A personal online journal of truth.

Archive for the ‘Toddler Parenting’ Category

A John Deere Piñata and A Baseball Bat

My son recently turned two years old and what a wonderful birthday party we had for him! It was green from inside out and outside in. Oh, but not just any ol’ green. This was John Deere green! Yep – as in the tractor, John Deere green! It was not as difficult as I had imagined to find such unusual toddler birthday supplies. In fact, I found an extensive collection online at birthdayexpress.com. The most surprising find was a John Deere piñata. That’s right — a John Deere piñata!

To be honest, this was my first birthday with a piñata as well. A baseball bat was used as a last minute, quick thinking tool for swinging at the piñata. It was a hit (pun intended)! All the kids were very excited and eager to take a swing. The adults formed a circle of safety around the swinger for obvious reasons. The smallest children were allowed to take a swing first and as predicted, the piñata broke open with the first hit from one of the older children. Candy littered the floor followed by children’s eager fingers.

I’ve decided this will be a birthday tradition from now on. “Pin the Tale on the Donkey” is old school! We’re going for the big stuff from now on! I just wonder what kind of piñata I’ll be trying to track down next year!

Happy 2nd Birthday to my little miracle, my son! Love Mommy!!!!!

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A “Sock Monkey” Winter

A Sock Monkey Winter

A Sock Monkey Winter

It’s a “Sock Monkey” winter at our house this year! My almost-two-year-old son received this darling knit hat from his Granny for Christmas.  Prior to this, my son refused to wear a hat which limited our time playing in the snow. I tried to coax him in many creative and humorous ways but to no avail. I would act goofy wearing my own hat. I offered to let him wear my hat. I tried bribery. I did all but stand on top of my head to convince him that wearing a hat was fun. He was not interested, period. Then along came the “Sock Monkey” hat!

To say that my son loves this hat would be an understatement. He adores this hat. He puts the hat on all by himself. He even wears the hat indoors! This hat is magical, I declare! His enthusiasm led me to learn more about this crazy looking, red-mouthed monkey, called “Sock Monkey.”

Did you know that the Sock Monkey is considered American folk art? Crafty American began making this unusual creature out of socks over 60 years ago. But not just any sock. They used the now patented Red Heel work sock by the Nelson Knitting Mills in Rockford, Illinois. The town in fact is still known as “The Home of the Sock Monkey.” The town even hosts an annual “Sock Monkey Madness Festival.” This coming March will be their 9th festival.

Although Fox River Mills has taken over the Nelson Knitting Mills, you can still make a classic sock monkey from their patented Rockford Red Heel® socks. Fox River even has the instructions on their website. I’ve caught the fever myself and hope to make my son a classic Rockford Red Heel sock monkey soon. Who would have ever thought that the creation of a simple work sock would lead to so many adorable little toys for children? I’ve read that these sock monkeys were first created during the Great Depression. This confirms what my mother has always told me. “Necessity breeds creativity.”

Trying to fit in at home

I am off work today. That seems like a good thing until it actually happens. It’s difficult to change routines, not just on myself, but on every member of the household. I’m normally up and gone to the office by the time all the others get up to start their day. Then I don’t arrive home until late in the evening, usually somewhere between 6 and 7 PM. I come in right at dinner time. I join the family for dinner; do some basic chores; give my toddler a bath; then it’s off to bed. I spend at most, 3 to 4 hours every evening with my family – not long. So, today, on my day off, I had a pleasant and relaxing day in mind. It has been far from that.

I’m not sure if it’s just the “change in routine” or what, but my toddler has been a living nightmare all day long. Everyone is edgy and it has been quite unpleasant. Perhaps I am dreaming and not being realistic when I long to have a “normal” at home, family day. I do realize that some of this could simply be driven from the fact, I’m not accustomed to the “at home” life. In contrast, I’m most comfortable at the stressful, fast-paced office work style.

I pray the Lord will give me more patience with my family and they with me as we adjust to a full house for a few days.

Happy Thanksgiving holiday time 🙂

Hot Potato, Cold Spaghetti, Mashed Bananna

If you have ever heard the Hot Potato song by the Wiggles, you surely have never hummed another song. I cannot get this song out of my head. I’ve tried. I’ve listened to other music. I’ve tried singing country music. I’ve tried nursery rhymes. My brain refuses to acknowledge any other tune except “Hot Potato, Hot Potato!” Therefore, I am giving in and letting go. I’m going to sing this song as many times as I possible can for the remainder of the day. I’m using the same strategy as my grandmother used on my uncle when he caught him smoking. She made him smoke until he was sick. He is not a smoker and never has been since that day. I am hoping that I will make my brain “sick” of this song.

Do you think it will work? How do you get those annoying tunes out of your head?

A Leap of Faith

We recently had a pool installed in our back yard and I must say that it is a pure delight. I feel like I am on vacation every time I step out my back door. Having breakfast by the pool on Saturday and Sunday mornings is becoming a habit. Arriving home from work during the week has become a race to see just how quickly I can transform myself and my son into pool attire. I’ve even been know to take a quick dip after my son goes to bed. Yes, we are truly enjoying having our very own pool.

However, my 17 month old son has been struggling with some fear issues when in the pool. I have been patient with him and slowly helping him to feel secure in his life jacket while within my reach. He does really well as long as I am holding him. But the second I let go, he starts crying even though the life jacket is keeping him afloat. I try to keep him entertained so that he will have fun while swimming but it gets so frustrating when all he does is whine and cry the entire time. This was the situation last night in the pool. Finally, I sat him on the step and told him to watch mommy swim. As I was making my way to the other end of the pool (backwards), he boldly stood up; gave me one of those “watch this” smiles; then proceeded to “jump” off the steps into the pool by himself. He didn’t reach for my hands. He didn’t cry. He didn’t whine. He laughed and laughed and laughed.

My son took a leap of faith, literally. I am still in awe of his bravery. Here is a lesson for us all concerning our fears. Make the decision to jump in, feet first, and face them. Believe that you can. Stop thinking about it. Stop whining about it. Stop crying about it and simply jump.

Wait For Me….Wait For Mommy

And there he goes, onward bound without even as much as a glance backwards at his mommy. At 16 months of age, his desire for independence is already peeking through (to put it mildly). He doesn’t want me to hold his hand or climb the steps with him. No, he wants to do it all by himself. Where is the “dislike” button for this? “Wait for me,” I beg. “Wait for mommy,” I plead to no avail. The strong desire to “do it on his own” has unraveled me a little. I want him to “need” me. I need him to need me. In a sense, I feel like a love-struck teen age girl chasing after the love of her life. He certainly has me wrapped around his little finger just the same.

I don’t have to ask. I know it’s only going to get worse. He’s going to continue to grow and demand more and more independence. He’s going to need me less and less. And my heart is going to break over and over. I thought I knew what being a mother was all about before I became one. I thought being a mother meant giving bottles, changing diapers, cooking dinner, cleaning, doing laundry, saying yes and mostly saying no. I never factored the emotional equation into motherhood. Sure, I always heard the old saying, “when they’re young, they’ll walk on your toes, but when they’re older, they’ll walk on your heart.” I thought I was safe at least until he turned 16.

An article on Parents’ website refers to this as a <a href=”“>”Toddler’s Declaration of Independence”. The article goes on to describe how my son, as a toddler, is attempting to balance “what he wants to do with what he can do,” and how this is an internal battle for him. I had not really considered this aspect of the power struggle and corresponding temper tantrums until now. Although I doubt it will calm my nerves at the onset of these occurrences, it does give me better insight and understanding of how his little brain operates. (Bless his heart!) Seriously, it must be tough trying to remember that he can’t touch the hot cup of coffee but he can touch the cup of juice. There are so many things to learn and understand that of course there are going to be moments of frustration and struggles between parent and child. However, this “declaration of independence” should have come with a warning label, “may cause excessive weeping and/or screaming”.  I’m not ready to begin “letting go” at such an early age. But, ready or not, there he goes.

UPDATE: I just read an incredible post about cultivating a kind, gentle voice. It’s funny how often I’m led to just the right post at just the right time. Considering how much my patience has been tested as a direct result of my toddler’s new found independence, I desperately needed to read this!

CHAIRS 4 SALE

Walking on my heart

I’m selling all the chairs in our house! Why not? We never use them? Having a toddler in the house means there is never a chance you will be sitting down. If you’re lucky you might get to sit for a minute or two at dinner. Otherwise, the first time I sit down is when I get in my bed at night after putting my little miracle to bed. I’m not really complaining about it. I’m just being realistic and thought I’d make a little money off of things not used. Okay, I’m being sarcastic. I’m not really going to sell the chairs. Perhaps one day, many, many, many years from now, we’ll use the chairs again.

I sometimes wish my little miracle had happened when I was younger. Being a mother of a toddler at 40 years old is physically exhausting. I consider myself in fairly good physical shape. I can spend 45 minutes on the elliptical machine easy. However, caring for a toddler is more of a workout than the elliptical could ever demand. I would have never believed this until now. Honestly, I have so much more admiration for all you mothers out there. This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. Mother’s are amazing souls! Every single one of you out there deserves recognition for all that you do! I salute you all! (Now, do you need a chair?)

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