Tuesday, January 27, 2015

IKPi + The Why Guy

"Get ready for three!" everyone with kids older than two has warned us.

"If you think two is bad, just wait til Logan's three!"

I've listened to these warnings on repeat for the last year, but the thing is, two wasn't bad at all. Sure Logan had his moments, but overall he was easy and a ton of fun at two years old. He was never really a fit thrower and for the most part, you could reason with him.
So it's not that I didn't believe everybody when they said those things, I just wasn't sure what to expect since it had been relatively smooth sailing thus far.

Turns out everybody's onto something. Three is looking like it's going to be no joke. And maybe going to cause the concerning wrinkle that is developing just above the bridge of my nose to deepen a bit.

Many days I feel like I'm on the witness stand being grilled by a mini prosecutor. Every thing- E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.- is followed by "why"- a very matter of fact, not really a question kind of WHY.

You need to eat your lunch! Why.
It's time to get in the car. Why.
You can't take toys with batteries in the tub. Why.
The grass is green. The sky is blue. It's cold outside. Why. Why. Why.

Other times, he's just illogical.

"Where do giants live?" he asked me, out of the blue as I was cooking dinner the other night.
"Giants aren't real. They're only in books and movies," I told him.
"Because… giants aren't real. They're pretend. They're only in books and movies."

Clearly, this answer was not satisfactory, as his voice grew shrill and louder. "BUT WHERE DO GIANTS LIVE?????" he shrieked.

I stopped stirring the pot and stared at him. "Logan, they're pretend. Maybe they live in castles or caves in your books, I don't know… Where do you think they live?"

My deflection tactic didn't work. His voice grew louder and more shrill still, almost on the verge of hysteria, "NOOOOOOO! WHHHHERRRREEE DOOOO GIANNNNNTS LIIIIIIVE???"

So what one does with that, I don't know.

Other times, he's just ridiculously sweet. I'm literally talking, Jekyll and Hyde type stuff.

"Mommy, you're so pretty!" he tells me multiple times a day. "I love you!"
On Sunday he said, "Mom, you're the perfect girl!"

Then on the flip side, there's a defiance thing and hateful tone of voice that is brand new.

When we put him down for a nap, he tells us whether he's going to sleep or not. If he says he's going to sleep, he does. If he says he's not going to nap, no matter how tired he is, he does not sleep. He spends the entire hour and a half flipping around in his bed and throwing stuffed animals around. I would let him stop napping altogether, but he's one of those kids that really still needs a nap. At least when he doesn't sleep he does stay in his bed relatively quietly the whole time.

Nick and I also realized he had been unscrewing the light bulb on the lamp that sits on nightstand during nap time. We told him if he did it again, he would lose his lamp. (Meanwhile, secretly, I hoped he would stop because I freaking love how that lamp looks in his room.)

Sure enough, the next day during nap time, what did he do? I walked in his room and he handed me the light bulb. "Okay, you just lost your lamp. We're going to have to put it away,"I told him.

"Alright," he said in a nonchalant tone that matched mine exactly. "Take my lamp. I don't want it anymore." Then he walked over to his closet, opened the door, and pointed to an empty spot on the shelf where the lamp would fit.

So that cute lamp that looks perfect on his nightstand is now sitting on a shelf in his closet collecting dust. Outstanding.
If you've read my blog for any length of time, you might remember my shining star students, Marlett and The Red Flash. I guess it's lucky for me I have experience dealing with extra special little friends. I may have gray hair and more wrinkles by the end of the year, and I may even secretly cry in frustration some nights after he goes to bed, but don't you fret tiny pet...
I have practice with this kind of crazy. You're not going to get the best of me.

This past weekend my college besties (minus Casey, wah!!) came in town for a visit! I won't even wax on about my LOVE for my IKPi friends because I'm sure you all know this by now. If not, you can go back and read any one of my many posts when we've all been together, such as THIS one, or THIS one, or  THIS one, THIS one. [Special side note: notice in that last link, that was our first and last "annual" IKPi family vacation. We've wised up since then!]

Jenny arrived first, on Thursday night, just in time for a wine tasting with my MOPS group.
My friend Lauren and her husband hosted a wine tasting for our group at their house, and it was such a great time!! Nick was traveling most of last week, meanwhile the boys were still getting over the RSV stuff (and Logan is three and Everett is into EVERYTHING), so I was more than ready for a night out.
The rest of the group arrived late Friday afternoon. I cooked a big pot of soup and we spent the evening just hanging out at my house and visiting. Logan was in heaven with so many girls to pay attention to him.
Big smiles + Aqua stripes

When we changed into our comfee clothes, we unintentionally had a color scheme going on. Great minds… Kappa colors blue + blue… all that stuff! 
And of course, later into the night the horse head came out for some shenanigans. 
We snuck across the street to Jaymi's house (with the horse head, duh) and kidnapped her. All we needed was Kimba and the party would have been complete! Jaymi ended up coming back to my house and we all stayed up way too late visiting and drinking wine. The BEST!

Saturday morning Liz and Natalie met us for hot yoga- so the entire band was back together (minus Casey of course)!!!
Liz, Erin, Jenny, Jill, Nat & Me

We went to Metal, which is the intense pilates class. I think they're all still my friends after that, but I'm not 100% sure. 

We came back home after yoga for breakfast and showers, and then headed over to Natalie's to spend the rest of the day with her and Christina, which was the real purpose behind their visit. 
They have all been dying to meet that precious girl but wanted to wait until she made it home from the hospital.

Natalie showed us all of her machines and explained her cares, including her little emergency kit. They have a nurse with them 23 hours a day to help out for now.
Mommy and her baby, Big Sister Grace and her baby
It was finally the perfect opportunity for me to hold Baby C! I was soooo excited!!
I cry any time I hold my friends' babies for the first time, but I REALLY cried this time. She is just a precious little miracle. The recipient of so many peoples' prayers.

Saturday night after we came back to my house and Nick and I got the boys to bed, we got ready and went to Del Frisco's Grille for a late dinner. That's the great thing and the hard thing about having company come to you. Best of both worlds because you get to have fun with your friends without missing your family! Downside-- your friends are there and you're still the mom! Luckily, Nick is great and helped out a ton while we had company.
Sat. night at DFG

The weather has been so pretty the past couple of days (70s in January, what?!?!) so we've been enjoying lots of outside time in the afternoons and went to the park yesterday morning.

I will have to take this picture again when Logan and Hudson are 16 and have real cars. 

 There is always fun and friends to be had in our neighborhood!

 And no shortage of things with wheels to drive.
 I also made it to a spin class and the juice bar with my friend Evan which was so much fun!
And yesterday afternoon Logan insisted on pushing Everett down the street in a stroller while wearing his helmet.
You can never be too safe in this day and age, and must exercise extreme caution even when walking down the street.

And you know what? I didn't argue with him. Because, hey, he's happy and Everett's happy and we're all outside. And also, Logan's three. Which means, if I merely even suggested a helmet might not be necessary, it's not going to end well. Or at the very least, it's going to end with a WHY.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tools For 2015: Tool #1 Positive Parenting Solutions

I will admit, I am a *total* nerd when it comes to anything related to kids and parenting. I think this stems from the fact that for pretty much my entire life, I have spent a lot of time around kids. Kids of all ages fascinate and intrigue me, and also, I just really think they're awesome. 

I guess it started when I cracked open my first Baby Sitters Club book in third grade and never looked back. In fifth grade, Carrie and I took a baby sitting class at the local hospital and began baby sitting shortly thereafter. (In fifth grade- yikes!! Those were very trusting parents, I guess! That or we had one heck of a marketing scheme going with the index cards we put in peoples' mailboxes offering up our services.)

I baby sat almost every weekend all through junior high and high school. Then in college, I started nannying for a couple of my professors and for different families in the summer and basically, graduated with a college degree in LITTLE KIDS (early childhood education). Of course, before having the boys I taught elementary school for seven years, and the rest is history. 

For sure, nothing can prepare you for parenthood. But I do think having so much experience with kids beforehand gave me a bunch of good tools and a frame of reference, if nothing else.

So I'm always on the look out for good parenting advice. Because, let's be honest. There is a lot of BAD advice out there.

Recently, for example, I was looking for some different ideas to motivate Logan to do ALL of his business on the toilet, rather than waiting until he has on a diaper during sleep time. Here was some advice I found online from a fairly well known resource. AND I QUOTE:

"The best way to get your child to use the potty all the time is to do a lot of modeling so they can see what fun you have on the potty. INVITE THEM IN THE BATHROOM WITH YOU AND JUST REALLY WHOOP IT UP. SAY, "JOHNNY, SOME DAY WHEN YOU DECIDE YOU'RE READY TO DO ALL YOUR BUSINESS ON THE POTTY, YOU'RE GONNA HAVE THIS MUCH FUN TOO. SEE WHAT FUN I'M HAVING??" [All caps emphasis on the ridiculousness is mine.]

Where do I even start?!?! How about with the fact that, chances are, if I'm using the bathroom between the hours of 7 am and 7 pm, Logan's probably already in there anyway. No invitation necessary. The whole thing just falls apart from there. I can't even justify it with a response. Logan would look at me like I were an idiot if I told him that. I would be an idiot if I told him that.

I digress.

I've read a lot of books and been to a lot of discipline workshops (teaching days) and learned a lot of theories (college). Three of my favorite resources, that I think give good, sound advice are the following:

1. Love and Logic (Some of their stuff can be a little cheesy. But the basic premise is no frills, no emotions, natural consequences. If you do this ----> Then this will happen. I love that approach!)

2. Boundaries by Henry Cloud (This isn't specific to just kids, but it is a phenomenal book, I think everyone over the age of 21 should read and apply.)

3. Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy (LOVED this book! Whether or not you agree with her somewhat extreme approach, her message is outstanding. We all need to step back, take a deep breath and use some common sense [not fear] when it comes to parenting.)

But- the purpose of my post is- I recently stumbled upon a great resource I wanted to pass along. Tonight I attended a free, online seminar [hence the picture at the top of this post] called "Get Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling" created by Positive Parenting Solutions.

I really think Positive Parenting Solutions is a great resource for parents. Amy McCready, the founder, is often featured on The Today Show and in various parenting magazines. 

Their ideas and philosophies are right in line with the three resources I mentioned above. It is a company you can join and get full access to their resources and trainings, but they have some great free information available as well.

Here are a few I read tonight, after the webinar.

And the one that really hit home for me was on sharing. That is something I really struggle with, with Logan. Sure, he's three and that's a completely natural behavior not to want to share, but I never quite know how to broach it. He gets especially possessive around Hudson and starts hoarding all of his toys and Hudson's too. I find myself doing the, "You play with it for five minutes and then give Hudson a turn," but I loved their idea of telling kids instead, "You can play with it until you're done."

Words you can say

Positive assertiveness
– You can play with it until you’re all done.
– Are you finished with your turn? Max says he’s not done yet.
– Did you like it when he grabbed your truck? Tell him to stop!
– Say: “I’m not done. You can have it when I’m done.”
– She can have a turn. When she’s all done, you can have a turn.
– I see Bella still has the pony. She’s still using it.
– You’ll have to wait. I can’t let you take it out of her hands.
Waiting and awareness of others
– Oh, it’s so hard to wait!
– You’re so mad. You really want to play with the pony right now!
– You can be mad, but I can’t let you take the toy.
– Will you tell Max when you’re all done?
– I see you’re not using the truck any more. Go find Ben. Remember, he’s waiting for a turn.

Source: Heather Shumaker via Positive Parenting Solutions

The webinar, "Get Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling" is available for the next 48 hours. It's an hour long, and it really was so practical and such good advice. If you would like me to email it to you, leave your email in the comments below and I'll send it tonight or tomorrow so that you can watch it before the link expires. I would highly recommend it, no matter the age of your kids. I found myself nodding in agreement and furiously scribbling notes.

And in the spirit of transparency, don't misunderstand I do not think I am even close to having it all figured out when it comes to kids... here is one (of many) huge mom fails I had in the last few days.

In an attempt to make Everett's bedroom all rainforesty and help loosen his congestion, the other night I moved a little table next to his crib and set the humidifier on top of it, so he could really breathe that cool air. Around midnight he woke up screaming. I went into his room thinking he had fever or something, only to find his crib sheet, his sleep sack and his crib bumpers soaked with cold water. I mean literally dripping wet because the humidifier had been blasting them on high for five hours. I felt horrible!!!

I may not win any mom of the year awards, but at least this guy forgave me for messing up. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Logan's Lingo: From Underneath The Bed

There are so many funny things Logan says on a daily basis right now, it's almost hard to keep track. I'm pretty sure from now until he's about five, we are in the prime time of hilariousness. Here are a couple off the top of my head.

  • The other day during nap time I saw on the monitor that he was crawling around under his bed. I went upstairs and told him he needed to get back in his bed and go to sleep. He poked his head out from underneath his bed and said, "I will. I'm just takin' a little break from my nap right now."
  • Everett has this awful musical table that used to be Logan's that we keep upstairs in the playroom. It's awful because we will be downstairs and all of a sudden the table will start talking in this creepy voice and say things like, "YUMMY! YUMMY!" and sometimes, even in Spanish. It did the same thing when Logan was a baby. I hate that thing. If you're home alone at night, you can put money on the fact that the table will start talking. The other night we took Logan to get ice cream and we were sitting there eating our ice cream when he turned to me, out of the blue and said, "Mom… why does that toy of Everett's freak you out?"
  • He calls me Chelsea about half of the time. Not even to be funny, just nonchalantly. When I correct him, it's basically in one ear and out the other. Any time he needs me and calls to me across the house, it's always "Chelsea!" At soccer practice Friday he wanted a drink of his water so he called across the field, "CHELSEAAAA!" I thought about telling the coach, "Oh yeah, I'm just the nanny. I'm actually way too young to be his mother."
  • The other day he said, "Mom, you're so beautiful!" (OMMMMGGGG DIIIIIIE) and then another day he said, "Mom, I love you so much." He paused for a minute and said, "Does that make your heart so happy?" He can't even fathom what he does to my heart. Happy doesn't even begin to describe it. I am absolutely smitten with all three of my boys!

Chicken Feet Smoothies. The Red Dragon. House Shoes + A Beer.

Today was my idea of a perfect Sunday.

I made smoothies for breakfast, and I may or may not have topped them off with a splash o' broth. Chicken feet smoothies to start you day, eh boys?? You know it's going to be a good day!
We went to 11:00 church. Lately, Logan likes to stay with us in "big church" rather than going to his class. He has been shockingly well behaved thus far, so I actually don't mind it. He loves listening to the music and is pretty much transfixed as long as someone is singing or playing a guitar. During the sermon I bring him a snack and stickers to play with, and that seems to keep him occupied until it's time for more music. 

After church we went to lunch and then came home and all four of us took long naps. I can't remember the last time I laid down and slept for that long in the afternoon, and let me tell you- I have been missing out. I felt like a million bucks when I woke up. My mom came over for a visit, and while she was here Nick went with me to yoga. Take me back to days of yore! Back in our heyday (winter of 2009 specifically) Nick and I did hot yoga together. I'm not kidding when I say, Nick puts me to shame at yoga. It's ridiculous, really. I go about three times a week, he hasn't been in years and he gets in there and starts bending and holding poses and balancing like it's nobody's business. 

We had stir fry for dinner, and my mom stayed and ate with us which is always a treat. Everett was tired and whiney so he went to bed after dinner, but Logan stayed up a little later than normal and he and I baked heart shaped sugar cookies and Face Timed Andrea + Chris. Logan was thrilled! It was a just a really good, laid back Sunday!

On Friday Logan tried out soccer. {You know, since he's really good and everything.}

A local, indoor soccer arena has a class for kids his age on Friday mornings. There are no official soccer games, it's all just running around and playing different games and learning different skills. AKA= perfect! The kids had to jump into different hula hoops and then kick a ball, or run and jump over pool noodles, stuff like that.
I have to say, I didn't set my expectations too high. Logan has never really shown an interest in playing with balls or anything sports related, music has always been his thing. But he actually loved soccer class and was really into it. I was so proud of how well he listened to his coach and followed directions.  He was really excited to call Nick in the car and tell him about soccer and go back next week.
Sometimes I wonder if we're really going to have it in with Everett or if the wheels are about to come off at age three, because Logan is far from perfect, but the majority of the time he is such an easy, well behaved kid.
WHO ME?!?! Smiles for miles is what this guy has.

Saturday morning we (meaning, I) got the bright idea we should put the boys in the bike trailer and go for a bike ride. Talk about your all time backfires. It seemed like such a great idea!
First of all, Logan got upset because he had to share the seat with Everett. "No. Just one boy can fit in here!" he kept telling us emphatically. Then it turned into whining, "Nooooo. I'm getting too big and so he can't fit in here." 

Well, actually first of first of all, Nick wasn't too thrilled about the idea because there was a sporting playoff event of some form or other on he wanted to watch, but he obliged me and aired up the tires and got everything hooked up. Then, much to Logan's disappointment, Everett did in fact fit, but Everett was NOT happy about it. He was not loving the bike trailer. We made it as far as the next street over before we ran into Knox and Miles out on their driveway and that was the end of the bike trailer adventure. Nick and Jeremy started visiting, Logan wanted to get out and play, Everett was fussing. The best laid plans, right?!?

On Saturday evening we went across the street to Jaymi and Cody's house. All of the power in our neighborhood went out, so their driveway seemed like the logical place to go.
Jaymi and I were giving the guys a bad time because, as you can see in the picture, Cody traded in his car for a Mustang. Or the red dragon, as we call it. 

So between Nick's Corvette and Cody's Mustang, this is basically the situation we're dealing with, times two. 
They like to go for drives in their cars and on this particular day, they had been for a drive in Nick's car and then were playing some driveway basketball. It's like high school never ended.

But then you know what they say about logs in your eye, because lo and behold I looked down and this was my own personal situation. Nothing says sophistication quite like shuffling across the street in your house shoes holding a beer.
What can I say, between the hot rod cars and the house shoes + beer, we like to keep things classy. 

The other thing about Jaymi is, she's always doing these ridiculously cute crafts, and a crafter is one thing I would never claim to be. But sometimes I get roped into crafting with her and in spite of myself I actually like it. On Monday night we made these Valentine signs with her other friend Mary, and I have to say- crafter or not- I thought they turned out so, so cute!!
And then another day this week she called me after the boys' naps and said to shuffle on over in my house shoes, because she got a hold of some shea butter and we were going to whip up hand cream. So I brought my essential oils and while the boys tore her house apart, we concocted some lovely smelling hand cream. I won't lie, it was pretty cool. And I'm pretty sure my hands have never felt softer.

Also this past week, I had the opportunity to have lunch with my two very best friends from childhood, Carrie and Christin!
Christin is expecting her first baby in a few weeks, and Carrie and I wanted to be sure and take her to lunch before the baby gets here. Carrie and I do a pretty good job of keeping in touch, but neither of us had seen Christin in a couple of years, so it was really fun to catch up. 

It's crazy to think how much my life has changed in the last couple of years, thanks to these two!
Brother shenanigans in Everett's crib the other night after bath time-- Everett was jumping up and down and Logan was "snake-ing" (sneaking??) in and out of his crib, and Everett thought this was the funniest thing of his entire life. Everett was just estatic!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Teared Up, Broken & Beautiful Things

If you want to see what joy feels like, you should drive by the Gregorys' house in the next couple of days. I'm not talking about the kind of heart swelling joy you get from watching your baby sleep or the kind of joy that feels like excitement that is seeing your three year old tear into presents on Christmas morning. This is a different kind of thing altogether. There are no words for this joy. It is a sensation, almost like an electricty in the air. 

Yesterday, after 163 long days in the hospital, Baby Christina got to come home for the first time. 
She had an extra special welcome home thanks to the money we had collected from the Christina wristbands we've all been wearing. 

I was at their house twice yesterday and both times there were groups of people coming and going, setting cards on their porch quietly, before the Gregorys made it home, and literally standing in their front yard rejoicing and snapping pictures and wiping away happy tears and hugging one another as they walked down the sidewalk. 

So much good always comes from heartache, and just being a part of the community that joined together to love them through this hard thing has been a privilege. 

There was an overnight prayer vigil and money raised and meals delivered and wristbands worn and hospital visits and so much more than I probably even know. In a small way, it has felt like my opportunity to pay it forward after all the things people did for us when Nick was going through chemo. What surprised me is that it has blessed me beyond measure to be on the giving side of things. I know the Gregorys have felt all the love our group of friends have pulled together and poured on them over the past five months, because the truth is, we have all felt it. 

I ended up taking Everett to the doctor this morning, because he is still coughing and congested and just not feeling well. Turns out he has a double ear infection and RSV! I felt awful for him and also horribly guilty that I didn't take him in sooner. I had no idea!! Kimba called me last night and said Nora had RSV, and it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. Logan has never had RSV, so that didn't even occur to me! I did not feel like a stellar mom at that point in time. 

Our pediatrician is always really great. I just love her! She said she was surprised that he was doing as well as he was, because on day three of RSV kids are usually much more sick and have a fever. I have been oiling him and doing all of my remedies like crazy as it was, so that was actually encouraging.

Since RSV is viral, there really isn't much you can do, medicine wise. Her advice was, "I know how you feel about antibiotics [meaning for his ears]. I would say, keep doing what you're doing and the prescription is here if you need it."

It's funny to think about how much more comfortable I have become in the last couple of years with holistic remedies. It was such a gradual shift for sure, and I remember the first time I decided not to do antibiotics for one of Logan's ear infections I was terrified. I seriously thought if I told his pediatrician she would call CPS. Now I feel a lot more confident because I've seen these things work time and time again, and I appreciate the fact that I can have an open conversation with our pediatrician about it. It took a while, but I don't feel nervous about it anymore or ashamed or like I'm doing something wrong. 

In my opinion that is something the "crunchy" community is doing all wrong. They make it seem like you have to dive in head first, all or nothing. You do antibiotics or you don't. You see a naturopath or you see a pediatrician. You vaccinate or you don't. And that approach is polarizing and turns people off. 

The truth is, it doesn't have to be that way. There is no reason anyone has to pick one side or the other or dive in head first. There is nothing wrong with taking small baby steps at a slow pace and figuring out a balance that works for your family.

So as long as Everett keeps improving, here is my game plan for the next few days. 

Essential Oils: Lavender + Frankincense + Cypress rubbed on his chest (I've also been putting a warm compress on top) and diffusing RC

Bentonite Clay Baths

Collodial Silver + Ear Clear (Garlic Ear Drops) for his ear infection

Elderberry Syrup + Bone Broth  for immune support

Also, the humidifier- basically making his room look like a rainforest, as Kimba said, and Motrin!

It has taken well over two years to get to this point where I feel comfortable and somewhat knowledgable about these things, and I still have so much more to learn. My point in sharing this is just to say, don't feel discouraged or overwhelmed if you are trying to start doing things more holistically. Just take it one tiny step at a time at your personal comfort level. And also, I'm not too proud to admit- if none of these things work, I wouldn't hesitate to call Walgreens and get Everett's prescription filled in a heartbeat. It's just that the majority of the time, I never have to.

Poor Logan was starting to bounce off the walls this afternoon after nap time. He has been cooped up inside way more than normal with all the cold, rainy weather. Since Everett is sick, it's not looking like things will change anytime soon. I finally decided to build him an "obstacle course" this afternoon. 
Obstacle course as in, laying a bunch of random stuff on the floor of his playroom and giving him different challenges to do with them. "Jump over all the pillows. Then run in a circle. The climb through the golf clubs, then roll back to the beginning."

The ghetto obstacle course ended up being genius, and he literally did it over and over again a million different ways until he was sweaty and out of breath. And ready for more calm, inside activities.
I have a feeling that with two boys, I'm going to need a lot more ideas like this in my back pocket.

Logan also informed me today that he has, "Two sons, and they are 16 and 18. But they don't have names. And they like to play toys and do fun things and all that stuff." I mean WHERE does he get this stuff??? 16 and 18?? 

Also, after the doctor today, he had to reenact our visit over and over, doing things exactly like the pediatrician had done, listening to my heart in the front and back, ever so dutifully. "If you have body aches (????) or you get sick, or you get broken, or you get teared up again,  just call me," he said after my exam. Not torn up, but teared up. Ten four, Doctor Logan.