Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Potty Training Update

So, since we've backed off the intensive naked-all-day training, things have been going pretty well.  We hit the potty every day when we wake up, go down for naps, wake up from naps, and before bed.  Most of the time, we have success with these trips.  Sometimes the boys (mostly Jude lately) will come up to me and yell "Potty!  Potty!  Potty!" and we'll run to the bathroom and have a successful trip.  Each boy has pooped in the potty once.  Lately however, Eli does not like to sit on the potty and will fight me to go into the bathroom.  I'm just letting him be.  If he doesn't want to come to the potty with us, he doesn't have to.  But he DOES have to wear his diaper.

Keeping diapers on my sweet little babies has become an all day ordeal.  The only time they can't get them off is if they are wearing jeans with snaps and zippers.  Sweat pants?  Diaper's gone.  Onesie?  Diaper is gone without even unsnapping it, don't ask me how!  If I wasn't so over cleaning up puddles all over my house (which I still do, by the way, since Jude has taken his diaper off every day during nap time for the last week) I would probably just have them naked again.  But I just can't handle that much cleaning.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Play Date!

On Tuesday we had a play date with our new friends, Parker and Jackson, at Inflatable Wonderland.  For those of you not in the know, it is a store-front in the mall where they have inflated a variety of bouncy houses and kids can run around and play for a small fee.  There is also a small toddler area with foam cut-outs and a little slide.  The boys all had a great time even though the other boys were a little rougher than Eli and Jude are used to.  I didn't get very many pictures with my camera because I was too busy chasing children!  But here are a few of what I did get.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Monday - Another Busy Week

Seriously though, when do we have any weeks that AREN'T busy?  Maybe it's a parent thing...

Monday - Indonesian chicken and fried rice

Tuesday - West Wing Night, dinner TBD

Wednesday - Eat Out!

Thursday - Alex at Book Club, leftovers for Travis and the boys

Friday - Beef and Shrimp Fajitas

Saturday - Chicken Potpie

Sunday - Travis at game, leftovers or dinner with the Melnicks for Alex and the boys

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guest Post from Emily and Kathleen of Primrose Schools

As some of you may know, today is Yom Kippur and we are spending the day repenting and fasting.  I am happy to share with you this guest post about Bilingual Education and its importance for this generation.  Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Texas educational child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose educational child care schools.  Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

Early Childhood Education – The Best Time For Bilingual Learning

Of course, nobody knows what the future will hold – but if current trends continue, your child will grow up to enter a workforce in which the competition for decent-paying jobs will be nothing short of cut-throat. Despite the calls for greater co-operation and "interdependence," human nature being what it is, it's a good bet that the economy of the the future will operate according to the Law of the Jungle. It goes without saying that a good education is one of the best ways to prepare that child for survival in that economic jungle of the future.

The Bilingual Future

One of the future trends that has become certain is the existence of a diverse, global society. Nowhere is this more true than in the United States. Almost from the beginning, the U.S. has been a land of immigrants, and while the "melting pot" has been an interesting theory, it has not happened in practice. On the contrary, most major U.S. population centers have become more of an ethnic and linguistic checkerboard; Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese speakers represent some of the fastest-growing segments of the immigrant U.S. population.

In addition, with the rise of China, English may very well lose its preeminence as the  international language of business; at best, it will have to share that top status with Mandarin in decades to come.

Getting Ready

Traditional wisdom has been to start teaching a second language in middle school, or even high school. Yet numerous research studies clearly demonstrate that the optimal period in a child's life for multilingual education is during the preschool years – at exactly the same time they are learning their first language. Yes, it is possible to learn a second and third language later in life, but it is more difficult, because that neurological "window of opportunity" – when the brain is most malleable – has passed.

According to Dr. Fred Genessee, Professor of Psychology at McGill University in Montreal, it's as easy for young children to learn two or three languages as it is for them to learn one. He's not alone; educators throughout the world (in countries that often have two or even three official languages) have understood this for decades.

The way a child learns a second language is by actually speaking it in a total immersion environment. You may recall an episode of the animated series The Simpsons in which young Bart gets trapped on a farm in France – and by the end of the episode, finds he's actually speaking the language. While this was a fictional scenario, the phenomenon is real; anyone who has taken young children abroad to stay with relatives in a foreign country for any length of time has observed this happening.

Enrollment in a preschool program that offers immersion in other languages is the best way to get your child started.  This investment will make him/her much more competitive in the job market later on.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Friday, September 17, 2010

Potty Training - Start of Day 3

I'm thinking we're going to back off of the potty training a bit.  We've been doing some pretty intensive no-diaper time for the last couple of days and it seemed to be working until this morning.  Nothing has changed, I did nothing differently today than yesterday or the day before and suddenly the boys are not cooperating.

We woke up and went potty, things went fine.  But that was the only time.  They have refused to even SIT on the potty - even when I know they have to go - but prefer to pee on the floor.  They scream if I go anywhere NEAR the bathroom.  And then they pee on the floor.  I've even started having them clean up the puddles with me but it is completely meaningless to them.  In the span of 15 minutes, we had 5 accidents and 3 trips to the potty.  So I whipped out the last of our diapers and put them on the boys.  We're going to go to the store and get some more.  We'll keep going to the potty first thing in the morning, before and after naps, and before bed, but they'll wear a diaper during the day (the introduction stage of Diaper Free Before 3) and we'll try to get rid of diapers again in a week or two.

I am frustrated and disappointed.  I had really thought that this would be a couple of really crappy days and then things would fall into place.  Instead it's been a couple of really crappy days that have gotten us nowhere.  Maybe I'm expecting too much.  They aren't even two years old yet.  Maybe I was trying to move too quickly.  I don't know.  I feel like I've failed which I know is ridiculous but that's not making me feel any better.  I can only hope that when we try again it will all fall into place.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Potty Training - Day 2

Today was pretty much more of the same from yesterday.  Maybe a little better.  Eli has taken us TO the potty a couple of times when he has to go, but still lots of puddles on the floor from both boys.  And puddles elsewhere... more on that later.  We thought we might try underwear today to see how they would handle it.  Not well.  We went through all 18 pairs of underwear before 5 pm.  After that point, I just kept them naked.  That seemed to be better.  I think that maybe the underwear confuses them because it's too much like a diaper.  Needless to say, I am doing laundry.

I will leave you with an anecdote from potty training that will maybe make you laugh.  This evening before dinner, I took both Eli and Jude to the potty before putting them in their high chairs.  Jude peed but Eli did nothing.  He didn't even want to sit on the potty.  I figured it wouldn't be a big deal and I'd just take him in the middle of dinner if he had to go.  Well, about halfway through his dinner, Eli stood up suddenly.  I asked him if he needed to go potty and he told me no.  Then he peed all over his plate.  He thought this was very funny.  I did not.

Boys are so gross.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Potty Training - Day 1

I'm going crazy.  I knew that this would be hard and frustrating but I seriously want to beat my head against a wall.  Yesterday was pretty successful - Eli peed in the potty once and Jude pooped in the potty once (even though I put him on the potty after he'd already started pooping) and they're super interested in the potties.  We went to the store and bought the second potty and a stash of underwear.  We decided that we'd just go whole hog today and have the boys spend most of the day naked.

Today started off really well.  Eli peed in the potty right away and Jude was willing to sit on the potty but did not do anything.  We were playing and hanging out when Eli began to pee on the floor.  We ran to the potty and he held it all the way to the bathroom and then finished up in the potty!  I started getting really excited thinking that Eli would have it by the end of the day and we'd be set!  That's when things started to fall apart.  Eli threw a tantrum because I wouldn't let him play in the bathroom and peed on the floor.  We ran back to the potty but he'd already emptied his bladder so nothing happened.  We went back to the living room.  He threw another tantrum and peed on the floor.  We ran to the potty but, once again, nothing happened.  This continued for a couple of hours before I couldn't handle it anymore and put a diaper on him.  We all calmed down and tried again right before nap time.  Travis took both boys to the potty at that time and said that they both peed in the potty.

During all of Eli's meltdowns, Jude was having some trouble also.  He still isn't very good at recognizing when he's going to pee so he had a couple of accidents.  No peeing in the potty except for right when he woke up and then again right before nap time.  The fact that he did do it before nap time though is encouraging and I'm hoping that he'll get it soon.

I just keep telling myself that this will pass and that if we make it through this stressful, crazy time I won't have to change diapers any more.  And I'm taking lots of calming breaths.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Epic New Journey

If you'd asked me a week ago, "potty training" was akin to a dirty word around here.  I didn't want to hear it or think about it.  It terrifies me.  When I hear that phrase I have visions of poopsplosions and pee on everything, constant laundry, living my life in the bathroom, and daily bedding changes.  Needless to say, I was putting off starting such an endeavor until absolutely necessary.

Eli and Jude have been showing signs of "readiness" according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' standards for a couple of months now.  I kept telling myself that they were not ready and that they can't communicate enough to tell me that they need to go.  I would come up with excuse after excuse but after the recent nudist episodes I have had to confront the issue head-on.  I bought a book called Diaper Free Before 3 which has helped me change my mind and shatter all preconceived notions about potty training.  She does not agree with the AAP about "readiness" and recommends starting as early as 6 months old.  I'll probably write a detailed review of the book once I've really started to engage in her method but for now I'll just say that I am ready to commit to doing this messy, inconvenient, but necessary task.

She recommends to start by continuing to wear diapers (except for those older than 2) but place your child on the potty at scheduled times throughout the day - upon waking, before or after meals and naps, before bed - and also if you notice him or her performing potty cues to help introduce them to the concept of the potty.  Any kind of action during this time is good, but not necessarily expected.  Since we are older than the recommended start age, this phase should move quickly then we'll spend most of our time in underwear or training pants.  The final phase is about developing good potty habits for life.

I missed the boat this morning because I didn't wake up right when the boys did so our first potty trip was before nap time.  I am happy to report that it was a pretty successful trip!  Jude started making his "I'm pooping" face so I took him to the bathroom and plopped him on the potty.  He was not very pleased with this change in his "routine" but did poop successfully in the potty!  He was pretty mad though that I took his diaper off... we'll see how that goes for the next couple of days.  Eli though watched the whole thing and patiently waited his turn (at the moment, we only have one potty) and when I sat him down, he smiled at me and peed!  No drama, just did his business.  He didn't end up emptying his bladder completely though since he stood up and then peed on the floor, but it was a good start.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Monday - More Holidays

I'm realizing that this week's menu will be pretty sparse.  It looks like it's shaping up to be a pretty busy week - in a good way - and we won't be doing much eating at home.

Monday - Alex at AMOM meeting, leftovers/frozen pizza for Travis and the boys

Tuesday - West Wing Night!

Wednesday - Grilled Chicken with pesto pasta and veggies

Thursday - Ratatouille with Papardelle (I've been trying to make this for WEEKS but for some reason it keeps getting pushed off the menu...)

Friday - Beef Wellington with potatoes au gratin and veggies

Saturday - Break the Fast (eat out!)

Sunday - Travis at game, leftovers for Alex and boys

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two Little Butts

I put Eli and Jude down for an earlier nap again today - they just can't seem to decide if they want to nap early or late - and after lots of yelling and laughing and banging, they finally quieted down and fell asleep.  I wanted to go and check to make sure they were in bed or at least not on top of each other and this is what I found...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Guest Post from Misty at Baby Sign Language

I hope everyone is having a great Thursday, and Happy New Year to all of my Jewish readers!  We are observing the holiday today so please enjoy this guest post from Misty, chief editor of Baby Sign Language!  We only use a couple of signs here but I'm always looking for more ways to communicate with Eli and Jude and minimize tantrums.

Taming Tantrums with Baby Sign Language

Childcare experts all agree that toddler tantrums are usually caused by extreme frustration. At the heart of this frustration is the inability to communicate, as language skills are often a long way behind other skills such as mobility. Anything parents can do to improve toddler communication has to be a good thing for tantrum taming. And Baby Sign Language offers an ideal solution.

How Can Baby Sign Language Help With Toddler Tantrums?
Psychologists studying child development have for many years appreciated the link between symbols and learning. Famous child psychologist, Vygotsky, said that the social interaction between the learner and a knowledgeable adult is essential to cognitive development. In other words, your child needs to understand what it is he wants then he needs to be able to communicate this to you. Symbols and gestures give the child a means of doing this that is less sophisticated than language – it is easier, for example, for a toddler to picture milk in his head and then make a gesture to represent this than it is for him to search a growing vocabulary for the right word.

Communication And Confidence
Studies have shown that learning symbols and gestures has a significant effect on the early communicating abilities of even young children. Communication is a two-way process, and when a toddler’s attempts at communicating are successful – the parent understands what it is toddler wants – he grows in confidence. This confidence encourages him to communicate more often, and more creatively. It is a ‘win win’ situation for both parent and toddler.

Confidence And Tantrums
A confident toddler who has learned simple sign language is less likely to become frustrated when he can’t get what he wants. He has the means to tell you what he needs – by using Baby Sign Language – and the confidence to know that Mommy will understand him. Signing also gives Mom and Dad a way to cut through the confusion that words often cause to a stressed out toddler. He is more likely to respond to visual cues for behavior than worn-out words from a worn-out mom!

Start Young – If You Can
Teaching your baby to sign may well have the longer-term result that when he reaches toddlerhood he has the tools he needs to communicate successfully with you, avoiding many frustration-based tantrums. But if you haven’t already started to sign, and have a tantruming toddler, don’t despair. It’s never too late to begin. The signs to focus on now are those linked to emotions and basic needs, as the inability to communicate these are at the heart of frustration-based tantrums. Begin with the signs for Tired, Hungry and Sad. Repeat these signs often when talking to your toddler, using flash cards if necessary, to help him learn what each sign means. When he is tired, for example, reinforce this by saying ‘Frankie is tired’ and making the sign for tired.

Encouragement And Patience
Encourage his efforts at signing by giving lots of praise whenever he makes a sign – even if you’re not quite sure what he’s trying to say! Be patient – it can take a couple of months of exposure to a sign for a toddler to begin to use it himself. Don’t expect too much too soon.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Menu Monday - Happy Labor Day!

Also, L'Shanah Tova to all of our Jewish readers!  We were doing really well with sticking to the menu but we kind of fell off of the bandwagon last week.  Things were just kind of crazy and we ended up moving around our eating out night (and adding one) so you may see a repeat of ingredients or recipes this week.  I'm going to try to post some more recipes over at Chef Momma and the Hungry Hornes this week because the veggie lasagna was a big hit and it's still a little bare over there.  : )

Monday - Go out with the Melnicks

Tuesday - "West Wing Night" featuring Ratatouille papardelle or Caldo Verde... TBD

Wednesday - Grilled Salmon with quinoa and veggies

Thurday - Go out to eat!

Friday - Burgers with sweet potato fries

Saturday - Curry chicken with rice and veggies

Sunday - Travis at game, leftovers for Alex and the boys

Friday, September 3, 2010


I have to say, until I became a mom I was very grossed out by all kinds of bodily fluids.  Vomit, urine, excrement, what have you.  I have had to get over this since the boys have arrived but days like today really test my resolve.  A little back story - Eli has been getting very good at controlling his bowel muscles.  This is exciting because it means we're getting that much closer to potty training but not exciting because he's decided he never wants to poop again.  I have tried everything to get this boy to poop but it won't work.  Suppositories, prunes, lots and lots of juice... you name it, I've tried it.  He is very stubborn about it and refuses.  I know it must be very painful for him by this point and he won't let me anywhere near his behind so I've stopped pushing the issue.  He will poop when he's good and ready.  Okay, on with the story.

Things were all running smoothly, generally speaking.  Travis was at work and the boys and I were at home, hanging out.  We're experiencing a bit of nap rescheduling (it seems to be shifting from a morning nap to an afternoon nap) so I didn't put Eli and Jude down for their naps until about 1:30 pm today.  They seemed unfazed by staying up a little longer and actually went to sleep at about 1:50.  I went about my afternoon not knowing what I would discover a couple of short hours later.

Eli and Jude awoke from their naps at about 3:45 and started to play.  It started to get a little loud and rowdy so I went in their room with the intention of changing diapers and then feeding them a snack.  Oh man, was I shocked.  I'm still not sure what exactly happened.  When I entered the room, I found Jude completely naked, Eli with his diaper half off, and the room and my children covered in poop.  It was such a mess and so completely disgusting that I wasn't even sure where to begin.  So I started with Eli and Jude and figured I'd clean the room when Travis got home.

I put Eli and Jude into our shower with the sprayer-like shower head and literally hosed them down (thank you Savannah for that amazing wedding present!).  Eli thought it was super cool but Jude kept trying to hide in the corner of the shower and yelled at me any time I went near him with the water.  And he was the most dirty too.  He had rubbed the poop into his eczema so he had little rough nasty patches all over his shoulders, arms, and back.  It was gross.  Also during the scrubbing, Eli peed for the first time without a diaper on (that I can remember, at least) and looked at me with a horrified "Oh my god Mom, what is happening to me???" face.  It was so adorable that I almost forgot why I was so cranky and grossed out.  Almost.  We had a quick chat about what pee-pee is and he was soon back to stomping around the shower.

Travis arrived home shortly after drying and re-diapering the boys and he volunteered to clean the boys' room - much to my excitement - before looking at the daunting task.  Apparently, the boys had gotten poop on the bottoms of their feet and walked around, so there were little brown splotches all over their carpet.  All of the sheets and blankets had to be washed because someone peed on them.  And it was quite smelly.  Travis did a fantastic job and you can barely tell what grossness had been there earlier today.  We will need to steam clean the carpet now though, there's no way around that.  But we'd known that for a while since Eli and Jude have a great talent for spilling things EVERYWHERE.

In short, it was a very draining afternoon.  If you have children, I hope this never happens to you.  If you don't have children, I hope I haven't terrified you into never having any.