“This is why we can’t have nice things!”

Start the video around the 6 minute mark, and then end it at the 8 minute mark. It seems like a pain but its completely worth it.

Now just substitute the lamp, table, and piano for… oh I don’t know… EVERYTHING IN MY HOUSE, throw in the occassional wrestle session from daddy, and instead of buggles make it Cheese-its and Pringles all over the floor. And this friends… is my life. Yes, those are two grown adults, but I feel like 4 kids fighting the same way equals at least two grown men.

And THAT is why we can’t have nice things! ūüėČ

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The Transition from “My Baby” to “Boy”

“Yo waddup mom?”

My head spun around like a top. “I’m sorry, what did you just say to me?” “I said, ‘Yo, waddup mom?'” I very quickly squashed that poor use of something that is supposed to resemble the English language. He is 6.5! I thought I had more time than that!

We always say that our children will always be our babies. They will always be young enough to hug, cuddle, and be reprimanded. But when will us calling them “our babies” go from being truth to being a figure of speech? I think that “when”, at least for me, is now. My 6.5 year old little boy is very quickly becoming WAY too independent. He showers by himself, can fix his own food (thankfully he still would rather I do it), has begun questioning my reasoning when I tell him what to do, and is coming up with weird phrases like “waddup” and annoying things like that. Of course I am doing my best to correct poor speech and actions but it is becoming more and more clear to me that the little baby I used to fall asleep on the couch with in the middle of the night is no longer my little baby.

This is not to say that I won’t hold onto whats left of his child-like dependency with everything inside of me. But it is to say that maybe, JUST MAYBE, I should learn to let go a bit. It’s okay to let them experience life the way they need to, it is okay to let them make mistakes, it is even okay to allow them to leave the house in mismatched socks (oh who am I kidding, all of our socks are mismatched). For now I suppose I will embrace the rapid development of my (not so) little baby boy because the tighter I hold on to him, the more he will push away.

"UN"Potty-training

There are a lot of things that I try to make my kids do. I try to get them to eat healthy, I try to get them to stop fighting with each other, I TRY to convince them that I know whats best for them at any point in time, etc. So all-in-all I’d say that I’m a pretty pro-active parent. (Smile and nod) But there are some things that I just don’t do. One of those things is potty-training. I don’t want the stress, I don’t want to nag, I don’t want to clean up pee/poo on my floor… I just don’t wanna… and you can’t make me! (Insert arm crossed stopping with a giant pouty face)

Now my blatant potty training defiance doesn’t mean that my kids will eventually be sent off to college with a suitcase full of young adult sized cloth diapers, or that I’ll receive phone calls from elementary school counselors daily because the teachers¬†refuse to¬†continue to wipe¬†my kids butt. Instead, they do what all children do every day with virtually everything in life…. they figure it out.

I call my method “un”potty-training. I completely leave it up to the child. We’ve found that its relatively stress free for all involved when we let them handle it themselves and tell us. We keep them in diapers and take them off if they say that they want to go potty but we don’t make the actual¬†transition to undies until they are dry every day for a week. This goes for night time as well,¬†which we’ve found takes several additional months for them to grasp than day time pottying. Approaching it this way keeps it easy for us.¬†I don’t mind diapers, we use cloth, it doesn’t cost extra money.¬†We almost always have a baby¬†in diapers anyway, so¬†it’s not like getting the kids¬†potty trained according to our own schedule would make much of a difference. The best thing is that we¬†very rarely have to deal with accidents. In the time that they were “proving” their abilities during the “week of dry diapers”¬†they magically figured out that they need to go potty as soon as they felt prompted to by their body, because if they didn’t, they would pee¬†where they didn’t want to.¬†(I don’t know the psychology behind it, again… smile and nod). My oldest two were in undies completely around 3.5 and my third was in undies at 2.5!

I am¬†by no means saying that this method works for everyone. Heck, it’s not even a real method (I don’t think,¬†I’ll live in my ignorant bliss thinking that I created it). But ultimately,¬†the hands off, child led approach seems to work really well for our kids.

Quiet Moments

I tend to believe that when you are faced with impending parenthood you often think that there will be a lot of sleepless nights, you gear up for a screaming baby, maybe you even anticipate some sort of frustration due to your typical schedule being thrown to the wind. (Although, I could just be projecting haha.) All these thoughts are completely normal (right??!!), and getting used to the changes associated with having a new baby is difficult.

I’ll give you a scenario… it may or may not be true to life… and it may or may not have happened 3 nights ago. All of your kids are in bed by 7:30, you have the rest of the night to yourself. Your husband, who works afternoon/nights gets home at around 9 and you want to spend some time with him. Fast forward to 11 o’clock and you are finally pouring yourself into bed and excited for a good nights sleep. You snooze away until 12:30 when you are violently woken up by screaming coming through the baby monitor and in a fog you stumble to the kids room and pick up the owner of the scream: a teething baby. You nurse her (or him) and put them back to bed. Soon enough you are settling back into a deep slumber. All of a sudden you feel like someone is watching you. You open your eyes in the dark… AN APPARITION! No…. its a 4 year old and its 2:30am. She’s scared and wants to cuddle. “Two seconds,” you mutter. She crawls into bed with you and you count to two, after which she runs to her room, gets her pillow and blanket and makes a bed for herself on your floor. Sleep comes slightly easier this time, so you fade. 4:30am… screaming… hmmmm. Teething baby again. Its harder to get out of bed this time, but you manage. Boob, cuddle, rock/sway, back in bed. After what seems like 10 minutes you hear giggling, gurgling and the like over the stupid blessed baby monitor. Its 6am. Your angelic beings have decided that they want to get up with the sun this morning. So you roll yourself out of the warmth of your bed and embrace the day, tired but alive.

A night like this can be approached one of two ways. You can either be angry/frustrated/whatever or you can be thankful. “Thankful?” you ask. How in the world could one person be thankful for getting so few broken hours of sleep?? Perspective is how.¬†It might come as a shock but you could possibly go through your entire day and not get a single moment of alone time with your children. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos and busy-ness of life and completely miss out on quiet moments with our babies.

Consider this: every time that one of your kids calls out to you in the night, they desire something. Lucky for you, what they desire is exactly what you have in the middle of the night: TIME. When I am cuddling with my baby girl at 2 in the morning I am able to gain important knowledge of her. I learn the curve of her cheek as I run my hand down her face to settle her. I bask in her baby smell. In the still of the night I hear her subtle hum while she breathes heavily and falls back into a deep sleep. When my 3 year old yells my name in the night I am able to do something almost noone else can. He lays on my chest, hugs me tightly and I make him feel safe. My precious 4 year old believes that the best place that she can sleep is nestled in the curve of my stomach. And my big 6 year old, even still, just wants to know that he will always be my baby.

This way of thinking isn’t easy, and I need constant reminders of how precious this time is. However, it is so important to embrace these special opportunities, because they will be gone before¬†we know it.