when he does get up he's in a good mood! And then he takes a really good nap (2-2 1/2 hrs, sometimes 3!) - because I realized the same thing with his nap - he needed to go down almost an hour earlier than when he was going. He might fight it a little bit - but he is usually passed out within 5 minutes of being in bed. My poor little exhausted "growing" 3 yr old, who knew he needed to go to bed earlier?!

Bonus Story:
He has recently decided he hates bath time. Like tantrums would ensue when I'd say "It's time for a bath!" He was perfectly fine and he'd even agree when I'd tell him 24 hrs in advance that he was going to be getting a bath, but 5 min befornot okay at all! It was horrible! Then I finally got him to tell me why. It was so simple! He didn't like getting out of the tub and being cold!! Seriously - that was it! So this last time I turned the heat up in the bathroom about an hr before and shut the door - so it got toasty warm. He had fun in the bath...
And then when it was time to get out I wrapped him up in 2 towels (one that had been hanging on the radiator so it was warm) and we cuddled for about 15 min, before he decided he was warm enough to have lotion put on and his clothes put on (which had also been hanging on the radiator so were warm)! Seriously. He's a bit of a drama queen - who knew he needed a "spa experience", but I'm hoping that this means bath time will be calmer and my neighbors won't think I'm skinning my toddler alive!

WHO is this Kid?!

We finally had sun one day this week.
So I haven't posted anything since the big "oh joy he's 3" post, and I thought I needed to at least post that there is a bright side to this whole "He's 3!" This week we've had so much fun! Seriously - I don't remember when the last time I had a WHOLE week where there were basically NO TANTRUMS.
And it kept getting prettier...
Yeah, I know it means I'm in for it in the next few days because he's just been saving them all up to hit me with out of the blue...but still - I'm SO enjoying this week! I thought I'd share with you some of the fun things...
Thankfully it was a beautiful day...although that didn't mean we got to go out...
For instance every morning and every nap time, when he wakes up, this is what we hear...
Yep, I've somehow convinced/threatened him that he can't get out of bed until we say he can get up...seriously, you would too...otherwise who knows what time he'd be getting up and running all over the place, but for now it's working and I'm thankful because it ensures he gets enough sleep. Speaking of sleep, he received some elf pj's from Aunt Gretchen...I love them...he's not crazy about them. In fact when he's naughty I threaten that's what he'll be wearing to bed, and he suddenly shapes up!
But don't worry - the glow sticks from Aunt Gretchen he loved! And to be honest they did provide free entertainment for me...
He's getting to be a regular fibber...but it's so cute when he does it because he thinks I'm really that gullible - that I believe him when he says he lost something - and it's just behind his back!
Of course on top of that he's started to make up his own phrases! You know how you get creative when you have kids around who pick words up really fast - and you don't want them to pick up words? Yeah, well I say "Goodness Gracious" a lot and he's taken that and turned it into his own "Southern Lady" saying: "Oh my gracious"
Now he's always been obsessed with my jewelry...but right now he's taken it a little further to include napkin rings..."Mommy!! My fingers need these napkin rings. See, they do - they NEED them!"
And he's become even more obsessed with trains! Seriously, the sun came out for the 1st time in around 2 weeks this past week, but could I get this kid outside? Nope, he wanted to stay and play with his trains!
I try to build a new "track" every day, but there are some evenings where he refuses to tear it down just so we can play on the same track...oh, and it's not just playing trains - nope we have our tea parties at the "train station"...sometimes he'll get all his food from his kitchen, put them in shopping baskets and put them around the train tracks so that we can "go shopping at the train station."
I built one on the coffee table yesterday (we lost heat and it's too cold to sit on the floor)...he loves it...I'm hoping he's not too heart broken when the heat gets fixed and his train is sent back to the floor!
And yes, he's a very serious train player! In fact, he'll ask me to play with him - but what he really means is that I just sit and watch him play until he's ready to have me join in...Today he told me to come watch him play, and then he decided he wanted me to play with him, but he had to give me the rules first!
But it's not all playing, nope we have some serious conversations too. For instance when daddy broke the boxes down for recycling...yeah...he has even talked to Rusty about this a few times "It's not okay to break down my box daddy. You need to ask!" He's now hidden the box so daddy can't find it! It's seriously one of the cutest things ever - because neither one of us had any clue that he LOVED this particular box...until one day he came walking past the recycling and said "Hey! Who destroyed my box?!"
Me: I think daddy might have done the boxes buddy.
Monkey: "It's my favorite box! Daddy can't just destroy it! He can't, it's my favorite!... I'm sad... I'm just so sad..." But enough of that - here he is in his own words
Sometimes he comes out with little "toddler pearls of wisdom": "Sometimes purposes can happen."
Other times he learns new things and he has to tell me about them because I wasn't sitting on the couch right next to him when he learned them! Sometimes he learns things in books, and other times he learns things on his favorite new show Dinosaur Train. He doesn't get to watch much TV, but when he does that's now his pick (over Daniel Tiger and Thomas the Train)...(and with us losing our heat we've done a little more snuggling on the couch under blankets watching a few shows to stay warm than we normally do.) So yesterday when he started talking randomly about "avonuts" I was a tad lost, you'll see...
Yeah, do you have any clue what this kid was talking about?! Well, if you are a parent of a toddler and you happened to watch Dinosaur Train - Shiny's Sea Shells episode, you might...this kid was talking about Ammonites! (which are not normally orange - but on the show they were)
Just a slight growth spurt going on right now
His new favorite questions are: "Did you know that mommy?" and, "You don't know how to do this mommy?" (where "this" can mean anything) I now just play dumb - "No, I didn't. Thank you so much for teaching me!" because IF you happen to say that you did know - he will throw a tantrum - which is SOO not worth it. 
I wasn't fast enough to catch the smile he did give.
But hey - that's life with a 3 year old! 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Welcome to the "TERRIFIC 3's"

Didn't get to open the green olive container
I've renamed them from "Horrible 3's" to "Terrific 3's" (encompasses much more)...of course I've also called them "Traumatizing 3's" and "Torturous 3's"...and yes we're not even a week in... But I do have high hopes of making it through this year alive and with a toddler who is still living because I know so many other people who have made it through (including my own parents)...so high hopes, high hopes.
Getting served what he asked for for lunch, but apparently not what he really wanted.
One of the things I've decided is I'm going to need is an attitude adjustment myself! You see - when my toddler starts in on one of his "Terrific Tantrums" (terrific here meaning big, intense, and/causing terror) I need to just sit back and enjoy the ride - sure it sounds horrible...but you have to remember: you can't reason with a toddler. (Oh sure, you can try to reason with them because at 3 they do understand - but if you try, be prepared for a tantrum - because if it doesn't go their way - they will be "just a little" upset.)
When you attempt to intervene in a tantrum it doesn't work - with this child. If you attempt to calm him down - fail. Occasionally he'll let me know why he's throwing a tantrum - but that doesn't mean it stops, oh no - it just continues on with more power behind it because "mommy now knows and she's not giving me what I want!" If you take the tantrum on - you get frustrated/mad/upset. So it's best just to sit back, pray that your neighbors know you really are not skinning your child alive, and "enjoy" the ride - because really there is no "ignoring a tantrum".
45 min tantrum because he didn't get chocolate pie...and he wanted it...(no one else had it)
That said, I do like to find out, if possible, what the tantrum is about...you know so then it makes even less sense...because really toddler tantrums make absolutely no sense! It's like this, you decide you want to do something, but it's not just a "I want to do it" it's more down the lines of "I have to do this or 'they' are going to slowly kill my entire family in front of me and then 'they' are going to skin me alive while 'they' do the task that I have waited my entire life to do and I have dreamed about doing since I can't even remember...the one task that fills my heart with love, my belly with food, and my lungs with air." (because all toddlers are just a little dramatic)...THAT in essence is the basis for ALL toddler tantrums.
Having said all of that, I do admit, I admire my 3 year old - really all toddlers this age...they speak their mind all.the.time. Now at times it's annoying - for instance: If he doesn't want to do something - he lets you know. If he's upset/angry - he will tell you exactly what he's going to do.
If he knows you want to do something and he wants to make life difficult for you - he will.
"Forced" to go to the market to get food
If he's happy - you know it!
If he's feeling scared or loving or thankful - he's the sweetest kid on earth. But man, do I love that he is so open and honest! I never think to myself "Hmm, I wonder how the monkey is feeling..." In fact there are many times throughout the day I wish I had no clue what he was thinking...but I know that day will come when he's a teenager and I'll think back to this time and probably say something to the effect of "Why can't you be 3 and just tell me!" - Okay, that will never happen...after less than a week with a 3 yr old I'll never think "Why can't you be 3?!"...maybe 4 will be better.
So until then I guess I just need to enjoy the "Terrific 3's" - because that encompasses all that this year has to offer - the good, the bad, and the ugly...it's definitely going to be 365 days of roller coaster rides - guess it's a good thing I like roller coasters!

Bonus Videos: Because I don't want you to think that all I deal with are tantrums (although when a single tantrum lasts for 45 minutes, then a 5 min reprieve before the tantrum continues - it sometimes does feel like that's all I deal with)...but there are good moments sprinkled throughout the day - and sometimes at the end of the day the good moments outnumber the tantrums!

The other day we went to the park...it's been raining a lot lately and the monkey has wanted to play with his toys inside more than not - so adventures outside haven't occurred as much...
But we always have fun - and usually - better behavior if we're out exploring...many times it's just convincing him to get outside - he's recently decided he'd rather play with his toys at home than go somewhere...
Me? I'd rather go somewhere than play with his toys at home...but maybe that's because I don't always get to play - many times he says "Mommy want to come watch me play with....?" and many time my answer is "No, I really don't want to watch you play right now." Hmm, guess I didn't lose my 3 yr old honesty!
Ask him if he wants to play on the playground and many times his response is "NO!" but let him play on the exercise/stretch things set up for runners and he's all about that! Thankfully there aren't usually runners at the park when we go - so it's all his (if there were people around using it, I'd keep him off of them...obviously.)
And yes, we did collect and carry sticks/branches all around the park! Luckily I convinced him that he really shouldn't  throw them to the dogs, pretty sure he was wanting to hit the dogs - but that he could put them down for the dogs to pick up if he wanted - he didn't. No surprise though, he doesn't really like to share!
And 1 final picture - it's a good laugh at least (at his expense)...as we were walking up to the soccer field/basketball court he saw the structure and he said "Look Mommy! It looks just like the US Capitol!"
We have a book we've been reading (Goodnight America) that has a page with buildings in Washington DC, so he does know what the building looks like...hmm, maybe I need to get his eyesight checked!

Friday, January 9, 2015

He's "Free"!

That's right folks - we are now the proud owners parents of a 3 yr old monkey! You'd think, since we've had him for 3 years, we'd know all there is to know about him...unfortunately kids aren't like other things you "own". You see, when they're born you are given 1 model - a baby - and you are given this model without receiving a guidebook.
Oh sure people around you will inform you of what worked for them (people love to be helpful like that) but very rarely does that advice actually work because every "baby model" is different.)
These "baby models" keep getting "upgrades" (we can argue about whether they're all really positive upgrades or not though).
And then all of a sudden "overnight recall's" begin - but they don't tell you when they're going to happen - they just expect you to roll with the punches of what this "new version" of your child brings you in the morning.
So you start with the "baby model"...and then after about a year you're suddenly given the "toddler model" - which is absolutely nothing like the "baby model"
But just like the "baby model" this model also has "upgrades"!
And just like other things around your house - some "upgrades" are better than others...
And I should clarify - the "toddler model" is constantly "upgraded"...
Thankfully some of the "upgrades" are really good ones - laundry helper!
But all the "talking upgrades" - that's where we noticed some huge differences between "Toddler 1.0" and "Toddler 2.0" It was like one day it was just words - 1 and 2 word sentences/questions...
To this...(no not reading - just reciting from memory!), but just like "Toddler 1.0", "Toddler 2.0" is constantly talking as well, and I suspect that will continue with this new "upgrade" - "Toddler 3.0".
We also noticed changes in his independence from needing help to wanting to do everything himself...and in fact past that, to showing/teaching us how to do things! (no video of that sorry)
"Toddler 2.0" has had some epic meltdowns, with at least 2 meltdowns occurring daily - that's on a GREAT day. (It's similar to if you had something break down twice a day, with no notice whatsoever...you know you're watching a show and BOOM!!! the TV blows...or you're writing a paper and BOOM!!! your computer suddenly crashes...or you're walking from the car to the grocery store and BOOM!!! you're struck by lightening when there wasn't even a drop of rain.)
But I will say one of the things I have enjoyed the most - is the fashion sense that these models come with...
And the imagination!
Yeah, this new model 3.0 - should be entertaining at the very least...

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lunch Conversations

There are days where you just know you're going to have a good day because it starts out great! No tantrums before breakfast, fun breakfast conversations...
No tantrums after breakfast. Fun times playing and cleaning (this kids loves to clean). On track with potty training. And then lunch rolls around and you make lunch and your toddler insists on putting his own seasoning on (a salt free seasoning)...and he does so good that you just kinda sit back and enjoy...
Thankfully for the entire bowl of food it wasn't too much seasoning, and like I said - it is a salt-free one, so I wasn't too concerned, and I did get the camera out so I could record him pouring the seasoning on his food...But then the conversation turned to my phone...and after talking for a little bit I decided I had to record our conversation! And boy am I glad I did - but it's another "random lunch conversation"!
He was concerned about my missing phone - appears he liked it better because the case came off easier than my new phone's case! But then it became all about Paris - because that is where I had my phone stolen.
At least he was going to let me keep my new phone...but this kid thinks he should have his own phone at age 3!
But no matter what - he was very upset that my "old phone" is no longer around...
I think he might've known more about my old phone than I do...
I wish I had a privacy phone after talking about it! I still don't know exactly what a privacy phone does - but just the name makes me want one!
Of course once he gets switched over to a different topic (for whatever reason) he's 100% focused on the new topic...
And it just so happened that the new topic was Uncle Sam! (You see this kid doesn't have to hang out with you all the time in order to talk about people like he does hang out with them all the time. We just talk about friends and family a lot!)
But then there I go and take things at their word (thinking: no, Uncle Sam doesn't own a store), forgetting I'm talking to a toddler! So I tried to fix it...
And then I learned stuff about my uncle I didn't know!!
That's right! I never knew that my uncle didn't paint his grocery store every day, that he only paints it every 10 days...and I just have to say - that's pretty darn impressive! I was laughing internally and trying so hard to keep it from him...because I love these random conversations we have...it was seriously like he thought "hmmm, how can I connect these two random things together...phones and Uncle Sam...nope, I can't go the family route - that's too obvious...hmmm, I know! I'll talk about the phone mom lost in Paris, move on to privacy phones - whatever those are, they sound good though, and then - OH I know! Privacy phones can only be used in FL...And guess who lives in FL?! That's right - Uncle Sam! BOOM! I did it!"

Bonus: New Year's Day was the day before, also known in our home as "The Day from Hell" 
"Happy New Year!"
You see we were going to go to Brussels for a little bit - the monkey wasn't excited at first for an outing - he wanted to stay home and play with some of his new toys he had just received...
But we convinced him to go outside for a walk...he cried the entire time we were outside so we opted to not get on the train...when he realized we weren't going on a train he threw one of the biggest tantrums ever! (small part of the tantrum)
Refusing to walk, attempting to make it too difficult for Rusty to hold him and carry him home...yeah...fun times. But we went home and I told him he could help me take Christmas down - it was either have him help me or have me take every toy this kid owned and put it in timeout...because he was insane! 
10:30 am New Year's Day
His tantrums didn't end, not even after his nap...they just kept going and going and going...of course he snapped out of it for a little bit...like when he saw what was for dinner...
"Is that MY plate? " he asked...yeah right kid! Then after he tasted it he said "Mmmm, I like that. That tastes like bacon!" Of course that was just a short reprieve...so the next day (lunch conversations) and the following days I've been thoroughly enjoying and appreciating a toddler in a much better mood!!

Box from Ammah

New Year's Eve evening,
we got a box from Ammah with our Christmas gifts - remember it sometimes takes a bit for gifts to come...and since we couldn't get a hold of her on FT - I videoed it!
Now first let me say - this kid opeend the box all by himself! And I mean that in the sense of all.by.himself! We didn't have to help cut the tape or anything. He found the edge of the tape and just pulled it all off!
Yeah, he was pretty proud of himself...and then came the presents!
That's right...He was crazy about his Bible video - we sat down to watch it the other day and while watching the David and Goliath story - he saw Goliath and heard him laugh and immediately said "He's like Santa!"...I think we may need a few more viewings of this story before he fully understands that Goliath was "the bad guy"...
Having an Aunt and Uncle in New Zealand is sure fun too! He might never have gotten a rugby ball. A ball which is now a favorite (since we were able to put air in it)...He's not as big on playing catch with it - because it's a little harder than a nerf football, so he's taken to kicking it around! And before playing he says "Let's play RUGBY BALL!" It's pretty darn funny!
Have I said how much this kid likes ornaments and decorating the tree?! Yeah, he loves it! In fact when it came time to take the Christmas tree down he wanted to keep some ornaments out! There were other presents but these were the ones I was able to capture, since I myself, was also openng presents!

Bonus Videos: Earlier in the day he was having fun telling me what all the numbers and letters on his blocks were. All of a sudden he's all about pointing out numbers and letters he sees wherever we are!
And a couple days before he had a meltdown at the table because his "clementine tree" broke...and for those that don't know what a "clementine tree" is I just don't know what to say... Okay - it's the white pith that sticks into the center of the clementine, that when you peel the clementine it pulls away with the peel and you're left with a little "tree" standing on the peel - duh.

The Bite. An apology. A Dork. Singing. And a very random conversation

You know those days where your toddler decides to bite you really hard on your nose.
Not a little nibble...nope, a bite that feels somewhat similar to what it looks like when an alligator attacks an innocent little animal...you know that bite...on your nose. Where you crying and saying "STOP BITING!" doesn't work and you start to think that you are literally going to have to shake your toddler off you - and that sounds perfectly fine and you're positive that everyone would applaud you in your success in disengaging said toddler's "jaws of death" from your nose. Yeah...it was one of those days...and that happened. No, not the shaking to disengage the toddler - thankfully it only took instant tears, a "STOP BITING! THAT HURTS!", and pinching his nose so he had to release to breathe that got him off...but it started his instant laughter.
And let me just say, if you hurt me and then start laughing, you've pretty much got a death wish. So my dear little toddler was my enemy! But I continuously reminded myself that the evil laughing child (not that he's evil - but he has an evil laugh) didn't hurt me intentionally...and it was really wrong to show him how much it hurt. So I did the only thing I could - I just shut down and made him lunch. Only responding to direct questions until I was calm enough that we could actually talk and he could "understand" that he hurt mommy and that it was not okay and it would NOT happen again....plus much much more.
But at lunch - we sat and ate together and then he decided to goof off...when that happens I set a timer. If he's still goofing off when the timer goes off, he's done eating...if he calms down and starts to eat again - then he can continue to eat. It might sound horrible - but it works for our meal times...otherwise he would be all over the place or just not focused on sitting down to eat...I also decided to record the rest of lunch - because sometimes bringing out the camera causes him to behave more...but I'm glad I did - because this was our conversation the rest of lunch!
That's right - I bet you never knew the "real" definition of dork!
Yep, he's just full of useful information...
He loves singing...he also loves calling  people!
Sometimes the information is correct even!
Sometimes conversations just get us completely away from actually eating lunch...but since he was pretty much done eating I didn't worry about it.
And I obviously need to consult the monkey when making calendars for people! (The grandparents get calendars of the monkey...but Ammah and Grandpa get a calendar with pictures of all the grandkids...ext time I guess I need to include pictures of knives!)
Ammah and Grandpa have someone renting out their basement...the monkey just realized during this conversation that his name is the same as a train on Thomas...but he didn't think that could be right!
And like most toddler conversations you think "Where in the world did that thought come from?! And how does is connect to this conversation?!"
But he is a very helpful toddler - and he knows all about flying!
This train of thought I can follow - it's all about bathrooms. The only thing is - is the story he's telling is completely made up! LOL
But back to other random facts and ponderings...
After all that talking, he decided he was ready to finish his lunch!
And yes, my child has the Mickey Mouse fork, the Minnie Mouse spoon, and the Donald Duck knife! HA!

Bonus Pictures: That evening he got to wear some new PJ's we had ordered and I had washed...and I think for a minute he got Spiderman and Superman mixed up!
Yeah...Spiderman Pj's - pretty much the greatest thing on earth to sleep in!

Snow and Ice Skating!!

The snow stuck around for another day - which I was super excited about...and the monkey was super excited about! As soon as the sun rose, he was asking to go out in the snow!
That's right folks, all he really wanted to do was brush the snow off the little benches!!
But boy did he have fun!
It really doesn't take much to entertain a toddler!
He emptied bench after bench after bench!
Daddy had fun too - throwing snowballs at the monkey! But he did attempt to get the majority of the smow out of the monkeys jacket so he wouldn't get too cold.
Then it was time to move on...we had more consploring to do!
And it was pretty slippery out (notice in above left picture there are no footprints of the monkey's...yeah...he was walking on ice)...
He was a little sad because we weren't letting him run and jump, like he normally gets too...once again, because of the ice. But don't worry he perked up big time when he found out he got to ice skate (in his frog rain boots no less)!!
And yes, I did get a video...
And yes, it was hard to get him off of that little patch of ice and continue on our consploring adventure, but we figured there were going to be more icy patches out there to ice skate on and boy were we right!
Down by the water fountain statue there was a huge patch of ice that was great for ice skating!!
Of course he first had to clean off the water fountain statue.
But then it was ice skating time, otherwise known as slip n'slide time!!
Don't worry - I got a video as well.
And yeah, they never fell!!