Finger Paints and Stamping Fun!

I LOVE painting, and Caleb has been talking about painting a lot the last few days. First thing this morning I made a batch of my edible finger paint, and when my sweet boy woke up I surprised him with this painting station.

I really wanted to do more than just finger painting, so I grabbed straws and toilet paper rolls (two things I obsessively collect which drives Corey crazy) and stuck one of each into each of the six colors I made. I got Caleb naked, and gave him some paper. Then (last picture) I created examples to show him how the stamps work, and also to show him with the straw you can blow the paint around. He LOVED blowing the paint.

He really focused on the color red today. I was surprised. I made two purples and pink for him because he’s been so into them, but red was the cool color today.

After three of the toilet paper roll stamp paintings and one of the straw paintings I gave him a paintbrush. That’s what led to the second picture, and I loved watching him paint lines and then smack the brush against it like a stamp. It was cool to see that the concept we were working on really stuck with him. Lastly I took a straw and drew his name into his painting! I think once it’s dry we’ll put it on his bedroom door.

Originally I planned to do more. I was going to “stamp” his hand to make some Valentines Day cards, animal prints, etc… but he wasn’t having it. My normally messy loving boy really didn’t want to get his hands dirty today, so I didn’t force it. The paint only takes a minute to create anyway, so if he seems more willing later on, we’ll just do it then. I want to get some actual stamp pads and stamps. I think he’d love that, and he liked stamping his hand last Friday.

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How to Not Raise a Princess (or in my case, Prince)

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^^ My Friend’s ADORABLE 13 month Princess ^^

Children do not spoil, food does. That doesn’t mean you can’t accidentally entitle children causing them to believe the world revolves around them and that they will always get exactly what they want. Here are three easy steps to avoiding this.

1) Don’t make your child share and don’t let them expect other children to share with them. I went on a play date recently and Caleb’s friend, who is two and a half, was playing with a doll. Caleb wanted it and went to grab it from her. Her mother jumped to tell her to share and I said no. Don’t worry about it. It’s her’s. I don’t want Caleb to think that just because he wants something, he will get it. That isn’t how life works. You don’t get a car that belongs to someone else just because you want it. There were plenty of other toys so I just redirected him and he was fine. She was a happy little girl because her toy, that belongs to her, wasn’t taken away from her. She was already sharing all of her other toys and that is going above and beyond to be gracious in my mind. I wouldn’t want my one special thing taken away either.

2) Don’t be afraid to say no. I know, shocking after my introducing the idea of no post. It’s true though. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down. Times for that are like when you’re in a store. If your child is screaming for a cookie, and they’ve already had enough sugar, tell them no. Don’t reward screaming and disrespect. Instead, because we all know that the screaming doesn’t stop just because you say no, redirect. I talk about it again and again. Offer something healthy if you can afford it. Oh look at this super awesome apple. Honey you can pick out something yourself if you want but it can’t be a cookie and you can’t eat it right now. This way, their want is understood but you are leading to a better decision.

3) Money is not the only thing that makes a child happy and more over it shouldn’t be the main source of their happiness. Sadly, so many parents use money to stop crying and to make up for lost time. That’s the best way to make a child spoiled because they will forever need more to fill a much more important spot in their life. Kids don’t naturally want stuff. They just want you! The more QUALITY you time they have the less material items will mean. This means that even if you work, the time you have with them matters. Cuddling, talking, asking questions, can make your child feel loved and wanted and that need for things doesn’t even come up.

 Thank You for Reading and Good Luck My Lovely Readers

Music is an Amazing Tool

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A woman named Sharon Novak, who is a children’s song writer and performer, post a great article on her website that inspired me. Her article was about the value of group music classes for toddlers. I will link to her post at the end but I’m writing today because I’ve been inspired. Music has a great teaching value on Toddlers, but also has an amazing affect on milestones for babies.

The picture above is a great example of this. Corey sat on one side of the bongo, Caleb on the other, and Corey would hit his side. After watching his daddy made the sounds, Corey would copy him. He was still so little then and it helped him learn how to use his hands. It was a real cause and effect and a great bonding moment for them as well.

Even from birth music helps with the littlest, most important things. There was this amazing study done on premature babies. When given a pacifier it would activate lullabies to be played. They would calm considerably. These babies that were played the music had an even more amazing result though. They began to gain weight much quicker than their NICU counterparts.

Playing music has been shown to improve math skills. The best time to try getting a person into learning something new is when they are a baby and their interests are just now being developed. This can be as simple as a toy guitar or drum. It’s something to make them interested in learning the real thing in the future.

Another bonus is speech development. Lullabies are great because they often show simple rhyming patterns and have a lot of repetition. Like with anything, repetition is the way to learn how to speak. When a child hears the word moon over and over they start trying to say this interesting and wonderfully sung word. I personally learned how to sign through songs. I would pick a song, learn the signs to it, and later I’d remember the signs because of the song. It’s like learning a dance. It’s always easier with the music.

The real point is, bring music into your baby’s life. It can be a great way to bond and soothe your child. Caleb HATES being on changing tables. Sometimes in public we have to use them. The only way I can keep him calm is by singing Let it Go. He will smile up at me and I can get the job done.

Thank You for Reading!

http://www.musicforkidswithsharonnovak.com/news-from-sharon/the-value-of-group-classes-for-toddlers/

Peacefully Disciplining a Toddler

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^^ My Friend’s Adorable Three Year Old ^^

Today I was asked by someone on another site, “How Do You Discipline Toddlers?” I’m sure you all know that I don’t have one but what you don’t know is that I have a pretty good answer and many good role models to help me answer this question. No matter what age, this is a good way to look at it, but toddlers bring a whole different factor in, and that is their inability to understand that they are doing anything wrong.

Between the ages of two and four the main thought process a toddler has is based on discovery. Cause and effect play into a lot of what they do. If they wear this outfit, crazy as it is, they thought it was pretty and people will applaud them for it. This helps develop their ability to make decisions but their bases on that decision is impulse versus background knowledge. They don’t consider that pink and purple go well together because they are complimentary or considered girly. They simply see it, think ooo pretty, and put it on.

This goes right along with them “misbehaving.” I can’t use the words “being bad.” No child is bad. Children do not mean to give us a hard time, they simply have a hard time themselves. There are only so many words they can use to describe their feelings and needs and this often produces a lot of frustration. One way to get that frustration out is by “acting out” in their own way which can show in a tantrum or doing an action they have been told not to just to get your attention.

Rather than telling these children, who have feelings and just want your love and attention, that they are bad, the absolute best way to remedy a situation is to redirect. If they are throwing a fit ask them why. Try to understand what the problem is. Ask questions. Are you hungry? Are you hot? Are you tired? Is there a different game you would like to play? Children often get overwhelmed trying to figure out what they want so if you give them options at least they have a base to try to explain what is going on with them. If this doesn’t work and they continue having a hard time, it is your job to make the decision for them to do something else. Set them up with something fun. Completely ignore what they were doing before and show them something productive and fun that they can do instead.

Something I’ve seen work wonders is the “Relaxing Jar.” You take a mason jar, fill it with water, a bunch of glitter glue, regular glitter in different sizes and shapes, and a squirt of food coloring. These work instead of time outs. They are not a punishment. They are a way to let the child chose to calm themselves down. You let them hold the jar and turn it upside down. Ask them to watch the glitter fall from one side all the way to the bottom. It’s amazing how quickly the child will get focused on it and forget there even was a problem. I’d say this is a last choice for me because I’d prefer to fix the situation and validate the child rather than just distract them but whatever works for you instead of getting mad is great.

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Once your child is older you can restrict things. They will be old enough to understand why you are doing it. At the toddler age though, the only thing taking away their property does or putting them in a corner does is create resentment. They aren’t thinking, oh I did this so now I’m in trouble. They are simply thinking, mommy and daddy are mean. This makes them much less likely to want to come to the parent when they do need help because they don’t trust they are going to get what they need or the respect/validation they crave.

So, take some time to help your child work through their troubles instead of putting on the dictatorship hat. It will benefit you both by removing the frustration from the situation. Kids are not out to manipulate or hurt you. They are so much more innocent than that. They are just learning how to act, so give them a good role model to learn from.

Thank You for Reading!

 

“When Are You Going to Give Him Real Food?” – The Question that Doesn’t Stop

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I hear it pretty much every time I nurse my LITTLE man in public. People always assume that all I do is give him the boob and in a way they are right. What they are wrong about is my almost nine month old needing to eat solids the same way we do.

Breast Milk has every single nutrient that your baby needs. This includes iron. This includes Vitamin D. Even though doctors will tell you, without testing your little bundle of joy, that they need to supplement those vitamins, they are incorrect. Breast Milk will always be the most complete source of nutrients that you can give your child. More over, the WHO recommends that you breastfeed for a minimum of two years. That means, don’t stop at one. Don’t even stop at two. Just go as long as you can. Once they start loosing teeth then you really do have to stop or the sugar in your milk will rot their teeth. Other than that though, feel free to nurse your child.

The thing is though, I didn’t want to force food on my child. On the other hand, Caleb loves food. So yes, I don’t take out a jar of baby food wherever we are to feed him. Even if I did, Caleb wouldn’t eat it. He hates Purees now. If I am eating in public then my son will eat whatever we eat. I hand him some, he does what he can with it, and we call it good. If we are eating dinner at home, he gets his own portion. He’s constantly eating. It’s our choice though to have the boob always come first. Until my son turns one, or maybe a little longer, I’ll be giving him my booby milk as his main source of food. That is my choice.

You all have a choice as well. You could feed your child every meal and use baby food and what not. That’s okay too. It’s what you and your child are comfortable with. We are comfortable with the way we do it and it’s just one more way for us both to be comfortable.

Thank You for Reading!

The Forced Stay at Home Mummy

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About two weeks ago a friend of mine (who along with her family is pictured above) posted a link on Facebook about being forced into being a stay at home mom. It really got me thinking and sympathizing. This isn’t something I have to worry about. It’s not something that affects my family but for so many people, not just moms, it really can be hard on them.

For me, I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom and luckily have a man behind me that wants that as well. When people ask me why I don’t work sometimes I lie. I’ll tell them that it is more cost effective, that we can’t afford child care, that I’d only make enough to pay for day care and what’s the point of that. Even though for me it’s really just an excuse to spit out for the more judgmental people, for a lot of women it’s the truth.

On average in America day care costs around $200 a week. The average pay check for a WOMAN, yes this is specifically for a woman because we are still paid less than men, for a part time job is $225. By the time you pay for transportation to and from work and day care, extra snacks, possibly formula, and clothes that extra $25 is more than spent. In fact, you might just be in the negative. Because of this there is a shocking amount of mothers being forced to stay home.

Then someone brought up state assistance. It’s hilarious how many people insist that if you’re broke enough to not afford child care you will get assistance. The issue is that the state doesn’t just look at mom’s income. Dad could be making $450 every two week and that small amount of money would disqualify you from state assistance. So lets look at that. $750 for rent, and you’re making $900 a month. $100 for heat and electric. $50 for food, transportation, paper products… there is no extra money. So of course this leaves it up to the mother to stay home at least until the child goes to school; or never if you’re homeschooling like me.

This is the part that I really had to think about though. Why wouldn’t someone want to be a stay at home mom? Well, that was a dumb question for me to be asking. Just because this is what I love to do, even I need a break sometimes. Some days when my son goes down for a nap, if his dad is here, I’ll go for a walk. An hour is long enough for me to clear my head and feel like an adult again but some people really need more than that and they need to feel like what they are doing is more. Working a job, especially one you’ve spent so much time going to school for, is what some people are meant to do. I’d rather mothers go to work and put their children in day care so that they have the calm and patience to come home to these kids and really get the most out of them. I’ve had cousins who I really wished would go to work and let someone more qualified raise their children.

I’m not saying that all the moms who want to work are not ready for kids constantly or bad moms or anything like that. I’m just saying that sometimes when you get your choices taken away it can put a huge strain on you. When you once had all the ambition in the world to do this specific job or go to school and that choice is taken away, some resentment is going to build up one way or another. That’s an unfortunate truth of today’s economic circumstances.

Thank You as Always for Reading! Tell Me What You Think!

“Mummy, I Need a Break!”

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Everyone knows that babies need naps. It’s just one of those facts that everyone has been made aware of. On the other hand, most of the time we just assume that when it’s nap time it is nap time and all the other times baby should be doing something else. Either eating, playing, or some other active baby thing. Well my son taught me a very good lesson. Sometimes, we all just need a break.

He had been playing hard for a while and he started getting a little fussy. He crawled over to his blankie and then stood by his rocking chair and I figured he needed a nap. I set him all up in it and something different happened. He laid there for a while, relaxing, watching out the window and really just taking a break. He didn’t end up falling asleep but he needed that half hour or so to just relax. Once he was done he told me he was awake and ready to get back to playing.

I don’t think I ever took the time to think that just like me, my little man could just need a break for a few minutes. Why wouldn’t he though? With all the new things he is seeing and learning everyday it shouldn’t surprise me he needs to rest. The mind needs a break just as much as the body does. We as adults are able to say, I need to sit down for a while and relax. Babies are just expected to constantly be going and that just isn’t right. Babies are just tiny adults. I still have trouble really realizing that they have all these same feelings that we do because until they can talk and explain to us these things, we only know what others show or tell us. Society has put babies in a whole new category of creature.

My son has taught me once again how wrong this thinking is. Now, when either of us want or need a break, I’ll be better equipped to respect these feelings and react the right way.

Thank You for Reading Lovelies!

 

Why Are You Touching My Child?

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Don’t you just hate that? You take your precious bundle of joy out and all of a sudden it’s like the world just wants to poke and prod him.

Oh he’s so cute, let me put my nasty hands all over his hands that in about two seconds will be in his mouth to show you I find him cute.

No, just no. Even worse to me, this one time a really strange lady came up to us in the library smelling like cigarettes and instead of touching Caleb started touching his toys! Like at least when people touch him I can wipe him down, but she was touching his teething toy that is fabric and I can’t exactly just wipe that down. People for some reason feel like they have every right to touch our children. Why is this? Would you just randomly walk up to an adult and start playing with their hand? No. You wouldn’t. You would have more respect for them and if you really for some reason wanted to touch them, hopefully, you would ask. So why doesn’t our children get that respect?

My son has shown again and again that he has no interest in being touched by a stranger. He pulls his hand or feet back or even pushes them away. It amazes me when the person will try again! I usually pick him up and walk away at that point because as always, my son comes first. My son has been very healthy so far and I wouldn’t want someone else to risk that. This includes other children. Parents have given me death stares when I stop their children from touching him. The reality is though that I have every right to keep my child safe not just physically but emotionally. He gets mad when strangers try to touch him before he has the time to get used to them. He shouldn’t be forced to let them touch him. That takes the trust he has in me and buries it.

So, next time you see a child, don’t touch them without their permission!

Thanks for Reading!

How Much Freedom is Too Much Freedom (for a 9 month old)

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First of all… Happy Nine Months to Caleb!

What a great and amazing nine months it has been.

So here’s the scenario. As I sit here and type, my son is playing in the hallway off of the living room. A few minutes ago, he was even farther away and out of my sight in the kitchen. To be clear, I just cleaned the kitchen an hour ago and I know it’s completely clean and safe for him. On the other hand, I am human and you never know what could happen. Does this amount of freedom make me a bad parent?

I am going to say no. Some people look at me crazy when I tell them I let him do this. The majority tell me if I’m going to let him play by himself like this then I’m not practicing attachment parenting. Some tell me that my child is too independent and it’s my job to watch over him and occupy him. What they don’t see, or in reality just choose not to remember, is that I’m breastfeeding, bed sharing, baby wearing, and playing with him 80% of the time we’re together. My son knows that if he needs me for any reason that I am here and will take care of him. All of his needs are being met. People look at this so strangely though because they expect him to be needy. They expect him to be up my butt.

This is where I believe Attachment Parenting gets a bad rap but that idea is wrong. Attachment Parenting makes children more independent. When they don’t have to be afraid of anything, when they trust that mama and daddy will always be there, they aren’t afraid of going off with strangers or wandering a room away. I think that allowing him to do that boosts his confidence and him knowing that I’m not afraid for him and that I trust him boosts it even more. A confident child is happy, outgoing, and in touch with his own feelings. This freedom I’m giving him could be considered dangerous for someone so young but I honestly believe it’s part of raising my child personally.

Tell me what you think. Comments or emails. As always, Thanks for Reading!

Personal Peace and the Affect on Your Home

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I used to be super anxious when it came to my house. It got to the point I’d force my three week old little baby sit in his high chair, when all he wanted was to snuggle, just so I could get the “chores” done. I cared so much about what others thought that I put my son second. I know, totally doesn’t sound like me right? Well, a lot has changed since then.

My house is what I call manageable now. I get the dishes done when I can so that I can cook. The floors are cleared for my son’s safety. The laundry gets washed and dried about once a week. I’m okay with this though. I am actually a thousand times more okay with it than I was when my house was spotless. There are of course times I wish it was a little cleaner, the times when I haven’t had a moment to myself to get things done and my aunt comes by and makes a comment here or there, but most of the time I’m just happy that I have an apartment to clean or make a mess in.

This feeling of peace though is because I know my son is worth every little comment and every pushed to the side dish. You could spend three hours a day making sure your house is spotless. Even more, you can wait till your child is napping and try to clean in those moments. The sacrifices are great though. If you are always cleaning, those are hours that you could be spending with your child learning something new, playing with trains, reading, or just generally being there for them. If you try to fit it all in while they nap, you have zero time for yourself.

My first transition from cleaning constantly to where I am now had a time where I tried to fit everything into naps. Man was I burnt out. Showers just didn’t happen, I never got to enjoy a book or show, and I certainly had no time to blog like I do now. Thankfully I did get burnt out though. In a way, I just quit and boy did it feel good! My son and I started really communicating, I could relax and even Corey started seeing that I was, “Not so B****y” because my stress levels were much lower.

Now I am not saying to give up on house work all together. I think there is a good medium in there that really can work for everyone. Another big thing, ask for help. Your significant other might just be willing to help more than you realize. Corey has been a real blessing. He comes home from work now and takes Caleb right away out for a walk so that I can shower in total peace. On top of that, he does some of the house work like trash, unloading the dish washer, and even vacuuming.

Either way, as long as you feel happy with the way your house looks and the choices you make, good for you.

Thank You for Reading!