I've been confirmed Crazy - in a good way of course! My previous blogs have been stories via photographs. Now, it is time to write - using letters, words, heart!
Mommy of 2 little girls, wifey to 1 groovy guy... Photographer, Artist, Woods-Woman (wanna-be), God-Loving, Spider-Fearing, Baby-Rearing, Wine-Sipping, Silver-Lining-Seeking, Adventure-Welcoming, All-Genuine, Making the Most of Every Day - Girl!
I LOVE watching from the sidelines, careful to avoid disrupting the game, as the girls play together. They interact so well now - often on the same frame of thought. It's rather adorable, if I do say so myself. Myla will walk into the kitchen with Addie. "Addie", She'll say, "Now lay down. I need to give you a shot." Addie complies. Myla proceeds by opening up a drawer and locating the one rubber spatula that contains a pointed-tip on one edge. She lifts the pant-leg of "baby-Addie", who lies there waiting patiently. Myla then pokes her leg with the pointed tip of the spatula, and Addie begins to pretend she's crying - just like a little baby - arms & legs all a-flail! Freakin' darling! The first time they played this "game" - Myla had to instruct Addie to "cry" following the injection. Now, they have a system pretty much down-pat. Speaking of pat... Anyone read Pizza Pat (Rita Golden Gelman) lately? Fun book... This is the cheese all white and sloppy that topped the sausages spicy and choppy, that sat on the sauce all gooey and gloppy that covered the dough all stretchy and floppy that lay in the tray that Pat bought... Myla and Addie call this book "Pat Bought", as each new page ends with this phrase. I'm enjoying this stage of "toddler-hood" with my girls! It has indeed, finally become "easier" - as was promised by my mom, and many others about 2 years ago. ;) Plus, my day off each week makes a world of difference for me - helping me to maintain that balance..... (Ohm.)
TIP: Play with them. It's great! A QUOTE: Life's like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending. ~Jim Henson WHIDFML: Received some good tips in my Living Without magazine, for people with gluten/ food allergies.
Myla loves to go around singing - randomly - about random topics and thoughts. It's funny, because she just begins to literally share her thoughts in song... "I love my mom.... my sister's name is Addie, and my dad is at work. I'm going to Kimmy's house next day (tomorrow).......... My mom is so funny when she makes funny faces at me..." You don't really get the full effect unless you hear the kind of tone she takes when breaking out in song. Anyone else out there a recovering Catholic? [Please allow me to stress the term "recovering".] If you've had any experience with a Catholic mass at Christmas time, and they opted to sing about the birth of Christ during said mass, you may have an idea for the tone I'm referring to. Think along the lines of, "... and they called him JEE-SUUUUUS..." Yeah. Adds something to the entertainment value for us! I'm wondering if she'll try to get into Opera some day. She loves the idea of acting/ singing/ dancing on stage. Although, she holds steady to her desire to be "one of those ladies who walks on big sticks" when she grows up. :) Today, for some reason, she chose to sing about ants... "We have ants - in my yard. I like to play outside in my yaaaaard..." This was a unique one. Caused me to chuckle. I think she's got a hint of cabin-fever. She can't wait to go to FL so she can play outside, and go no picnics, and go swimming, and go to the beach! Amen.
TIP: We recently figured out that if you just switch up the contents of a sandwich for a kiddo - they tend to keep enjoying them. Turkey, PB & J (for Myla), Balogna... Braunschweiger (Addie loves it - and it'll surely add a little meat to her bones, to the ped's satisfaction.) A QUOTE:“Singing has always seemed to me the most perfect means of expression. It is so spontaneous. And after singing, I think the violin. Since I cannot sing, I paint." ~Georgia O'Keeffe WHIDFML: Bought some new lip gloss... ELF - cheap, colorful, fun. $3 for 3 tubes at Target! Score.
I'm managing to knock on the wooden desk before my as I type this... so as not to jinx the situation. We have had far too many stressful Myla-lassoing trials to have it back-fire on us now. JOY! We have found the magic... I think we just gave her too many chances on too regular a basis. Now, we rule the roost with the iron fist! Ha - okay - not exactly. I mean, we finally have attained the proper line-width... and it's much easier to walk it and maintain a coinciding balance in the matter. (As you know, I'm all about balance. Ohm.) We recognized that Myla is a bit of a control-freak. I can empathize, because as a child, I felt the need to control matters as well. It offered a sense of security to feel "in control". Thankfully, I've learned the beauty and benefit of "letting go" ("Letting go and letting God, as a friend recently put it!) Now - to instill this value into the heart of the stubborn Miss Myla. Discerning between what we can and should control, and what is better left to God, takes time to learn. In the meantime, we have managed to get through to the girl, reinstating our residency as the parents on the home-front. *Daytime Magic: Re-introduce the Time-Outs! We had to resort to holding her down in a time-out to get her to remain... for a few occurrences, all the while ignoring her attempt to gain our attention. Now, she stays. And, when she doesn't, the timer is re-set to start over with the initial number of pre-determined minutes. Needless to say, she caught-on to this pattern, and the time-outs don't last long any more. *Nap-Time-remain-in-bed-Magic: Threatening "no shows" followed-by "no treats". If necessary - threaten to take away the nuk (pacifier) - which they only receive at nap and bed-time. *Night-time Magic for staying in bed: Threatening "no shows or treats" the next day. If needed, we threaten no nuk for the night. The combo of the lack of earned privileges, follow-through, plus our consistency (finally - thank you Joel!) seemed to bring about a new era in disciplining the strong-willed-child. Cheers to that! Ironically, Dr. Phil just had a special on his show this week pertaining to "Taming the Chaos", or something along those lines. The featured family had a 3-year-old who would get along really well with our Myla. Let's just say... I hope they actually do HELP these people after the show ends! They sure don't do much to aid them during the show... Lots of "blah blah blah". It's as though these shows are merely to draw in an audience via drama and craziness - with intent to exploit the folks involved, rather than providing them with any meaningful advice. I rarely watch the tube, and almost never during the day! But when on the stationary bike, I try to keep my mind occupied with something that might actually serve as beneficial. HA! Yeah, right. Not in this society.
TIP: Consistency. A QUOTE:Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media. ~Noam Chomsky WHIDFML: Ate PIZZA! (Gluten-Free) They make them from scratch at Biaggi's - and it is GOOOOOOOOD! I highly recommend the Chicken Picante Pizza, made w/ spicy chicken & goat cheese. OMG.
Oddly enough, we didn't go through a "mine" phase with miss Myla at the age of 2, or at any age for that matter... Addie has been much more direct about what she feels belongs in her possession. Then again, she has someone to compete with for her 'belongings'. They share for the most part, actually. But Myla is very passionate about how their games are played, and when she wants something done a certain way - Addie often disagrees. And so we are jolted into referee action by the screeching wave of "mine! Mine! MINE!" echoing from the next room, with moderate regularity. There is one little thing that Myla is exceptionally possessive of, and in this case - we really can't argue with her. I'm talking about her "baby sister". She's very protective of her, and any time we are in a public place, she is always very careful to keep a watchful eye over Addie... making sure to remain acute to her locale' at all times. The retired Grandparents often take them to various local parks/ playgrounds/ and programs. There happens to be an open-gym at a nearby park where the kids can run and socialize and just cut loose - indoors for the winter months. Grandma & Grandpa Mack, and both girls made their way, and had themselves a great time - with one minor initial set-back... While Addie ran rampant, a little boy - a tad older than she - found himself intrigued by Addie. Surely it must have been her level of energy! He took it upon himself to play with her a bit, and be silly... getting down on her level to talk to her. Upon witnessing this, Myla ran directly to Grandma with big crocodile tears in her eyes exclaiming, "I want my SISTER back!!" Not to worry - she was reassured that no one was "taking" her sister from her. She eventually realized she could be part of this, and all was well. But I love their connection. Here's hoping it never recedes~
TIP: Social opps with other kids of various ages = good... Start early-(ier than we did) ;) Learning to 'share' your siblings also = good. A QUOTE:Complete possession is proved only by giving. All you are unable to give possesses you. ~Andre Gide WHIDFML:I already packed! (We have a few weeks before leaving, but I only really have Wednesdays to do this with!!) I managed to pack for all 4 of us - using only one large suitcase, and one carry-on. *[The girls will have each a small carry-on for snacks and toys, compliments of Grandma.] I KNEW I could do it! ;)
Let's end the week on a positive note, shall we? Cute story for ya... (and a great representation of Myla's strong-will actually benefiting her in the long-run!) So - the three of us girls are at the new easel... We're playing with the white-board side, and little hands with colorful markers are making their way around the blank white canvas while imaginations spark! Myla gleefully asks me to join in the fun and "color with us". This is followed by Addie's beckoning as well, "You too, mommy!" OKAY! I decide to make it into an opportunity to practice recognizing our alphabet. I slowly draw each letter across the board, naming each one as I go. They watch in wonder, and then continue with their own works of art. Within a minute, Myla asks me, "Mommy, will you help me draw a B?" Sure! I'm excited... thinking she was more interested in the alphabet than I had initially thought. I hold her hand in mine, and begin to make another letter-B. "See, a line, with 2 bumps!" She ponders this... wheels a turnin'. She looks a little bit perplexed, and now I'm trying to read her little mind. That's when she interrupts this attempt with a new request, "No, a bee... it goes BUZZ - like BZZZZZZZZ!" Hm... clever of her to solve this problem with a little extra thought. I was proud of her for figuring out a way to communicate her desire. But I had to laugh - because - well - I was WAY off! Hahahahahahaha! We proceeded to draw a bumble-bee... Now, anytime she'd like a new picture of a "bee" - she's sure to precede it with the word "bumble".
TIP: Creative problem solving and adequate communication are probably more important than memorizing the alphabet anyway, right? Well... those letters will enable her to communicate better in time! For now, she's got "communicating" all figured out! A QUOTE: "Intelligence is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas." ~Susan Sontag WHIDFML: Started working-out again ~ diligently & without fail - 3 X a week. Feels great! Lots more energy, better sleep, keeps my stresses or tension in check, stronger (gonna try snowboarding once I'm strong enough!)... good, good, good.
SOOO much advice out there for getting your baby to sleep... To fall asleep To sleep through the night To fall back to sleep by themselves after waking SO, what I want is the text on continually... RE-training...2 children who share a room - to sleep like normal people! Myla was really the hardest. She fought sleep right out of the womb. No messing around, she probably slept like an infant would be expected to sleep for about 3 days. Then, just like that, it was over (and my sanity, my own sleep, my memory power, my energy - was all zapped right along with it. POOF.) Finally, Myla was old enough for me to feel comfortable allowing her to "cry it out." I could tell when it went from "I'm truly in need", to "now I'm just doing anything to get you back in here so I don't have to go to sleep yet." Okay. So, we lay her down awake, and she cries screams for extended periods of time... Those time-lapses eventually do draw down to silence before bed. Hooray! Addie was always a sleeper. We actually had no problems with her at all.... UNTIL she started teething. UGH. Here we go again. Our sleeper is now clingy, drooly, whiny, over-tired, and in pain. Lovely. I guess I would have trouble sleeping too. Even with baby pain-relief administered, she just wasn't prepared for solemn slumber without multiple hugs, cuddles, drinks of juice, games of 'please WHAAAAAA - pick up what I dropped threw"... So of course, one day, we finally moved beyond this... and lived happily ever after. HA! Soon thereafter, it's time for Myla to be placed into her "big girl bed". We put it off for as long as we could. It became necessary - in order to avoid having her monkey-see-monkey-doo little sister mimicking her way out of her crib by following Myla's lead when she learned to traverse the rails on her own crib, just across the room. Wouldn't you know it - another bout of teething had to coincide with this. SERIOUSLY! So this is all good and fine, right? We've already determined how to deal with the teething issue... (meds, anyone? And, of course, wine - for US, that is!) But here's the problem: If we don't respond, no longer coming to her/ them... NOW, Myla in her infinite wisdom, realizes that she can come to US. Over, and over, and over, and over, and over.................... There was a stint... a beautiful, peaceful, glorious stint... We'd sway with them, sing a little tune, lay them down, and have QUIET. Solitude. Adult conversation without interruption. Ah, the little things. Now that I'm at my breaking point, Joel seems to better understand the severity of the situation when I say the phrase "STOP CODDLING"!!!!! (Loudly. I did preface with the term "braking point", didn't I?") He's since come around to joining forces to make this thing better. But still.... The eldest child can now come to US! How do we make it stop??? Nanny 9-1-1? Dr. Phil? James C. Dobson (author of The Strong-Willed Child)? The Doctors? Dr. Oz.... Someone? Anyone! No one seems to have a clear answer for me... HELP! Nothing we put in front of her, nothing we threaten (and follow-through with) taking away (games, toys, videos, candy/ treats, opportunities... you name it, we've tried it.) NOTHING keeps her in her bed (or gets her to listen at all)! Discipline in general doesn't work for her - let alone when it applies to sleep - which she has mastered avoiding by now. Time-out? We have had to literally hold her in place to get her to comply with time-out. Though that usually leads to her willfully remaining in her corner, the time-out itself isn't a deterrent to additional bad behavior and a blatant disregard for our parental commands. Can anyone else taste the irony in this? An over-tired child is more likely to act out in defiance, am I right? Even spanking didn't work! (Though now, just the threat of it keeps the littler one from refraining to listen to us - as was our intended goal!)
My current goal: To finally have this thing figured out - BEFORE the FL trip... The clock is ticking - and I'm open to any comments/ suggestions from my fellow-bloggers! (Feel free to offer advice below, and thanks!) :)
TIPS, Please! 2 QUOTES:"I love to play hide and seek with my kid, but some days my goal is to find a hiding place where he can't find me until after high school." ~Author Unknown
"When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they're finished, I climb out." ~Erma Bombeck
WHIDFML: Writing about this makes it less stressful. :)
Blogging > Therapy.
Recently, it became necessary to use the "If you don't listen, you won't get to go with... We'll get you a babysitter" threat. Myla was NOT happy about this...but not because she was afraid of missing-out. She scorned and stomped a foot while expressing to me with utter disgust, "No, I don't WANT a babysitter... because I'M not a BABY anymore! Hmf!" She pointed her finger at me as she scolded. In her very next breath, she shared her desire to be a part of a daycare, so she could play with other kids and not have to nap... Interesting. On some days I feel that this might be worth considering ;) ;) In any case, the babysitter threat seemed to do the trick!
TIP: I really think that the fear of missing-out on something, coupled with her reasoning that only "babies" need baby-sitters, made this work to our advantage. But it may be worth a try! We're still seeking the "perfect" disciplinary measure to utilize with Myla. Just be prepared to actually follow-through if they don't do as they are told. Otherwise, they'll never believe you again. A QUOTE:“ A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theater admission and the babysitter were worth it." ~Alfred Hitchcock WHIDFML: Watched a good chick-flick with my sister: The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Great flick!
So, we're hanging out in the kitchen... Myla, in a goofy mood, expresses to me while I wash her hands of breakfast, "Be careful young man... (giggle, giggle)..." I laughed and said, "Hmmmm, but I'm a young WOMAN." She insisted eagerly, "Noooooo! You're not a WOMAN.... You're my MOM!" So then I attempted to explain that even though I'm her mom, I'm still a person - who happens to be a woman. Just like daddy, is also a man... I'm thinking, "She's so logical, this will make immediate sense to her..." HA! She retorted, "You're not a PERSON - You're my MOM!!" This time, with an even greater emphasis on the word "MOM". That is exactly how this blog was born. My kids were born, and though a mother is often expected to morph into a multi-tasking machine, we remain human... A human needing a regular form of battery-re-charge, that is. We also need to remind ourselves of this fact, and continue to care for ourselves - so we can maintain enough of ourselves to go around! And so - please do continue to follow me on my journey - you know... as a "MOM"! Enjoy & Cheers!
TIP: Feel free to shed a tear in front of the kiddies once in a while - so they will better-understand the fact that we too are people, with emotions, and with basic survival needs ;)
A QUOTE: "Now, as always, the most automated appliance in a household is the mother." ~Beverly Jones
WHIDFML: I suddenly remembered how I used to keep my skin so nice... even in winter. I found my long, lost tube of mud-mask, and proceeded to wash away all blackheads and shrink my pores! I do believe I have found myself a new little weekly-pampering routine. Since I don't much care for wearing make-up (aside from those child-like eyes)... this will be my highest-maintenance preventative measure ;)
*Even with eye-shadow & mascara on, I was recently guessed to be 9 years younger than I actually am... If I didn't wear eye-make-up, I swear people would think I was still in high school!
"I just love Addie's cupcake-candles! And, I love my kitchen, and I love the drawers, and I love the handles, and I love the window, and I love the table, and I love the refrigerator, I love the toaster, and I love the sink, I love the chairs, and I love the floor, and I love my mommy, and I love my daddy, and I love Addie!" :) Myla was chanting this the other day - as she looked around the room in our kitchen. That is one room we can not wait to re-model. Some of it is going to be a more costly undertaking, and must be put off for some time. But we do intend to do the more feasible tasks - such as painting the cabinets, and replacing the cabinet knobs/ handles... with our Lowe's gift cards - yay! Now if we can just get a weekend to do this with ;) But, listening to her little chant offered me a slightly better perception of it... It's not that bad. It's functional. It'll do - until the time is right. (Damn priorities!) I was particularly fond of her song's ending - naming the people she loves... Awwww. I should take a cue from this little lady and view things with more "I love" in front of them... I try to be regularly grateful. It's good to have goals, but it's good to keep the blessings in check and recognize them regularly.
TIP: Love, Love, Love A QUOTE: "Love, love, love..." ~The Beatles WHIDFML: Did some lovin'!
And - so - we are still trying to potty-train miss Myla. (She's 3-1/2, and of strong will.) Joel and I spent some time reading Parent, online - and were reassured that there is really no "magic age" or magic ANYTHING for that matter, when it comes to their readiness. Myla is clearly not ready. Addie - is -- or maybe WAS? Not sure anymore. She got her "prize" for being on the right track, and then suddenly she fell off the 'tracks' altogether. Now, we're trying to apply different techniques to get this ball rolling again! I think we'll keep trying with Addie - although her sister seemingly has convinced her that it is "scary". Oh come on! She was doing great - and now - it's scary?!?? Thankfully - monkey see, monkey do doesn't ALWAYS apply with Addie. She will divert from the well-beaten path when she deems it worthwhile. Sadly, they are a couple of monkeys in the case of the diaper-diaries.
One means by which I figured we might re-ignite an enthusiasm for the potty was through their desire to "watch my whizzles come out"... Luckily we mom's are prepared for this kind of invasion of privacy long before the need to potty-train arises. Pretty sure giving birth brings about an assured level of modesty. This is just the cornerstone of what is yet to come! They both followed me into the bathroom enthusiastically, to witness just what it means to whiz into the toilet. They are both girls, so I figured, what the hell? My bod used to hesitate slightly if someone was in the next stall in a public restroom. Now - I have two sets of inquiring eyes hovering, glued to my anatomy whilst it does it's thing. As I was saying, nature prepares us. Alas, there is no longer any hesitation, my bladder is now empty, the girls observed an up-close demonstration of 'pee-pee in the potty', and I was feeling hopeful that this would infuse them with a desire to be like mommy, and do so themselves. Evidently, nature still has other plans. *This sure is a new one to add to my previous blog "To Pee, or Not to Pee..." Hmmmmmm.
TIP: There are some rather remarkable success stories in the Parent online articles that certainly border on creative-craziness. One mom told her kiddo that when flushed, the poop makes its way to the sea to feed the fish, and if he didn't go, the poor fish would be hungry. This worked for her. (I believe it would backfire on us, and Myla would refuse to eat fish ever again at the dinner table!) A father, spent a weekend with his son in t-shirts and underware, with plastic-sheathed furniture... By the following week, he was trained! So - if you think it will work - why not try it! Too bad having an audience at my side while urinating didn't do the trick. I could have written in with that suggestion - you know - anonymously! Ha. A QUOTE: "Where there's a will, there's a way." ~ Proverb WHIDFML: Stood firm; 'nuf said! :)
Remember that toy? Well, we resurrected one from a bin in the basement that used to hold all of Dom's (my nephew) toys for his visits here. Actually - there were two in the kit - how appropriate!
They really get into it. It's funny how different they are. Myla is very focused on realism. She knows where to place the eyes, ears, earrings, nose, mouth, hair/ hat, and feet & arms. (Yes - they have arms now!) Addie is more creative about it. She mixes and matches everything - to see what the outcome might be like. She giggles sometimes about it too... right along with Myla and I. Sometimes, Myla becomes frustrated by things not belonging - and tries to 'help' Addie. While I like to encourage team-work between the two of them, I also don't want to discourage Addie's curiosity and willingness to see things differently. So this is one rare instance where I'll request that Myla let her do it her own way. But it got me thinking. Both attributes can be beneficial in life. Maybe they will always make a good team :)
It also got me thinking, about how nice it could in fact be to have 2 sets of eyes (especially as a mother of 2... Anyone?) Maybe a third arm protruding from the top of my head? (We're back to that "go-go-gadget-arm again.) I don't think her experimentation is all that uncalled-for. She may just be trying to figure out a way to better me for my duties as a mom. ;) She's being futuristic here!
TIP: Teaching kids the "right" way to do things isn't always necessary. I like the idea of fostering an 'out-of-the-box' thinking style/ approach, personally. New and wonderful inventions don't come from viewing or doing things the way we are 'taught', or have always viewed/ done them... I don't want to stifle her intrigue, her willingness to try something different, an ability to be content with her own ideas, or to dissuade her independent thinking. Our society places so much importance on intelligence and knowledge... and compliance. But what good is it to anyone if people don't know themselves/ aren't confident or comfortable displaying their own uniqueness/ thoughts/ ideas. Let's teach our babes to be UNafraid of "not blending in". Quite a bit of good can come from being "wrong" about certain things.
3 wonderful QUOTES today: "The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself." ~Rita Mae Brown, Venus Envy
"A 'Normal' person is the sort of person that might be designed by a committee. You know, Each person puts in a pretty color and it comes out gray." ~Alan Sherman "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently." ~Friedrich Nietzsche
WHIDFML: We decided to "go for it"; Our first family vacation flying somewhere warm during the winter! [How could we pass it up, when the flights and the stay are free? Our only costs will be food and fun. That is a rare opp.] It's official - the flights are booked!
Myla (Dressed in her princess costume): " I love you, you love me, My mommy and daddy are pretty princesses!" Then, she asks dada, "Can I make you into a princess?!?" With reluctance he replies, "Yesssssss..."
Then, Myla - as asked of Addie - while in their princess & Tinkerbell costumes: "Hey - can you fly? Hey - can you fly for real?" Addie responding with irritation, "DUDE!?!" (As in, leave me alone!)
Addie (while trying to be Tinkerbell) - "Hey - SHOE... SHOE!" (Handing me her Tink shoe, and lifting one leg into the air at an angle that seems physically impossible.)
Then, the Christmas froggy button gets pressed and we all continue to "play" to these lyrics: "Jumpin' Jimminy Christmas... it's Christmas time again!..."
Myla informs me (While making me a princess with her magic wand aswoosh - adding a headband bearing a giant fake rose, a bracelet, and my own magic wand that makes special glittery noises when "swooshed"), "Just calm down mama, and your giggles will go away." (My hysterics?!? Will they? I don't know that I want them to go away!! This is too fun!)
TIP: Laughter + family games + wine = reinstated sanity ;) A QUOTE: "Being a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be." ~ Princess Diana WHIDFML: (Besides laughing hysterically all evening??) I ate a giant piece of gluten-free cake - (from the box) - by Betty Crocker! TSGS (That's Some Good Shit!) The whole fam damnly loves it - you'd never guess in a million years that it's gluten-free! It's the most moist-delish cake I think I've ever had! Even Myla ate her cake... (I'm serious. Normally - just the frosting. Tonight - cake and all!!!) It's a hit.