Monday, January 31, 2011

Looking forward to playground weather!

This year, spring is going to mean a lot to me and my family.  Spring is meant to be a rebirth, and for us it really will be.  We will be closing on our first house and moving in.  I'm planning to start my garden, and hopefully my son will be finding his way into a new playgroup.  I think every parent kind of dreams that her house will be the one all the kids want to come play at.

With having our own yard looming in the near future, I cannot help but dream of filling it with amazing kid attractions.  I always wanted a swing set in my yard when I was a kid and I kind of want Jack to have one.  But with the garden, adding a fence, and planing some fruit trees, I'm not sure we will have room.  If we are to get one (probably as a bithday gift), I want to be sure it will last for many years, and be something we can move with us again when we relocate.  I want quality, but I don't want to spend a ton of money.  Another option we have been considering is a nice playhouse.  I can't decide which ill get more love and use over the years.

I was looking for wooden playhouses and swing sets online just now and discovered that there are about three million options out there.  Wooden? Plastic? Metal?  Small and understated, or massive enough to make your yard cooler than the playground?  I was actually kind of surprised that you can even buy really nice swing sets and playhouses online, let alone get free shipping, but CSN Stores offer a huge selection of both, plus bikes, trikes, trampolines, and even play kitchen sets.  Suddenly, my son's birthday wish list is growing and growing... And I don't think he even really knows what his birthday is yet, let alone that it's in about 3 months and that he can ask for something he wants.

Of course, if I ask him what he want's he will probably just ask to watch an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba.

I'd love to go bundle my little guy up and take him to the park, but it's just flat out too cold.  So for now, I'm going to have to settle for some online day dream shopping...  If I start now, maybe I can narrow it all down by the time we are ready to plan his birthday!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Unfortunate side effects of potty training a young toddler...

Turns out, when you let a 20 month old boy run around in nothing but underpants for over a week, he is not going to be real keen on putting on pants again.

I think it is a combination of the newfound freedom that is not wearing a diaper and the fact that, let's face it, he is a boy.  He wants access to his favourite body parts all the time and I actually think being able to play with himself has been a bit of a motivating factor in this whole potty training business.  Sit on the potty? You mean like NAKED? I can touch my pee pee?!?! OKAY!!!!

He has said goodbye to the days of trying in vain to shove his little fingers down into a snug cloth diaper and cover and hello to the world of sitting around with his hands in his pants.  I don't get it, but I think it may be instinctive.

I'm not even joking about that, though.  I mean, think about it.  If you are, say, a caveman competing in the original Survivor - not to out wit, or out play, but just to out last - you probably need to reassure yourself that you'll be man enough to reproduce.  I'm sure there is some science about this but I don't care enough to look it up.  But I do think men do this unconsciously most of the time, and I'm not sure he realizes he is walking around the kitchen in socks, long sleeves, and Thomas the Tank Engine underpants in the smallest size they make with his little hand just hanging out in there, keeping tabs on the boys.

Suvival of the fittest, toddler style.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bra Shopping is a Total Nightmare…Or, it Was…

I don't know about anyone else, but I hate bra shopping. I despise it. I remember fondly the days when I found it enjoyable and wish I still felt that way. But the day I got the unlucky news that, at about 16 weeks pregnant, I would be requiring a 32H already, I was disheartened. I soon found out that I had been buying the wrong size for years, foolishly believing that I was a mere DDD cup. After I had Jack, I was a 30H and for 18 months of nursing, I had exactly 2 bras that fit well and a third that I wore only when I had nothing else clean. I lived in Glamour Mom tanks – the first and only built-in-bra tank that has ever fit me – at night. I love those tanks so much, I still wear them at night (and day).

Now that Jack is all grown up and doesn't need Momma's milk anymore, I have been trucking along in one regular non-nursing bra. I have gone down a whopping one cup size to a 30G. Have you ever tried to find a 30G in a store?
I had to drive to Nordstrom, which is in another city (although only about 45 minutes away) to buy the one and only bra they carry in that size. I love it, but it was $65. I had to give it a few weeks at least to be sure I loved it before buying more at that price. And since it comes in only one color – "nude" – I really wanted to find at least one or two other options.

Enter This is, incidentally, where I finally found a strapless bra that fit for my wedding. Little did I know then how ill-fitting it actually was! I ordered 4 new bras, expecting to exchange at least half of them for duplicates of the ones that did fit. Three different brands seemed to be tempting fate. I LOVE that Bare Necessities has a really liberal return policy. I think it is actually about 90 days. Obviously, you cannot have worn anything for longer than it takes to try it on, but if you order something for a special occasion, and then end up not needing it a month down the line, you can get your money or store credit back. But guess what! ALL of them fit and perfectly at that.

Make no mistake. They have not contacted me in the least and I am writing this out of the goodness of my heart…or breasts…whichever. Both are happier now that I have not 1, but 5 pretty, functional bras that fit fantastically. My back is happier, too. And since they had emailed me a coupon code for 25% off, they averaged to about $40 a pop. Much more reasonable than $65.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Operation Big Boy

After trying EC last summer and finding that my son makes absolutely NO indication before peeing, I had to abandon ship.  But we did have a potty chair and we kept it out and about for him, reinforcing the sign and word (he now uses only the word), and talking about it from time to time.

I had inteded to go full speed ahead at 18 months, but right around then we found out my husband had his new position secured and we would be moving.  So I put it off a bit, hoping to do it as soon as we got settled.

But then I started thinking, about 2 weeks or so ago, that if we wait much longer, he may decide he isn't interested so we decided that Operation Big Boy should go ahead, full steam, and see where it goes.  I figure if I can get him pretty well trained to at least not have too many accidents and be used to sitting on the potty regularly, then at least that is something I can maintain through the craziness of a move...I think.

I decided to do the following:

1) Regular potty sits.  We started with about every 30 minutes, but that was not working so we now do them every 20 and will grdually increase to 30 or more.  Sometimes he sits for a few seconds, pees, and we have a little party.  Sometimes he sits for 30 minutes. Once, he sat for an hour and a half, of his own accord, and refused to get up until he had peed.  I do not force him to sit for any length of time, and most of the time he happily sits for a few stories at least.

2)  We read, play with toys, etc. to make it fun.

3) We have "Big Boy Wipes" (Pampers Kandoo, for example) that can ONLY be used when he uses his potty.  Somehow, having this limitation seems to make them more exciting, as does getting to get his own wipe out instead of getting one handed to him.  We decorated the container with fun stickers, too.  They are more or less the same as baby wipes, just flushable, so I intend to replace them with whatever flushable is cheapest at the store.

4)  We DO have rewards, but they are not for every sucessful potty visit and they are things he normally gets anyway.  For example,  might tell him a few times between one potty sit and the next that if he puts pee pee it the potty, he can watch an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba in Papa's chair.  Because we have been confined to the non-carpeted floors for a week now, this is super exciting since he gets to go in the living room.  I put a big, triple layer of his comforted under him to be safe!  He also once in a while gets a temporary tattoo (yeah I know...but its super cute and he loves it) or similar.   And at each opportuniy for a reward, he gets only one shot to get it.  This keeps him from insisting on Yo Gabba Gabba every time he pees int he potty.

5)  When he is sucessful, it is a BIG deal!  The best rewards for him have been getting to use a big boy wipe, carry his potty insert to the big potty, dump it, flush it, and WASH HIS HANDS.  He loves to wash his hands, so this is a big motivator.

6)  I keep track of how many times he uses the potty and how many times he has an accident, for my own record so I can see clearly how we are going.

7) It's big boy undies or bust.  We are still in a cloth diaper for nap and a disposable at night, but otherwise there are no diapers.  We have not left the house yet, but when we do, it will be with several extra sets of clothes and I may make a small "cover" out of PUL for him to wear to keep from having to clean up pee in the middle of Target.

8) "Pee pee goes in the potty."   I read once that kids do not understand, "Tell momma when you need to go," or, "it's okay, accidents happen."  The only thing that matters is that you reinforce what you want.  So I repeat this mantra, as well as the #2 variation, many times a day, between potty trips and durring, and he is now repeating it himself.

It has been one week and Sunday was his best day so far - 4 hits and only 2 misses.  But Monday he literally peed twice as many times and only had about half in the potty.  Today, he is doing well with the same stats as Sunday, and it is only naptime.  I have been regulating his beverage intake and encouraging more fluids, but I didn't find that getting him to drink almost constantly was working.  There was no predictability to when he would need to pee and he had far more accidents than anything else.  On the first day, we went though 10 pairs of undies.  But since then, we have gone down to as few as 2 or as many as 4.

Since my husband will have been out of town with business trips and work for over 2 weeks when we see him again Saturday, I think he will be pleased to see that his little boy is in big boy pants!  And having him gone has actually, while making it a bit more stressful, encouraged me to keep going, trucking along, cleaning up pee pee day after day, because it gives me something to focus on.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, and it isn't for everyone.  If I were working outside the home, I would have to take a month of vacation to do this.  But I strongly believe that pull-ups are just diapers in bigger sizes and that they delay full training sucess.  Diaper companies want nothing more than for your child to wear diapers until a month before kindergarten.  I also believe that the sooner you start, the better your sucess will be.  Many children will do fine and train quickly at any age, but I know my headstrong boy is going to do better now than if I waited even 6 months.

And one final note...I wish I could post this...I got a nice picture of him sitting in Papa's chair, watching Yo Gabba Gabba this morning...with his hand in his pants.  He is such. a. boy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Handmade Baby Girl Gifts

A friend of mine's SO is expecting a little girl in April, so this week I have been working on some baby gifts for them. I started with practical and ended up with something very frivolous. Because little girls should have something frivolous, no?
So first, I whipped up a few of the standard crafty baby gift – burp cloths. I used prefolds and cotton flannel. I made three, and bundled them up with some pretty ribbon that was leftover from my wedding years ago:

Next, I wanted to make an oversized changing pad, because the ones that come with diaper bags are small when your baby gets to about 6 months and sometimes those public restroom changing tables are just not all that clean. I realized, however, that it would also work as a small stroller/car seat blanket, or impromptu burp rag. With a pair of blanket clips, it can even work as a nursing cover. So I made two of those, too. By the way, all the material is from JoAnn, with no specific designers attached to the patterns. Unless otherwise noted, the designs are of my own devising, although I recognize that a great many crafters have put together similar items. So here's the blanket/changing pad/whatever with a little soft block with a jingle bell inside:

And blanket clips:

Then I pulled out a little Gerber snap front shirt and, remembering a tute on Handmade by Jill, I made a little "take me home shirt" with some bows and a little "S" patch (the baby's name will be Sophie…how sweet!) and then I put together a little clip that may or may not hold hair. I have never made one before, so we shall see:

Then…oh…I got really kind of silly. I had bought this little patch with a heart and skull and crossbones because it just seemed like something my friend would appreciate on his little girl. But I wanted to counter-balance it. So I ironed it on a onesie and put together a really fluffy tutu to go with it:

I'm hoping the tutu and onesie will fit at the same time and not be so fluffy as to be a suffocation hazard, but I can't imagine anyone would leave their infant in something like that unattended.  Right?
I hope they enjoy these gifts and enjoy their little girl when she arrives!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mandatory New Year’s Resolution Post

I am actually a fan of the New Year's Resolution blog post. However, I am not a fan of New Year's Resolutions in general. They tend to be far-reaching. Where I thought I would be now at this time last year is very different from where I actually am. So, in observance of the general tradition and in the spirit of not making things terribly difficult for myself, I offer the following 2011 Resolutions:
  1. Buy our first house. This shouldn't be terribly difficult as we put an offer in on Jan. 1st and may close as early as Jan. 31st. But the endeavor is not a small one, and we are looking forward to the excitement and stress and I am in particular looking forward to sewing curtains and buying our son his big boy bed.
  2. Keep the kid in his crib as long as possible. No, seriously.
  3. More handmade. Not all handmade, not mostly handmade. Just more. I can do that.
  4. Buy more organic, natural, and healthy food and household products for my family. This is an on-going goal that never really changes.
  5. Bake most of our bread. This was something I intended to perfect this year, but our current circumstances have made that difficult to say the least. I look forward to having my own space, my own kitchen, and a more adequately baby-proofed house in order to make this feasible.
I would add something like, "Be a better blogger," but let's face it. I have time when I have time and if I'm going to do all that, I may not have a lot of time. Or I may. We'll see.
Happy 2011!