Tag Archives: toddler

Guilt Attack

This morning, as I was sitting on the couch feeding R, L scoots over next to me and lays his head on my shoulder.

L: I love you, Mommy.
Me: I love you too.
L: I miss you, Mommy.
Me: I miss you too, Buddy.

Enter the working mom guilt.

L has been having a hard time since I went back to work.  R has been having a hard time too, but I think her issue is more that she still refuses the bottle.  L got used to me being home and having energy to play with him in the evening.

Toddler Bedroom – Decor

Now that the room is painted, it is time to add the furniture!  The first step was to build the bed we purchased.  We knew that once the bed was build, L would want to sleep in his new room.  So we made sure to have sheets washed and the baby monitor ready to move to the new room before setting the bed up.  L helped J build the bed while I took pictures and helped keep L entertained when he got bored with building.

IMG_41831520140301_08365201Once the bed was built, L started sleeping in his new room as we expected.  This room has more windows, so we knew curtains were the next thing that was needed.  I bought red and white chevron fabric and asked Grandma to sew curtains for us.  She added blackout fabric to them without me even asking, and it is a very good thing she did.  

While we were waiting for the curtains I started searching for fire truck themed decor.  I found some really neat antique fire truck toys on ETSY, but I did not think L would be able to resist playing with them.  Eventually, I decided that I wanted to put his name up on the wall above his bed and surround it with pictures of family and fire trucks.  I looked on Amazon and found some neat vintage tin signs with fire trucks on them.  I showed them to L on the computer and he approved, so I ordered them.  I found galvanized letters for his name at Pottery Barn Kids, and they happened to be on sale so I ordered those too.20140331_18384002

A few weeks later we had all of the pictures and letters ready to hang up on the wall.  I added simple, black picture frames to the mix from my giant stash of picture frames (I probably have almost 100 waiting to be used).  L was a great helper, climbing up the ladder behind J and taking away the hammer and nails whenever he could.  Sigh.  We eventually got everything on the wall.  L loves telling us what is in each picture frame and which fire truck is his favorite.  Since we thought the frames looked a little off in the upper left corner, we ended up hanging his fireman helmet from his Halloween costume up there too.  It was the perfect touch to the fire truck collage. (high five to myself)

Lastly, Grandma finished the curtains and we got them hung up.  We got a curtain rod from IKEA since we have had good luck with their curtain rods previously.  Seeing L's face when he walked into his finished room was priceless.  He loves his big-boy-fire-truck room!

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Toddler Bedroom – Painting

I love painting.  It is a quick way to give a whole new look to a room without spending too much money.  The visible transformation with one coat of paint is amazing; it changes the light and feel of a room completely.  I hate masking, but that is a necessary evil of painting.

IMG_417108First thing was to choose a color.  I knew that I wanted to paint L's room, and I was pretty sure that I wanted it to be a light grey.  We purchased a few samples and slapped them on the wall.  Our house came with all the walls painted a flat tan color, which is fine, but rather bland.  Flat paint is also horrible in a house with children.  Anytime you wipe the wall you leave water spots and remove some paint.  Satin or eggshell finish is a must with children; it is wipable and still looks nice.  It also reflects more light, making a room seem brighter.

The top two were determined to be too light, not giving enough contrast between the walls and baseboards for my liking.  After going back for another round of samples, we ended up choosing the second from the left on the bottom row.  It was warmer than the others, which would look better with our tan carpet.  After choosing and purchasing the paint, we had to wait until the grandparents could watch L so we could get painting done.  That is the one stage of his room that we did not let him help with.

Step one was to mask the ceiling, windows, baseboards, all outlet plates, and put down a drop cloth.  Masking went much faster with both J and I working on it, he did the ceiling and I did everything that did not require going up on a ladder (I was very pregnant at the time). 

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After masking, it was time to start painting.  I did the edging that did not require a ladder and J did the edging that did.  We bought low VOC paint and had the windows open, but I still let J do all of the rolling, just in case.

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We kept the room closed for a day, but the next day we had a little touch up painting to do.  L was home by then so he wanted to help us paint.  I am very happy with how the color came out; it makes the room much brighter during the day, giving it a fresh and cool look.  I want to paint all of our bedroooms this color!

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Toddler Bedroom – Toy Storage

IMG_20140108_18180216The first thing we did was to clean out the storage guest room.  We took down the old bookcases and gave them to a coworker of mine.  L had a great time helping with that project!  He knows how to use a screwdriver now, he just doesnt have the grip strength to be effective with it.  It took 5 times longer with his help, of course, but it kept him entertained and burned off some of his energy before bedtime.  Having him help also made the room more "his" than if we just did everything for him.  From the first day we started working on his room, he asked to sleep in there every night.  We bought his toddler bed, but we kept it in the box until we were ready for him to sleep in his new room.

The next step was to add some storage for his toys that would end up in his room.  We knew0112141856a04 we were going to bring the dresser and bookcase from the nursery furniture set into his room, but we wanted something to go into the closet for the toys.  We decided to go with 2 square shelf units and fabric cubbies from Lowe's.  We measured the closet and build in bars to determine which shelf units would fit the best.  L had so much fun helping us build them!  He climbed all over them and tore apart all of the Styrofoam, making a gigantic mess.  Sigh.

In an effort to make the bland, white shelves more interesting, I decided to decorate the backing.  I used Sharpie Paint Pens, and drew a different design on each square of the backing.  It took 30 – 90 minutes to do each square, depending on the complexity and number of interruptions.  Not all of the openings had backing (thankfully!) so the undecorated ones were designated to be the cubby receptacles.

Can you guess which design was his favorite?  Yep, the city.  He was so excited to play with his planes and cars in the cubby shelves; bedtime was later than normal that night.

Toddler Bedroom – Picking a Theme

Since the nursery was a fairly gender neutral theme (and I spent days painting the mural in it) we decided to convert the guest room into L's new "big boy" bedroom.  Once we made that decision, I started to research different themes on Pinterest.  There are so many ideas on that wonderful/evil site!  I had a hard time picking just one, so I gave L a few options to choose between.  I showed him pictures of the bedding that we would get him, to help him choose which one he liked the best.

 

Carters

 

Pottery Barn Kids

 

Carters

His first pick was fire trucks, but due to the changeable nature of toddler likes and dislikes, we asked him a few times over about a month to see if he changed his mind.  Nope, he chose the fire trucks every time.  No matter which one he ended up choosing, I had some great ideas for the room, but I was a little relieved that he did not choose the cars bedding set.  As much as I lover Pottery Barn, I was not looking forward to paying that much for bedding for him.  Luckily, he chose the Carter's bedding and that is much more affordable.

So, the first thing we did was to order the bedding and use that as a guide for the rest of the room.  L was so excited when the bedding arrived, he wanted to start using it right away.  We managed to delay it until his room was almost complete.  We figured that the excitement of his special fire truck sheets would make the first night in a new room less scary.

 

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Bedtime Power Struggle

J and I have been dealing with bronchitis for the past 3 weeks (it just won’t go away!), but at least L has been healthy.  My parents even took L for the first weekend that we were really sick so that J and I could rest and get back to a minimally functional state.  Unfortunately, since that weekend, we have been having a fight with L and every bedtime.

As anyone with a toddler knows, this is the time that they are pushing their boundaries, testing the rules, and generally checking to see who is really the boss.  It is such a fun time to be a parent!  (insert heavy sarcasm here)  Normally we put L to bed at about 8 pm and he wakes up at 6:30 am to go to daycare.  That gives him 10.5 hours of sleep of the 12-13 that is recommended by the APA.  If he takes a nap, usually 1.5-2.5 hours, we hit that recommendation and we are all in a better mood for it.  Lately, L has not been napping most days and the bedtime issues have kept him awake until after 9 pm.  Tired toddler + tired and frustrated Mommy = household in chaos

Earlier this week, we decided that it was finally time to use some tough love on L and end the power struggle of bedtime.  So we did the normal bedtime routine, he didn’t want to snuggle with me so I left the room, and J put him to bed, told him a couple of stories, and then said “Goodnight” and left the room.  L cried for over an hour off and on that first night (Monday).  J finally had to go back in there because he was not stopping and I did not want him to make himself sick.  After getting snuggles from Daddy, he settled right down.  Tuesday night we did the same routine and L cried for half an hour.  Wednesday night he did not cry at all!  Thursday night he cried for 10 minutes, and last night he cried for 10 minutes again.  We are making progress!!

I have to put in a disclaimer.  My son does not cry for an hour straight ever.  In this instance, he would cry for 20-30 seconds and then stop and listen to see if anyone was coming to comfort him.  It was very clear that this was an attention seeking behavior, not a real cry.  He has Olympic level skills in stubbornness (courtesy of his Mother I am guessing) and he wins far more often than I would like to admit.  But bedtime is something that I am firm on.  Not only does he need the sleep to keep from being a monster, so do I!

12.0 weeks

Well, supposedly today is the turning point for all those first trimester woes.  From this point onward I am supposed to be less nauseated, have more energy, and be in the "pretty" pregnancy stage.  I am highly skeptical.

We made the official Facebook announcement to the world of our friends, family, and acquaintances.  We decided that since the timing was pretty close, we would make the bigIMG_3095announcement on our wedding anniversary.  It just worked out.  We decided to go simple and just post a picture of L wearing a Big Brother shirt.  I know it is overused and cliche, but there are limited things that you can get a 2 year old to do when they are in the "NO" stage.  We were lucky to even get him in the shirt!

It is a relief to have the news public, and most people seem excited for us.  One big exception is L himself.  We told him that night about the baby growing in Mommy's tummy and started to talk to him about being a big brother.  We asked him if he wanted a baby brother or sister to play with like is cousin G has.  His response was a characteristic first child response of "Ummmm Nope!"  Honestly, I can't blame him; I felt the same way about my younger brother for the first 15 years of his life (he got better as we got older).

So, other than more preggo and baby talk the only thing going on in my life is work and prepping for a friend's baby shower this weekend.  They read this blog so I can't tell you any of the super-secret details, though.  Work is also super-secret so there is not much I can say.  Price of working in R&D in a very competitive area, I guess.  Suffice to say, I am working on a big project and having to take more responsibility that I have previously had to.  Other departments are not enthusiastic about this, so there is a lot of push-back that I am learning how to deal with.  Previously, I just got my work done with minimal interaction with other people.  Today I had people calling me on my cell, office phone, and coming to talk to me, all at the same time.  It is exhausting and fulfilling to be consulted for information and answers about this project.  For once I feel like I am taking ownership of a project!  Hopefully this ends up being a great success and not one of the many failures that happen when working in research.

Convos With My 2 Year Old

There is a new YouTube channel on the block and it is awesomesauce for anyone with a toddler.  Convos with my 2 year old.  Seriously, awesomesauce.  If you have not yet had the . . . pleasure . . . of experiencing life with a toddler, I do not recommend that you watch this.  For those without toddlers, it will be scary and/or bizarre to see how a small human can control a whole family.  If you have a toddler, watch this now.  It will give you a nice break from searching for an unbroken cracker or specific pair of socks-that-they-wore-yesterday-but-HAVE-to-wear-today-or-the-world-ends.  

It is basically short reenactments of actual conversations this father has with his 2 year old daughter.  The twist that makes this different from any family home movie is that the part of the 2 year old is played by a grown man.  The deadpan delivery of the grown man playing the part of the 2 year old daughter is what makes this hillarious.  I started with Episode 3, and then went back and watched the previous ones.  I can't wait to see what other conversations happen (they are currently on Episode 5).

 

10 Best Things About Having a Toddler

(Brought to you by a very slow day at work.)

1. A kiss from Mommy/Daddy makes everything better.

2. You get to snack on all the good stuff that they eat, because it is the only thing they are willing to eat this month.  It would just go to waste otherwise.  Heeeellooooooo chicken nuggets!

3. They are starting to be able to entertain themselves for short periods of time.  It is the magic time between needing you there every second of the day and you chasing after them because they are running towards the street again.  

4. Everything is new and fun.  They see the world with such open optimism that it is hard to stay in a bad mood around them.

5. You no longer have to cut a blueberry into quarters.

6. The zoo/aquarium is now a place of discovery, rather than a place that you are carrying a sleeping baby through, wondering why you paid $30 for this.

7. They repeat everything they hear.  Particularly funny when L repeated “Stoopid cat” for about 5 minutes.  This talent only works when you don’t want them to repeat something.  In contrast, L would say “Happy Father’s Day” to me repeatedly, but never to J.

8. The clothes are no longer covered in light blue elephants and snaps everywhere.

9.  A box is still the best present ever.  Enjoy it before they start asking for iPads and Playstations.

10. They do not know how to hate.  As they get older, they learn to hate things/people/actions; then comes the dreaded “I hate you” phase of the teenage years.  I realize that not every kid goes through this, but with my history of rebellion, it is pretty much guaranteed that L will follow in my footsteps.  Karma is a like that.

Pacifier Elimination Challenge – Day 1

We have decided that it is time for a change.  Time to eliminate the paci from our lives.  L has been having a paci to help him fall asleep at night for 18 months now, but he has never used one at daycare for his naps.  Clearly he is not completely dependent on one.  We decided to give it a try since we have been talking about it for a few months now.  We have kept delaying due to illness and teething, but finally we have a weekend that we are all healthy and able to loose sleep during.

I am watching him toss and turn in his crib as he tried to get his blanket perfectly placed over his face (that is how he falls asleep) and I feel guilty.  Tonight when I lay him down, he had such a confused manner when he was told that the paci was "all gone".  We told him he was a big boy now, and his response was a definitive "baby" in argument.  We decided that we needed to get rid of the paci before he becomes dependent on it; it will be harder to give up later.  I know that some parents will cry foul and tell me that he should be left alone with his paci for as long as he wants.  "No one did fill-in-the-blank when they went off to college" is a phrase I hear too frequently.  We have made our decision as to what is best for our family, and as any parent knows, it might be the right one and it might not.

I look over at the monitor and see that he has fallen asleep, paci free, in the time it took me to write this post.  I will count that as a win for Day 1.