Sometimes toddlers are like pets…

Lets face it, sometimes our toddlers are the best puppies we will ever have. I’m not saying it to be mean, I’m saying it based on my observations of my own canine-like offspring.

My one year old:

-At meal times, if she isn’t securely strapped in her own seat, she crawls under the table waiting for the other kids to drop food on the floor.

-She will eat quite literally anything off the floor, cheerios, scraps, rocks, poop (oh yeah like you’ve NEVER had a kid poop on the floor), ect.

– She begs

– She tries to climb up my leg

– She randomly falls asleep on the floor

– She slides on the hardwood when she is walking to fast.

My three year old

– Has “marked” literally every room in the house.

– Runs the length of the house, from kitchen to bedroom, back and forth until he runs out of breath.

– Sometimes licks himself

– Also begs

– Has those big sad eyes down pat

– Is fascinated with his “privates”

 

So next time my older kids ask me (for the millionth time) for a puppy my response will be, “we already have two… now go walk your brother.”

Moments for Myself

My morning starts at a (not so) bright and early 6:15 in the morning. I wake up and hit the ground running: getting C on the bus for 7:10, everyone fed, husband out the door, diaper changes, nursing the baby, laundry started, dish washer emptied… mostly done by 8:30. These things aren’t so much a choice as they are a necessity because the rest of my day is full as well with dinner prep, more laundry, bill paying, kissing boo-boos  homeschooling M and M, vacuuming (whoever decided that a dining room should be carpeted should be SHOT… seriously), breaking up fights, ect.

I don’t say all this to receive accolades or sympathy, but more to explain how I keep my sanity. I quite literally schedule moments for myself. Once I get C and hubs off to school and work, respectively, I give M and M free play time in the boys room and put the baby down for a early morning snooze (30-45 minutes). At this point in time silence befalls my house. I turn off the tv, put on some worship music, pour myself a coffee and read the paper/bible/blogs/whatever I enjoy. This time is truly mine. Yes there is the occasional “please go back in that room” or “if you wake up the baby I swear…” but all in all it’s mine to do what I want with.

Mom’s NEED this time. We need to know that part of our day is reserved for ourselves. It is a time to unwind, collect our thoughts, or just be able to hear ourselves breathe. Personally, this “me time” sets the tone for my day. There have been days that I haven’t been able to squeeze it in because of one reason or another and I am a wretched human being for the remaining 11 hours until I go to bed at night.

Maybe morning mommy moments won’t work for you. Your child(ren) are not at the age where they can play by themselves or take a morning snooze. That is ok! But I encourage you to designate some amount of time throughout the day for yourself whether it be nap time, lunch time or right after the kids go to bed. Put down the rags and cleaner, leave the kitchen a mess for a bit, and let the laundry stay bundled in the basket a while longer. A burnt out mom is no use to anyone, but being able to recharge, even for 20 minutes, gives you the emotional and mental stamina to tackle the rest of your day.

Thanks for the Prayers Bud…

There are some things that I believe need to be done in private. Making “THE” daily trip to the bathroom is one of them. I’m going to be blunt here but when you’re 17 weeks pregnant its a very prominent fact of life.

This picture makes me laugh every single time but its so flippin true!!! Let me set up this situation for you. You walk into the bathroom because you see that everyone is occupied so they shouldn’t even notice you left. You get ready, and in walks a little 3 yr old human being (even though you SWEAR you locked the door). You say, “Hey bud can mommy have privacy?” He says, “Ok, but first I need to pray for you.” How cute, he’s going to pray for you as he’s walking out the door! No…. “Dear God, thank you for mommy poopin’ and thank you for the toilet paper and a fork” I’m not entirely sure where or WHY the fork came into play, but it did. I thank him for his heartfelt prayer and ask if he is ready to get out. “No” he replies and stands there watching until I’m done.

One day we’ll get privacy back right? RIGHT?!?!

What is something funny that you’re little ones have done or said to you while you were in a “need privacy” situation?

Dreams not forgotten…

Many people think that when they have kids young they have to give up on everything they’ve ever wanted. I’m sure many even look at me and see someone who has had forget my dreams or that somewhere I failed because I don’t have a career or I haven’t pursued everything I originally wanted. I have to admit that in times of weakness I feel the same way about myself. Where did I go wrong? Why can’t I do it all? I am supposed to be singing on stages in front of hundreds (lets be realistic haha) of people! Why do I have to give all that up?? If I could only go back I would do X, Y and Z.

Realistically, it IS possible for me to do it all, but at what expense? Would I miss my daughters first steps because I’ve got 3 more hours left of my shift? Will my son miss me doing homework with him because I have a night class that I can’t miss? Or will I be present with my children in the stages they are in? I can have my career, my family, my husband, my house. But what aspect of my life gets less of me than it deserves? Where will I drop the ball? Its inevitable because there are so many things to juggle and I only have two hands.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” There is a time for everything. For me that means there is a time to be a mom and a time for me to have a career. This is my season right now…. mom. And what an amazing and fulfilling season it is. I wake up and spend my days shaping them, teaching them, learning from them and caring for them. Eventually there will come a time when they don’t need me any more. When that time comes my season will change. I will pursue my dreams, I will take more time for myself and my career.  But until then I will embrace the season that I am in, knowing that my dreams are not forgotten, just postponed.

"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.