Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Beauty of Sibling Play

I always feel so blessed when I am able to be a voyer and watch my little ones play together. Of course, the beautiful moment is eventually ruined by "he's not playing nice" or "that's mine," but while the moment is present I savor it and cherish it for all that it's worth. This morning I had one of these moments. Tare Bear is really good at engaging Mad Man in play so I can take a quick shower. This morning I was finishing breakfast and was able to just sit and watch them interact. T, of course, takes the lead and M follows along compliantly for the most part. They were playing with their "Sofia The First" dolls and a Little People car ramp. It was adorable. They were pretending that the ramps were slides and each of the dolls had to stand in line and wait for their turn. M mimicked every aspect of T's play, which was awesome. He is so lucky to have her; he adores her and gets so much out of playing with her. It is In these moments that I take a breath and think, okay, I'm doing somethig right raising these little people. They truly fill me with so much love.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Another ER Visit

My Mad Man is something else. We were having dinner the other night - all four of us, when Mad Man decided to entertain us, so to speak. He and T were making each other laugh. She put extra noodles in her mouth and was being a little sloppy which made M laugh out loud. So, M had to up the ante. He decided to put a Craisin up his nostril. It came right out, but he devoured the reaction he received. So, up went another Craisin. This one he managed to lodge up in his left nostril. Eew. 

At first we didn't take it that seriously, but his nose was bleeding a little. Then we realized that we couldn't get it out. Panic. We could see it (or at least a part of it), but we couldn't get it out. We tried everything we could think of. Massaging his nose. Having him try to blow it out. I got out the baby nose suction tool (which I never used on my babies). Nothing was working. At this point I turned to Google. Mad Man was being a good sport about it. Google advised us to plug the over nostril, cover his mouth with our mouth and blow in. YouTube even had a video of this technique in its grandeur. So, we tried, and we tried. Mad did not care for this technique, plus he had been enduring our efforts for about forty-five minutes. Google also informed us that we needed to get our little man to the doctor ASAP to get this thing out. Luckily, Poppi Man had stopped by, so he took T Bear with him. Off we went. 

M was fairly unbothered by the whole thing. We arrived at the ER, checked in and began the waiting game. Of course, the waiting room was pretty crowded. Let's see: there was a young guy in a wheel chair, who must have injured some part of his leg and kept wheeling toward the receptionist and trying to stand up; there was a young mother of two little ones, with the little boy seemingly sick; a middle aged woman with a mask over her nose and mouth; and a middle aged man with no noticeable symptoms. I figured by the time we left we would all have been infected by something. Mad Man sat on my lap, snacking away, reluctantly watching "America's Funniest Home Videos". Hubby leaned over to me and said that we should probably be trying to work that Craisin out. I laughingly agreed, and mouthed "we are going to be here all night!"  About two seconds later, M started sneezing. One sneeze. Two sneezes. On the third sneeze out flew the Craisin into my hand. Triumph!  M said, "Mommy, I got it out! I got the Craisin out myself!"  So cute. We reported the victory to the receptionist, who checked with the nurse, and allowed us to go on our way. Phew. Crisis averted. Knowing my Mad Man this will not be our last trip to the ER, but thankfully this visit was pretty innocuous. 

Note: this trip to the Emergency Room occurred almost exactly one year to the day of his last trip to the ER. Note to self: put M in a bubble the last week in July. 

High:  Catching that nasty Craisin and realizing M would not have to endure any invasive procedures!
Low:  The fear of what M would have to experience trying to get that little thing out. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

More Thunderstorms...Really?

I love summer. What's not to love?  Sun shining. Swimming. The smell of sun tan lotion. BBQ's. Eating outside. Swing sets. The park. Vacation. The list goes on and on. But wait, what has been putting a serious damper on our afternoons and evenings?  Yup. Good old Mother Nature and her thunderstorms. Really, every day at nap time and bed time?  Could we just pick one?  Or how about a reprieve...one per week instead of multiple times in a day?  I realize this sounds selfish, but I have two little ones who are petrified by thunder and lightning. It is the hottest topic of conversation all day every day since we heard the first crack of thunder. Every loud sound Mad Man asks if it is thunder. T checks the weather app on my phone several times every day. Perhaps I could have prevented this fear more effectively, but obviously I didn't. I tried the understanding and acknowledging fear approach. I tried the distracting approach. I tried the explaining the science behind this phenomenon approach. What am I left with?  I will tell you: a two year old and a five year old who panic and scream at the first rumble of thunder; children who cling to me like I am the big thunder warrior; little ones who beg to sleep with me.  Thank you Mother Nature for this extra emotional stress, but seriously can you chill with all the storms?

High: The extra snuggle time their fear brings me. 
Low: Seeing and hearing their fear manifest itself every day and being unable to "cure" their fear. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Frozen Birthday

Disclaimer: I started this post prior to T's fifth birthday...almost five months ago!

T Bear is turning five! This cannot be possible. I am so proud of the little lady she is becoming. Her newest obsession is Disney's Frozen (along with the majority of children in this age group!). I had planned on her having a Sofia the First birthday party, since she has been enamored by her for about a year. When she switched gears (after seeing Frozen) I was a little heartbroken. Maybe it's because I realize that I won't always have my finger on the pulse of what she likes and wants, or maybe it is because she is constantly growing and changing; either way I had a hard time switching gears. So, Frozen it is.

The plan for the party was the same as last year: kids party during the day, family party at night. It worked well last year. So, I told T she could invite any eight friends, which apparently was too hard to narrow down so we made it eleven friends. I ordered some Frozen party supplies and started Googling Frozen birthday parties! Thank God for the Internet! I found some cool printable coloring pages, and some images for Frozen inspired cakes (I really need to practice using fondant so I can create some serious birthday cakes! Maybe next year!).

Luckily, T had received the Frozen castle am some figurines as Christmas gifts, so we had plenty of things to display! With T's picky eating I had to plan the menu kind of around her, but also around the other little ones who would be there! We decided on just snacks since the party was mid afternoon! We had to postpone the party a week because T Bear was sick on her actual birthday (and the whole week), mostly all of the original guests could still make it! We actually nixed the family party! I always dream big in terms of what I envision for the party, but in actuality we pare it down so, the Christmas lights I had wanted to hang did not get hung...we survived. T dressed up in her Anna costume with braids in her hair and looked absolutely adorable (if I do say so myself)!

Here is the rundown of how it went:
1:00 - guests arrived
All the kiddos played - so fun to watch!
1:15 - scavenger hunt. We hid about one hundred pieces of paper with either carrots or chocolate pictures on them. The goal was to find food for Sven (so only take the carrots). Basically, it was a free for all!  T found the most, but I gave Frozen stickers to the top few!
1:30 - arts and crafts: I had cut out pieces of Olaf for the kiddos to color, decorate, and glue onto paper; I also had  Frozen mazes for them to do and color. They seemed to have fun (except for the birthday girl who didn't feel like she was getting enough attention at the time!). 
2:00 - snacks. On the menu: cheese, crackers, pepperoni, pretzels, fresh fruit with cream cheese dip dyed teal (I loved it, mostly everyone else was quite skeptical of it!), blue meringue cookies, marshmallows dipped in pink and blue sprinkles, and blue punch!
2:30 - pin the nose on Olaf!  Loved this game!
2:45 - snow ball throwing game through a snow hoop (I used styrofoam balls and a styrofoam hoop). Mad Man especially loved this game
3:00 - dress up time. All of the kiddos dressed up in T's costumes...it was so cute to see them all!
Lots of running around and playing!
3:30 - cake and ice cream
4:00 - kiddos got picked up (some parents stayed the whole time - totally fine by me - the more eyes available the better in my book!)






Overall, it was a great party!  I'm already looking forward to next year's party!

High: Seeing T enjoy her friends and her party. 
Low: The stress I put on myself while planning and setting up a party!  

Bicycle Riding: Stifling My Fears

Learning to ride a bicycle is a rite of passage, right? Well, not for me. I am, however, attempting to squelch my own fears so that my children (specifically T Bear at the moment) will experience the childhood bliss of bike riding.

When I was little my parents tried to teach me how to ride a bicycle many times. Honestly, I wasn't overly interested in it, but I tried. Early in the training process I lost control of my bike, flipped over the handle bars, and landed on the ground in dirt. That was it for me. I vowed I was done trying and essentially quit. I even attended a bicycle birthday party and jogged alongside of all of the other party goers.  Ridiculous - but I dare to say I have a stubborn streak. Some time later I won a bicycle at a local minor league baseball game. Of all the prizes I could have acquired - a bicycle. Really?  So, my dad pushed the issue and I had to show him that I could ride. I did. I rode my new bicycle about one hundred feet and got off. "See Dad I can ride!"  This was my response. Flash forward to my early married life when Hubby wanted to teach me to ride. Lesson one, about three minutes in I jumped off of the bike. Lesson over. 

For Easter, Mima and Poppi gave T her first bicycle with training wheels. I really don't think I am ready for this. She has gone out a few times and has done great. She looks like a natural. I am a nervous wreck. Tonight we took her through a neighborhood with Hubby riding his bike alongside hers. My stomach was in knots. What if the bike tipped over? What if she couldn't stop? What if a car came? Ugh. Too many what ifs. Our plan was to go through the neighborhood and venture across a fairly busy street to Dairy Queen. I chickened out. We got through the first stop sign and I was done! T did awesome. My fears were not needed. I tried to hide my fears by continuously reassuring her that she was doing amazing, but she saw through it. When we arrived back at the van she asked me why I was so nervous. My only reply was that I'm a mommy and you know mommy's get nervous. Lame. She looked so grown up dismounting from her bike and thoughtfully placing her helmet just so on her handle bars. I felt such pride for her at that moment.

Maybe it is because I don't know anything about bicycle riding. Maybe it's because when T is on her bike I feel like I have no control. Maybe it's seeing her take great strides toward independence. I don't know. What I do know is that watching her take off on her Little Mermaid bicycle filled me with angst, fear, excitement, and pride. It is truly amazing to be a part of this little person creating her own memories and embarking on her own journey. Aah. 

High: The look of determination, focus, and joy as T peddled her little legs on her bike for the first time. 
Low: The utter realization that T is no longer my baby and she will have experiences (such as bike riding, gasp!) that scare me to death!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sledding 101

By no means is this a tutorial on sledding. It is in fact a what not to do while sledding with a timid two year old and a dare devil five year old. I am not the out doorsy type, but I will venture out for my kiddos. We didn't have many decent days weather wise this winter, but there were two consecutive days that were pretty decent. They followed a storm which blanketed everything with white billowy snow. So, I decided to bundle the kiddos up and venture out. Now our yard is not ideal for sledding so we got in the van and drove to the high school. Once we arrived, I got the kiddos completely bundled head to toe as well as myself. The hill was much steeper than I realized, but Hubby assured me it would be fine. T insisted on going by herself and she did fine. Mad on the other hand is much more trepidatious and wanted me to go with him. The first run down was dicey as we toppled off of the sled once at the bottom, but then we got the hang of it. We spent a good hour sledding down and trekking back up the hill. Each run down T became braver and therefore faster. M was definitely getting more comfortable too. So, when T insisted on riding down with T, Hubby set them up. For the record I was not comfortable at all with it, but before I knew it down they went. They had a blast! They were both giggling. After a few more runs I announced that the next one would be the last. T hopped on the sled and M climbed in behind her and just like that they were flying down the hill. They landed at the bottom one flying over the other and M skidding across the snow/ice with his little face. I ran down the hill and scooped him up. Poor little guy had cuts and scrapes all over his sweet little face. With that we were done. 

Luckily M is resilient and stopped crying within a few minutes of comforting. I on the other hand am not nearly as resilient. I felt so guilty that I had allowed them go down together when I knew it wasnt safe. I know that I am over protective and hover, but hey they are generally safe and sound on my watch! It always has to be the last run doesn't it? Of course, an accident generally determines what will in fact be the last one. We will try again next year!

High: Experiencing the utter joy of sledding with my little ones. Hearing the laughter and squeals of delight. 
Low: M's poor little beat up face. 

Sibling Sympathy Pains?

Mad Man recently had his two year well check and then had to have his finger pricked for the lead test. Unfortunately, I had to take T with me to that appointment. I warned her ahead of time regarding the procedure. I told her that Mad might scream, but that it would be short lived. She asked me a slew of questions; I was confident in my answers. We had to wait for about ten minutes and then we were called in. Almost immediately T got a look of panic on her face. She was visibly nervous. Once the technician asked me to hold Mad Man's arm out that was it. T freaked out and ran behind the curtain. Mind you I couldn't get up to get her because I had Mad Man on my lap and the technician  was cleaning his finger. I called T back and she came, but was now starting to cry. I tried to reassure her, but she wasn't having it. She essentially had a panic attack. She kept uttering the statement "I don't think I can do this." At this point I reassured her that M was fine and that the finger prick was not happening to her!  Thanks to all of T's dramatics Mad did not even notice that his finger was being pricked. He sat on my lap calm and stoic as the technician finished the procedure. Such a tough little dude. T somewhat calmed down, but then became frustrated that she couldn't see his blood. I can't keep up!  

When it was finished we had to wait for one result for just a few minutes. M said quirtly "ow...finger hurt". T insisted on removing her jacket because she was sweating from all of the drama!  On the way out M wanted a sticker, T asked if she could have one for being so brave during M's appointment!  I stood my ground and said no since it wasn't actually her appointment!  I'm convinced she was experiencing sympathy pains for her little brother. After all, she is quite the protective big sis!  I realize, of course that she has a flair for the dramatics, but in this instance I am choosing to believe the former. 

High: Witnessing how brave my little man can be. 
Low:  Feeling helpless when T was panicking.