Saturday, September 22, 2012

TJ Is On His Way

For posterity's sake I need to make it known:
TJ jumped with both feet today. (Read why it matters here.)
Totally got air.
He is full-on ready to be trained; no holding back now.
To be honest...we've been working on it all week and he's doing really well.
The best was when he was playing with Leve and sudden ran screaming from the room, "AHAHAHAHAH!!!" to the bathroom where he proceeded to take care of business. LOL!

I am proud of him. In theory I'm excited about having NO ONE in diapers for the first time in NINE years, but I'm also sad that he's THERE.

 Along with the jumping has come WORDS...lots and LOTS of WORDS....and a desire to sleep in his big-boy bed (aka Quinn's bed). I've got a little MAN on my hands and since he is our 'baby', I get a little weepy when no one is looking. Alas, I shall try to buck-up and remember that God's timing is perfect; including how long He allows little ones to be little.
My on-his-way-to-being-a-big-boy-as-quickly-as-he-can in a hammock while camping last week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Potty Training

I'm going tell you something that might come off as a little harsh, but it's absolutely true.
In terms of developmental milestones, my kids aren't breaking any records.
Now, before you TOTALLY take away my status as Mother of the Year, hear me out.

Finn walked at 16 mo.
He potty trained initially at 18 mo...and then decided it wasn't worth the hassle, gave it up, and was finally fully potty trained at 3.5 years.

Kiki walked at 15 mo.
She was fully potty trained at 3.

Leve walked at 17 mo.
She was fully potty trained at 3.5.

TJ walked at 21 mo.
At 2.5, he's not potty trained.

I admit to having a pretty "go with the flow" attitude toward parenting. My philosophy is that they're only little for such a short while, why rush the process? It's worked alright for me. Don't get me wrong, I've TRIED to get the kids to walk. We've stood with them between us. We've held their fingers. We've encouraged. Nothing. I've spent time trying to toilet train each of them when I felt they were showing interest. Nothing. I refuse to bash myself over the head with it and have just let it happen. Not so surprisingly, they all figured it out and with minimal muss and fuss.

After getting his hair cut very short and being told what a big boy he looked like, Finn asked me for a pair of underwear one day and "training" was over. Kiki wanted a particular doll. "Get potty trained and I'll buy it for you", I said. Done. 2 days later she had it locked in and was playing with the doll. Leve decided that she couldn't possibly go to the Fair with diapers on and trained herself with a little help from Daddy and her siblings.

I've been introducing the potty and encouraging TJ for the last month or so. He seems to "get" what it's all about, but hasn't done much about it. Until last week.

I was laying him down for a nap and he said, "I pooped."
"No you didn't, I just changed you."
"I poop my butt."
"Do you need to go potty?"
I take him and set him down. He says, "I get a treat?"
"Of course. If you go potty you get a treat."
"Shut the door."

Now, I'm not sure what was funnier...that he negotiated the treat BEFORE going to the bathroom, or the fact that he demanded privacy, but I giggled pretty hard outside the bathroom regardless. And he did a nice number in the potty, so it was a good thing.  He got lots of praise from me, but the biggest high fives came from his siblings. Why?


I started it with Leve. At the time Kiki was 6 and Finn was 8...old enough to be potty-experts. I decided instead of making potty training a Mom/Kid thing we were going to make it a family thing. With the lure of a treat, I suddenly have 3 people asking if Leve needed to go to the bathroom instead of just me doing it. PERFECT!

I'm doing the same with TJ...and it's going well. Leve is especially helpful, even asking and helping him at church! (Note to self; Bring treats WITH for jobs well done outside the house. Leve was NOT impressed that there was no treat until we got home. Oops.)

He is not breaking any records, but we're definitely on the right path. We seem to have #2 taken care of, so it's just to make sure #1 always happens. 

I have noticed that he cannot jump with both feet yet, and, according to a Mom of 7 that I used to give piano lessons to, that is a key developmental milestone for being prepared to do #1 on the potty...something about brain/body connections...hey, she's trained 7 kids, I figured I'd trust her! ;) So, we'll give it time.

In the mean time I get to see this cute mug more and more. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dana Carvey Makes Bedtimes Better

Have you ever watched The Master of Disguise? It is one of the movies that our family really gets a kick out of. Last fall the kids got into quoting part of the movie where Dana Carvey dresses up as an older woman.  Check it out here:
Now, I'll agree that some of the language was appalling, but hearing my 3 year old say, "We’ll never make bay-bees.” or  “I’m Gammy, Gammy Num, Num” or "I'm not going anywhere with YOU, Melon Head" struck me as pretty hilarious....for the first 50 times. After that, it started to wear on my nerves. But, as they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

One night I wanted the kids to get to bed quickly and without a fuss. I didn't want a million trips out of their rooms after they were there. SO, I informed them about the "Gammy Num Nums" Award. They were intrigued....the rules were simple. The award goes to the person who:
1. Gets ready for bed without having to be told to hurry up or stay on task.
2. Is ready and in bed first.
3. Does NOT come out of their bed for any reason.

This person will then receive a card that says,
Gammy-Num-Nums Award
10 Minutes

The winner can then use that 10 minute award to stay up an extra 10 minutes any time they'd like, except on no Num-Nums Nights (night when we're all up late anyhow OR a night when they have something happening early the next morning.)

I don't offer the Gammy Num Num each night, but a couple times a week I'll announce that it's time to get ready for bed and a Gammy Num Num will be awarded.  My kids ALL hustle. Which brings up the question...can there be more than one awarded? Yes. I will award one to anyone who didn't dawdle, went right to sleep, and did not come out. We've had instances where they've gotten the award, but then come out...and they've had to forfeit their award. (If they got ready for bed the right away they shouldn't need potty, water, hugs, kisses, etc., right?!)

So, that's how Dana Carvey has made bedtimes better around our house.  :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Follow Your Path

We started our school-year off with a camping trip. One of the perks of homeschooling, right?! We wanted to go to a State Park and found that if we waited until Labor Day to actually START camping we could get a stellar spot. It was a great way to start the year. :)

We had a perfect campsite, perfect weather, and a really great time with our kids. This morning, after breakfast, we had everybody put on a bathing suit and headed out to swim/hike. We saw some amazing scenery and Leve reminded me of an important truth. Kids do that, don't they?!

We went to a very secluded area of beach and decided to swim. The beach was filled with tiny little rocks, you know the kind...the ones that get in your shoes and drive you crazy. When it was time to go, we had everyone go over to a large rock away from the small pebbles to clean off their feet and put their shoes on. Once they were on the large rock they could easily walk to the path out of the beach and avoid filling their shoes with rocks again. Kiki and Finn did this perfectly. Leve seemed to be doing great too. I turned to put on the backpack I was hauling and heard Leve call, "Help!" with a sound of panic. I turn to find her clinging to the rockwall...she was stuck and too scared to go forward, back, up, or down! I went over, climbed up a few feet, picked her up, and helped get her down to the trail. Once she was safe I said, "Why didn't you take the path? WHY would you think you should climb the rock out of here?!"

She pointed ahead of her and said, "That's what Kiki DID!"

Ahh....the good 'ol doin' what your sister does rational. She could just have well have said, "Someone I love, trust, and look up to was doing it that way, so I thought I'd do it that way too." Never mind that she's 3 years younger, 2 feet shorter, and not nearly as agile on her feet. When I was looking at it from the outsiders perspective I thought how silly and foolish it was. That is, for a split second, until I realized the truth in the statement. The reason it hit me folks, is because I am SO guilty of doing just that...and have to struggle at times to stay true to what I know is right for me.

In fact, I've been doing a lot of that lately. You see, for Minnesotans it's the first day of school.

I grew up going to public school. I trained to be a school teacher. I'm used to getting up the day after Labor Day and going off to school. I have been called to a different path with my children. In my heart of hearts I KNOW that path is the right path for us. I KNOW without a doubt that we're doing the right thing for our kids and for our family.

But, I admit that there are days, like today, that I want to do what other people are doing. I have twinges of envy when I think about the Moms who are getting a tiny break while their kids are off at school. I get a little nostalgic for my own school days and wonder how my children will look back on their childhood and if they'll feel they "missed out" somehow. A tiny bit of me wishes that sometimes someone ELSE was having to deal with curriculum decisions for them and bearing the weight of this tremendous responsiblity.

In short, I could TOTALLY identify with Leve's desire to do what Kiki was doing. And I was jolted back to the reality that doing what others are doing if it's not right for you will get you stranded on a rock wall calling for help...or some sort of equivalent!

Each of us needs to do what is right for us and for our families. We need to live an examined life. How can we truly be doing God's will in our lives if we don't? We're not all called to do the same thing and we do ourselves, our families, and our world a dis-service if we try to do things like our neighbor. It was awesome to be reminded of that today and encouraged to stay the course.

Blessings to each of you as you follow your paths.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

* During reading I ask the kids to give me examples of new words in a sentence. The word was "over"...expecting Kiki to say something about something going 'over' something else she elicited a giggle when instead she held her hand to mouth and said, "Crsh. Over. Crsh." in true trucker fashion.

* The Spouse and I decided to fix our bed.
 It wasn't going well so I said, "This stinks!"
In the background I hear Leve sheepishly say, "Sorry. I farted."

* One day we were driving and, in true, Minnesota fashion, the weather was sunny, but raining. I made a comment and Finn said, "Well, MOM. What did you expect?! When you sing the Johnny Appleseed you thank God for giving the sun AND the rain."

The list goes on and on of hilariousness...what funny things have YOU heard lately?!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

It's Not a Question!!!

If you live with kids you’re used to lots and lots and LOTS of questions. “Why, Mommy, WHY?” If you’re like me, you feel like you spend most of your time answer questions OR saying, “I think you already know the answer to THAT, don’t you?!” It’s no wonder, then, that as parents, that we sometimes get caught in the “Question Trap”.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about. I’ll give you a few examples:

“How about we have some supper?”

“Can you go and find your blankie?”

“Should we go and brush your teeth?”

“Let’s go to the car, okay?”

If you’re like me, those questions really AREN’T questions….they are things you are expecting your child to do NOW. But we’ve asked a question…and our children don’t always answer the way we’d like them to. Shortly,  we get frustrated, our children get frustrated, things escalate and pretty soon we’re dishing out time outs, raising our voices, and wishing Grandma would call to take them off our hands. Crazily enough…IT’S OUR FAULT!!!

I caught myself doing it just the other day. I was in a hurry and trying to be patient with getting out the door. I said to Leve, “Would you please go and put your swim suit on so we can go?”

“No. I’m playing.”

“Leve! Do it now.”

I was already on the edge. We were late. I was irritated. AND I MADE IT WORSE by asking her a question! She’s 4…the world is pretty literal for her...of course she’d rather finish playing!

Today, I had a chance at a re-do. We were on our way out the door for a 2.5 hour car ride. “Leve. Please go to the bathroom now so you don’t have an accident in the car.”

“Okay, Mommy. “ She dropped what she was doing and took care of business.

Sure, there are certainly times when kids won’t be compliant; that’s a whole ‘nother parenting issue. AND as they grow older they come to understand that those 'questions' aren't questions, but until our children are there developmentally we need to remember...IT'S NOT A QUESTION!!!
Happy Saturday, Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend.