Wednesday, November 30, 2011

potty fail

i'd been saying that i'd start potty-training after christmas then ben started getting out of the bath at bathtime to go on the potty. he was pretty keen and i'd always give him a treat (like a few chocolate chips or smarties). i figured this was a good way of getting him to like going on the potty and was a pre-cursor to real training. i thought that perhaps i should start potty-training while he's showing an active interest but the task seemed insurmountable when having to constantly hold a baby for all her naps. so i put it off. then the bathtime peeing stopped when he started getting to eat halloween treats. it seemed all that peeing was directly linked to the extrinsic rewards. for the month of november, i've been lamenting that perhaps i missed my "window"...are there potty-training windows?

after hanging out with a friend who's kid is 4 months or so younger than ben (you know who you are...haha), i thought, "why am i waiting? if he's old enough to tell me that he wants his diaper changed, he's old enough to tell me that he needs to go to the bathroom." so we went to walmart, bought fun underwear and potty seat for the toilet.

i figured that we'd start the next day and i'd be all ready with a chart and such but when we got home at 5pm, ben seemed excited to sit on the new seat and try on his new underwear. i figured we might as well get started. he told me that he had to go to the potty 4 times in the next 6 minutes, each time getting a few drops out, and then saying, "treeeeat!". i'd give him one smartie with the plan in mind to definitely change this system the next morning.

then he was standing on a chair in the kitchen and to his bewilderment, found himself standing in a puddle. "wet, mommy!" i explained that he'd peed and that next time he feels like he has pee coming, tell mommy and we'll run to the bathroom. he helped me clean up, we changed his underwear, and he asked for a treat. 10 minutes later, pee all over the floor again and tim calling at me from the kitchen while i'm rocking a screaming baby, "i don't think he gets it..." i put a diaper on him.

ben and i sit down to dinner (tim's now rocking our screamer) and ben's whining for me to take the lid off his milk. i take the lid. 30 seconds later, milk is knocked over and everywhere. oh. my. goodness. i managed to not scream and instead cleaned up the third puddle in the last 15 minutes then put a lid on his new cup of milk.

sure, two accidents and some spilled milk shouldn't be that big a deal but everything is more frustrating to me when avery's crying at the same time. am i totally selfish to want to just enjoy my christmas season without pee on the floor and having to ask ben a million times a day, "do you have to pee?" i suppose so but hopefully this delay in potty training will not scar him for life and we can get it started after christmas. if you could just tell me that i'm not scarring him instead of the other advice you're thinking of, that would be great. ;)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the joys of felt

i've never worked with felt but it is EVERYWHERE on pinterest. everyone is creating quiet books, busy bags, and other projects with felt. the concept that it can be a "no-sew" project because felt won't fray made me think that felt and i could be friends. i saw this project on pinterest and thought it would be fun for ben. i went to the fabric store and bought 0.8m of green felt for a horribly expensive price. this tree better last us at least 10 years. haha. then i went to michaels and bought a few 8x10 sheets of felt for .49 each.

last night, tim was out, the kids were in bed (!), and there was nothing on tv. i spent some time pinning potential projects to my pinterest boards and then thought, "i should be MAKING something instead of just reading about making something." i dug out my very dull scissors, my felt pieces, and started brainstorming some ideas for ornaments. the blog on which i found this project just uses a few coloured balls and a oblong shaped ornament that i tried to replicate but it just looked silly. i got out my cookie cutters and used them to trace some shapes - this was more of a trial and error process because they were small cutters and i wanted bigger shapes. i would paper clip the paper shape onto the felt and cut around it. once it was done, i pulled the clip and paper off and trimmed any edges that didn't look right.

two and a half HOURS later (eep!), i had two candy canes, two gingerbread men, and 3 balls with a star, tree, and the letter B on them. i got so sick of tracing shapes onto paper, cutting those, then putting them onto felt so i just freehanded the letter B - much faster! tonight, i plan to make a few more ornaments and cut out the tree.
i bought one sheet of white felt that had a sticky back on it so i could see how that would work - that's how i made the candy canes. i'd buy it again, though i don't know how well it will stay stuck if a kiddo wanted to pull it apart. for the other two-piece ornaments, i have Heat-N-Bond which apparently sticks to the back and then you iron it to make it fuse. will let you know how it goes.
dull scissors are not the best tool for working with felt. neither are small cookie cutters. i feel these two things directly affected my finish time. i'm apprehensive about cutting my big tree so i'll be borrowing my m-i-l's fabric scissors. however, FELT rocks. it's the greatest! i've found all these other projects on pinterest and thought of some of my own that i can make with felt and can't wait to do so! i may need to invest in good scissors though!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

24 days of Christmas activities

Here's my list of activities to put in our new Advent Calendar:

1. decorate our Christmas tree
2. set up our new Fisher Price Nativity and read the story of Jesus' birth
3. go the Christmas Tree lighting at Central City & buy a new game (a tradition that pre-dates Ben)
4. set up new felt Christmas tree in ben's room (idea found here)
5. bake Christmas cookies
6. invite two friends over to decorate cookies & play
7. make Christmas cards and mail them
8. make Christmas tree ornaments (recipe for dough here)
9. give a present to the mail man and the garbage man
10. watch Charlie Brown Christmas movie
11. help grandma and grandpa decorate their Christmas tree
12. make bookmarks and take a local care home to give to the elderly
13. bake cookies again - deliver to neighbours
14. make birdseed ornaments to hang outside on the trees (instructions here)
15. paint presents for grandparents (oops - spoiler alert)
16. visit uncle matt at work and see the firehall
17. go to kainoa's house for a Christmas party
18. use christmas stamps to make wrapping paper
19. go with daddy to buy a present for mommy
20. go with mommy to buy a present for daddy
21. wrap presents & make and attach name tags that have recipients' faces on them
22. pancakes in the morning & drive around looking at lights at night
23. open presents at home
24. go to grams and pop's house for shulba Christmas
25. go to grandma and grandpa's house for macdonald Christmas

can't wait! now to begin prepping things and finding my camera battery charger!

advent calendar

two years ago, i started making an advent calendar. the stage at which you see it in this blog post was as far as i got. i put it all in a shoebox and stored it away. what can i say? i like the IDEA of crafts better than actually getting them finished.
this year, i wanted to come up with 24 christmas-y activities for our advent calendar. but what to put them in? i saw a couple advent calendars with little doors to open each day and i could have bought one of them and put my activities inside. but in the back of my mind, i kept thinking of my failed attempt at making my own advent calendar. why had i abandoned it?

i think i had run out of ideas for decorations to put the numbers on. i also didn't know how i was going to mount the tins - on cardboard? on plywood? both seemed too cumbersome to store all year long. yeah - it doesn't take much for me to scrap an idea.

after looking at advent calendars on pinterest, i saw one that was magnetic. aha! maybe that would work for my advent tree! i reopened the dusty box and faced the problem of coming up with more little decorations. it occurred to me that not every number needed a decoration - some numbers could go straight onto the tin. brilliant. i finished it in about half an hour and a trip to michaels.

i figure if it works this year, next year i could always start over with the tins and laminate the circles ahead of time. and if sticking the tins to the fridge isn't the best idea, i can always remove the magnets and mount them to a board.

now to fill them up...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

avery at 2 months

we're still getting to know this little person. avery joy has many more smiles and she loves to sleep in her carseat. at about 6 weeks, i figured out that she didn't want to be fed as often as i was trying to feed her so now she eats about every 3.5-4hrs. i also figured out around 6/7weeks that she is a big napper...she doesn't necessarily nap easily but she needs a lot of sleep between bottles. if 4 hours go by since her last bottle but she hasn't had enough sleep, she chooses sleep over eating. she'll scream and cry if you try to feed her because she's so tired. she's getting better at having some naps in her bed - some days are better than others for this. the evenings are the hardest to convince her to sleep. you watch her eyes begin to droop and then she pops them wide open again. we still hold her in our arms for her evening naps IF we can even get her to sleep. if we don't - it's a very cranky evening and a difficult bedtime routine. if she naps in the evening, she takes her bottle like a champ and goes right to bed at bedtime. she's great at sleeping through the night in her own crib - usually going down between 7 - 9pm and sleeping until 5am-ish. avery is a wiggler. she waves her arms and legs constantly. if you put a hat on her, she shakes her head back and forth until you remove it or she has a fit. she seems to like her soother and she loves her play mat. she lays on it and smiles at the animals that are hanging above her. i often worry that she's not getting enough attention because we can so easily lay her down somewhere so that we can focus on ben or do chores around the house but hopefully we're not scarring her for life. ;) we love this little girlie and are looking forward to all the fun times to come.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

sibling love

ben loves having avery around. when he wakes up in the morning, he asks, "baby aywee wake?" and runs to find her. when she's on her playmat, he's often there too. if she flails her arms around and touches him, he laughs and laughs. when ben is eating something, playing with something, or learns something new, he'll tell avery or hold up the toy or food and explain what it is. "a ball, baby aywee." "a chocolate, baby aywee." when we're eating a meal, he's concerned as to when avery will need her bottle since that's all she eats. when we're holding avery, he's asking us to put her on the floor so that he can see her. when it's time to read books at bedtime, ben demands, "baby aywee too!". it's been very fun to see how much he's enjoying avery at this stage.

the other day, ben was laying on the floor, next to avery and he was rolling around. he accidentally flung his arm out and hit avery in the face. avery started to scream and i picked her up. ben looked so horrified and i told him that it was okay, it was an accident. he's just looking at me with a quivering bottom lip and i said, "she's alright. you didn't mean to hit her. she's fine, ben." ben burst out sobbing - he was so sad that he'd hurt her. it was pretty sweet. i hope that he always wants to look after her and protect her.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

dear frustrated mothers...

when we were driving to the hospital and my contractions had very few minutes between them, i just talked to myself aloud, saying, "you can do this. you've done this before. you're going to have a baby after all this is over. you can do this." etc, etc. it worked for me. but after i had avery, the chanting aloud stopped of course.

after describing my frustration with avery, someone said to me recently, "you really have such a good baby - there are much more difficult babies out there." i think it was meant to encourage me but it made me feel like i shouldn't have these feelings of frustration when avery won't nap or when she's crying incessantly in the evening because i KNOW that she's a good baby. i KNOW that there are much, much, MUCH more difficult babies and here i am upset with my healthy, beautiful, smiling girl. the guilt of this is skyrocketing. but you know what? the knowledge that i have it good doesn't make the frustration go away because my frustration isn't with avery. my frustration is usually with myself. why haven't i figured out why she's crying? i can't i figure out why her feeding is so frantic? why didn't i trust myself to know that she needed to sleep earlier and now i'm paying for it with so much overtired screaming? why do i care what someone else is thinking of me?

if you're a mother, you've been here. and it's occurred to me that perhaps my encouragement chanting shouldn't have stopped with avery's birth. verbally encouraging ourselves may be just what we need. so to all the moms out there, here's what i want you to know:

you're doing a good job. don't second guess yourself based on the comments of others - you know your baby better than they do. it's okay to be frustrated. you're doing a good job. this is just a phase. it's okay not to know. you're doing a good job. trust yourself. you're a good mom even though it doesn't feel like it right now. you're doing a good job. soon, this will be a distant memory. it's okay to cry. you're doing a good job. don't worry that you sound crazy - you know what's best for your baby. it's going to get better. don't forget, that baby is worth every tear shed and every sleepless night. you're doing a good job.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

an avery series: smiles

poor second children - i'm already seeing that parents take fewer photos of them. but remember my ben series'? i will attempt to continue the tradition.

(smiling with her eyes...can't you see it?)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

ben and doctor

since ben was 18 months, he's had a rough relationship with our doctor - whom i'll call dr. D. my doctor is fantastic - funny, nice, normal, etc. i think ben remembers having his shots with him and now is terrified. i was looking forward to bring ben to my pregnancy check-ups so that HE wouldn't have to be the patient - he could just watch. no such luck. one time, ben wouldn't get off my lap in the waiting room because he was nervous and then when he mustered enough courage to run over to the toy bin, dr. D came out and walked past him to get to the door. ben's little lower lip started to tremble as the doctor said, "hi buddy!" and when dr. D left the room, ben burst into tears and ran to my lap. oh brother. so i didn't make him come to very many of my appointments. the ones i had to bring him, he stayed in the waiting room by himself in the chair farthest away from the examining rooms. (the receptionist kept an eye on him but said he never moved a muscle) the one good part of the visits in his mind, was getting a treat at the end. the doctor always invited him to come around the corner of the counter and pick a treat and he was willing to get this close to dr. D for this - even letting dr. D open the package of fruit snacks for him. thankfully, ben hasn't been sick very many times to warrant a doctor's visit for himself...until yesterday.

i made an appointment for avery as she's had some goop in her eyes, i've had a lingering cough forever, and ben has some eczema on his arm. we're a sorry mess. so i warned ben in the morning that we'd be going to the doctor for avery and that avery needed him to come and look after her. i suggested he pick out a treat from his halloween stash to bring and share with the doctor - he picked one for himself and one for dr. D. i put them in a baggie and told him he could have his treat when we got to the office. he held the baggie for the entire 30 minute drive to office. he ate his lollipop while we waited for our appointment and when dr. D showed his face, ben held up the baggie with a box of smarties inside and ran over to him. when i explained that they were for him, he said thank you to ben and asked if he was going to come with mommy in the room. ben turned and ran back to his safe zone - the waiting room chair.

i went in with avery and had our appointment and explained that ben had this eczema on his arm. when avery and i were done, dr. D came out with us to the waiting room and sat in a chair farthest from ben. there were other people in the waiting room, waiting for their appointments. he opened the box of smarties and asked ben if he wanted to share with him. ben came over and took some smarties, dr. D checked out ben's arm, continued to share the smarties with ben and another kid in the waiting room until they were gone. then he took ben around the counter to pick a treat, as usual. dr. D was so pumped - "that was a HUGE step!" he said to me. haha. but it really was.

and THIS is why i drive to langley for all my appointments, sometimes having to wait an hour to get into my appointments. this guy is good.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

halloween at home

lately, ben has learned the word "scary" and has started being scared by many things. halloween is not a great time of year of an easily scared 2 year old. though he went trick-or-treating last year on my parent's street, this was our first time in our own neighbourhood. the people across the street go to a TON of work to decorate their yard...i thought ben might not even want to leave our house when he saw it.
(this doesn't even show half of the scariness since it's taken from the window at our house!)

thinking that ben wouldn't be leaving the house, we prepared to trick-or-treat at the mall where i figured most of the costumes would be little kids. the stores hand out candy from 3:30 - 5pm. we left avery at gram and pop's house and we got to the mall at 3:45pm. some of the stores were already out of candy - there were SO many kids! it was a little overwhelming for a two year old but he was pretty pumped once he realized he was getting candies in his bag.

we met up with ben's friend tyson.

"people are giving me candy?"

we had to stop at many of the couches in the mall to "rest" and eat a candy. ben had a great time. but that costume was not made for indoors - it's made for colder trick-or-treating . despite just having shorts and a t-shirt underneath, he was so hot at the end of our 45min.

we picked up avery, ate a couple more treats at grams', then went home for supper. while supper cooked, i asked ben if he wanted to go out to the houses on our street and he seemed keen. we even crossed the street towards our scary neighbours house but he understandably wanted to go the opposite direction down the street. we skipped all the houses that had something scary by their doors. at one point we were walking and he said, "scaydy hands, mommy." i looked at his hands, my hands, and nothing looked scary. then i looked over and saw we were passing some "graves" with hands sticking out of them. poor kid.

ben hit quite a few houses for being on foot but after a street and cul-de-sac, when i asked if he wanted to do one more, he was tired. we headed home to eat. he had just as much fun handing out candy at our door for the next hour, until we ran out (and i was unwilling to give away ben's candy)! when it was bedtime, i put ben in bed and as soon as i'd left the room, the firecrackers/works started. one loud pop outside our house and ben was screaming. i ran in there and ben was face down with his hands over his head, crying - so sad. i pulled him out of bed and popped him in our bed. i layed there for a minute with him and then said goodnight and left. again, more fireworks. again, more terrified screaming. so ben came out of bed and sat with us on the couch and we let him watch monster trucks (very soothing...haha) until ten to 9pm - probably the latest he's ever stayed up with us. i finally tried bed again but he just cried and cried (now, totally overtired and having a major sugar crash, i'm sure). i ended up singing to him until he fell asleep.

then tim and i raided his candy bag...

so, it was a good night and it was a tough night. today, he woke up full of smiles and excitement to eat treats. i sent him to gram's house at 9am with a lollipop in hand - oh dear.